Shadowlion reborn

After a lot of deep soul-searching, thinking, pondering and agonizing I have decided to resume my WordPress blog.  In doing so I have moved to a dedicated host for multiple reasons:

  • It was impossible for me to post from home unless I modified the hosts file on any of my devices I wanted to use to create my posts.  For tablets and smartphone this could only be accomplished by rooting the device.
  • I have a static IP address with CenyturyLink for $10 per month, which kept me from switching to Midco because they don’t even offer a static IP for residential accounts.  I am planning on switching in the neat future because Midco has higher speeds for less money.  Oh, yeah, and CenturyLink pissed me off.

So, please bear with me as I attempt to restore my old posts, apply my custom theme, and install plugins.  Thanks.

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The tire saga continues

The tires finally left Las Vegas on Friday, only to arrive in Denver and get weather-delayed there all weekend – and they are still there! At this rate I could have had the tires delivered by stagecoach faster than what FedEx is doing. The shop is going to put my old tires and rims back on so I have a vehicle for the rest of the week.

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Tire update

My tires that were supposed to arrive FedEx yesterday are stranded in Las Vegas due to a monsoon or something. This means I will be without my Jeep for the weekend and Susan will be working all day tomorrow.

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Another year has come and gone

This wasn’t our best Christmas. The Friday night before we were out driving around looking a Christmas light displays when Seth announced he felt sick and immediately power-puked all over inside the minivan. He even got some in Susan’s purse, so she got a new purse and wallet. Seth spent most of the time putting together and playing with his new Lego Freight Train while the rest of us were laying down or puking.

It was also very bad weather-wise on Sunday and Monday, so we went to visit G&G on the tail end of the week. The kids didn’t mind as we had kind of a mini New Year’s Eve party. I don’t know where he heard it from, but out of the blue Logan said, “Poop, there it is”. We all laughed at him so he said it a few more times as he was enjoying the attention.

On New Year’s Eve Logan was getting undressed in the living room to put his jammas on when he decided he needed to use the bathroom. So he ran past the family sitting in the kitchen naked and Susan said, “It can’t be a New Year’s Eve party unless someone’s naked”.

I dropped the the Jeep off this morning for a 2.5″ lift, new rims and tires.

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Seth turns 8

Seth had his friend birthday party a couple weeks ago at the Empire Bowl. There were about 8 kids in all, and we had pizza and cookie cake after bowling. The pro shop was open when we arrived so I went in to check on bowling ball prices since mine had cracked in half. I can get a nice used ball for $100 drilled. I will have to see about re-joining a league next year.

The family party was last Sunday. Seth got hoodies, a lego set and this really cool Snap Circuits electronics kit where you can build 125 different circuits. We had pizza and chicken from Boss’ and they had a really good breakfast pizza.

We tried a free, one-month subscription to Netflix and we were really liking the selection of shows and movies they had. We were thinking of keeping the subscription but Seth refused to pause the Pokemon show he was watching before bedtime last night. As a result our subscription has been cancelled – I don’t think he believed we would do it.

We gave Seth my old Ipod as a birthday present along with the alarm clock radio dock for it. When Seth went to unplug the dock something broke and now the dock doesn’t work. When I had the Ipod I never used the earbuds with it – I always used a dock or the FM broadcasting module. We tried three sets of headphones but cannot get any sound out of the Ipod. It looks like the jack is either oxidized or never worked at all. So, in addition to a new alarm clock radio dock we are also buying a bluetooth adapter and headset so Seth can listen to the music in the car while his brother watches movies.

I just paid a down-payment on my self-gifted Christmas and birthday present. I am getting a 2.5 inch lift kit, new 18″ rims and Kanati Trail Hog tires for the Jeep. The parts should be in within the week and it should be done by the time the new year arrives.

