UPFC Carnage at the Gonzalez Dome

Last night I had the bright idea that I would invite my wife and children to do something that I have not done in a long time. I set the stage with my wife early, letting her know what I had planned but I did not let the kids know until just before the festivities began. This is what I did.

I called my wife just before leaving work and told her I was going to be picking dinner up because I did not want her worrying about cooking dinner. I set up dinner and picked it up, but before going home I hit the store for some ice cream for desert and for extra “motivation” to get things rolling. I got home, fed the kids then told them that once dinner was over I had some sweeties for them to partake of because I needed them to be super hyper in order to get the living room cleared out. They responded well by eating their ice cream then helping me get the living room cleared.

After the living room was cleared I told the kids that there were going to be a few safe zones that they could go into should they need to. Of course, they had no idea why they would need a safe zone or what they would need to be safe from. Nor did they have any idea why they would need to spend time in the penalty box if they did something wrong in the safe zones. Again, they had no idea what this was all about.

Then I told them all to go get one pillow from their room (the older girls needed to bring two) and to set them down in the middle of the living room. Then I had them sit on their pillows. This dispelled any ideas that this was about a sleepover. Then I grabbed one, sat on it myself and told them that they were about to participate in the first Gonzalez family Ultimate Pillow Fighting Championship. The game was afoot and the stage was set.

1-2-3 was counted and we were off. And the carnage came right along with it. Rebekah, Babe Ruth Jr. I like to call her, learned very quickly to tee off on me as though my head were a satellite waiting to be shuttled into outer space. She hit with a purpose and my head was the target. Every time.

Sarah was a tad more restrained, but not by much. Aaron and Alaynah got into the mix pretty deep too. Annah, she was just Annah, all over the place hitting everything. But it was still cool because there were many times that they all attacked me. It was awesome.

In all we battled hard for about 30 minutes. In the end we were all exhausted, warm, breathing heavy and in desperate need of rest. Which worked out good since it was just about bed time. And was it ever a quiet, fight-free bed time.

Now if I could just make my body not hurt so bad that would be top class. Has anyone seen my right ear? Bekah hit it so hard last night I think it ended up in my neighbors yard.

Waking up like a married man

Every good morning starts with a last night. And my last night was pretty awesome.

If you read about my yesterday you know that last night my wife and I had a date. We attended the wedding of a mutual friend of ours (without our kids even) and the subsequent reception. And we had a blast.

Sandi was a knock out last night, with the gray silver, white and black dress she wore and her black leather boots. She also wore some very complimentary jewelry and she did her make in that “Rooowwwr” kind of way. She was stunning.

We sat in the reception hall for a while as the wedding party took there pictures. I had a beer and a glass of wine, then moved quickly to my regimen of Coca Cola and waters. The wedding party seemed to take forever to finish up the pictures which meant that we had an unusually long time to wait for dinner. But that was offset nicely by our tablemates, the lovely Norma, Roda and Katie and Katie’s man Larry. We talked, laughed, drank, talked more then finally were able to watch the wedding party come in.

By the time the wedding party actually made it to the reception I was ready to eat the legs off my table. But I handled my hunger well and by the time 9:30 rolled around and we were able to eat dinner I ate up like a dog, going back for seconds and thirds from the wonderful buffet that was served. After filling up on all those calories it seemed only logical that we should work to burn those calories. Apparently the wedding planner thought the same thing and turned on the disco.

Dancing has never been one of my favorite things to do. But when you are a man paired up with a woman that looked as hot as my wife did last night then you dance. Plain and simple. And I danced. Unfortunately the evening was late all around because of the start time of the wedding – it was supposed to start at 6:30 but didn’t really start until around 7 – and the wedding party photos, so after just a little dancing it was just about time for us to head out. Which we did at about midnight.

Now comes my favorite part of the whole experience. We went to bed. Together. In the same bed. Isn’t that exciting? And the even better part? I got to woke up next my bride. How awesome is that. It was the best cap to a very good night.

I almost wish all weekends were like this one.

Picking up where we left off last night

I should have known it would start this way, with the noise and the “I’m hungry” and the “Did not!” and the “Did too!”. Seems as though almost all day-afters are the same. The thing that made this morning a little different I think was the sheer volume of what had to be done today to make today work.

