Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Great Glitter Disaster of 2007 … again

A comment on my blog today from my good friend, “Anonymous” inspired me to repost this classic from a couple years ago – this is still one of the more popular posts, measured by people who accidently get to it by Googleing the word Glitter.  So here it is (originally posted July, 2007)-

And I'm not referring to Mariah Carey in any way.

So on Sunday afternoons we give the kids (the older 3) a bit of free reign downstairs while we take naps or read upstairs. Oh we're used to coming down and finding special kinds of messes, but they're usually clean-up-able (with industrial-grade chemicals or a bulldozer). But today we were greeted with a special, sparkly, surprise. (I love alliteration!)

My first sign of trouble was a shriek from Traci, who went down first. The typical thoughts went through my mind dealing with some combination of permanent markets, a recently removed diaper, and some honey. The noise summoned me downstairs, and Traci called for me just as I was getting there. What I saw amazed even me, who isn't surprised my much in terms of evil-doing by small children. We still don't know the full story, but the culprits had broken into Traci's craft stuff (which gets used twice a decade or so) and located a large container of gold GLITTER.

The four of them had started in the kitchen, but the glitter soon was spread like Ebola virus from room to room. You could literally make out footprints. And in all their toddler wisdom they had decided to add water to the mix - helping the glitter like an adhesive. They even made their way outside the front door and our porch and bushes are similarly covered. We tried mightily to clean up with brooms and vacuums, but I'm sitting here right now still surrounded by golden glitter on the floor and the bottom of my feet. It's now spread to every room in the house.
At this point it's so pervasive that all I can do is smile a bit. I'm kinda guessing that these little specks of golden happiness have become a permanent part of life. So my advice is to lock up your glitter and only use it under strict adult supervision, or at least use it when you're at your neighbor's house.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Can We Please Get Back To Talking About Brittney Spears

So lately I’m thinking the best thing for the economy would be for people to quit talking about the economy.  Pretty certain that this stuff feeds on itself.  For example:

CEO of major corporation says to his lead executives: “Hey guys, so I was watching the news on this massive flat screen on the small wall in my 3,000 square foot office, and I’m starting to see a trend.  Every morning before the market opens companies are taking turns announcing massive layoffs.  So I was thinkin’ . . . we don’t wanna be left out…

On NPR this morning I heard Paul Krugman, recent nobel laureate, talking about the economy and he repeatedly used the term Depression.  The interviewer asked him what a Depression was, and this recently crowned master of economics said, “I have no idea . . . but we should talk about it.”  (this may be because of his book that was recently republished called, “The Return of Depression Economics” . . . but maybe I’m just being too cynical . . .)  We should pause for a minute and reflect on how funny the word laureate is.  Pretty sure it means, “somebody who won something.”  So that guy you remember from high school could be a “Most Likely to Dance Badly – Laureate.”  Sounds a whole lot cooler that way.

But back to the point here – we should probably stop talking about how bad things are getting.  Somebody might hear us and start laying people off.

PS – this particular strategy, rooted in denial, hasn’t worked yet on my hairline.  But I’m still holding out hope.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A National Block Party and My Daughter Stalls the Economy

So it’s been a fairly eventful week in our country.  I’m told we have a new president now.  I tried all week to find coverage of the inauguration on TV or the interweb, but I guess whatever happened in Washington DC a few days ago didn’t really get much coverage.  (if you live on Pluto!)  I know that the Obamas wanted a small, intimate gathering for the event, so it was just them and several million of their close friends and relatives, kinda like your wedding, I’m sure.  Yeah, it was a big deal I guess.  Most estimates peg the cost of the whole shin-dig in DC at around $150,000,000.  (that’s a lot of zeros)  But that’s probably a way more efficient use of tax payer cash than the $1,000,000,000,000 (that’s a lot more zeros) or so in bailouts that we’ve done in the last few months.  And it genuinely felt like a “stimulus,” particularly to the people who were dancing on the Mall in DC in freezing temperatures while holding their commemorative Obama plates and shoelaces.  Regardless of what you think of our new Bailouter-in-chief, we needed a little reason to party.

Unfortunately, the economy got right back to crashing after the festivities ended.  Unemployment spiked and the market just kept falling.  Even the little company I work at announced layoffs for the first time ever on Thursday, but I’m not about to blog about that!  Last night someone asked me when this will turn into a “Depression.”  I don’t know what that means exactly, but I do know that the depression was in black and white, so since I’m still seeing lots of color out there, I think we’ll be ok.

