Elly

I don’t know that I’d call Elly a “good dog,” really. She was headstrong and ornery, and in her heyday she had the disposition of a gluttonous, mildly retarded mule. But we loved her. Even when she’d drag toilet paper all the way from the roll in the bathroom to the hallway, it would annoy the heck out of us, but we couldn’t help but laugh. We loved her. She was our Elly.

That’s why the last few months have been so hard. The fat, sassy pug wasted away. She was almost completely blind, and was clearly confused and uncomfortable much of the time. She wasn’t our Elly anymore. We held on as long as we could, but the last few days it became readily obvious that it was time to let her go.

The vet put Elly to sleep at around 8:30 this morning, December 22, 2010. It was peaceful and painless for her, and the right thing to do. That didn’t mean it was easy, or pleasant. But we held her, and we talked to her, and we loved her, and we cried as we watched her slip away.

She was our Elly. We loved her.

Goodbye, girl.

thanksgiving-in-ark-2005-020.jpg

We. Rock. So. Hard.

And here’s why: Remember this, our entry for that Glenwood Springs, Colorado vacation giveaway?

We won.

There’s even an official press release announcing our victory. Check that fancy pic!

Kudos to Shannon for the original idea, and kudos to the kids for putting up with me as I shot and directed the thing. Yes, there was some yelling (”We’re losing the light, kids! Time is money! CHOP-CHOP!”), but in the end it was all worth it.

We won. WOOT! No one can call Price Horn a loser ever again. (Something tells me that won’t stop anyone.)

The Mother of All Road Trips

Remember this? The post in which I droned on and on about why I won’t shut up about Findlay, Ohio? The one in which I complain incessantly about never having the chance to visit this nondescript town of fantasy and wonder?

That post is about to get updated, with extreme prejudice.

That’s right, good people of Findlay: Shut your windows, and lock your doors. Probably couldn’t hurt to gird your loins, while you’re at it. (A solid loin-girding never hurts, I find.) Anyway, get the guest room ready, Brian, ’cause we’re straight-up road-trippin’ to the greater Hancock County-Blanchard Valley metroplex. Come Saturday morning, we gonna stone-cold tear up the Findlay-Tiffin, OH Combined Statistical Area.

You tell Findlay, Ohio that Price is comin’! And Tom’s coming with me!

Astonishing Generosity

It had been an enjoyable, if over-long and exhausting weekend. We had driven to Arkansas to attend my 20th class reunion, which of course necessitated many many hours of monotonous highway driving, and after a weekend of dancing and reminiscing and staying up way too late for no good reason, we were ready to get home. And so it was that we dragged ourselves into our house at 11:30 pm Sunday night, to find that something was different.

At first, we couldn’t put our fingers on it. Was it that something smelled weird? Were we just tired and confused? Or was it that a bunch of friends of ours got together and painted our house?

Yeah, the latter. Our great room and hallway, which had been a dull and boring white since we moved into the house but which we never repainted because it was a huge pain in the neck, had been repainted a lovely latte color. They even washed our drapes!

But that’s not the end of it… not by a long shot. Steven ran down from upstairs, yelling something about a “centerpiece” on the wall in our bedroom. We cautiously made our way to the master bedroom, not sure what we would find. And what we found shocked and awed us. Not only did they repaint our master bedroom, but they totally redecorated it as well, with an East Indian theme based on our love for a local Indian restaurant.

Take a look. First, some before pics. I’m almost embarrassed to post these, as they show just how cluttered and old and busted and lame our bedroom was, but you need to see it for the full effect.

BEFORE

all that wall space, and we cram four picture frames right over my dresser

got crap? shove it onto this bookshelf

And check it now…

AFTER

my precious action figures! GONE!

shannon’s books are gone but that’s okay because she can’t read

now where will we put our random bottles of lotion and other crap we never use?

And the coolest part…

this is where the magic happens

They even put some magical foam pad on the bed that makes it just about the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in. And now that our bed is all fancy and comfortable, Elly the Dog is no longer welcome there. Sorry, dog. I don’t care where you sleep, but it ain’t gonna be up in here.

