Tuesday, June 17, 2008

First Day of Summer School

First day of Summer School and I feel like writing.

Got to work early. I like it like that. Early. Had little problem with either route when dry-running it last week, but still. There is that anxiety of not really knowing what it'll be like till your on the other side of the experience. Cara, Leesha and Jack all got up early with me. They dropped me off at work so we can save on fuel costs. Works for me. I have to get up early anyways. We'll see how long the rest of the fam can handle that kind of schedule.

First school, Highwood Hills Elementary, was going very well. Nearly 80% of the bus were Hmong students. This is very good. Hmong are the most well behaved kids I've ever seen. 2nd to last stop brought on a kid who seemed to have a lot of potential of being trouble. But he's 2nd to last before we head for the school. Can't do much better than that. On top of that almost half the stops were dead - no one got on or off at those stops.

Second school is one I'm quite familiar with- Wellstone. Not this route, however. Pretty evenly balanced between African American and Hispanic kids. I didn't recognize any of them. I asked a couple if they knew some of the names from my regular school season route (which is another Wellstone route, but in a different area of St. Paul).

I was able to steal some time at home between routes. As I pulled up in front of our house I waved at Carla, our neighbor who frowned. What?

Taking the kids home was just as smooth as picking them up. Except for one thing, on our way return from Wellstone, a small Somalian girl got sick. It wasn't too bad on the bus, she caught most of it in her dress fabrics or whatever they wear. I had a whole bunch of towels which I gave to her and she used up. It was a striking orange, whatever she ate. Hopefully that was it for the summer and got it out of the way.

Called Cara when I was finished with work and the family came and picked me up. When we got home I was able to lay down for a nap.

David and Darlene came over for a late Father's Day dinner. We grilled pork and steaks and had a good time.

Turns out that our neighbor may be upset seeing the bus return to the neighborhood. Geez, some people need to relax. Cara said she told her school would be out in five weeks about six weeks ago. Cara failed to mention that summer school would follow shortly there after.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

My Father's Day was simple. I did lights for the church services last night and today. Got to hang out with Greg Wollan more than usual as he lead worship. He/they performed one of his own songs - Glorybound. That's one of the songs that inspired me to approach him which has lead to a nice friendship. The song reminded me SO MUCH of Paul McCartney way beck in 2003 at the Small Group Leadership Retreat. There was someone shooting a documentary at Woodland Hills today while we were doing the service. That stuff adds a fun energy to church service.

Cara and I came home and put Jack down for his nap. We had a small lunch and watched a fresh episode of Doctor Who! It was a creepy one. One of those good ones. Then Cara took a nap as Jack continued his. Quiet time. About the time everyone was getting up, Leesha came home.

We had our regular routine. Getting stuff done and ready for the week. Jack started to figure out his toy- the toy with four balls that get smacked into their holes by a hammer and proceed down through an obstacle course and exit again. Until today I don't think Jack recognized any purpose to the main piece, the balls, and the hammer. Now he realized the application. It was wonderful to see him working it all out.

After Leesha went to bed I took Jack to the couch and we sat and watched over the neighborhood and he fell asleep on my lap. That was the perfect way to end my father's day.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

3 Years

Married for three years today.

It stormed a lot today. It also stormed a lot three years ago.

For our anniversary, Cara painted a picture of us dancing from a photo taken at our reception. She did a wonderful job.

I got her three red roses and wrote her a love letter.

Leesha made a very nice card for both of us from her and Jack.

We bus drivers had our St. Paul route picks today. Starting at something like 6AM the most senior drivers choose first. Mine came at 7:56 or sometime around then. I think that means I'm moving up, or older drivers are quitting. Yay for me.

I chose a route that winds to and fro all around this side of St. Paul (this being closer to where I live). The first school is Highwood Hills, which is the school I was driving for on my noon route over the regular school season. The second school is Wellstone. I have a good history with Wellstone, but this route will be a departure from what I usually drove for them. This route guarantees around 6:30 hours a day. Not too bad for a summer school route. I plan on helping out the Monarch Bus Service staff with training to maybe pick up even more hours.

