This Year’s Vacation Brought to You By the Word “Sunburn”

The family and I just got back from a week’s vacation in Hilton Head Island. Our new tradition is to go to a different beach – a couple years ago we hit Myrtle Beach, SC for a long weekend, then last year the kids and I went to Topsail Beach, NC while Denis recuperated from knee surgery. This year we all went to Hilton Head Island for a full week of sun and fun. It was much needed and very much appreciated to get away for seven straight days.

We arrived at our 2-bedroom condo rental last Saturday afternoon and settled in for the night, and hit the beach on Sunday morning. Five hours later we all returned to the condo with sunburns. Denis was sunburned on his chest, CootieBoy on his face, CootieGirl on her lower back, and me on my upper back. We … continue on, dear reader!

Stress and Stress

At my job the team I work with has been doing these corporate retreats since April, trying to invigorate and re-energize the staff. We created the content ourselves, honed it and presented it to the head honchos, who approved it and gave their blessings to begin presenting this to staff. We started in April, and are slated to do these retreats for the rest of the year, twice a month. We’re also going to do them in 2016, again twice a month. It’s exhausting work, and I’m not even the one presenting the material. I’m there to run A/V and occasionally pipe in on the conversation topics when I feel so led. Our team has worked hard on creating these retreats and for the most part they have been received well. The stress comes from requiring constant vigilance – not only for things to go … continue on, dear reader!

Slide the City!

The other big event on Saturday was taking the kids to the local Slide the City event. Don’t know what Slide the City is? Check out their video:

It was a beautiful day for it – bright blue clear sky. We got there in time to check in and were handed our inner tubes in need of filling. I was able to get CootieBoy’s blown up but knew there was no way I could do the other two. The local high school’s dance team had an air compressor set up and were blowing up tubes, and the line wasn’t that long so we hopped on. Over 30 minutes later we still weren’t near the front of the line, so we sent off CB to go wait in the line to go on the slide. FINALLY we got our tubes blown up, and off CootieGirl and … continue on, dear reader!

And Now I Can Say “I Saw Barry Manilow In Concert…”

I don’t know if going to see Barry Manilow live in concert has necessarily been a bucket list item for me, but when the opportunity presented itself back in February to buy tickets to see him in Charlotte, I thought, “Why not?” I coerced my co-worker L-train to go with me (Denis said no thanks) and immediately bought tickets. I was able to snag floor seats, in one of the front sections – not bad considering I didn’t buy tickets the day they went on sale.

70s shag haircutThe concert was this past Saturday night and was We opted to skip the opening act (Dave Koz, saxaphonist) so that we could catch up over dinner and strolled in just as Koz was finishing his last song. Twenty minutes later, Barry took the stage and for the next 90 minutes we were completely entertained. He was very … continue on, dear reader!

On Growing Up

The kids are officially done with school as of this past Thursday afternoon. I now have TWO middle-schoolers in the house. How on earth has time passed so quickly? I still remember cuddling with a 2 month old CootieGirl, or driving around in the car all night to get CootieBoy to sleep in his carseat because he hated the crib. Surely that was just yesterday???

Alas, it wasn’t. And so instead I have an about-to-start 7th grade daughter. I’ve decided she’s allowed to get a cellphone now. She did really well with becoming more responsible over the past year – she’s leaps and bounds ahead of where she was at the beginning of the school year. When she messes up, she takes ownership and accepts her punishment. While her hormones do get the better of her sometimes, she is quick to apologize when she calms … continue on, dear reader!

The Summer of Declutter & Other Lofty Goals

I’m always posting lofty goals here on Cootiehog, and never reaching them. I do it all the time – just flip back through this blog and you’ll find 10+ years of "I’m gonna do _______ by [this date]!" and then absolutely no followup or achievement of that goal. Really, a sane person should just give up ever making goals at some point. But apparently I’m not sane.

So let’s do it again!

clutterThis summer I’m declaring to be the Summer of Declutter. Rather than get overwhelmed by the amount of decluttering and cleanout that needs to happen in our house, I’ve decided to tackle a little bit each week, with the goals of every room of the house being decluttered and cleaned up in some way by the end of summer. I’m not forcing myself to do something every day – but at least 3x … continue on, dear reader!

So…How’ve You Been?

And I was doing so well there for a while, posting every few days.