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Our Disney vacation 2016

Thursday:
We got up around 4AM to finish packing.  We got the kids up, dressed (Logan wasn’t cooperating so he wore his jammas the whole way) and fed, then drove to the airport.  It was extra to fly from Sioux Falls, but we both agreed it will be so much nicer not to have to drive several hours (from Minneapolis or Omaha) when we return.  We had a layover in Atlanta before continuing on to Orlando.  Shortly after arriving at our room in the Caribbean Beach Resort we took a bus to the Magic Kingdom.  We grabbed lunch/supper at Casey’s Corner (Foot-longs and fries) then went on the Aladdin Flying Carpet ride.  It was too childish for the kids so we decided to change up our Fast Pass choices.  We then went on Pirates of the Caribbean ride twice.  I forgot to pack shirts, so all I had was the one I was wearing and the emergency shirt in my backpack in case our luggage got lost.  Looks like I will be buying a shirt or two in one of the parks…

Friday: Hollywood Studios
Star Tours – This is an awesome 3D ride that makes you feel like you actually are flying around in a star wars movie.  Everyone liked it.
MuppetVision 3D – Done in an actual theater with a few special effects besides the 3D glasses.  Everyone liked it.
Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano – They had a three-course meal, which was a lot of food.  The choice of appetizers didn’t really appeal to any of us.  The main course was good.  Logan was too full to eat his cupcake, so we got it to go only to end up throwing it away.  Susan’s favorite restaurant.
The Great Movie Ride – This was a boat ride through a salute to the history of movies.  We waited in line for 45 minutes, and would not go back.
Tower of Terror – This was the scariest, and for us the most exciting ride in the park.  Even Logan liked it – he wasn’t the least bit scared.
Toy Story Mania – This is a 3D arcade game that also happens to be a ride.  Lots of fun for everyone.

We left early and went back to the resort so the kids could go swimming.

Saturday: Magic Kingdom
It’s a Small World – A boring boat ride through all the different continents, all while hearing “It’s a Small World” over and over.  Skip it.
Splash Mountain – The kids liked the ride, but it combines an element of story-telling which I found boring.  There are more exciting flume rides.
Crystal Palace – This was a character lunch with Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore.  Both kids really enjoyed getting autographs and posing for pictures.  The lunch was a buffet and I found the barbecue ribs to be very good.  Susan liked the dessert bar.
Haunted Mansion – The first time we tried this ride we waited in the normal line for 45 minutes.  We got on the ride, went five feet and the ride broke down.  It took staff 30 minutes to decide to evacuate people, but we all got single-ride fast passes for our trouble.  The second time we tried the ride we fast passed it and I didn’t think it was overly scary.  There was a part at the end when you saw yourself in a mirror and I was sitting next to a ghost who switched heads with me.  That part alone made the ride worth it.
Seven Dwarves Mine Train – There was a three hour wait for this one, but we fast passed it.  A definite must.
The Barnstormer – This ride was mostly for Logan, but we all enjoyed it.
Tomorrowland Speedway – Cars are on guides so you can’t pass the slow cars in front.  Go karts are more fun.

Sunday: Epcot
Planet Earth – Hard to describe.  A journey through the history of technology combined with a little bit of thrill.  We liked it.
The Seas with Nemo and Friends – At first it seemed lame (short), but at the end of the ride you come out in a giant aquarium with sea turtles and sharks.  We all liked it.
The Garden Grill – We had a character lunch here with Chip, Dale, Mickey and Pluto.  They bring a skillet of food right to your table.  The food was quite good and the kids (and adults) enjoyed that the restaurant slowly revolved.
Soarin’ – Very cool ride that makes it feel like you are flying around the globe.  A must.
Living with the Land – Somewhat boring for me and the kids.  Kind of interesting how Disney grows it’s own food.
Test Track – This is way cool.  Design your own vehicle, then test it in a live simulation.  A must.

Disney Springs – We went there for a little while.  Shopped at the “Design your own t-shirt store” and Lego Land.  Kids were very tired and whiny.