First, and probably the most difficult, thing of the day was actually waking up. After last night just the thought of getting out of bed this morning was daunting. Then the thought of a living room that was beat to hell seemed to add to the stack. Throw in the fact that we needed to leave early this morning for the festivities of the day AND that I had to feed this army of a sleepover and it is easy to see that I was not looking forward to being awake at any point today (except for the fun stuff that is).

After coming to grips with what the day had in store for us I decided it was time to handle the feeding of the flock. And what better way to do that than with some eggs. But how many should I cook for eight girls, my son, my wife and I? This is what I calculated:

2 dozen eggs
2 dozen eggs ought to do it

Yep, you counted right. 24 eggs. Two dozen of them. That is a lot of eggs (don’t be fooled though, we go through 14 just in my family alone). Alas, I even needed to haul out the big bowl to harness all of them things.

2 dozen eggs in a bowl... the big bowl
2 dozen eggs in a bowl... the big bowl

So I scrambled up those eggs after beating them something fierce and was able to serve up the eggs and toast in just enough time to get us out of the house almost an hour late. Fortunately for us the hour late was made better by the fact that the people that were going to be there when we eventually end up there were also late making the beginning to our festivities better.

Where is there? There is here, the Malibu Grand Prix and Castle. Bekah wanted to drive go carts for her birthday so we hit up the go carts, bumper boats and mini golf for the day. The reason we wanted to be there early was because a group of 25 was scheduled for a party immediately after ours. Like I said though, they were late too so we actually had the track almost entirely to ourselves for the duration of the driving. I was blessed to be able to take my daughter Adriannah on two laps and a friend of my daughter Rebekah’s on two laps (which means I got four laps baby, yeah!).

After the driving was the bumper boating which was a blast. Sandi took Alaynah on the bumper boats and had great big water battles with all of the other kids. She was soaked, they were soaked, it was a big old soakfest. Which was good because the sun was starting to peak and it was getting hot. Not to mention that fact that were about to embark on hitting the greens with eleven of us, count it, eleven of us playing.

Golf did not go as well as the rest of the day did. It was nice that we made it through about five holes, after which kids started dropping off like flies. By the sixteenth we had five playing and Alaynah wasn’t even hitting her ball anymore, she was walking it up to the hole and dropping it in. It was hot, there was no shade and we had killed all of our water by the fourth hole. Crap.

The nice thing though was that we hit the arcade soon after that. The arcade is air conditioned and for the most part devoid of life as we know it. We were the only people on the place for a while until a few other people decided to crash the joint. By then though we were out of tokens and just basically playing on the various sit down games. Not playing the games, playing on them.

We managed to leave the place after only about four hours which was truly just about all I could stand of it. It was hot, I was tired and the kids were cranky from not sleeping enough last night. At the end of the day (the play day that is) we all needed a little R&R. Which is what we are having. Right now.

Fun with PHP

Every now and again someone writes a line or two of code that really makes me smile. Such is the case with this outcome determinating and decision making class below. This code is being reproduced, with or without consent, from the PHP Developers Network‘s own scottayy.

<?php
/**
 * Coin flipper class helps determine outcome of situations in which an outcome
 * cannot be decided by sheer manpower alone.
 * 
 * @author Scott Martin <scottayy@devnetwork.net>
 * @license None, don't even try to use this or your hair will turn yellow
 */
class coin {
	/**
	 * The outcome determinators
	 * 
	 * Each invocation of this object will require a determinator upon which the
	 * object relies to build a determined outcome. These are those determinators.
	 * 
	 * @access private
	 * @var array
	 */
	private static $_sides = array('heads', 'tails');
 
	/**
	 * The determinating method
	 * 
	 * This method, when called, invokes a determination sequence and returns a
	 * determined value for use in decision making.
	 * 
	 * @access public
	 * @return string Randomly selected determinator
	 */
	public static function flip() {
		// Quick, randomize me some determinators
		shuffle(self::$_sides);
 
		// Quick, offer it back before it gets angry
		return self::$_sides[mt_rand(0, 1)];
	}
}
 
/**
 * We should always test our determinating decision establisher
 *
 * 2,4,6,8 You know you want to determinate
 */
echo coin::flip();
?>

For those that just have to have an object to instantiate (and you know who you are), there is this lightly modified version for your obsessive/compulsive selves:

<?php
/**
 * Coin flipper class helps determine outcome of situations in which an outcome
 * cannot be decided by shear manpower alone.
 * 
 * @author Scott Martin <scottayy@devnetwork.net>
 * @license None, don't even try to use this or your hair will turn yellow
 */
class coin {
	/**
	 * The outcome determinators
	 * 
	 * Each invocation of this object will require a determinator upon which the
	 * object relies to build a determined outcome. These are those determinators.
	 * 
	 * @access private
	 * @var array
	 */
	private $_sides = array('heads', 'tails');
 
	/**
	 * The determinating method
	 * 
	 * This method, when called, invokes a determination sequence and returns a
	 * determined value for use in decision making.
	 * 
	 * @access public
	 * @return string Randomly selected determinator
	 */
	public function flip() {
		// Quick, randomize me some determinators
		shuffle($this->_sides);
 
		// Quick, offer it back before it gets angry
		return $this->_sides[mt_rand(0, 1)];
	}
}
 
/**
 * We should always test our determinating decision establisher
 */
$coin = new coin;
 
/**
 * 2,4,6,8 You know you want to determinate
 */
echo $coin->flip();
?>

See, just looking at that code makes you want to smile doesn’t it? Geeks are great.

Like 4th of July from years past

Yesterday was one of the best fourth of July celebrations I have ever experienced. That is a bold statement since I have experienced a good many Independence Day celebrations. But few have come close the massive family gathering we had yesterday.

I was invited early in the day to my brother’s house for festivities for the evening. There was to be a barbecue, fireworks, children… all sorts of stuff that makes a fourth of July party really cool for everyone involved. There were kids, food, drinks, family, fireworks, laughter… I mean, it has been a while since I have experienced that.

The best part of all of it was that I got to hang with my family for a good while. My kids did, too. Plus we were all able to eat good, drink a little (I stress a little – half a Heineken and a small glass of wine) and play with fireworks. And while I cannot legally say that there were fireworks generally prohibited by the city of Newark, I can say that those fireworks that we did have were freaking exceptional.

The coup de gras came at the end of the night when the old younger boys lit off three magnificent fireworks that gave the entire block a show they would not forget. It was so cool that the Newark Police stopped by the neighborhood to get a peak. Unfortunately for them the show had just ended. Maybe next year guys.

All in all it was a wonderful night. A few hours out of the house spent with family and having fun… I couldn’t ask for anything else.

Except my wife to be with me. But maybe she will be healthy enough to come next year.

Finding things to do with your children outside the home

One of the most challenging aspects of parenting, in my opinion, is occupying your children with cool experiences that enrich them and you while at the same time building the parent/child bond that is so necessary in our families of today. For the past few years I have made it a point to get my kids out as much as possible, taking them to places like Tilden Park, the Lindsey Wildlife Museum, the Oakland Zoo, the Tech Museum of Innovation and a few others. I think it is important to get them out of the house while allowing them to experience things they enjoy and letting them learn at the same time.

In keeping with the theme this week, I am continually challenged to find things to do with the kids that will meet all of the things I want for them but still allow me to take care of them and the house as needed. With weekends being so short nowadays I am finding that my free time to take outings with the kids has been dramatically reduced in favor of cleaning the house and other domestic chores that are absolutely necessary to keeping our house running at least somewhat smoothly. Which brings me to my next question.

At what point do you forgo domestic duties to enjoy time with your family? I have always been of the mindset that family comes first. But I can see how that undermined my wife’s attempt at order in the house are when I look at how terribly behind I get when I take the kids out when I should be home handling home related business. And the more I do this the more worn out I get, which leads me to cut back on some of this and spend more time at home, which ends up in me feeling guilty that I am damaging my kids by not getting them out of the house more.

Is there a way to have the best of both worlds? I want a clean and orderly home. I want a haven for my children to be able to live, grow, learn and experience in. But I also want for my children to be able to experience life beyond the borders of our front and back yards. I want my kids to not just read about stuff but to be able to experience them and learn firsthand what the thing they are learning is really all about.

To that end I have though that there are things we can do that will not require a whole lot of time outside of the home but will still allow for a fun experience for all of us. Some of the things I am thinking are:

Of course we cannot always do everything around cleaning the house, right? At least that is what I am aiming for. Some of the other things that I have thought about that might require a little more time outside of the house, but would be incredibly fun:

Now my only contention is with how I go about doing all of these things with a sick wife at home and a home that needs desperate maintenance almost every day. But I suppose that is why I write. Because I so do not have all the answers. In fact, I don’t think I have any answers. I just have a strong desire to take care of my family and provide for them as best I can.