Whoops

It got to be around 11:38 last night, and I was in bed after a thoroughly demoralizing Starcraft session when I realized that I had neglected to write a blog post yesterday. I meant to do it out at Kelly’s parents, but then I forgot to take my laptop out there, and as much as I enjoy tablets, they really aren’t the best for writing a lot on. So I decided to go to bed. My bad. But here I am. Morning blog post will have to do.

One of the things that Kelly has brought into my life since showing up almost seven years ago now is animals, specifically dogs. Before Kelly came around, we had cats, but cats are pretty low key. They do their thing, and don’t really mind what you do. Every once in a while you can hang out together, and then you go your separate ways.

But we had never had dogs. In fact, I really didn’t like dogs. Dogs are gross and smelly and slobbery and way more high maintenance than cats. It was even to the point where I was pretty sure that Kelly’s love for dogs would be a problem for us long term. Well it didn’t quite work out like that, and now our family is full of dogs. We have two, Abby and Neo have two, my Mom has one, and Charley has one. Just a big old pack of dogs always running around.

The other thing about Kelly is that she likes broken dogs. So all of our dogs are rescue dogs, with Snowy being the most “rescued” of them all. She came from a puppy mill, and really didn’t know anything about being a dog or even walking. She has come a long way, but is still not the best dog in the world. We love her, but she is still pretty broken.

Anyway, on Monday we had to take them to get their teeth cleaned. Their breath was extremely foul, and their teeth covered with scales, so it was time. Dog teeth cleaning isn’t really like human teeth cleaning either. They get put under, and it is a whole big procedure. So I dropped them off on Monday and was very worried all day.

Well they made it through okay, but a little worse for the wear. Snowy had six teeth removed. And she had already had a bunch of teeth removed years ago, so she is down to working with a very few number of teeth. And Linus had four teeth removed, but he’s still doing pretty well, overall. Snowy was completely stoned when I picked her up, and really couldn’t even walk for the rest of the night. And this whole thing cost a pile of money. Let’s just say I could have a very nice new iPad instead of less dog teeth.

But at the end of the day it is worth it, because having pups around really is a lot of fun. And they can be surprising with how smart they can be, but they can also be surprising with how dumb they can be. I’m glad they are around, and I guess now I’m a dog person.

Back to Normal

This isn’t going to be a great post, and I apologize in advance. It has been a super crazy 10 days or so, and my blogging (as well as my piano playing) has suffered. Such is the nature of the holidays. Especially with Phil and Helen in town. It is great having them, but it disrupts my normal schedule enough that things like doing this fall to the side.

And while I’m really sad that the holidays are over, it is also nice to get back to normal, and back to a routine. I have really missed playing the piano for two hours a night. I have really missed playing Starcraft. It has been weeks since I’ve played, and that makes me really sad. I miss cooking dinner, and I miss watching Downton Abbey. So I need to remember those things when I think about how sad I am that the festivities of the holidays are over.

It also happens that the fun will be continuing for the Halley minor clan for another month or so. Next week Kelly and I go to Chicago to meet the new baby of my friend from Wash U, Matt. And of course get to see Emily and her family. The following weekend we are going to Frohna, MO, to spend some time with Kelly’s bio-mom and sister. That should be an… interesting experience. And then on January 30th, we leave for California to spend a week romping around out there.

As I’m typing this, I realize that by saying that things are getting “back to normal” for us, that really just means “continuing the craziness.” And I suppose I wouldn’t really want it any other way.

Merry Christmas!

Today was a busy day, with multiple families and things to attend to. But it was a good day, highlighted by winning a game of “Cards Against Humanity”, which honestly might not be a thing to be proud of.

Anyway, we will return to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow, but I did want to make sure that I got my Tuesday post in. Not giving up yet!

Whoa

Is this thing still here? I totally have been neglecting it. I know. But it comes from a different time in my life, I feel. Am I past the blogging age? I don’t know.

It could be that my life is just supremely boring right now. Or I am busy. Or lazy. Or some combination of all of those.

But still, a belated birthday to Baba. I think we all had a pretty good weekend celebrating.

Happy End Of Year

As promised, a year end letter. But as I have mentioned in the past, it is getting harder and harder to write these things. I did the “completely absurd” a couple of times, but you can really only go so far with those. And then I tried sort of a mix, and that kind of worked out well. But I really don’t like doing the same thing over and over each year, just for the sake of having an end of the year letter. So I don’t know what this will be. Probably crap.

