Screwed

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One of my sorted containers of screws, nuts, bolts, and nails just fell. Fml.

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10:14 pm Fixed. At least it looks more organized now.

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my second favorite coffee cup on a rainy Sunday

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my second favorite cup that I got at an industry event years ago

So the weather is crap today. My son never held up his end of the contract yesterday, so the prize is gone and he now has to clean his room top to bottom without any reward. So the weather kind of works out in my favor. Anytime there’s nice weather, The Wife and I push the kids outside to play, ride their bikes, play with their friends next door, etc. Not today it seems. 

The weather in the northeast was especially brutal this year. Our kids don’t mind the cold and they love the snow. But sub zero temperatures and crazy negative wind chills are NOT good for them to play in. I’m sure you all can sympathize with cabin fever. On top of that, school was cancelled so many days because of the brutal cold or the bad storms we got nailed with. 6″ of snow is not a blizzard nor a bad storm, that’s a nice snowfall. 12+” with ice in the mix, not the fun stuff you would want to play in. So they were stuck home, can’t go outside, and the inside of the house routinely ended up looking like the movie Twister. A winter like this really tests your parental patience. We made the best of it, though. Bring on the spring!

Not my morning cup and a messy 10 year old

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So quick recap, I shaved with the razor again and it worked just fine. So I got 4 solid shaves out of the DSC first cartridge. Woot! Next, a little about the munchkins. I cut a deal with Stinky, my 10 yr old son. Like any, he hates cleaning his room. So, in the spirit of him taking everything so LITERAL, I wrote a contract. He was to spend his Saturday fixing the disaster that is his room in exchange for a reward since punishing him didnt work. He’s got that defiant streak down to a science, and my patience is thin, working 12 hour days currently. I figured, what the heck, give him some positive motivation. We drew up a very uncomplicated contract that we both signed. If his room was cleaned today (Saturday) he would earn this particular reward. $10. And he could spend it on anything (not the usual ‘save your money’ we instill on our kids). It was money for him to burn and he was genuinely excited. Yet…here we are, dinner time, and he hasn’t started. He wasted the day. But you know what? I didn’t fail as a parent. He will learn. Now he doesn’t have the reward he was seeking. Come tomorrow, it’s back to regulation. Cleaning his room is his responsibility. I gave him a shot to prove he is willing to work towards something he wanted, even though it was part of his regular chores. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t slave my kids. He helps set the table every night, feed the fish, bring his dirty laundry downstairs so The Wife and I can wash it, he puts his clean clothes away, and does his homework. Cleaning his room is regular upkeep. I was testing him to see if he really wanted this. It started because he wants a friend over to play. I’m sorry, but I was raised that if your room (or house for that matter) was a mess, you didn’t have company over. It’s embarrassing. I want to instill these values in him to help him stay organized and not live a life of chaos. So he failed the test. That’s alright. When tomorrow comes, it will be back to normal and he will face the consequences. And he knows it. I havent been on his six about doing it today but I casually reminded him of the contract. He keeps procrastinating and deflecting. Well, all part of it. Another page in a chapter of parenthood! We will see what tomorrow brings.
Makes me laugh, too, because squishy, my 17 month old, is on a pick up everything off the floor and give to daddy kick. She’s doing her part to clean up. It’s adorable. And kinda cool. For once it’s the young teaching the not so young how it’s done, haha.

Razor test parts 2&3

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So I had two more shaves with razor #1 from Dollar Shave Club. Shave 2 went on without a hitch and no nicks. Worked flawlessly. Shave 3 took more effort. I definitely noticed the difference in sharpness and smoothness of the shaving process. Next shave I might start using blade #2. I’m going to try to have the blades last the entire month as advertised. I still got a nice smooth shave on go #3 but it took considerably longer with multiple passes. I think what I’ll do is start with the same blade and if it gets unbearable I’ll switch on to the next fresh blade. Again this is a torture test as I have very thick coarse facial hair that grows pretty quick. So if it survives my face, the average dad or guy will probably benefit from only paying $6 a month for razors versus triple that. Oh, and I apologize for not putting a disclaimer. I am NOT paid by ANYONE to do this. I wanted to give it a shot on my own and just review it personally for a month or more. Hopefully enlighten a few of you out there. God knows us dads need to work smart, not hard, and have as few worries as possible. The convienence of getting a pack of razors in the mail is awesome though. One less thing to forget, haha.

Asking the right questions. The BANE of my existence.

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Late St. Paddy’s Day morning to ya. Mushy is sick, so she’s home with me while I’m working. The Wife took Squishy with her to go help a friend with her crafting business, and Stinky begrudgingly went to school. It was his birthday this weekend, so I think he partied too hard and forgot that Monday, even though it’s St. Paddy’s and we’re a good chunk Irish ethnically, he still has to go suffer through standardized testing for the week. Ugh. 

