Sunday, June 29, 2008

Happy Birthday!

We celebrated Levi and Noah's 3rd birthday a little bit early this year, since we will actually be driving to Michigan on their birthday. We had a bunch of friends over to play on their birthday present, the big waterslide. Everyone had a ton of fun, even the dads, which I don't think is typical for dads at a 3 year olds birthday party. We got a bunch of giant squirt guns at the dollar store, the kind that are basically a giant syringe that you suck water into, then blast out the front. The kids had fun soaking their dads, and pretty soon most of us were dripping wet. Oddly enough, all the moms hung out inside, where the water wasn't flying. Wimps... ;)

Levi and Noah got to open a few presents and cards. They got some coloring stuff, a croquet set, some memory games, and they each got their very own "big boy bike."

It's hard to believe they are three already. The last few years are mostly a blur, partly due to the both of them. They are funny little boys, always doing something that makes us laugh and shake our heads at the same time. They are 100% little boy... which probably just means that we are in for years of explosions, fire, and excitement in the future.

Happy 3rd birthday Levi and Noah!

Daddy date

Ella and I went on our last daddy date before we head to Michigan in a few days. We started out with our traditional daddy date meal, breakfast at the Farmhouse.

She really got a big smile when her big plate of french toast, sausage, and scrambled eggs arrived.

Then the sugar apparently went straight to her head, and she started acting goofy.

Then we went for a surprise shopping trip. It seems like every time I am doing yardwork, and Ella comes outside, she is finding some fancy rock in our yard to show me. But since all the rock in our yard is fairly bland crushed granite, her rock finds, while very special to her, are not really all that pretty. So we headed over to the Black Market Minerals store at Arizona Mills Mall. Now, I suspect that these minerals are not really obtained on the black market, so I didn't feel any real guilt over letting Ella pick out a few and bring them home. She picked out one for me, one for mom, one for Levi, one for Noah, and several for herself.

Standing next to a giant rock, with her little purple bag of treasures. I think the price tag on that sucker said $3000. Three grand for a big rock!

She had to thoroughly examine this huge amethyst

Then we ran a few errands, and headed home for Levi and Noah's birthday party.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Swim lessons

Our friend from church, "Miss Molly," teaches swim lessons for kids. We hired her for a week of lessons and lined up a neighbor's pool as the classroom. I didn't get to actually see them swim, but Paige said that Molly did a great job, and that our kids made lots of progress. They can't quite swim yet, but they are getting close. Maybe we can hire Molly again for a second week after Paige and the kids get back from Michigan.

Thanks Molly!

Sunset tonight

While mowing the lawn tonight, I set up the camera and snapped a picture every few minutes of the sunset. That isn't a cloud, but a giant plume of smoke from a brush fire about 25 miles straight west of us, on the other side of Phoenix.

The saga of the porch

Paige and I seem to have very bad luck with major purchases. We frequently get incompetent salesmen and the worst service possible. Our first major purchase after we got married was a couple of couches. I think it ended up taking 3 years for us to finally get them delivered. Ok, maybe it wasn't that long, but it felt like it. They sent the wrong color, ripped then when delivering them, etc. I don't remember all the details, but I do remember that we ended up getting them for dirt cheap, because we had to go back to the store so many times and complain, and we kept demanding refunds. And I remember leaving their store once in the middle of the ordeal so angry it was all I could do not to put my steel toed boot through their plate glass window.

We should have taken that as a sign. In February, we went about getting bids to replace the awning on our back porch that was destroyed in the monsoons last summer. We figured that would leave us plenty of time before Luke was born to get it finished. We chose a company, and they told us it would be 2-4 weeks to get the permit, and then another 2-3 weeks to put up the cover. Well, 18 weeks later (18 weeks!!!!) we finally have the porch installed. We will never deal with these guys again, and will recommend to anyone who asks that they also not use them. They basically blamed all the delays on the Gilbert permit office. I won't go into all the details, but the bottom line is that the Gilbert permit office was right on schedule, and the awning company was completely incompetent. At one point (about 14 weeks into the process) Gilbert had reviewed their drawing and made some redlines, and the company let the permit sit there for 4 weeks before picking it up, while telling us that the delays were Gilbert's fault. We attempted to cancel the contract, because I no longer wanted to reward their lousy business practices, but they wouldn't let us without paying a 25% fee. So we were stuck giving our money to them.

