Monday, March 30, 2009


My car needed to be inspected by the end of the month so I would not accrue a tax, er, I mean "fine", but I needed new tires since they probably wouldn't pass inspection.

I did what Kate did for her car a few years ago, bought them online and have them shipped to the house then have them installed by a qualified mechanic so they are balanced correctly and wear evenly. This whole exercise is supposed to save a few dollars since there is a big mark-up when you get them from a tire specialist such as JustTires.

I got my tires online from and paid $113 per tire. These were (Michelin Latitude Tour [235/70R16]) decent tires that were rated high for rain, run smooth and wear well.

I took them to JustTires in Fairfax City and waited for about ten minutes just to speak with the salesman. The guy said they could do it, but to leave the car, they would get to it by 4pm. This is a Sunday at 10am. There were two customers sitting in the waiting area. I asked why it would take that long and why couldn't I wait and he said that since I hadn't bought the tires there, they would install them at their leisure. People who don't buy their tires there go to the bottom of the priority list when it comes to installation.

This didn't seem fair; they sell a product and they provide a service. When the customer only chooses to use their service they are treated in this manner?

Fine. I decided to take my business elsewhere. I went to Merchant's Tire and Auto Center, about a half a mile away. They installed my tires, did an alignment and the state inspection as well. They did it with no waiting, in less than an hour and it cost much less than what JustTires wanted to charge.

I decided that maybe I was being rash, I mean maybe JustTires cost less, maybe I was missing something since I never even asked how much their tires cost. So I went in the next day and gave a different guy the specs on my tires. He quoted me $170 a tire, about $680 total for the four tires, plus another $100 for installation.

Remember, I paid only $113 per tire at The installation at Merchant's was only $58, so I had enough money left over to get a full alignment ($100), the State inspection and still had $115 left over - and I didn't have to wait. Thanks JustTires, if your policy was any less rational, I wouldn't have saved all this money.

The kicker to all this is my last name is Goodyear.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy Sixth, Meghan!

Went over to the O'Briens last Sunday and had cake and ice cream to celebrate Meghan's sixth birthday. Ally had some Girl Scout cookies so we picked up a few boxes of those while we were visiting. The no-sugar chocolate chip cookies are goooood. They are new for this year. Try them.

Good to see all the O'Briens, its been since before Christmas. We all live such hectic lives its hard to schedule some time out to see all the family.

Meghan and her presents.

The Sisters OBrien

An awesome Tinkerbell cake.

The Wish. (more cake?)

Welcome, Nathan

My friend James and his wife had their first baby about three weeks ago. Nathan (or Nate) arrived on a Sunday. We had a baby shower at work for them that Friday and she wasn't due until the 17th, so he arrived early. At the shower, one of the trivia questions answers was how many kids arrive on their expected date and it was 2%.

James is taking time off to be with his new addition and I decided to stop by and see him last week for lunch. Ciarra, his wife and her father was there. Ciarra's father is the one holding the baby, his first grandchild, in the pictures.

I only visited a few minutes and made sure they know if they need anything to call. I know how it is those first few weeks of sleep deprivation. Still wouldn't mind having another. Jack could use a baby sister or brother.

Look at that kids hair. I am sooo jealous.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The "Bleh-Bleh" song

We listened to this for ten miles while driving to Lowe's (to get a new rug) on Sunday, couldn't get him off of it. So now I pass it on to you, its very catchy.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The First Krokus

As is my annual spring tradition, I usually take a picture of the first Krokus that blooms in my yard. This time last week we had 8 inches of snow. A week later it is 65 degrees and the Krokus flowers are blooming.

Clemenjontri Park

Since it was such a balmy weekend we went to the park, but not just any park. We went to Cleminjontri Park, which is built especially for handicapped and disabled kids access as well as other kids. The seats are wider, the spaces are more open, the playground stuff is made with an eye towards all kids being able to use the facility. The park land was donated by a wealthy citizen who only requested that the facility be open to all kinds of kids, no matter their physical limitations. The park is a spectacular example of a private/civic partnership. The name is a mixture of all the names of the kids of the person that donated the land.

We met Aunt Lisa, Joe and Beckett there at about 10am and got one of the last parking spaces available before overflow parking opened. The boys had lots of room to run around and discover all the stuff at that park, it was really amazing. There is a carousel in the middle of the park, but it wasn't running since its still early March.