If there’s anything I’m unhappy about, it’s that the stuff they worked on looks so good that the rest of the house looks like a pile of crap in comparison. But that’s just me.

If you’d like, you can see more pictures of the process: before, during, and after.

I don’t know what we did to deserve this incredible gift. Let’s be honest, it was probably more for my wife than for me, because who the heck who do that for me? Still, I cannot thank you guys enough. Mega-multitudinous thanks to Bev and Jessie and Tom and Rob and Corrie and Abby and Mica and Jimmy and everyone else who took part in this real-life “While You Were Out” project.

One other thing: I may be out of town in October for a few days, and the kitchen needs a new floor…

Ceci n’est pas une Weekend Roundup

Hey, we’re back! Didja miss us? You did realize, didn’t you, that we didn’t do a Weekend Roundup last weekend… didn’t you? See, because it was Memorial Day and we were out of town it and it was just so crazy and… oh, who am I kidding? You didn’t notice at all, did you? And for that matter, you didn’t even care, did you? It’s okay. You can admit it. Go ahead… admit that this blog is nothing more than a momentary diversion for you, a way to kill 10 minutes a week. You basically only read it because you know us and you’re afraid will ask (in a desperate, needy tone), “Hey, did you guys read our blog post?” And you don’t want to have to lie to us, not to our face, so you read it out of no more than guilty obligation. Fine. We can live with that. At least you’re reading it.

But what about the rest of you… the ones that aren’t reading it at all? I save my strongest condemnation for you! I point my figure straight in your face that is not here and I say, “Guilty! Shame on you, sir! You are less than human!” And I can do this because you aren’t here to defend yourself. That’s because you’re not reading this. And if you’re all mad because you think I’m talking about you, well, that can’t be the case because you’re reading this post and therefore by definition cannot be the person I’m talking to. It’s that other guy, over there. Yeah, him. Next time you get a chance, knee him in the groin. He’s got it coming anyway, and it will be a welcome comic diversion from the banality of your everyday life. Hmmm… maybe I should knee more people in the groin. Sure, they will ultimately turn around and murder me where I stand, but the laughter generated right up to the moment of my death will surely make it all worthwhile.

Because ultimately, isn’t that what it’s all about? Laughter and pain, and how the two of them work together, hand-in-hand, day after day, to create this thing we call life? No, of course not. It’s about getting up and going to work at a job you hate, every day for the rest of your life and then you die. Wait, maybe it’s not that either. Maybe it’s about spending time with friends and family? Dear lord, I hope that’s what it’s all about, because we had that out the yin-yang this weekend. Every time I turned around, the doorbell was ringing and some friend or family member (the two categories are mutually exclusive) was standing at the door, expecting to be fed and watered like some common barnyard animal.

Friday night, it was standard houseguest Tom, who was celebrating his birthday and was bringing along his brother Joe, who was visiting from St. Louis. I guess for Tom’s birthday? That sounds right. I can’t think of any other reason why he would come to visit this godforsaken city with its ruined, postapocalyptic landscape and its braindead, zombie-like inhabitants. Wait, I was thinking of Omaha. KC is okay, I guess. So anyway, they came over for a fabulous, me-cooked meal of

  • grilled pork loin
  • sweet corn on the cob
  • homemade mac-n-cheese
  • bread
  • a cookie cake
  • ice cream
  • gray matter

Note: I did not cook the last four items. Also, the last item was just in our heads. We did not eat it.

So then that brings us to Saturday night. Saturday was a miserable day for yours truly. I mean, most days are pretty miserable anyway because I am forced to live out those days as Price Horn, and who wouldn’t be miserable in that situation? But Saturday was particularly miserable because my allergies were killing me. See, I typically have one day a year in which my allergies just go nuts and attack my body from within. No amount of medicine will help. I spend the day sneezing and blowing my nose and acting like a giant (well, considering I’m a pretty small fella, not-so-giant) snot factory. Saturday was that day. So did I lie around all day, feeling sorry myself, with Kleenex® stuffed up my nose? Well, I did spend the day feeling sorry for myself, and more than once I did end up with Kleenex shoved up my schnozz, but I didn’t lie around except for just a little while in the afternoon, but hey, I was tired and everyone else was lying down too and why don’t you get off my back about it, you big bully?