The install guy came yesterday and started, and he seems to be the only one at the company without his head up his... well, you know. He worked hard to get the porch up, even though they only sent one guy to do a two man job. He has a few details to finish tomorrow (actually today, I guess) and then it should be done.

We've told the company we want the price reduced because they screwed up so badly. So far they haven't responded. If they fail to reduce the price, it may take a while for the remainder of their payment to make its way through the Addink accounting department. Like about 18 weeks or so.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

They'll grow into it

Apparently the kids thought it would be fun to dress up in my T-shirts. Goofy kids.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Who are you people?

I find the Sitemeter link on our blog fascinating. Not that many people read our blog, so most of the locations I have a pretty good guess who is checking. Lots of people around Phoenix/Gilbert/Tempe/Tucson/Grand Rapids, obviously. Salt Lake City (Utah), Red Deer (Alberta), Hull (Iowa), Flagstaff (Arizona) are all friends. And then there is the occasional person who stumbles across the blog searching for some unknown image in Google image searches. There seem to be semi-regular hits by Europeans looking for pictures of scorpions, for whatever reason. But some continue to baffle me. The Sitemeter link gives me all kinds of info... location, internet service, browser software, even monitor resolution... but it doesn't actually tell me who the monkey running the mouse is.

- Eden Prairie, Minnesota: Visits pretty regularly, every couple of days. No referring URL, so I am assuming they have the blog bookmarked. But I have no idea who this is.

- Lexington, Kentucky: They have visited twice I believe, several weeks apart, both times searching in Google for "Gina Addink." Apparently my sister has an e-stalker!

- Minneapolis, Minnesota: Again they visit probably once a week or so. And they always get here from the Anderson's blog. I'm guessing I somehow know them from high school, but who is it?

- Unknown location: Someone from AOL visits every so often as well, but no location shows up. I suppose this could be multiple people from AOL.

There are others as well. So who are you people? I know it's not like millions of people hit this blog every day... but I would at least like to know who the five people who do read it are.

So leave a comment on this post. If you stop by every day, once a week, or wandered by looking for a picture of a scorpion, drop us a note!

Monday, June 23, 2008

You should really get that looked at.

Tonight we read Tadpoles for one of the boys bedtime stories. In the beginning of the book, the little girl finds some frog eggs, and her mother is describing how they start out as dots, and then grow into frogs. Then the mom tells the little girl that she was a dot once too, just like the frogs. This is where I did a little ad libbing:

Me [reading the book]:
"Was I a dot?" I asked.
"Yes, when you were inside me. Then you grew legs and arms 'and a tail' and turned into a baby, and got born."
Ella [after a slight pause]: Nooooooooo!
Levi and Noah: We don't have tails!
Me [checking all three of their buns]: Do you have a tail back here?
Ella: No!
Levi: No!
Noah: No!
Me: Did Aunt Erin have a tail?
All three of them: Noooooo!
Me: Did Aunt Lindsey have a tail?
Levi: Yes!

We laughed. The legend on Lindsey's tail lives on!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Never throw away a turkey carcass on Tuesday...

...if your garbage doesn't get picked up until the next Monday. Paige cooked a turkey on Tuesday. It had been in our freezer for about 2 years now, so she thought it was about time to eat it. Our kids weren't to fond of turkey, and we couldn't eat the whole thing. Its tenderness had suffered from the long stay in the deep freeze, so we put the carcass and leftover meat in a garbage bag and tossed it in the garbage can out back. Turkey carcass... in a plastic bag... in the enclosed garbage can... in 110° heat. Our back yard slowly began acquiring a certain, ummm... aroma. On Saturday I moved the garbage can to mow the lawn, and found this...

Unfortunately, this picture was taken Sunday evening, and doesn't come close to doing justice to what I found. A good one foot square area under the can was saturated with rotting turkey juice, covered in a thick layer of squirming maggots. It was revolting.

