Category Archives: Family News

You can “Dresser” up, but you can’t take her out

Have you ever just decided that you just finally had it?  You are sitting there, just so fed up with this shit that it’s like bile rising in your throat.  There’s no way you can take it any longer, you are compelled to do something about it.  If you don’t do something, you might even scream your head off?  Yeah.  Nikki apparently had happen that today.  Well, that’s the only explanation I can come up with, anyway.

I’m sitting in the office at home, working away (in case anyone from work reads this, although the chances of that are slim based on my blog stats), when I hear something like the following from way down the hall in the living room.

Nikki: “Yes?  Oh, yes, sure.  It’s quite old.  Yes, the drawers come out.  It needs a little fixing, the leg is a little separated.”

At this point, I’m starting to clue into what is happening, and I start to listen a little more intently.

Nikki:  “…you can come today and have a look.  Oh sure, how about $50?  Sounds good!   See you then.”

At which point I squawked from the office:  IT’S STILL GOT MY CLOTHES IN IT!

Yeah, Nikki sold my dresser today without really informing me that it would happen.  She laughed pretty hard at that point.

Farewell, old boy.
Farewell, old boy.

Aaand it’s gone.  Before I could type 200 words about it.  I’m now living out of a garbage bag, people.

Where are my damn peanuts?



Where are my peanuts?
Where are my damn peanuts?

On a side note, I am about three weeks away from becoming a crazy person who basically only lives for the birds that are in the backyard.  Awesome.  On the plus side, I did shower and get dressed today.

** Update:  Yes, I did manage to note that this was a squirrel, and not a bird.  The blue jay did not remain long enough for a picture.  I am also not a monster, peanuts were provided, witness:

Happy now?
Happy now?

And finally, this is why we can’t have nice things.

I'm blaming somebody for this one....
I’m blaming somebody for this one….

Limber Shaming – It needs to stop

I feel compelled today to tell you about something that happened to me recently.  I should say “again” since I have experienced this over and over again my entire life.  I’m finally mature enough, and strong enough to talk about it.  We’re here to talk about limber shaming, folks.  It’s very real.

In grade school I took Tae Kwon Do for several years, got my red belt even (this is a lot of Tae Kwon Do for a 6, 7, 8th grader).  Like any martial art, there’s a tremendous amount of kicking, and stretching.  Despite all of that practice, even gifted with youth, the best I was able to do was to really kick the crap out of somebody’s shins.  I just wasn’t flexible enough to manage a kick above my own waist.

I have long since resigned myself that touching of toes is just not for me.  The children’s song “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” is actually “Head, Shoulders, Knees and lower shins” for me.

I like to think of my challenges as more of a gift.  After all, my hamstrings are obviously much stronger (although half the length they should be) than most.  Maybe they were installed sideways, I will never know.

Needless to say the passage of time has not been kind to my flexibility.  Through a twisted and perverse fate, I happened to marry a wonderful woman who does not even have ligaments.  Nikki has the flexibility of an octopus, and never skips an opportunity to laugh and tease me when she notices how stiff I am.  This kind of shaming is the worst.  From time to time when she is bored she will arrange for me to do a yoga class with her and Lockrey.  I can easily hear their snickers and snorts over my own labored breathing as we do even the most basic of yoga poses.  I can do yoga no problem, but my repertoire is limited to the “sweaty two by four”, the “sideways two by four” and the “downward facing slightly warped two by four”.  Maybe one day her freakish flexibility will extend to her heart so she can really understand the struggles of the stiff <sniff>.

I have passed on my gifts to my sons, who sadly are doomed to stiffly clatter through life with me.  It’s very telling that Cael just said today:  “One day I will save my money and buy a long shoe horn so I can put on my shoes more easily.”

Weep for the Vallentyne children, people….  Think of us as Vallentyne Tin Men.  But of course, we already have very very sad hearts.  Just no hamstrings.

Me touching my toes
Me touching my toes


User Interface Design?

We have a relatively new dishwasher.  It’s very nice, and has a cool display that tells you what’s going on, it’s the only visible control when it’s closed. For instance when it starts the cycle, it tells you that now is a fine time to add that glass you just finished drinking from, and no, you didn’t miss anything yet in terms of washing awesomeness.

Or at least, that’s what it’s trying to do.  It has a fatal user interface flaw that prevented this from happening one memorable time.

Nikki’s Mom and Dad were over watching the boys for us one weekend while we were away, and decided (rather uncharacteristically) that they would run the dishwasher.  The boys helped out, they loaded everything up, and the boys helped to put the soap packet thing in.  They even pushed the right button (a very good choice in user interface) called Start.

The dishwasher then starts to make a few muted sounds, there’s a bit of water running, etc.  On the display, a somewhat tentative pair of grandparents and two young boys looked and saw this:

Add a dish

They looked at each other, and came to the only sensible conclusion:  they must not have put enough dishes into the dishwasher.  “Add a dish” the display says in ominous red.

Needless to say they opened the dishwasher and added a dish, whatever was close at hand, maybe something not yet ready for the wash yet, but hey.  Restart the cycle, close the door, and there it was:

Add a dish

The next logical thing was, we must not have added the right dish.  That’s a bit of a poser of a problem, because at some point they start to wonder how in the hell does the dishwasher know what dishes are in there?  Nevertheless, they gamely try to figure out what dish is missing, what is the special dish the dishwasher needs to run?

You might have figured out that the fatal flaw of this interface is essentially summed up as lacking a single question mark.  If that glowing red message said “Add a Dish?” there would have been no question in anyone’s mind that it was indeed optional, and poor Paul and Darlene would not have stuffed the dishwasher full of every darn dish in the house in an effort to satisfy the implacable smug machine.