Anyway, what I was saying was, we spent much of the day running important errands, such as returning junk to Target and going to the comic book store and buying a screen-door closer thingy from Home Depot. Important, vital errands. Also we ate at IHOP. That’s kind of important, right? Most important meal of the day and all that? And also we took the kids to the pool. (Note: we did not just drop them off.) And nothing is more important than having the kids spend time out in the sun, splashing around with their fellows in heavily chlorinated water as their mucus-generating father looks on in amusement, shading his eyes with one hand and blowing his nose with the other.

But I digress.

So… Saturday night’s dinner guests were our friends Jimmy and Joy and their enormous brood of kids. Well, really there’s just four kids, but that’s twice as many as we have, so it (the brood) qualifies as enormous in comparison. I guess. Anyway, it was another me-cooked meal of

  • beer bratwurst
  • hot dog
  • assorted toppings of the kinds of things you put on those sausage-based treats, such as sauerkraut which was enjoyed by all of two people including me
  • other stuff that I just bought at the store instead of cooking, such as a bacon-ranch potato salad that was four kinds of awesome
  • lemon bars/raspberry chocolate bars that Shannon made but since we are one in the eyes of the Lord I guess you could say I made them too, so hooray for me

The meal was accompanied by a chorus of sneezes, provided by me.

And so we find ourselves approaching the Sunday evening dinner, when we will be visited by the Crows and their tiny brood (same number of kids, but the kids are tiny so again, it is a matter of comparison). This time, Jessie will be making dinner for us and bringing it to our house, a development of which I am totally a fan. But what will it be? I could save this post and then come back later and tell you all about it, but odds are I won’t be in the mood, so don’t count on it. So let’s just guess what that dinner will include:

  • meat
  • starch
  • vegetables
  • dessert
  • beer (only for the men, as the ladies drink only wine and it is illegal for the kids to drink the beer so we’ll just have to be discreet about it)

I’ll bet I’m pretty close. Okay, so that’s it. I’m done typing now. Will I decide to write a Weekend Roundup next week? Maybe. Only way to find out will be to visit again next weekend. And let’s be honest… what are the odds of that happening? About as good as the odds of me writing something worth reading. So… not looking good.

Go away!

The Weekend Roundup is comin’ out, so you better get this party started

The weekend ended as I always expected it might: with my wife leaving home with another man.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The weekend began as it always does, with our friend Tom falling asleep while we watch TV. The only difference is that Shannon wasn’t also falling asleep. That’s because she wasn’t there… she was, instead, at work. On a Friday night? Yes, indeed she was, working a wedding at the church. So with Shannon gone, Tom and I decided to watch something that she wouldn’t care to watch in a million years: the season finale of Smallville. I knew Tom was going be touch-and-go… he was already nodding off before he even sat down in front of the TV. Nonetheless, he assured me that he would make it.

Less than a minute into the “Previously, on Smallville…” prologue, and he was already sawing logs. Pfft. I watched the show anyway, turning up the volume so I could hear the dialogue over his snores.

Eventually, Shannon did show up. Tom went home (to sleep, natch), and Shannon and I watched the season finale of The Office before finally heading to bed. Yes, it’s that time of year when all the shows are wrapping up their seasons, and I for one couldn’t be happier about it. All the free time we’ll have now that we don’t have to watch these TV shows! So many hours waiting to be filled with summer activity! I know what you’re thinking: no one is forcing us to watch these shows. Oh, but there’s where you’re wrong, friend. The shows are so entertaining that I would be doing myself—nay, society—a disservice by failing to watch them.

Search your feelings. You know it to be true.

Saturday morning, full of a fabulous and simple bacon-and-eggs-and-toast breakfast, we were itching to get out of the house and enjoy the cool, sunny day. Shannon dragged us over to a conservation area/nature center in Liberty… the Martha Lafite something-or-other? Needless to say, the kids and I were a bit… skeptical, but it ended up being a nice hike in a nice setting on a nice day. So, basically, it was nice.