Fox Theater - this picture does NOT do it justice.

Fox Theater – this picture does NOT do it justice.

We went to Atlanta for a weekend with the kids. We surprised them with tickets to see Brian Regan at Fox Theater. CootieGirl balked at first (when she saw how much CootieBoy loved BR, she decided she was not a fan anymore), but ended up having a great time. It helped that our seats were in the 2nd or 3rd row. And Fox Theater? GORGEOUS. What an amazingly beautiful venue. The trip was really just an overnight. We once again went to the Aquarium which turned out to be a big old bust. way too much money for not a lot of payoff. So we won’t be going there again. On the flip side, our hotel room was REALLY nice and … continue on, dear reader!

Sometimes the Doors Stay Shut

Number 10 doorNo, this is not some inspirational post about how life’s path sometimes goes in an unexpected direction and turns out to be amazing.


This post is literally about doors that stay shut. As in our garage door, and our front door.

Which are currently both broken.

It started on Friday evening – I was in our home office and heard a horrific noise from the garage. It sounded like the roof caved it. It sounded like lightning struck the house. The dogs ran in terror, and the kids said it sounded like something big hit the side of the house. It was that loud. I went into the garage and everything looked in order. I then went outside and didn’t see anything on the side of the house other than one of our trees tipped over to the point where it was almost touching … continue on, dear reader!

On Daughters and Homework

20150117_131027This is a post about CootieGirl.

First let me say, she’s awesome in so many ways. She is silly and sweet. She makes me laugh all the time. She gives great hugs and her love language is definitely physical touch. She is almost as tall as me (scary) and she can wear my shoes now (also scary). After struggling in her early elementary school years she is now a solid B/B+ student. She loves to dance and sing even if sometimes she takes a faulty step or sings a wobbly note. She is curious about many things and always asks questions to learn more. When we need to have a serious conversation she sits and listens and provides feedback that is very helpful.

I love those things about her.



Her room is a mess. Now, I can’t judge because MY room was a … continue on, dear reader!

He Can Certainly Take Orders

dobby upside-downWhen we adopted Dobby the Dog back in mid-2014, we quickly became aware that he came with certain issues including separation anxiety, a dislike of high energy situations, and a severe case of velcro dog. In October, after three months in our house, I actually attempted to surrender him back to the adoption agency, but in the end I couldn’t do it because our bond had already formed in those three months.

Now here we are, six months later, and Dobby the Dog is doing great (terrible dogsitter notwithstanding). He is not nearly as needy as he once was, and the tendency towards velcro behavior only occurs when I arrive home from work, but is quickly dissipated once I let him outside to burn off some restless energy.

The thing I’ve noticed is that when it comes to commands, especially the important ones, … continue on, dear reader!

Doctor Who, Captain Jack and California Dreamin’

And we’re back! First let me say that our trip to California was a whirlwind of FUN. The kids had an amazing time and are officially sci-fi convention addicts. They want to go to next year’s convention AND want to have a full range of cosplay stuff in their suitcase when we go.

Wednesday: We drove to my sister’s house in NoVA to spend the night. It was a long drive, so we got there very late, but got to enjoy breakfast with the family and the kids got a little bit of cousin time.

Thursday: My sister drove us to the airport where my kids got to experience a lot of firsts. The most notable was their first time on a plane. We flew Virgin America and enjoyed a non-stop flight. On the way west, CB sat in the window seat and CG sat … continue on, dear reader!

The Travel Is A’foot

goin' back to cali, cali, cali.  goin' back to cali.  i don't think so.

goin’ back to cali, cali, cali. goin’ back to cali. i don’t think so.

First of all, tomorrow’s Powerball is up to $485M as of this posting. That’s crazy. That would be $223M after all taxes if we win with a single ticket. Wow. Increase all numbers in my previous post accordingly. More to tithe, charity, trust funds, family/friends, investments. Crazy.

In other news, tomorrow night the kids and I head north to Northern Virginia where we will spend the night with my sister. Then on Thursday we’ll be flying out of Dulles to the sunny world of Los Angeles. The time has finally come: Gallifrey One, a Doctor Who convention. Yep. You read that right. The kids are very excited, and so am I. I’m sad that no actual Doctor will be there (last year they had at least a couple), but this … continue on, dear reader!