Jack liked to run on the track, he must have run back and forth about 30 times, didn't care of he won or not, just liked the feeling of running and crossing the finish line. I ran a few times with him and he wore me out. He can run just fast enough so that you have to break out into a jog or do a fast walk, which is not a good look.

Beckett and Joe meandered about and probably went to only 50% of the stuff that was available at the park. Joe liked anything with a wheel on it, turned it and turned it. He was turning the wheel on the school bus when another kid a third his age got on the bus, nudged him and then tried to take the wheel. His father intervened and tried to get him away, but this kid had super-strength and super-determination. The funny thing is that the other wheel was wide open and the father was trying desperately trying to get him to hold on to that wheel, but he wanted to turn Joe's wheel. Hilarious to watch cause Joe didn't back down and that other kid was just so determined to use THAT wheel. Hardest-headed kid I have ever seen, with the exception of myself.

There was a maze and the boys liked to go through that. Jack figured out that you could crawl under the dividers if you squeezed low enough and took advantage of that. I lost track of him for a minute because there were so many kids at this park. There must have been 300 kids there and one and a half parent for each kid. All armed with cameras and a coffee in the other hand. If I hear one more "Dylan, Ashley, Harley or other pretentious kids name I am going to snap.

Beckett misbehaved and was thrown on "kid jail". His stay was short (haha), but he is now out on good behavior and is trying to mainstream himself back into society. He is in counseling and house arrest to keep him off the bottle (literally).

I caught a nice moment between Joe and Beckett and got it on my camera. Lisa was so happy because she doesn't have a decent picture of them together. I got Joe to put his arm around his brother and look happy about it. This is the picture I snapped a few seconds later. I will call this one, "Frick and Frack".

Here is the "keeper" photo of the brothers McDonald:

Here are some other pictures from the day:

Beckett in the Railroad tunnel

Beckett taking his turn

Cheesy Grin

Jacks House

The end of the maze

Plenty of stuff to pull, poke, turn and twist.

Ready to Race, again.

Jack Running

Jack on one of the "bikes"

Joe at the wheel

The Monster

Jack started this new thing where he "freezes up" when he hears about, The Monster". I have no idea what the monster is, but he is always ready to battle it because he will grab a plastic golf club and arm me with one so we can defend ourselves. (No, I have not been drinking)

This is one of those little games that kids come up with where they pretend there is something scary and they get to control the game, like a story, but usually there is no ending, its just you and your son holding plastic golf clubs and Mom walks in the door and you look like a complete buffoon for going along with this cockamamie game cause now your wife just thinks your weird. That kind of game. Maybe the boy is just trying to make me look like an idiot. I don't need my son to make myself look like an idiot.

I asked him about the monster and recorded it so you can see he kind of gets all excited and does this weird shake. Very entertaining stuff.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sit, BooBoo, Sit!

Labs Will Eat Anything

Snow Day

It snowed about 7 or 8 inches here Sunday night/Monday morning. Kate's work closed, but mine was on "unscheduled leave", formerly known as "liberal leave", but I guess everything has political connotations so the name was changed. The end result is that I took the day off instead of risking the life of my child and myself just to go to work. It was cooooold and we had some wind whipping up some snow every once in a while, too.

This is nothing compared to those Oklahoma winters, but up here in "Warshington DC" as they say in that part of the country, its a big deal.

We went out in the morning and took a quick trip down to the old Seven-Eleven to get a donut and a cheap snow shovel. We let Jack pick the color and he chose blue. It was $15, but it folds up so you can carry it in your car easily and that is what I needed. We played out back for a few minutes as well and then went inside for some cocoa. Kate makes it from scratch, not the kind from the pouch and its good stuff.

Jack doesn't have any snow boots, so we wrapped his feet in plastic grocery bags and taped them up. Since this is only the second time he's been in the snow this year, I figure we saved about $30. We will probably break down and get him some next year, he just grows so fast and it doesn't snow that much here.

Later in the afternoon, we went out again and I cleared off the two cars, which took me 45 minutes since there was a good amount of ice underneath all that snow. Made it much easier to get going this morning, I would have been 30 minutes late if I hadn't.

Jack tried to get in on the act by shoveling the driveway. He did it three times and was done. I guess it just wasn't as much fun as he thought it looked. Kate did well, she loves the snow and loves to watch Jack play in it. She took most of the pictures.

Happy Trails

Jack and Johnny


Happy Dog


Kate and Jack

Holding a Shovel at the 7-11


Can I be finished now?