Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Did the crime, now I doin' the time (out).

We have a rule in our house. We don't hit. We have another rule, which is when we break a rule, we go to time out. Hilton is very aware of this rule.

While we were getting ready for bed, I was wrestling with the boys. I mean wrestling. I never really wrestled with the girls, but we were doing forearm bashes and (controlled) body slams. Hilton decided to apply the latest move on his brother, who took it like a champ.

It was then I realized the mistake I had made. I had to 'fes up and tell Hilton, "We don't hit." He had a look of confusion on his face, because I had just "hit" the both of them and we were having a blast.

I asked him what happens when we hit, and he said, as he pointed to the corner, " 'meout" (which is how he says "timeout").

We all had a good laugh as Hilton put dad in " 'meout." The worst part is that he can't count, so he would say "one, two, eight, nine, one, two, eight, nine". That went on for a while, but it made for a hilarious picture.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

So you want to clean your grout.

Do you have ceramic tile? Didn't it look great when it was first installed? I work for a home builder and my new homeowners ask me all the time if they should seal the grout or not. (If you seal the grout, make sure you keep and eye on it. It will eventually wear off and then you have to reapply sealant, after you clean the grout). Then, gradually, the grout lines started to change. Life happens. People don't take their shoes off. People don't put socks on. Little girls spill things. Little boys test their plumbing. The years pass by, and then you notice:

My grout looks absolutely filthy!

If you have read my previous posts, you will know that I am a "diy-er". (If I can come up with the energy). I have tried every single thing I can think of or have heard of. I bought a steam powered cleaner. You have seen the informecials, they clean everything. One of the things it is supposed to clean is tile grout. I eagerly opened the package and filled it with distilled water (as the manufacture directs). I marked a spot and let it clean the grout out. When the grout had dried up, it was still as dirty as it was before.

I then saw a commerical for Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser. They say the magic eraser will clean grout. It actually does, but it takes a lot of scrubbing and the eraser disentergrates as you clean the grout. It is a lot of work.

Then, one day my lovely wife googled "clean grout" and after filtering through the various gadgets and gizmos, she found something.

This is actually the secret ingredient of the Magic Eraser. It is safe for colored grout. I didn't find it in the grocery store, but found it at the local janitorial supply store for $1.50. You can also purchase it through online stores, but you have to pay shipping & handling.
Here is how it works-

Sprinkle it out on the tile like this.

If you look behind the sprinkled cleanser, you will see the grout I just cleaned.

The next stepis to work it up into a lather and let it sit for 30 minutes. This is where the oxygen bleach cleans the grout.

After 30 minutes wipe up the remaining cleanser. Do not use good towels or your wife may get upset.

Finally, use a mop to finish cleaning the residue. Here is a product I recommend:

This works very well.

Here is the final result (now, I ended up taking a picture from a different angle, so it does not look like the same tile, but it is).

It is a lot easier than scrubbing for hours, sealing the grout every three months or freaking out on the kids.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Have you ever been craving something and not been able to find it anywhere? When I was a boy and lived in Colorado, my Grandma Dorthy would make a green chile pork gravy from scratch. She would then make smothered burritos with this sauce. I have spent years looking for this sauce. When I would get especially desperate for smothered burritos, I would even try to make myself. The problem is, just like most great recipes, they are in the cook's head. Every once in a while, I would notice a can of "green chile" sauce and buy it. My hopes would be fall when I opened the can.
One day, in Wal-Mart of all places, I noticed this can. Though I had never seen the can, the smothered burrito looked familiar. I bought a can and took it home. I had been there before, so I did not want to get my hopes up. I opened the can and could smell the unique aroma to this particular chile sauce.
That was a few months ago. When we buy them, we buy several cans at a time. I was craving smothered burritos again. It was a tough day at work, so I thought it would be a nice treat. On the way home, I bought all of the fixings, and was very disappointed to see that we were out of it.
Today, I thought I would go get some from Wal-Mart. That place is not my favorite place to go. Especially on a Saturday afternoon. Especially when they are out of what I am looking for.
It looks like Wal-Mart is no longer carrying my favorite food. Since I hate Wal-Mart, let me further elaborate why I hate that place so much.
First of all, they probably stopped carrying it becase there was not enough return on investment. Some 25 year old stock analyst determined that the profits should be a little higher, so they cleared the shelves of a slow moving product to put something that would move.
I think I will save the rest of my "why I hate Wal-Mart" points for another day.
Back to the story. I go across the street to HEB, thinking they might have it. No, they do not. What should have been a twenty minute errand, left me empty-handed after two hours.
Here is how it turned out. I could not remember the specific name of the company that made it. In my mind, it is "Grandma Dorthy's Green Chile Gravy". I had tried to look for it on the internet, but couldn't find it.
My wife remembered the name and found the website. I looked on the website and found out that Kroger carries it. Just a small example of how wonderful my wife is, and how much she does to make my life better. Thanks J!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Jeanette!!