I also found out this morning exactly why our home hasn’t sold.  Turns out it didn’t have to do with “macroeconomic uncertainly driven by instability in the housing market tied to a rapid deterioration of mortgage-backed securities and a general constraint on the free flow of credit.”  It’s actually my 5 year old’s fault.  Some nice folks drove up to our house while she was outside playing.  They tried to take one of our house flyers and she politely told them, “no, you can’t take that.”  Guess she thought these were OUR flyers in OUR yard, and not for people to just take.  I mean it’s not like people can just pull up and take her bike without asking!  Luckily the people chuckled and took one anyway.  Sydney’s not that intimidating.

So here’s to hope and “change we can believe in” and all that stuff.  May we can have a national block party or something once a month while things are hard.  I can think of worse things to spend on . . . (see below)

Monday, January 19, 2009

There Are Worse Reasons To Need A Bath

I’ve mentioned numerous times how amazingly lucky I am.  Many of you would use the word “blessed” and I’m great with that.  One of the biggest reasons is that I carry the proud title of “Daddy" for four small, but rapidly growing, people.  In ancient times “Daddy” meant literally: “The guy who makes parenting more difficult for the Mommy” and/or “He who teaches the children that bodily functions that make audible noise are the most hilarious thing that can possibly happen.”  I think those descriptions probably still apply today.

This week I got to meet my 5 pound 10 ounce nephew named Arthur, just a few hours after he made his grand appearance in a hospital in Portland.  I’m not a big guy, but I think I have shoes that have more weight and girth (good name for a rock band) than my new relative.  Holding him was super-cool, and obviously made me think about the little HTFers back home. 

I remembered the night that we were in the hospital waiting for child #1 to be born.  We were still many hours from anything requiring the attention of trained physicians happening and Traci was asleep in one of those always-comfortable hospital beds.  I went for a 2 AM stroll outside.  It was there that I realized that somewhere between junior high gym class and this moment quite a bit had happened.  You know that sudden rush where you think, “how in the heck did I get here, and can I go back now?!”  (I’m guessing Barry Obama will be thinking that in a few days)  Well, I looked up into the night sky and felt even smaller than I actually am.  A little prayer was muttered, and an answer received.  That’s all I’m gonna say about that.  A handful of hours later I was holding a little creature who was desperately in need of a bath or at least a good hosing down.  Today that same guy is 9 years old, and still requires frequent baths, but for very different reasons.

We had three more and they are all equally awesome.  Seeing new babies just reminds me of those magical days when I held my little people for the first time.  Here are a couple photos from the day our last one was born 3.5 years ago:

101_1273 101_1268

I’ve been called lots of things, most of them were fairly accurate, but “Daddy” is probably my favorite (unless it’s screamed at me when I turn off the Xbox so we can eat dinner).  I can find a lot to complain about right now – we all can – but it’s pretty great to remember moments like these.

I just hope I will teach them all they need to know about spontaneous belching and armpit farts.

(sorry, Traci, I know that last word is on the banned list)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Mystery Meat From Supposed Friends

Here’s an e-mail I received from an alert reader dealing with a problem we’ve all dealt with or (gasp) contributed to:

Dear HTF,

I am rather tired of receiving guilt mail.  I get email after email stating that if I don't forward that email and its contents to at least 10 people then I will die, suffer 7 years of bad luck, have a terrible love life, lose my life savings, or get a variety of horrible diseases.  What set this off is that today I got an email from a member of my church (I'm not sure how I got on that list unless simply going to the same church as this person put me on it) that stated if I didn't forward the email (regarding heaven and hell) to at least 7 people, than I was, in summary, a non-Christian.  What?!  I'm pretty sure that my salvation is not determined by my talent at spamming all my close, and not so close, friends and family.  What say you, oh wise one?

Signed, Guilt-Clogged-Inbox

It may surprise you to learn that mad spamming skilz are exactly the path to heaven, my friend.

Ok, maybe that’s not factually correct . . . if fact, I’m pretty sure the opposite of that is true.

Actually, “spam” in ancient Aramaic (the reformed dialect) means, “whoever sent this to me deserves a plague upon their house or at least really bad cell phone reception forever.”  These exploding e-mail time bombs, which could in one fell swoop give you a third arm AND cause death/destruction in Nigeria do not come from so-called “friends.” They come from people who are either stupid or gullible (or both) and the sad part is they’re assuming you’re either stupid or gullible (or both).  Clearly, judging by the blogs that you read, you’re neither.  In fact, you should consider the fact that you’d ask that question a “serious sign of sanity” (that’s a pretty darn good rock band name with some awesome alliteration folded in there as well.)