So like I said earlier, this was actually a really good year. This is a year where I saw Paris. PARIS! I went to Bruges, which is the single most amazing place I’ve ever been. With the possible exception of Paris. What is there to complain about in a year when things like that happen? I should reiterate how good my trip to Europe was. Despite the fact that I missed out on Amsterdam, I saw a lot, and had a really good time. I was thinking about the soccer game that I went to the other day. That was a trip that I will probably think about for the rest of my life.

And right after I got back from Europe, I got engaged. How can I complain about a year where I got engaged? And then just a few months later, I got married. MARRIED! I still can’t believe that I got married. And got married to someone who is really damn awesome. Someone so awesome that it almost makes me feel bad when I read or hear about stereotypical bad marriages and bad wives. Because I don’t have that at all. I’ve got it really, really good. And I’m pretty sure that we had the best wedding in the history of weddings. Rollerskating, cake, and deer. I don’t know what else you need.

Speaking of roller skating, I got first place in my event at Regionals. Again, it would feel wrong to write a bitchy letter when I had a year where something like that happened. And even though I totally tanked and sucked at Nationals, I still went and competed, and made a comeback at my next event by taking two second places.

Oh, and somewhere in all of that, we remodeled our bathroom and have the most kickass bathroom in the world. If you had ever been to my house and seen the old bathroom, you knew how bad it was. Well the new one is probably a million times better than that one.

But since people like the bad stuff, I guess I can throw some of that in as well. Mom and Dad still haven’t sold their house. So that means we won’t be going to Disney World anytime soon, which is a pretty selfish way of looking at it, but I know that I’m not the only one with that view of the situation. And Kelly and I found out that her house is worth significantly less than she owes on it. So we’ve had to rent it out, which has been good for money reasons, but not so good for stress reasons.

And I guess in the process of ripping out the bathroom, we destroyed the kitchen, so we’ve basically been living without a functioning kitchen for close to a year now. But you know what? That is about to get remodeled too, so it is hard to complain too long for that.

So yeah. This has been a really damn good year. I know that things are hard out there for a lot of people. I know that the world isn’t a terribly happy place. And if you follow the links I post on Facebook, you’ll see that I’m getting more and more frustrated with our government, and even our system of governing. But still, I think all of that is pretty inconsequential in light of all of the good things that I’ve had happen to me this year, and so at least for the last little bit of 2010 I’m going to choose to focus on those things, and not so much on the bad things.

Married

So I haven’t posted since regionals, but there is a good reason. I’ve been getting ready to get married, and now I am. And to be honest, it doesn’t really feel that different than before I was married. But that is probably a good thing, because I was happy then, and I am happy now.

It is a little weird, when I think about it. I think it is mostly weird because it feels like something SHOULD be different. Life there should have been some big revelation or something. But that hasn’t been the case. Today was just like any other Sunday, including going to skating practice in the morning.

But then I think about it a little more. “Whoa, I’m married.” I think a big part of me never really expected that to happen, and yet, here I am.

So we’ll see. Day one has been good. Hopefully the rest will be pretty good as well.

Vacation

I am on vacation right now in Lake Tahoe. Right now I have a couple of thoughts about it. One, the area is really pretty. Two, it is high up and it makes it really hard for me to breathe. I’ve been having a hard time for the last couple of days, which isn’t a lot of fun. Three, I do not want to go back to work. I really like this extended vacation that I have been on. And it has been quite a joy to get to ride on so many different airplanes and go through different airports. And luckily I still have a bit more of that to do before the end of the month.

Anyway, like always, I have been neglecting this. And as cliche as it is, life has been really busy lately. It should calm down pretty soon, though. Regionals are coming up in 2 weeks, and after that I should have more free time to devote to other things. Then again, there are so many other things, that perhaps it is wishful thinking to think that after Regionals things will calm down.

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Charley! Can’t wait for the dog park tomorrow. The rain better stay away.

The Bathroom is Done!

Believe it or not, my house is whole once again. (If you ignore the kitchen, which I am.) I have a functioning bathroom, that is amazing and beautiful.

