Thursday, May 29, 2008

Alternative Commuting options

There have been some interesting articles that I have been reading lately about alternative commuting options. There are the usual telecommuting and Carpooling suggestions, but there has been a lot of talk about cycling into work. This has been centrally based in a city setting where a commute is between 10 - 15 miles round trip. That distance can sound like a lot, but when you actually make the ride it isn't too bad. An interesting statistic that was reported through CNN today was that "The Department of Transportation said Monday it had seen the sharpest monthly drop in driving since it began keeping records. In March, Americans drove 11 billion fewer miles than in March of 2007." This is due largely in part to the $4 / gallon gas prices. A lot of commuters have been opting for the bicycle. I see this a lot near my office in Arlington and especially in downtown Washington, D.C. My round trip commute right now is about 140 miles / day. Assuming i would even be able to ride 140 miles / day, my average speed has been about 12 mph. That would give me an average commuting time of 11.7 hours per day of commuting... heh... not likely... I am not anticipating on moving right now (especially with the real estate market the way it is), but if we do move, I would like to have that kind of option to take an alternative to driving in every day.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Updates...

This whole "Mr. Mom" thing has been tough. I never really realized how much work it is to keep this house up and moving. Michelle has been told by the docs that she could take up to 6 months to come back from everything. I can see that the bed rest hasn't been fun, but all of the chores that it takes to keep this house up has been overwhelming as well. Things seem to work okay when there are 2 of us. I feel like i always have twice as many things to do as i have time to do them in. The house has suffered for it - hopefully i can pull it together and get some cleaning done soon.

My youngest Daughter has her Kindergarten graduation tomorrow. It is Hard to believe that this school year is just about over. She has made a lot of changes during this year. She's learned to read. She was the top reader in her class and completed all of the reading levels. She reads all the time. I am glad that she is excited about reading. That is something that I never had. I can read, but I read slow and it makes reading long documents pretty arduous. If she can keep up the reading, it will be great for her in the future.

The baby is doing really well. We had our first appointment since he was born. He is in the 95th percentile for length and 90th for weight. The doctor said that everything looks good and he is a healthy baby. Strange to say, but it was a great relief to hear that everything is looking good.

Well i will sign off for now. Here's to looking forward to a day where i can play a round of golf or go for a ride on the road bike. busy, busy, busy....

Sunday, May 25, 2008

4 days old...

Here are some of the pics we have of our boy so far (these were my favorites)

dreaming of going punk ...

Imitating his favorite monster... ROAR !!!


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Proud Papa

Just wanted to post a couple pictures. We all made it home today. Things have been pretty stressful / hectic since our boy has come into this world. I think that life will be better now that we are home and we can get back into rhythm. There has been so much going on and I think that we all just need to spend some time as a family.

I am so very proud of Michelle and the girls. The girls have dealt with a lot. Our lives have been more interesting due to the bed rest, and they handled it very well.

Michelle has done well with taking care of herself and "baking" our boy. He is a perfect looking baby. I can not put into words how proud I am of her. I love her very much. Thank you for creating this perfect baby with me.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

He's Here!

After 9 long months of waiting, our son has finally arrived. L.A.B. (name withheld to protect the innocent) came into the world this morning at 2:07 am. He weighed in at 9 pounds 5 ounces and 21 inches long. He is the most perfect little boy. I am looking forward to seeing him grow up. I know the experiences will be different having a boy vs. the 2 girls we have now - but there in lies the excitement. I can not wait to teach him all the things a boy should know. I am looking forward to showing him the things that my dad showed me. I want him to grow up and have the same advantages that I had growing up. I promise that i will try to be a great dad to him - as I have tried to be to his sisters. Michelle and I will post pictures once we get the chance to upload them off the camera.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Got Milk?

A real Tragedy....

14 tons of spilled Oreo cookies snarl Illinois traffic.

MORRIS, Ill. (AP) — Police say a trailer loaded with 14 tons of double-stuffed Oreos has overturned, spilling the cookies still in their plastic sleeves into the median and roadway.

Illinois State Police Sgt. Brian Mahoney says the truck's driver was traveling from Chicago to Morris on Interstate 80 around 4 a.m. Monday when he fell asleep at the wheel and slammed into the median.

"The boxes came out of the trailer and boxes were ripped open," he said.

The crash about 50 miles southwest of Chicago remains under investigation.

Mahoney says no charges have been filed but both lanes of traffic remain closed while authorities remove the cookies.