So the next time you encounter one of these “guilt lobbers” be sure to point out to them that they are the reason junk filters exist.  Also, that since deleting their e-mail you’ve saved 20 people’s lives, had crazy luck for 14 years straight, have a love life that should be remade as a chick-flick, have become so wealthy that you bailed-out the US government, and you figured out how to eradicate diseases.  When they ask which diseases, you just say – all of them and walk away.

And obviously you should forward this blog post back to them within 2 minutes of reading it – or else, . . . well, . . . nothing. 

Thanks for the question, my friend.  May your inbox remain relatively guilt-free, like mini-oreos!

Remember to send your questions/comments into  They will be responded to, just hopefully not with the delete button.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Lack of Meteorological Prowess

Back in August when I visited Seattle for the first time I vividly recall asking somebody, “what possible weather problems could you have here other than getting a little wet?”  As a guy from the Midwest I’ve seen my share of violent thunderstorms, tornado warnings, ice storms, oppressive summer heat, flooding, and piles of snow.  So the “temperate” climate of the Northwest didn’t seem like that big of a deal.  And as is often the case when I think I know a little bit about something . . .

I was wrong.

In the three and a half months I’ve been here there have been hurricane force winds that knocked out power to people for days at a time, a three week “arctic blast” that piled snow measured in feet in some places, and then last week, flooding so bad that parts of the city were literally turned into islands and a 20 mile stretch of the interstate heading south (where I was incidentally trying to go) was flooded out.  (that, my friends, was a long sentence)

As an example, here’s a little pictorial metaphor.  This is the HTF posing (with the shiny melon on display) in front of Snowqualmie Falls.  It was a nice little hike down there and the falls emptied into a small pool and stream.

Well, this was the falls last week as seen from a helicopter.  The place where I was standing before was about 40 feet underwater.  And the whole valley was flooded out.


What’s the point to this?  I’m not talking smack about other people’s weather ever again (unless you happen to be in Hawaii).

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Thwarted by Paperwork

I decided to go to Washington DC this morning to see if they'd let me be the new junior senator from Illinois.  No one would talk to me for some reason.  But the cameras seemed to be following someone else around who had similar plans.  Have you ever watched someone kinda live through one of your nightmares right in front of you?  Me neither.  Until today, maybe.  You see I have this weird thing where I fear starting a new job, committing to it completely, and then showing up just to be told that it's not happening.  What happened to Mr. Burris, where he didn't have the right signature and was sent home actually kinda happened to me . . . almost.  Remember this? 

There's little that I find funnier than political theater - and today was awesome.  Dude was kept out of the UNITED STATES SENATE because he didn't have the right paperwork!  That's so cool.  We all know Harry Reid wasn't going to let him in.  He would've just manufactured excuses.  Could've accused the guy of having the wrong brand of penny loafers (good name for a rock band) or perhaps Harry could've quickly backed a bill declaring Illinois part of Canada.  Either way it looks like this thing won't be over for a while, because now there are LAWYERS INVOLVED.  (yep, that's a hat tip to my blog-reading attorney friends).

The mailbag has been pretty sparse for a while.  Remember to send in your questions/comments to  I'll be happy to answer them, mostly like in a way that will leave you forgetting what the actual questions was.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Random Number Generator and Feliz Ano Nuevo!

I actually had to write "2009" on something today and it was tough, but that's how January goes every year I guess.  I have a fetish for all of the "Best of . . . ." lists that come out at the end of the year.  As a kid I would obsess over Rick Dees and/or Casey Kasem counting down the songs from the year.  Well, take a quick glance to the right column of my blog and you'll see the top 11 posts of the year.  A few posts ago I asked for your input and 8 of you responded!  However, I'm pretty sure some reasonable self-interest played into that.  You wanted the prize.  But your responses were great!  I geeked out and used a spreadsheet with a random number generator (rock band names?) to pick the winner.  And here were the results:


Congrats to my sister-in-law, Kellie, who will soon be the proud owner of an Amazon gift card courtesy of HTF.

Well it was kinda fun to look back at the year.  Some of that stuff seems like it was a decade ago.  It was a great year - no complaints here!  I've tried to build up the readership, and you all responded!  Thanks to each of you who reads along, and especially to those who participate with comments, e-mails, and linking back to HTF.  I'll try to bring it better in 2009.  There's gonna be a lot to blog about - a new president, an economy that's gonna get better or even worse, my family FINALLY joins me for our move to Seattle, and who knows what other adventures we'll see this year.  So a belated Happy New Year to each of you!

Much luv,


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