The biggest thanks go to my parents, for financing such a large part of it. Kelly and I are deeply, deeply grateful.

And then I also have to thank Kelly, who in agreeing to marry me, got more of it paid for than we were originally planning on. Yay wedding gift!

Pictures will be coming shortly, although I know that they won’t do it justice. Especially since I think I forgot to take any “before” pictures. Honestly, though, I think it is best to not think about the “before” and just be happy with the “now”.

Engaged

So as of Thursday morning, Kelly and I are engaged. To be married.

And a very strange thing is happening. People keep telling her congratulations and I want to be like “You know, she is getting married to me, right?”

Happy New Year

Greetings all, and Happy New Year, almost. What is there to say about a year like 2009? If you’ve been following my letters, you know that for the first few years I tried to be as ridiculous as possible, mocking what seems to be the traditional end of year letter where people whine and moan about the crappy things going on in their lives, as if they are the only ones who have it bad. (Do you wear a machine plugged into you? Does sugar have the potential to kill you? Yeah, I thought not. Shut it.) But you can only do that so much. And so last year I tried to be genuine, and that actually turned out pretty well. Now this year I don’t really feel like being genuine, or being ridiculous. So we’ll see.

I guess the best place to start would be the start of the year. History! Barack Obama elected President. Yay! My guy had one for the first time since I could vote. And not only was it my guy, but it was the guy that I had supported from the very start. So yay! We won!

Wait. What? You mean in a lot of ways he has turned out to not be what you wanted at all? Well that’s probably my own fault for placing so much hope in him, but he did tell us to do that. Oh well. At least my guy still “won”.

But politics are boring. So lets talk about all of the other glorious things that 2009 had for us. In April, Kelly’s horrible foster dog Jesse, who humped everything he could find, and ate through every piece of clothing he could get his hands on, finally left. But only after he ate a bunch of raisins, which could have killed him, so Kelly and I had to force him to drink some hydrogen peroxide in order to get him to throw up. Fun!

In one of the more surprising parts of the year, Abby managed to get a boyfriend. A real one. And one that is actually a good guy. And can put up with her. His came is Neo, and as far as I can tell, he has the patience that can only be imparted directly from God.

But that actually isn’t the most surprising relationship part of the year. No, that would have to be Phil and Helen getting married. That in itself is not surprising. We knew that they were going to get married since last year. No, the surprising thing is that I, Nathan, doofus of the family, performed the ceremony. And you know what? I did an awesome job. A much better job than you could have done, dear reader, for two reasons. One, I know Phil and Helen better than you, and two, I am better than you at being funny and witty and yet heartfelt. Their wedding was actually a very good day, and I think my blood sugar is still way too high from all of the amaretto cake that I ate.

Mom and Dad still have their new house that they got at the end of last year, although it is vastly improved. The entire improvement to the house, though, comes in the shape of a new room for Abby. The rest of the house is pretty much exactly the same, but now Abby has a brand new basement room that is the size of Phil and Helen’s apartment, basically. Dad built it with his friend, and now new family relative, John. They literally worked on this room for months, and spent untold fortunes on making it. It is beautiful, but there is an argument to be made that Abby didn’t deserve it.

But the biggest news has to be the reopening of Highway 40. I’ve recently gone into how great it is to have it open, so I won’t rehash, but I will say that now that it has been open for a few weeks, things have definitely smoothed out, and it makes my commute much easier. It also makes it much, much easier to get to Mom and Dad’s, except when I forget that it is open and still go the long way out of habit. But it is open, and there is something to be said for small good things in the face of immeasurable suckage.

Speaking of immeasurable suckage, I was talking to Kelly this year about how terrible this year was. Mostly because of some complete brain issues on my part. But they were pretty unhappy making, and kind of cast a bad light over the whole year. (Now we are into the realm of the traditional end of year letter.) But she made an important point. She asked if everything was okay right now, and yes, right now, at this instant, things are okay. I just ate a pastry, and I’m not unhappy, and I have a 3 day weekend coming up. So yeah, I am happy right now, even after this crappy year. And maybe that is all that you can really expect.

In conclusion, today is an arbitrary delimiter of time, so let’s not get too excited everyone. Drive safe. Don’t shoot guns in the air. Don’t make a big deal out of this. It is just Thursday.

