Of Lawn Mowing and Panera

Mowing the lawn sucks. There, now you know my feelings on the green stuff that grows in front of our house. Don’t get me wrong, I love looking at a freshly mowed lawn, and the smell is what I spend half the winter looking forward to. But the actual act of mowing is a pain in the ass. So guess what I did when I got home today?

I guess it wouldn’t suck so bad if the bagger on our mower would actually work. Every time I mow, I have this great hope that when I’m done, the bags on the back of my expensive piece of machinery will actually be full of lush, recently cut blades of green awesomeness. Every time I’m disappointed and left raking.

After some extensive research (okay, Googling) while in the bathroom at work, I found a few things to fix the overpriced machine. So I went home excited today, quickly pulling out my mower when I got home. I put it on the mower lift, dug my hand underneath the deck and began peeling away the years of caked on grass. I couldn’t feel the grass with my gloves on, so I took them off and promptly started cutting up my hands on the blade. Through the blood and dirt I got most of the deck cleared away. I pried the bagger attachment back onto the deck and cried out in victory. For some reason the neighbors immediately went inside and closed their windows. I pulled the mower off the lift, engaged the blade and…

Damn thing still doesn’t pick up any grass. On the plus side, my Lillies are looking fantastic!


A long afternoon of mowing lawns does make one hungry. My wife bought Panera and we used their awesome delivery service. If you haven’t used it before, you should try it out. Just don’t think it’s going to be delivered on time. Or warm.

Here’s how it works. You open their app, find what you want to eat. Find something else you may want to eat, because what you really want is “Not Available at this Time”. You enter your credit card number and submit your order. A few minutes later, you get a call saying “I’m sorry, that brownie your husband wanted after a long day of work and mowing/weed whacking the lawn is not available at this time. Can I interest you in a raisin soy cookie?”. You then get an e-mail saying your food will be at your door between 6:35 and 6:45 (it’s about 6:00 when you place the order). As an added bonus, you can now be notified when your food is on its way. Yaay!!

And then the wait begins… It gets closer to the time the food is supposed to get to your home and you still haven’t heard anything. You obsessively look at your phone, just knowing that eventually the text will come through. It’s 6:47. They’re two minutes late. 6:50. What the hell?

Finally, the text comes! Your delivery is on its way! The food has left the restaurant. It’s in a car and you can track it. Thank you, Panera app!

So you track your food. Only seven minutes until it arrives. Hell yes, only 12 minutes later than it was supposed to get there (at the latest). You’re giddy. You check the driver’s progress… as they drive the opposite direction from your home. The time, which originally said seven minutes, is now 15 minutes. What. The actual. Fuck.

The obsession is greater. You’re watching the map more intensely, watching the little Panera package driving further away from our home. You stare at it, willing it to move closer. Eventually the package starts driving the correct way… and then turns down a completely different side road. ARGH! The time ticks away. Back down to seven minutes. Finally three minutes… and zero! Your food is here, the app tells you. Two minutes later, the doorbell rings. The driver is apologetic. Your family is hungry. It’s been over an hour since you ordered your food. The restaurant is only two miles down the damn road.

Whatever, I made my own thing for dinner. Who’s up for some good old fashioned Mac & Cheese with seasoned pork?!?


Mac & Cheese, ground pork marinated in Worcestershire sauce and ground black pepper

I’d do one of those “Mmmm Delicious” videos, but let’s face it, this is a blog that makes no money and I have two kids, so there’s no time-lapse camera rig in my future.

My food was great, the kids were eventually happy, we choked down our raisin soy cookies and all was right with the world. I even read my oldest son one of his newer books. He loved it, because Fly Guy is awesome. He loved it so much that, as we went to sleep, he gently said “Daddy, I want mommy. I’m afraid of fires”. Ahh yes, another winning bedtime for dad!


Fly Guy is an awesome series. Highly recommend for kids!

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Just hit 70k

It’s the simple things in life that amuse me. That’s probably why, when I turned on my car this afternoon, I spent the next five minutes trying to get this picture:


Yes, I spent five minutes trying to get a picture of my odometer. To be fair, the lighting was terrible and all you could see was the glare of the sun. I had to skillfully put my hand over the lens of my phone’s camera, which blocked the light but resulted in my sticking my ass out the car door like a complete jackass. What’s worse is that, when I sat in my car, I found that having closed the door took care of my lighting issue altogether. Dammit. Hopefully the others in the parking ramp got a good view.

What matters is that I have finally hit 70,000 miles in my car. I should probably get an oil change at one point, but that’s for another day. My favorite part of the whole thing is that we decided to buy our car rather than lease because we thought we would put too many miles on the thing. After six years I’ve come to one truth… We could have leased, had the perfect amount of miles, and probably saved a hundred bucks a month. ARGH!!

Anyway, on a positive note, my family enjoyed the meal I made for them this evening. My youngest loved it so much that he shared it with the table. And the chair. The floor, too. Pretty sure the dog got a good helping. My oldest, on the other hand, decided to bring his up for a second helping. Mmmm, lovely.

At least I’m ending the night on a high note. A Wild Cherry slushy from an unnamed gas station (yes, you can see the name in the picture, blah blah blah) and watching last night’s episode of Nat Geo’s Genius.


Wild Cherry: The only way to fly…

I’ve got to be honest, Einstein may have been a genius, but he could be something of a dick when it came to his wife. Maybe that’s just because I’m a more awesome husband. And father. Sure I suck at math and my best scientific experiment was accidentally growing a pair of eyes on an old block of cheese, but still… #Awesome.

Don’t forget to visit and like my Facebook page!!

Bringing Joy to our Home

There’s a certain joy I get in life by playing with my kids. Equally so, there’s a great deal of joy to be had by terrorizing my poor wife.

Take today, for example. My loving wife was getting ready for her yearly awards ceremony and had her clothes draped over the door. While she was in the bathroom, I stealthily crept up to her clothes and hid a small rubber snake in the collar, tucked under one of her scarves. Running to one of the other rooms, I waited for the eventual carnage.

The thing to understand about my wife is that she has this natural instinct to know when I’m doing something stupid. She then takes her time getting to whatever trap I’ve set for her. Needless to say, it took about 10 minutes for the “AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!”, followed quickly by “you son of a…”.

My boys absolutely loved it and couldn’t stop laughing, while my wife was clutching a paper bag in her hand, breathing heavily. The next 20 minutes were spent with the boys chasing her with their stuffed animal snakes and trying to continually scare her.

Sure, it got old after a while, but once she finds the next hidden snake it’s going to be funny as hell. Unless she screams so loud she wakes the neighborhood, that might make for a tricky night…

On another note, I have a new Facebook page to share with the world. Come find and like my page https://www.facebook.com/OpiningPenguin!

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