I love oreo's, but one has to wonder exactly how many Oreo's do you need to equal 14 tons?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Rider number 210

Today was a great day for a ride. Today was the MS Bike Ride. The ride had 3 options; a 100-mile, 60-mile, and 30-mile route. I took the easy route for my first ride and chose the 30-mile option. The weather was the best we have had in weeks. The temperature was just right, the sun was shining, and the day just felt right. I had to be at Franklin Park in Purcellville, VA at 7am to pick up my ride packet and sign in. That made for an early morning since it takes about 40 minutes or so to get there from the house. After signing in I went back to the car to finish getting ready. I dressed pretty warm when I left the house because it was pretty chilly before the sun came up. By the time I had checked in, you could tell that it was going to be a great day so I stripped off some of the layers and decided that I would go in just the Deloitte uniform.


The 30 milers left the starting line last. We left right at 9am. (Finally on the road). All of the training rides paid off. The hills on this ride, while brutal, were manageable since I trained. I ended up riding with one other Deloitte rider, Dick Clark, for a majority of the day. The rest stops were nice. There were 2 on the 30 mile route. The second one was sponsored by FEDEX. They did a nice job with having a lot of food available and a lot of volunteers cheering the riders on. The final 17 miles of the ride were nice. They were smaller / flatter rolling hills.

I was able to finish the ride in 2 hours. My best time for that distance.

My final fund raising tally is $700. That is not bad, but still $300 shy from my desired goal.

Deloitte Cycling had 33 riders for the bike ride, all in all there were 1000 riders (wow) at the event. The Team tally as of 5/19/08 is $28,509.34 (Awesome!)

What a great day.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Happy Days…


Today was beautiful. The rain finally subsided, the clouds parted, and the sun shined all day long. It was tough working today. I have been working 3 days a week from home since Michelle was put on bed rest. Normally it isn’t too bad since the kids are at school all day. Today was the Democratic Primary in West Virginia so schools were closed. The kids were definitely stir-crazy since they had been in the last few days due to the weather. It was tough working today because of all the commotion from the kids running in and out and throughout the house. At the end of it all, I got what I needed to get done completed.

I had left my bike at the shop after my ride on Saturday. Nothing serious, just some tweaks – Front De-railer adjusted, Front Brakes adjusted, and the rear wheel trued. I drove up today to pick it up. Everything came out great. I got it back home and rigged back up for the MS Ride this weekend.

My oldest is starting to get more curious about the internet. I know that we have raised her well, but there are a lot of weirdo’s out there. I have been contemplating using an application called NetNanny for a while. It is an app that runs on the kids PC and monitors all of her actions. If she does something that goes against the rules that we set up in the app – it pops up an alert and sends an email to me. I am able to generate reports and see where she goes and chat logs (if she has any). I sat down when I installed it and explained that it wasn’t that we didn’t trust her, but it was our way of ensuring that she is safe. She seems okay with it for now – we’ll have to see how things go.

Baby watch is starting to stress me out. The doctors seem concerned one day – and then not the next. So this is playing a yo-yo thing with Michelle and me. Every week we have an appointment. Every week we go through the same scenarios of should we bring the bag for the hospital (in case they send her directly there from the office) or should we not. Even a decision like that isn’t as easy as it sounds. This means we have to check in with the neighbors to determine who is around so that the kids have somewhere to go, dog has someone to help take care of her, blah – blah – blah…

Anyways – that’s about all the fun for now. I am going to sign off and finish watching this Gene Simmons show. Mindless fun ;-)

Add me

Add me

Yes We Can...


Today is the Democratic primary in West Virginia. I will be headed up to see if I am able to vote today. I am a registered independent. I felt this was the way to register because i feel that the two party system doesn't suit my needs. I think that I should vote for the best person for the job rather than how that person has affiliated themselves with a political party. I really like Bill Clinton as a President. This initially had me leaning towards Hillary. Thinking that if she were elected then his influences would be back in the white house. Hillary seems like a strong candidate, but something about her doesn't give me that warm and fuzzy. I can't see my vote going her way just on the fact that her husband was a great President.

I like the stance that Obama has on Iraq. He has stated that he wants to bring our troops home. Obama has stated that he would not build any permanent bases in Iraq. He will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats; if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, he will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda.

I like the stance that Obama has on technology. He has stated that he wants to invest in technologies to modernize the nation and government to the 21st century. This is important for us if we are to keep our position as a global power. I think that this is an important place to direct our federal budget.