Here is how we started!

I am sad to say I was unable to hijack Jeanette's blog and post this on her blog. (That was my plan). Here is what I was going to say:

I know that J has a lot of new CyberFriends who may not know "our story". Here it is.

Jeanette and I both have lived in the Houston area since we were very young. We literally grew up on opposite sides of the city. But Houston is a big town, and we never met.

That does not mean I was not looking for her. Ever since I can remember, even as a small boy living on a ranch in Colorado, I knew my special someone was out there. I could not wait to find her. I just needed to figure out who she was.

So I looked everywhere. Every time I met someone who I really "clicked" with, I would wonder "Is this her?"

Fifteen years later, I am in Texas. Another thing that everyone out there may not know is that Jeanette and I are both memebers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Shortly after high school we often will go on a mission for our church. We spend this time teaching people what we believe.

It is kind of expected for the young men to go on missions, but though the young women are encouraged to go, they are not expected to go.

Missions are hard. Seventy hour work weeks are the norm. Being away from home is tough. I served my mission in Florida and Jeanette served her mission in New York. I returned from my mission in December of 1993. Jeanette left for her mission in June of 1994.

Once again, I missed meeting her. That was about to change.

When I returned from my mission, I started going to school and dating again. I went on several dates with lots of different girls (but rarely more than one date). I would know almost immediately that my date was not the one for me.

In the fall 1994 semester, I met a girl named Annette Steward. We quickly became friends, ( though I never wanted to date her). She played basketball for the college I was attending, so I would go to her games to support her. Annette's parents would go to the games as well. Eventually, we would sit next to eachother and talk. I remember Jeanettes' mother telling me all about her.

This went almost an entire year. Though I was still looking for her, I had decided that I was just going to have to trust fate. My looking was not getting any results. I remember thinking, "Could this her?" I put it out of my mind and went on with life. One day, Annette tells me that her sister, Jeanette, is having a hard time on her mission. It was something I had experienced when I was on my mission. So I decided to write her a letter.....

She wrote a letter back. I wrote another one, and she wrote another one. This went on for a while, and then we started sending tapes. When I heard her voice, I really felt that I had finally found her. I was anxious though, because I did not want to get my hopes up.

Now, you may think, "Jim, you are a 22 year old man. You have plenty of time." Remember, I had been looking for her for more than 18 years.

Our communication continued from summer until November, when Jeanette's mission ended and she returned home. It was a very exciting time. I knew my life was about to change.

On November 23, 1995, I met Jeanette face to face. We went on our first date the night she got home. In LDS culture, that is odd. Most people have a little culture shock when they return home. She was as eager to meet me as I was to meet her.

When I arrived at her parents' house, I remember knocking on the door and seeing her for the first time in person.

We went out to eat and ended up back at the Steward home. We talked for quite a while, then it was time for me to leave. Jeanette walked me outside, but I just could not leave. So we stayed out and talked for quite a bit more time.

Jeanette and I disagree on what happened. Who made the first move?

I remember it happening this way:

Houston rarely gets cold. November is cool, and I had left my jacket. Jeanette was used to New York cold, so she was not even cold.

As I was saying good bye, I was a little cold. I shivered a little (not entirely sure it was the weather) and mentioned I was a little cold. Jeanette, still being a service minded individual, decided to help me by warming me up. She stepped forward and embraced me. At which time, she must have thought my lips were cold, because she warmed them up by applying her lips.

(By the way, Jeanette is going to refute some of this, but this is what happened to the best of my recollection).

This went on for some time, and then the next thing I knew, Jeanette's dad comes out and gets the paper. He looks up and sees Jeanette and me standing by my car. I worry that I am in trouble, so I really leave. (This is Thanksgiving morning). I go home and cannot go to sleep. I contemplate on the evening and the wonderful woman that I had just met.

I know I have finally met the woman I have been looking for literally my whole life. I get a cat nap and then return to the Steward house. We spend more time talking with the family, then we spend "talking" by ourselves. This is when I tell her that I love her and we should get married.

I officially proposed on January 22nd with the ring, and we were married in the Dallas Texas temple on March 15th.

Of course, our adventures since are different chapters in our book. We have since had times of great joy and also heartache. I would love to say we never had a fight in the 13 years we have spent together. In fact, we will probably have a fight about this post today.

I just want everyone to know how special she is. I know she is not perfect, but she is perfect for me. I have spent my entire life looking for her, and I am happier now than when we met.

You may say, "That's a great story, but what does that have to do with Jeanette's birthday?"

That letter that changed my life, the letter that started it all, that letter that I first wrote to Jeanette while she was on her mission was the first birthday gift I ever gave her. She received it 13 years ago today.


Happy Birthday. Thank you for making me so happy. I hope that you feel like a Queen especially today. I hope you know I would do anything to make you happy.