I delayed actually opening the garbage can until the lawnmower bag was so full of grass the mower wouldn't function. Keep in mind... my nose doesn't work. I can stick my head into a diaper pail, inhale deeply, and not even flinch. Farting at work is a dangerous proposition for me, because I could be asphyxiating co-workers three cubes away, and I wouldn't have the faintest clue.

When I opened the garbage can... I almost puked right there. It was really bad.

As soon as I turned my back to finish the lawnmowing, the dog sauntered up to the garbage can, licked up the melted turkey goo, and gobbled down every last maggot.

Just your warning for next time you come over, and our dog licks your face to greet you...
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Saturday, June 14, 2008

For my dad...

I debated whether I should post this. I'm not sure I want to share some life details with everyone (anyone?) who reads our blog. But for some odd reason, I feel like I need to. Maybe consider it free online therapy. I don't know. But I've got a stew of Father's Day, my parent's anniversary, Dan in Real Life, and Tim Russert suddenly dying all percolating in my brain. And I feel like sharing that bowl of stew with someone.

Sunday will be the seventh Father's Day without my dad. And also my parent's wedding anniversary (I'm ashamed to admit I don't know how many.) Eight years this July 2nd that he died, along with my sister Jodi.

I thought it would get better after eight years. I'm not sure it has. That's just eight more years of life that I didn't get to share with him. He never got to see where I work. We were always going to do it "tomorrow." But tomorrow wasn't what we expected. For some reason, that still bothers me to this day... him not seeing where I work. He didn't get to walk Gina down the aisle, and Gina didn't have her dad to give her away. He never got to meet his wonderful grandkids. He would have been a good grandpa. And his grandkids... they miss out on ever knowing their grandpa. I know this is all in God's plan. I remember wanting to hit people who told me that right after he died. I knew it was true then too, I just didn't want to hear it. But eight years later, knowing that it is His plan, I still have no idea what that plan is, or how my dad dying fits into it.

I've got pieces of him around me. His pocketknife is in our desk drawer. His books are on my shelf. He loved pens, and always had a nice one that would switch between a mechanical pencil and a pen. I used to carry one with me. I lost it at the IMAX theater... remember it like it was yesterday. Now the other one sits on our computer desk, and I use it every time I balance the checkbook. His calculators are in our desk, his workbench in our garage, his guns in our closet. I wore his wedding ring for about four months after he died. Until I almost lost it on a camping trip. That is burned into my memory, the same feeling you get when you suddenly loose sight of your child in a crowd. I never would have forgiven myself. I wore it to walk Gina down the aisle, and I will wear it for Angie too. Otherwise it hides, tucked among Paige's other jewelry.

I've got pieces of him in me too. He always fell asleep when reading, and then would wake up and keep reading where he left off. I do the same. He always watched the political talk shows at night, and I remember we hated them as kids. Now I love the same shows. He loved to debate politics, and read boring political magazines with lots of words and no pictures. Guess what my favorite magazine subscription is? He always drove with his right hand on the column shifter of the car, like he was ready to throw it in reverse at any moment. I remember this because it always drove me nuts. I have no idea why, it just bugged me. One day I was driving, and noticed that I was doing the exact same thing. Silly little things, I know... but they remind me of him.

Sometimes though, I feel like I can hardly remember him. I worry that my kids will ask what grandpa was like, and I won't really know what to tell them. And I hate that feeling. Lately I find myself typing "Donald Addink" into Google. I'm not sure what I expect to find... some evidence that he was once here. A story I never knew. A picture, a message... anything but an obituary.

So here is my Father's Day request... a gift for me, if you will. Leave a comment. Or several. Refresh my memory. Tell me a story about my dad that I have heard a hundred times, or better yet, one that I have never heard before. Stories from his childhood, or his adulthood. The stories he might have told me someday, but never got a chance to.

Then go find your dad, if he is still here, and do today what you had been putting off for tomorrow...

"The thing I miss the most is not ever having been man-to-man with my father. I'd like to be able to go for a drink with him or go to a ball game as a couple of adults... I don't really need anything from him anymore. I just wish he could know me now." -Fatherloss

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday youtube finds

I like hunting through you tube for odd videos, and then looking through the "related videos" to find even more interesting stuff. Today I searched for "Mario theme," for whatever reason it popped into my head.