I think his slogan is funny. "Yes We Can". Bob the builder has the very same slogan - "Can we fix it - Yes we Can!"

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Champions against MS



One of the aspects of the MS Bike rides is that there are riders who can become champions of the cause. Champions against MS connect with people living with MS (in this case my mom) to foster education, understanding, and hope. The Champions are identified by a bright red bandanna. My mom signed my bandanna and sent it back to me. I had struggled with trying to figure out how / where to place it for the ride. Today I finally figured out where to place it (as you can see above). My "blow out" kit made a good base for it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Frustration

I have 2 rides on the books that are coming up. The first is this weekend. That ride is the last training ride for the MS bike ride (Sponsor Me - Sorry Shameless Plug). This one is interesting because I am the one organizing it. I am one of the steering committee members for Deloitte Cycling. Organizing the ride was a bit stressful since I am new to cycling and hadn’t organized something like this before. I had a lot of support from the Deloitte cycling chair people and from the bike shop that I bought the bike from. So this weekend I will have the 30 mile training ride, and next weekend is the MS bike Ride (another 30 miles). The actual MS ride I have to say is in a tentative state right now. It’s really dependent upon when baby Brusco decides to make his appearance.

Frustration was the title of this post. The frustration tonight is stemming from the mandatory fund raising goals that some of the charity rides. The MS Bike ride has a $300 min. requirement. I met that one – but I have some incentive to work towards it. I wanted to do the Tour De Cure. This ride is to support the American Diabetes Association. One of our neighbors’ kids has been diagnosed with Diabetes and I think that these kinds of events bring good attention towards awareness and to help funnel funds towards finding a cure. I just don’t know how I am supposed to go about raising funds for yet another ride. I am not willing to pay $200 to be able to participate in a ride. I have enough costs with equipment and maintenance on the bike. It just sucks that there are mandatory minimum funds that I would have to raise. I guess I will just have to look for other rides that don’t have those kinds of restraints.

Theory's

“Data expands to fill the space available for storage”; buying more memory encourages the use of more memory-intensive techniques. - Parkinson's Law of Data. This is a theory I have heard in the past. The reason I bring this up is because during a time management course I was taking today (part of the company's mandatory training) they brought up a spin on that same theory.
"Work will expand to fit the time available for it's completion." -- If you let it.
The premise is if you give yourself too much time, you will take up all the time available. If you give yourself too little time, you will feel stressed and defeated by the task before you even begin.

The training has some interesting things to noodle through, but overall it wasn't a very effective use for the time - fun fun.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Something special

We've had a nice group of sunny days lately so I took the opportunity today to wash the nasty yellow pollen off the car & truck and then I tidied up the insides. An hour later I had a pair of shiny vehicles sitting in the driveway.

I went to run some errands and there is something special about driving a fresh clean car on a bright sunny day.

All systems look good...

Yesterday was my first ride on the road bike since I beat up my knee. The ride was 12 miles long. I averaged a little over 14 miles per hour, which is good as my averages go, and it took me about 50 minutes. The saddle that came with my bike was quite uncomfortable (even with the padded shorts). I started pricing out saddles and any of the road bike saddles for a more serious rider were in the range of $100 +. Last year we bought Michelle a saddle for her mountain bike that was pretty nice from Dick’s Sporting Goods. We stopped by on Saturday while we made our trip to Dulles to pick out the new Bassinet. The saddle made a lot of difference. The best part is that it was less than $25. It was nice that I wasn’t sore at all after the 12 mile ride, so I hope it works out well for the 30.

2006 Chateau Ste. Michelle - Gewurztraminer


My brother and his family came over this afternoon. It was a great time letting the kids get together and run around the backyard. Morgan also had a play date today. Tony brought Vinnie, their Australian Shepherd, with them. The dogs got along amazingly well. We grilled some burgers and sat around the kitchen table and caught up on life. The weather outside was perfect, so there was a great breeze blowing through the house. The kids were in the backyard running between the play set and the trampoline. Abby brought a nice bottle of wine to share. It was a 2006 Chateau Ste. Michelle - Gewurztraminer. It reminded me of a Reisling. It was a light & sweet wine. I hate drinking by myself, and since Michelle dislikes drinking alcohol for the most part i don't tend to drink as much. I'd probable go through a lot more of my wine collection if my parents were closer or if Tony and his family came over more. Hopefully that is something that we can coordinate in the future.

All - in - all it was a great weekend.