Your loving husband.


Saturday, March 8, 2008

Why I need an Anti-Social Worker.

I am convinced that many people do not "get" me. Though I know a lot of people, I do not have a lot of close friends. It use to bother me, but then I got married.

I have not worried about it since then for one reason. I am one of the fortunate few that married their best friend. I do not need to go hang out with people after work or on weekends. In fact, I do not want to. They just get in the way of our conversations.

It's not just my wife, my kids are awesome, too.

Tonight, McKenzie and I were running an errand. On the way to the store, I was telling McKenzie that we had to get her mom some "supplies". McKenzie immediately responded that she did not need to know that. I quickly told her that she did need to know and explained why. Now, you have to understand that McKenzie is not looking forward to the change coming her way and avoids all discussion about this change.

I explained that around the time her mom needed these supplies, she was also going to be easily irritated. If McKenzie knew what was going on, she could be extra careful not to cross her mom and make our home life a little calmer.

I told her not to tell her mother because I didn't want to get in trouble. I ended my little talk with her by saying, "We are going to pretend this conversation never happened".

McKenzie did not miss a beat when she said, "I wish it never did".

Kaylee is just as funny. We have a great life together, but we also have to fit in the world outside our home.

So, I am trying to be more social. I doubt this is a secret, but Jeanette set this blog up for me. I will post more so people can get to know me better. Maybe this will help me overcome my anti-social tendencies.

Finally, it is time for the "Tip of the Post". (This is the first one. It sounds like there were other tips, but there are not).

Change your a/c filter on the day that you get you electric bill. It comes on a regular basis, so it reminds you on a regular basis. Also, it is one of the few things you can do to lower your electrical costs. Cleaner filters cause less usage of the a/c and that saves money. In the long run, there is less wear and tear on you a/c unit, so it will last longer!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Phase Two

I had a big scare recently. I have a digital camera. Until recently, all of the significant events of the past few years are stored on the card of that camera. All of the birthdays. The baptisms of both girls. All of the pictures from when Hilton was born. His first steps. Pictures of the kids in Bluebonets. Christmas for the last three years.

One of my co-workers recently had his camera stolen. I thought about what that we mean to us. Jeanette and I talked about it. We decided to get an external hard drive to save our pictures and music.

I cut and pasted all of the pictures from the card to a flash drive. The only pictures left on the camera card were for work.

The next day I bought the 250 GB external hard drive.

Jeanette had been asking me when I was going to work on my blog. I could not find the flash drive. I thought it was in the car. I tore it apart. No flash drive. I went through out the house looking for it. No flash drive. I was even dreaming looking for it. Finally, after days of searching and prayers, I asked my co-workers if they had seen one.

Turns out, I left it in one of their computers. Needles to say, Jeanette is now backing up the pictures.

I was tagged: Six interesting things about me.

Finally.... Six interesting things about me.

First of all, after lots of contemplation I have to face it. I am not that interesting. But here we go....

1. I do not like cake. I like cookies, and I like pie. But cake is too dry. Even moist cake. Not moist enough.

2. Along those lines, I like to put ice in my milk.

3. Fresh jalepenos make me hiccup. I found that out on my mission. We had a missionary couple that would make a salad with fresh jalepenos. I could not figure out why I was hiccuping. It took a while to put it together.

4. I do not own a pair of tennis shoes. In fact, I own two types of shoes. Church shoes and work boots. I used to beg Jeanette to let me buy the girls boots, but she said no. Then, one day not long ago ...
I didn't even ask if I could buy Hilton a pair of boots. I just went and got them.

5. I love to watch movies over and over. Jeanette does not. I can have a movie running in the background while I am working on a project.

6. Probably the most interesting thing about me: I asked my wife to marry me on our first date. (Amazingly, she said yes).

Of course, there is a story. Jeanette and I met the day she came home from her mission. I knew her sister, Annette, while she was playing basketball down here. I would go to her games and met the rest of her family. I would sit with them during the games and really got to know them well. Her mom and I would talk for a long time.

Missions are tough, and Jeanette was having a difficulty similiar to one I experienced on my mission. I wrote her a letter of encouragement. She told me later, that when she got the letter and looked at the handwriting, she knew she would marry me someday. (She did not know just how soon that would happen). She got the letter in June and was scheduled to be released at the end of November. We wrote and sent tapes for months. Finally, the last day of her mission arrived. She flew home and was able to get released that day. It was a good thing, because we had a date that night.

When we met in person, it truly was magical. We went to dinner and then just stayed at her folks house, talking on the front porch. Somehow, I told her that I loved her and wanted to marry her. Next thing I knew, the sun was up and her dad came out to get the paper! Time for me to go. That was Thanksgiving 12 years ago. It is amazing how I have spent almost one-third of my life with this wonderful woman.

Just goes to show....I was right!