Merry Boxing Day

I hope that everyone out there had a lovely Christmas. I certainly did. I got lots of lovely presents, and spent the whole day hanging out with my family and eating way too much food. So that seems like a pretty good day.

This year, as opposed to previous years, I am writing a New Years letter, as opposed to a Christmas letter. Mostly this is because I was lazy and didn’t get around to writing it yet. But also, everyone writes Christmas letters. I’m going to be a little different. It should be up in the next few days. I will do my very best to have it up before the new year.

I’m also getting very excited about my trip to Europe. I leave in less than two months, and it is going to be quite an adventure. Actually, when I say excited, what I really mean is scared out of my mind. And excited. But SCARED. I have never been someplace where they didn’t speak English (unless you count Puerto Rico, which I guess I should, but don’t) and it is going to be quite the experience. But I should come back with at least a few stories.

So I hope everyone has a festive week, and keep checking for that New Years Letter.

Dixie Celebration

As many of you know, this weekend was July 4th weekend. And what is the most American thing to do to celebrate our independence? Why shooting off fireworks, of course. Drunkenness can be included, if you so wish, but that greatly increases the chances of getting blown up by said fireworks.

So being good American’s, after a morning of riding horses (ow), and an afternoon of Thai food and naps, Kelly and I headed out to Dad’s work to shoot off fireworks. His work is in the middle of nowhere, so it is actually legal to shoot them there. And to top this off, I had the best idea. Why not bring the dogs? So we did.

Anyway, we got out there and surveyed what had been purchased, and I quickly became disheartened. What was up with all of this piddly shit? Mom and Dad and Abby had purchased sensible, small fireworks. Some roman candles, some fountains, and a few bottle rocket type things. This isn’t what I wanted. I wanted something big. One of those crazy fireworks that looks like it could put a small satellite into orbit. So Kelly and I headed back to the firework stand, and made the best purchase of my life.

It was sitting there, on the top shelf, and I knew from the moment that I saw it that it would be ours. It was called the “Dixie Celebration”, and had a big Confederate Flag on it, and was so ridiculous that it was perfect. Sure, there were bigger ones. Hell, you can get ridiculous ones for hundreds of dollars. But this one was $25, which was just about what I wanted to spend. Plus, with the purchase of the Dixie Celebration, you get a bunch of other stuff free.

So skip to the end of the night, and it was time to fire off the ol’ Dixie. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint. It was like a scaled down version of the fireworks that you see if you go downtown. Except since it is right over your head, it is way more impressive. I’m already looking forward to next year, and the next ridiculous thing I can buy.

Anyway, I can totally recommend spending a little extra and getting the crazy looking fireworks. Everyone will be impressed. Unless you live in the middle of the city and it is 1:00 in the morning and I’m trying to sleep.

Oh, and the dogs were terrified and hated the whole experience.

Father’s Day & Abby’s Birthday

As three of you may know, Father’s Day and Abby’s birthday are both coming up. And you know what that means? Buying presents for people that are impossible to buy presents for. And Abby’s birthday is especially important this year, because she claims that last year I did not get her a birthday present. I did, but she just refuses to admit it. Whatever.

Anyway, the only shopping that I do anymore is on woot.com. For those of you who don’t know about woot, it is a site where they sell one thing, AND ONLY ONE THING, each day. But you can get some amazing deals. So I’m hoping that in the next couple of weeks, something good comes up on woot that they would like. Right now it is sleeping bags, which I don’t think either of them would particularly care for.

So I’m really not sure what to get them, which is why I’m throwing this out there to the world. In case you don’t know them, here are some facts about each of them that might help you decide.

Dad: Likes vacuuming, cutting down trees, having ditches dug. Also, naps, cats, and working long hours.
Abby: Neo, clothes, driving me insane.

So yeah. I don’t know if that helps, but it is probably enough to put together some pretty good ideas. So hit me up, guys! Help a Nathan out.

My Parents Have a Dog

Ever since Kelly came around, there has been a disease that has slowly been affecting our family. I’m gonna call it “dog disease”. Before Kelly, our family was not made up of dog people. In fact, we were decidedly anti-dog. Even more in fact, for the longest time, we were anti-pet people, due to Phil’s allergies and laziness. Eventually we ended up with cats, but owning a dog was never something that we would consider.