I started here. Some people have too much time on their hands. But cool!

...which lead to this one. How on earth do you play two guitars at the same time? It's like you have two brains, one for each hand!

Or, you really could use two brains, but play the same guitar!

This guys skips the hands entirely, because he doesn't have any. I've seen him before (on youtube that is, not real life.) Amazing...

Ok, better stop youtubing now and pay attention to what the munchkins are doing. Oh, riding the footrests of the Lazyboy couch and leaping from the couch to the chair. I see broken bones in their futures if I don't start parenting...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

From the mouths of babes...

Yesterday we were having one of "those moments". (For those of you without four children ages 4 and under, or for those who it has been a while since your kids were little, "those moments" are when all four children are screaming, crying and demanding your attention ALL at the same time. Often in "those moments" you feel like joining right in with them and crying too!) Completely frazzled by the whole situation I yelled out, "Everybody just stop a second. I need to pray." Surprisingly they all grew quiet (minus Luke who wanted to eat no matter what type of chaos was going on around him). Then Ella asked "To who?" I felt like a failure before even closing my eyes to utter a prayer for strength and patience, that my children had asked me to whom I was praying. "God," I told them "I need him to help me be loving and kind right now instead of getting angry and yelling." They seemed to think that was a good idea and gave me about 40 sec to utter my plea for help before resuming their previous behaviors that brought about the need for prayer in the first place.

Today at nap time Levi and Noah were having a repeat performance of yesterday of getting out of their beds and in with each other and goofing around. Since I was once again feeding Luke, I tried to ignore them and snuggle my sweet baby who is not yet big enough to talk back. A few minutes passed before there was a loud crash in their room. I set Luke down. Ella looked up in dismay and we hurried down the hall to see what they had broken today. "Boys!" (I may have yelled) What am I going to do with you? You broke the shade right off the wall!" Ella turned to me and said, "Mom, maybe we should pray to God."

Thank you Ella for pointing me back in the right direction.

Early birthday present

The boys got their birthday present three weeks early today. Paige couldn't wait for them to play with it. Plus she thought they might need to practice prior to their birthday party so that they wouldn't be scared on it. It took them all of about 5 minutes to overcome their fear...

She also thought they should practice keeping their bathing suits ON while in the backyard. Otherwise the guests at their birthday party may get to see them all in their birthday suits.

You can see the fancy triangle shade sails we hung up in the back yard. They don't look too redneckish...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ella's new do

Paige has been saying for weeks (months) now that Ella needs to get a haircut. I've been resisting because at least ONE girl in this house should have long hair. Girls are supposed to have long hair... boys short. Unlike the girl who works at the deli counter at the local Frys, who has shaved her head completely bald. I'm convinced she lost a bet, or is being initiated into a gang, as I can see no other reason a girl would shave her head. Even worse is the little boys these days, with hair hanging all over the place, like the Beatles circa 1964. I just want to yell at them to cut their hair (sure evidence that I am already a grumpy old man.)

So I didn't want Ella to get a haircut, but I finally gave in.



She's still a little cutie, even with "short" hair. ;)
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Sunday, June 8, 2008

There are benefits... being an engineer. Sure, you have to wear geeky glasses from a young age, under-perform in most sporting activites, sweat excessively in the presence of the fairer sex, wear clothes in style 10 years too late, and then there is the "utter social ineptitude." But occasionally, once in a great while, it pays off. You spend countless hours in your youth taking apart dad's old electric shaver or reading about the performance characteristics of WWII bombers, while all the other guys were honing their flirting skills or going to prom, knowing that someday your skills might come in handy. And today they did...

We recently got a new digital camera. Our old one stopped working one day, for no apparent reason. It was a Canon Elph PowerShot SD500 that we got from my mom a few Christmases ago. We turned it on, and the screen displayed "E18" (Error 18) and it refused to work. The lens would go in and out, but it wouldn't focus on anything. I did an internet search, and quickly found that Canon's are notorious for "Error 18" and that there were lots of suggestions on how to fix it. There are, in fact, entire web pages and message boards dedicated to this error. So I took our camera apart, but didn't manage to fix anything. I gave up in frustration, and we reverted to using another Canon Elph. This one we inherited from my sister when the LCD on the back of the camera broke. She gave it to me to take apart (see first paragraph) and when I did, I discovered I could pretty easily replace the LCD. So I fixed her camera with a $60 LCD, and had my own camera. It had a couple of dead pixels, and was an older camera, but was a good backup.