Monday: Animal Kingdom
Kali River Rapids – Typical, sit in a big round raft, water ride with a environmental theme.  Recommended, we went twice.
Tusker House Restaurant – se This was the last of our character meals with Goofy, Donald, Daisy and Mickey.  It was also a buffet and it was quite good.  They also served adult beverages which was a plus!
Expedition Everest – This was the only ride that Logan could not go on.  The height requirement for everything else was 40 inches and Logan was 41.  I think the requirement for this ride was 48, and I can understand.  It is a roller coaster ride where at one point you are going backwards in a tight circle in the dark.  The rest of us enjoyed it, especially Seth who went three times.
Kilmanjaro Safari – Safari bus ride through the animals habitat.  Saw giraffes, Ostriches and a lion in addition to other animals.  Recommended.
TriceraTop Spin – This was for Logan, and is an exact copy of the Aladdin Flying Carpet Ride at the Magic Kingdom.

Tuesday:
We got up around 4AM so we could get packed before the bellhop came for our suitcases.  We got the kids up and dressed and went to checkout.  We were on the bus by 5:15 for our ride to the Orlando airport.  We had breakfast at Burger King in the airport.  Our flight went to Minneapolis, then we got on a plane to Sioux Falls.  Both the planes from Atlanta to Orlando and from Orlando to Minneapolis had screens mounted in the back of the headrests.  A person could play one of a number of games or watch movies.  I played Texas Hold-Em and won, and I also watched the newest Star Trek movie.  We should have encouraged the kids to play on them as Seth ran the battery down on his tablet on the flight home.

Tips:

  • Logan was 41 inches, which was just over the minimum height requirement for the “big kid” rides, which worked really well for us.  If you are going with a kid over 40 inches and a kid under then expect the older kid to get bored with the rides.
  • Bring your own snacks, prices in the parks are quite high as expected.  We actually bought several bags of beef jerky on sale here and packed it in our luggage.
  • Be prepared to stand in line at the security checkpoint before even getting in the park.  It takes a while as they will search all bags and compartments in strollers.  After that, there is “random” secondary screening.  I say “random” because I was “randomly” selected 4 out of the 5 times we entered the parks.  The fifth time I snuck past the security person while they were escorting someone else to the secondary screening tent.
  • The noon, character meals take 90-120 minutes which is really great for having a little down time, and the kids enjoyed the characters.
  • Definitely use your available fast passes.  If you don’t understand how they work, read up on it or ask people who have gone.  Fast passes can save you hours of standing in line.
  • If you have a smart phone install the official Disney app.  You can use the GPS to find your way around the parks, check wait times for the rides, find the nearest restroom and administer your fast pass choices.  Bring an extra, charged battery or an external charger with you.
  • If you use a stroller, there is designated “parking” for it all over the parks.  You may need to walk a little ways to find the parking nearest the attraction you are visiting, but there are signs.  At some parking areas employees will shuffle the strollers arount to optimize the amount of strollers that can be parked, so don’t freak out if yours is not where you left it.  It also helps to tie a colored streamer or construction tape to the handle to aid in identifying which stroller is yours.
  • Have a couple of bottles of water with you.  It is easy to get dehydrated and not know it until you start feeling sick.
  • If you have a meal plan, pay cash or credit for any snacks you purchase that are under $4.  Use the snack allotment for the pricier snacks.  You can also associate a credit card with your magic band and use that, just make sure and state you want to use the credit card or the cashier may assume it should be a snack purchase on your meal plan.
  • The photo pass package is a nice way to get souvenir photos of your vacation.  Not only do you get pictures at a lot of the rides, but there are photographers scattered out throughout all the parks who can get a semi-professional picture of your whole family.  If you sign up for the photo pass you will need to watch the monitors at the end of the ride, and when you see yourself scan your magic band on the scanner below the monitor.  Photographers will also scan your magic band with a handheld unit after they take your pictures.
  • Save room in your luggage for souvenirs on the return trip, and be careful your bags are not overweight.
  • Make sure your magic bands are securely fastened, especially on the kids.  Disney used those for everything, including ride admission.
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Has it been that long?