So as I’m plugged back into work for the week. I had a spirited email exchange with a client. My work is very technically involved, being in the Civil Engineering & Construction industry. It’s taken four emails back and forth now to find out what the guy is really after. In Heavy Civil Construction, there is a LOT of specifications, requirements, design changes, et cetera, especially when it deals with load bearing elements installed underground, where you can’t actually see what’s going on. Fun times, right? So it’s very important for someone to ask the right question if they need a specific answer. Here’s how it started:

I put together a preliminary engineered design for the client, based on what he sent me. There’s two different ways we can make the materials resistant to corrosion. One way is more expensive, takes longer, and actually doesn’t work too well with the material, so we generally don’t recommend it, but in the case of this project, it was required by the Engineer of Record. The second method is the same coating applied differently and actually is less expensive, shorter lead-time, and works much better. I offered both. Fast forward three months, and the job is back. In the past three months, we attempted (on another project) to use the Pain In The @$$ way of coating, and we lost a lot of money on the project, and it cost the client extra to get it to work. We’ve basically swore off of using that method. I explained this to my current client. A week later, he re-forwards some of my comments on the first part of the project, but not asking me exactly what he was after. My comments enveloped five separate parts of the project. I incorrectly assumed he was once again talking about the coating. Wrong. So my first email back to him, although correct, was not what he was after. So I then moved on to the actual engineered loads on the project. This time that was only part of what he wanted. Next I moved on to how to actually drill into the ground with the right bit, and reissued an estimate. Now my phone rang while attending to the puking child. Can’t wait to see where I’m wrong now, haha.

This illustrates a failure on both our ends. I failed to ask him exactly what he was after, and he failed to tell me what he wanted. Reflecting back on this, it’s fairly obvious that this happens in all aspects of life. Human beings assume too much. I see it in my relationship with The Wife, and with the kids sometimes, too. Problem with kids is, they will think something in their heads, and never actually say it. Wait…adults do that, too! Teaching the kids to speak their minds is a difficult task, especially when they encounter situations in school where they may be bullied for speaking their minds, or end up being victimized for voicing their opinions. If the child is sensitive, they end up shutting down out of fear of rejection or admonishment. I see it with Stinky a lot. He’s not the popular kid. He’s a little over weight, wears glasses, and has red hair. Plus he doesn’t play multi-player online first person shooters or gory games that other 4th graders play. Just not happening in my house. At 9 and 10 yrs old they should still be fascinated with pokemon, super mario, and fun stuff, not controlling a character armed with an M243 SAW, grenades, Ka-Bar, and a penchant for killing terrorists. With how cruel kids are these days, that’s textbook for getting picked on. So unfortunately this leads to confrontations at home. He’ll think about something, assume he’s told us, and then last minute he’ll ask about something, and it’ll be the first time we’ve heard about it. Even though we are very active parents, we ask him how his day was, anything new, check his folders from school, and routinely follow school communications. Stuff falls through the cracks. And he gets very upset at the fact that 830 PM the day before he is suddenly unprepared for whatever is coming the next day. I am trying my darndest to get him to realize that he needs to be better organized and prepared and learn to actually take notes in class. His homework assignment book? Less than a sentence blurb on what he’s supposed to do that evening. This has led to battles over what he’s actually supposed to do for his assignment. Yikes. 

To put a bow on this surface scratch, it is crucial in communication to ask the right questions. And if you’re going to quote someone and throw the quote back in someone’s face, be ready to explain why you did and what you’re actually after. Assume makes an ASS out of U and ME. 

 

I’m chalking this up to a case of the Mondays. Anyone got some Bailey’s for my coffee?

Razor test part 1

Followup on first shave with Dollar Shave Club and their 4 blade razor. The shaving went smoothly except I noticed the dreaded reddish tinge on the blade. It chopped up my neck pretty good.

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Other than that, the blade was sharp and smooth and didn’t require lots of passes. My neck does this sometimes. I will follow up with more as I wrap up week one with the first blade (if it lasts that long). We will see!

Testing blades against sandpaper

I’m giving Dollar Shave Club a shot. A lot of you are probably wondering how it turns out. Well if it passes my face’s torture test, it’s pretty good stuff. My facial hair is insanely stiff and coarse. The pic of my face is 36 hours of growth. The goatee is 48 hours old.

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I’m not kidding. I picked their $6 a month plan to see how it goes. They give you 4 blades a month, figuring a blade should last you a week.

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I’ve dulled razors in as little as 3 shaves in the past. Here’s my parameters:

I shave in the shower.
I learned that shampoo actually works better on my face than shaving cream or gel.
Most of the time I can’t shave every day due to irritation on my neck and the coarseness of my facial hair after a day.
Wish me luck!