Anyways, back to the point. We got a new camera, but I realized that Paige will take it to Michigan this summer, and I would only have the old repaired Elph. Which was a bummer, because I plan to go hiking to some cool spots this summer when they are in Michigan, and wanted a decent camera to take pictures (we'll see if the hiking actually occurs... see engineer physical abilities above.) I called a local camera shop, and they wanted $300 to repair the camera. You can buy a brand new one for less than that. So I decided to take it apart one last time and see if I had better luck...

Here is how the camera was stuck, on or off...

Outer shell off...

Flash sub-assembly removed...

Lens sub-assembly. This is where the problem should be, since E18 is a lens error...

Lens assembly in half. The CCD is on the left, the heart of a digital camera. Hmmm, I still can't figure out what is wrong though...

Whoops! I didn't need to take the lens assembly apart. I found the focus lens drivetrain on the back. That little set of gears on the right is the issue. I found a single grain of sand stuck in the gear teeth, which was preventing the gears from turning. How that sand grain made it all the way into the camera, I have no idea...

Put it all back together...

Hmmm, I don't think it is a good thing when you have parts left over...

The moment of truth, will the thing actually work? Turn it on... and the LCD is completely black. No image at all. But hey, I don't get an "Error 18." Take it back apart again, and find that I didn't get the CCD cable plugged back in all the way. Reassemble it, and take a test picture...

(that would be the post I put up in the back yard)

Hey, I actually fixed it!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Friday funnies

Yeah, I know, it isn't Friday anymore. I spent the last 6 hours digging two holes, mixing 600 lbs of concrete, and setting two 12 foot posts in our backyard. We had this brilliant idea to create some shade in our back yard, so the kids can play in the day and not turn the deep red of a cooked lobster (darn fair skin genetics.) So we decided to hang up some of those big "shade sails." You know the kind that always look cool and modern? I'm hoping that is how our backyard will look... although it will probably end up looking more like some crazy redneck decided to string a tarp up in the back yard. Anyways... the instructions say to dig a 4 foot deep hole for each post. It may not seem like it, but 4 feet is a freakin' deep hole! So we now have two posts securely anchored in a 3 foot deep hole. There was no way I was going all the way to 4. Let's hope the things don't pull out of the ground and come smashing through the back wall during the next monsoon. But considering they have 300 lbs of concrete attached to the bottom of each one, I think that is unlikely. And I am sure the neighbors will egg the house tomorrow in retaliation for me mixing concrete in a wheelbarrow at 2 in the morning. But I can sleep tonight, having satisfied my obsessive-compulsive need to finish a job once I have started...

Anyways, the whole point is that I was going to post this on Friday, since it made me chuckle. Actually, I laughed until I cried. This will be our house in a few years, I am sure...

For now, we apparently need to supervise them more closely. I believe Paige told me that they said they were zebras and tigers...

And finally, we laughed our heads off tonight at Levi's dead-on imitation of Gollum. Or maybe the man-cub from Jungle Book...

Alright, now I'm off to bed...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Stuck in my head

this commercial is...

It's been running through my head for two straight days now. I walked around all last night singing... "Should've gone to freeeeeee credit re-port dot com I could've seen this comin' at me like an atom bomb."

I'm hoping if I infect the rest of you with the jingle, it will leave me alone.

But the funny thing is... I'd buy their CD if they came out with one...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Happy birthday

I just realized that today is June 1st, which means that my sister Gina turns 30 today. So "Happy Birthday Gina!"

Old picture from '04 Walcott Rocky Point trip...


Levi and Noah enjoying a popsicle on Saturday while I fixed the lawnmower

Levi also enjoys ice cream sundays with chocolate syrup. So much so that the cup leaves a ring on his face...

We played hide and seek tonight. I took the camera with me under the bed, because their little faces peeking under were hilarious.

Noah was a little slow figuring out exactly where I was hiding...

And some of Luke, just hanging out around the house...