Several weekends ago the folks came down to visit. On Saturday Susan and I went to a movie (The Accountant – I highly recommend it) and supper at McNally’s Irish Pub. We ran a couple errands, then came back home. The folks brought KFC for lunch on Sunday and it turns out both kids like chicken legs. It was a big surprise to us as we never have fried chicken because Susan doesn’t care much for it.

I dropped the rims off at the UPS Store after work and got all my money back. Too bad Quadratec couldn’t have shipped me the fifth rim. I am now going to get rims, tires and a lift kit installed by a place in Tea called Great Plains Customs.

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Busy weekend two weeks ago

It was a busy weekend. We brought a couple tubs of stuff to the semi-annual kids stuff consignment sale. Seth sold the most things. He went through his bedroom and filled up a tub with toys. We also sold the play kitchen and the Mega Blocks. We never told Logan about it because when we asked him what he wanted to sell, he kept saying he wanted to keep everything. Once the play kitchen was gone we moved Logan’s play barbecue grill downstairs and replaced the swivel glider in his room with a smaller chair. He has much more room now.

I took the boys to Scheels because Seth wanted to get a larger football (the same size as what he was using on his football team). Of course that meant that Logan had to have one too. Before we left I took the boys for a ride on the Ferris wheel and they both enjoyed it.

We took the kid’s shower nozzle off and replaced it with a handheld nozzle with a button to turn off the water. Had we been thinking we could have sold the kid’s nozzle at the consignment sale. As it stands, we now already have something to sell next spring.

I also put the hardtop back on the Jeep Sunday. When we went for our topless drive it was a littler chillier than previous rides as I don’t usually wait this long to swap tops. I ordered rims from Quadratec back on August 16th, but I am still waiting on the 5 rim to arrive. I have contacted them several times and each time they say “will be back in stock in a couple days”. I emailed them this morning asking to cancel the order and send call tags for the four rims they did ship

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Update

Logan amazed me three Saturday nights ago by insisting I sit out in the hall with his door open a few inches instead of sitting in the chair by his bed. He didn’t change his mind after we read our books, and fell asleep in under 10 minutes. He did the same thing again Sunday night with Susan. Things went back to normal on Monday night. I suspect not taking a nap on Saturday and Sunday is the reason. His first day in the Zebra room was last week, but he got a bad case of “turf toe” and is having problems walking around.

Seth played his first football game two Saturdays ago, and he was the first kid on his team to be quarterback. He threw for a touchdown and ran for a touchdown. Logan threw a fit about forgetting his baseball hat so Susan drove all the way back across town to get it for him. We went to the downtown arts festival afterwards, but did not stay long because Susan wasn’t feeling well. We took the kids to the apple orchard that Sunday afternoon and picked 10 pounds of apples.

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Update

Seth went to spend three nights with G&G a couple Thursdays ago. Logan was devastated when he found out Thursday when Susan picked him up from daycare. We had lots of special things planned for him. Thursday night we played board games with him. Friday we went downtown and took Logan on a carriage ride. Saturday Cassie took him to the fair for a few hours, then we went to Newton Hills until sometime after 9PM. Sunday morning we had breakfast at Perkins, then took him to the Watertown zoo before picking up Seth. Before it was all over Logan was embracing not having Seth around. He kept saying. “Seth doesn’t get to do this” for the various things we were doing.

Seth had fun at G&G’s. His favorite part was driving the golf cart. Those three days were a big step for both boys. It was fun watching Logan make decisions for himself instead of agreeing with Seth all the time.

Last week in the afternoon we took the kids to the fair in Parker. I went on the Hurricane with Seth and felt nauseated all the rest of the time. Logan wanted to go on a giant, semi-trailer-mounted slide but was too short to go by himself. So, I ended up going with him twice. At the end Seth and Susan went on the Zipper.

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