And then Kelly came along. And she had a dog, Mr. Linus. And Mr. Linus is the sweetest, friendliest, best little dog in the whole world, and it made us reconsider our views on dogs. At least in as much as we could admit that we liked Mr. Linus.

Well eventually I decided that I wanted to have a Mr. Linus of my own. So one day Kelly and I drove way out to the middle of nowhere and got Snowy, a dog that couldn’t be any less like Mr. Linus. She is not sweet, or friendly, or the best at anything. But very slowly she has gotten to the point where she is an acceptable pet, and she is legitimately excited when Kelly or I come home, and she will finally let my parents hold her. And I guess that little change was all it took.

Because then Mom decided that she wanted a Mr. Linus of her own. And after much going back and forth in her head, she decided to get one. And so now my parents have a little dog named Chewie. And he is kinda sweet, but they’ve only had him for a day, so he is still scared and getting used to things.

Who knows where this disease will spread next. Maybe Phil and Helen will get a dog. Or maybe one day I’ll come home to find that the disease has turned full circle, and Kelly got another dog.

Been Busy

I know that I haven’t written much on here lately. I’ve been kind of busy, and so it doesn’t always cross my mind to come on here and entertain my throngs of adoring fans. But since I’m here, some entertainment is in order. Perhaps you’d like to know about some of these things that have been keeping me busy? Okay, I can do that.

Let’s see…

Friday night Kelly and I went shopping for Mother’s day and for her friend’s wedding, which is on Saturday, which if you can count you will realize is also MY BIRTHDAY. WTF?! We also got dinner at this place called Pat’s which is down the street from my house. I got fried chicken which was good, but also went ahead and fried my lip and shot HOT CHICKEN LIQUID up my nose. It was really unpleasant, and now it looks like I have a cold sore and I want to go up to people and explain “No, that’s a chicken wound.”

On Saturday Dad, Kelly, and I replaced the brake pads on my car and Kelly’s car. It was trivially easy, which was a shock, because for some reason in my head I had horrible memories of the last time I had done this. But those memories must be wrong, because all together it took us maybe 45 minutes to do both cars. And that included the time it took to find the tools.

Sunday I cooked a Mother’s Day meal for some mom’s that did not include my own Mom because she was in New York with Abby. But Baba and Kelly’s mom came over, and I made fried chicken and meatloaf and there was cake and pie made by other people, and it was good.

Yesterday night I spent a really unacceptable amount of time sweeping little prickle balls into piles in my front yard. I have this obnoxious tree in my front yard that enjoys dropping them, and I guess since I own the house or something, it is my responsibility to do something about them. And so I did. But it was really, really not a fun thing to do.

Tonight I have to go to the grocery store, and maybe take a stab at taking those God forsaken prickle balls and putting them in a bag or something. But let’s be honest. That isn’t going to happen. It just isn’t.

Then tomorrow, Kelly and I are going to see some show at the Fox. I always forget the name of it. Something about a singular sensation. I don’t know. There will be Nepalese/Indian/Korean food (wtf Korean?) beforehand, and Kelly is treating, so I’ll go.

And then Saturday. The big event. My birthday. Being overshadowed by a wedding.

So yeah. That’s why you haven’t gotten the attention that you deserve. I’m sorry.

I’m Silly

I planned my next trip to California, this time for a week in July. Nothing silly about that, you say. Ahh, but if you remember, I’m the guy who likes to plan his trips based around the interestingness of the airplane, not the schedule or price or anything like that. Well this time I got a real good one.

I fly out of St. Louis to Dallas on a 757, which as far as I know, I have never flown on. Then from Dallas to San Francisco, I fly on a 767, which I have flown on 3 times, twice to London, and once between Atlanta and New York. But it is a widebody airliner (which means it has two aisles instead of one), and those are vastly more interesting to fly, especially because so few fly domestically.

But the REAL interesting bit is the trip back home. I’m taking a red-eye out of San Francisco to Chicago on a 777. This is Boeing’s newest airliner, and the longest range airliner in the world right now. In some ways I’m just as excited to fly on it as I was to fly on the 747 last month. The flight from Chicago to St. Louis is not interesting, but sometimes you have to make do.

So yeah. Who really cares about the rest of the trip? I managed, once again, to find interesting airplanes that get me to where I want to go. And, just for the budget minded of you out there, it was also the cheapest option available.