I was hoping to pick up Clandestine #5 (of 5) today because its by Alan Davis and its great. But either the Source didn't get any or it sold out already. There was supposedly a new Indiana Jones comic out today that didn't get shipped. So the only comic I was expecting was Captain Britain and the MI-13 #2. This series started off in the middle of the Marvel Secret Invasion. Its been great so far. For me, Marvel + the UK = goodnes (ala Excalibur). Since I only had one comic in my hand I check out a couple of back issues. I picked up the IDW Doctor Who #1 and White Tiger #1. Haven't read either one yet.

Monday, June 09, 2008


I got a lot done today. School is out for summer. Summer school hasn't started yet. No charter routes to drive. No work as a bus driver today. So I had a list of things I needed to do. This is sort of what it looked like...
  1. Call 1-877-322-8228 and request a free credit report (preferably from Experian)
    1. note: you can try it online, just make sure you don't enroll in the thing you have to pay for. We just want a one time deal.
  2. Call Hubbard at 642-4687(?) to see if you have any benefits there still (such as a retirement account) Teresa @ 642 4399
  3. Call Ameriprise at 1 800 297 7378 to inform them that you have beneficiaries (me and the kids) in the event something happens to you
  4. Call Washington Mutual Bank Customer Service at 1 866 892 9268 and tell them to remove you from the Personal Registry thing permanently
  5. Download pictures to Picasa
  6. Help me find a place to hide the key
  7. Clean gutters out
  8. Arrange a time to get together with Greg, Mandy and Simon this month
  9. Decide what you want to do for Father's day (keeping in mind that I'd like to do something with my dad too)
  10. Tabs on Jeep
  11. Sign remainder of June cards
So here's how it turned out...
  1. Credit report - Try 1 888 397 3742 for #1
    1. can't do it without payment info
    2. skip it
  2. Call Hubbard
    1. called Teresa @ 642 4399 at 11:20
    2. called @ 2:15
    3. she said call Fidelity directly at 1 800 835 5095
      • found 2 accounts: 1 with KSTP with a $0.00 balance and one with Sight & Sound also with a $0.00 balance.
  3. Ameriprise - Sending an update form in mail - confirmation number 0609blahblahblah
  4. Wamu - Done - a less than $3.00 charge will appear on the account for the cancellation
  5. Downloaded pictures to Picasa
    1. finished with all Family Gathering pics.
    2. finished Jack pics
    1. (see the updates here )
  6. did not find a place for key...
  7. Finished. This was the task that was the most physically demanding of the day. Resulted in very scratched up and dirty hands, running a lot of water and very clean gutters.
  8. Sent email
    1. "I'll get back to you on that...soon", said Greg
  9. Determined that father-in-law won't be a factor for Father's Day so looking at possibility of going to a $1.00 theatre or something along those lines
  10. Done, Jeep is tabbed
  11. Sign remainder of June cards
    1. didn't do this yet
After dinner Leesha and I watched another episode of Oban Star Racer. We're coming up on the last five or so episodes. Oban is top notch quality. After the kids were put down Cara and I watched an episode of Spooks or in America its known as MI-5. We're watching downloads directly from the BBC so its Spooks for us. Spooks is far more realistic than James Bond, but it is really the same sort of genre. Bond is an agent of MI-6 where this show is about the MI-5. 6 is to America's CIA as 5 is to America's FBI. One agency covers the globe (MI-6) and the other covers domestic espionage (MI-5). Definitely not a dumbed down show. Not as raw and real as Sandbaggers was, but still fantastic.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Darlene's Birthday and Jack Be Nimble

We went to church today. Jack was submitted to the Kid's Station area. Everyone likes him. He is a natural charmer. Eric, Keane, Jack and I hung out in the lobby instead of singing worship songs. I got to chat a little bit with Mike Dougherty about the Indiana Jones movie finally. We both liked it a lot.

Tonight we went to Maplewood to celebrate Darlene's birthday. We had dinner at the Olive Garden and then went to David and Darlene's for dessert- poppy seed cake and ice cream.

Jack has been taking steps all on his own, maybe two to three at a time. He's growing in his own confidence.

The Savage Worlds

Wednesday was a light pull-list day, meaning that of the comics I regularly get, only one title was on the shelf this week. I wasn't really interested in any back issues so I took a peek at the gaming area of the store. I was looking to see if there were any new releases for the Battlestar Galactica RPG. I have the core book and I was enjoying the RPG system, considering it for a home-brewed game with Leesha. What I found instead was Savage Worlds Explorer's Edition.

My favorite role playing game has always been Top Secret/S.I. Over the Christmas break I ran a game for my parents and Leesha and Cara using the Top Secret/S.I. system for a pulp/action setting. They really enjoyed it and I had a blast, but the system didn't feel right anymore. Since then I've been hunting for a game system that would fit my gaming better and be easy to use for non-gamers and young people who have no experience with the hobby. Over and over Savage Worlds was suggested. I was trying to move ahead with games I already had (like Top Secret/S.I. or Serenity/Battlestar or even d20). And Savage Worlds was out of print which made it pretty much an eBay purchase if I could get motivated enough to make that happen.

So when I found it on the shelf I instantly picked it up. And, its only about 1/3 the cost of most other RPG game books. Well, I haven't put it down since. I think this is the game system for me.

The newest edition (4th) of Dungeons & Dragons came out this weekend. Not that excited.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Day II of Garage Sale, the Doctor and Hiromi

Garage sales are exhausting. Not a big fan of these things. Not nearly as many kids today. Eric, Leesha, and I played 4 Square in our driveway with actually only three squares. Every time a customer came walking up the driveway we would stop and pretend like we weren't playing.

We barbecued again today, two days in a row. Today was hotter. And more humid. I was able to spend a good deal of time hiding in the dark cool basement. Keesha and Keane were here for a better part of the day keeping Jack company. Jack and I spent some time inside giving him some freedom-to-roam time. He is becoming such a clever little guy.

After Leesha went to her dad's, everything was packed up and the Pfeifers went home Cara and I had a light dinner, fed Jack, got him cleaned up and in bed. Then we watched the latest episode of Doctor Who! Not sure when it airs in the UK, but early evening on Saturday the latest episode appears available for download. This show is fresh. They just watched it over there. I was really into LOST earlier this year. LOST's finale was underwhelming, but I almost can't wait another week to see just the next episode of Doctor Who. I'm in love with this series.

Tonight's episode was part 2 of a two parter done by Steve Moffat or something like that. The reason its worthy of mention is that the episodes he writes are usually the season's best ones. Turns out the guy who is executive producing Doctor Who currently is not doing that next year and after. This writer, Steve Moffat or what ever is. The bad part of it is there won't be a Doctor Who season in 2009. I guess there'll be a special or something and then the show returns in 2010.

I've been listening to a new musician, lately. Hiromi Uehara is my new favorite. This evening I created a makeshift micro channel of her live performances off of Youtube. I invite you to see how wonderful Hiromi's music is. Please visit the forum thread here. Not only is she wonderful to listen to, she is fun to watch. This girl is really into her music.

Friday, June 06, 2008

No More School!

School has ended. This is the first day of summer vacation and we're having a garage sale. We're also having a large number of children at our house.

but first...
We had a meeting at the bus garage about this summer's YMCA charters. After the meeting I talked with one of the office people about becoming a trainer for new drivers. We're going to talk more about that on Monday. Picked up my check and then picked up Dah.

We're having a large number of children at our house. Eric and Keesha have their little boy, Keane, here. Emily brought Timmy and Suzanna over. We have Jack and Leesha invited Dah (the same Dah who rode my bus all during the school year. Leesha and Dah have been hanging more since Leesha invited her to High School the Musical theater show). It was a very windy day. Lots of playing in the back yard. When the time came to take Dah home Leesha came with. On our way back we detoured over to a pet store to buy some fish. Leesha earned the privilege to get a fish from perfect grades in spelling and grammar. She picked out two and paid for the 2nd one. On our way home I noticed one of the fish had only one eye. So we went back and found a different one.

After we ate and everyone was settled in Leesha and I watched the latest episode of Oban Star Racers. This show is a fast paced sci-fi centered around a young girl who is a race team pilot on an alien world. Molly and her team represent Earth in an intergalactic race competition. There are a lot of visual and sound references to the pod race scene in Star Wars I, which was clearly a heavy influence on the action of Oban. The story is very solid and not too simple. Interesting enough to keep me wanting to see the next episode and universal enough to keep Leesha locked in. We are enjoying Oban Star Racers together.


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