Some pics:

they took the one less traveled by

and that has made all the difference

she is a rock, she is an island

i was told not to go chasing these

smiling at irving berlin

I was in a drama at church that evening (and, of course, on Sunday as well)… a drama that once again required me to dress all business-like with the tie and itchy slacks and squeaky shoes. We don’t do dramas as much as we used to, but when we do I always seem to be cast as some professional-type who has to wear a tie. And, because I never have to dress that way, I only have one suit: the wedding/funeral/job interview suit. Thus, every time I’m on stage at church I seem to be wearing the exact same clothing. That fact is neither here nor there, but I’m just saying.

And so it is we come to Sunday. We knew that the Night at the Museum sequel was coming up later in the week and would be bumping Star Trek out of its coveted space on the IMAX screen at our local multiplex, so we hurried over after church to watch it on the really big screen. It was pretty spectacular, I have to say… the sound, in particular, was heart-stoppingly powerful. Fabulous movie in a fabulous setting, and it was just as good the second time as it was the first. Totally worth spending the money again.

Have you seen it yet? Well, you need to. Go ahead, I’ll wait right here while you go. It’s fine. I’ll just amuse myself by typing the rest of this Weekend Roundup. Go! Trust me, you won’t miss anything.

After the movie, it was time for my wife to leave me, to hop in the car with another man and drive away from the house as the kids and I tearfully looked on. That’s because Shannon was headed to St. Louis for what we are hoping and praying is her final surgery. I won’t go into the nitty-gritty of what it’s for. I’m not gonna get all graphic with you and all that, but if everything goes to plan this will be the last work she’s going to have done.

And the other man? Tom, who was headed to St. Louis at the same time to visit his mother, who is also having a procedure performed this week.

And so, the kids and I are home alone. I’m living the life of the single parent as Shannon whoops it up over in St. Louis, livin’ the life! She gets to lie around in a hospital bed all day, with nurses doting all over at all hours, giving her whatever she wants! Must be nice, is all I’m saying. Must… be… nice.

A Weekend Roundup only a mother could love

And why is it a Weekend Roundup only a mother could love? Because it is just like a child: short and useless.

HA! I kid. Except it is going to be short. It’s Mother’s Day, you see, and I gotta spend it with my wife. That’s right, I have to somehow make up for 364 days of neglect and indifference and cram a year’s worth and affection and respect into one marathon 24-hour period.  Oh, and I also have to convince the kids to do the same.

Good luck with that!

Okay, I did some good stuff for the wife. I took her to breakfast yesterday at Kate’s Kitchen. I made her her favorite meal, homemade slow-cooked pot roast. I gave her some gift cards to her favorite stores. And best of all… I took her to go see the new Star Trek movie.

And oh, sister, how awesome it was. I loved it. It was everything I hoped for and more. Action-packed, funny, respectful of continuity but not afraid to do something new. See it. You won’t be disappointed. And if you are, I hate you and everything you stand for.

Lo, I beheld the Weekend Roundup, and ’twas wicked fearsome and all that

Saw what you want about this weekend. When Monday comes back ’round, we may be tired and we may be beat, but by no means will we be hungry. Because we pretty much spent the entire weekend eating. We ate in, we ate out… but most of all, we just ate.

See, Shannon’s folks were in town for a short visit, and wherever they go, copious amounts of foodstuffs seem to follow. It started Friday night, shortly after their arrival. They recently celebrated their 38th wedding anniversary, so we decided to treat them to a nice dinner at Hereford House, a well-loved Kansas City steakhouse. And lo, how we ate. Giant appetizer plates of fruit and cheese and squid (one of those three is nopt like the other), bread, soup and salad, giant steaks and potatoes and (at least in my case) fish, plus heaping plates of dessert. And then for the second course… ha, I kid.

Here’s Jack and me chowing on some manner of seared muscle tissue.

receding hairlines, bulging guts

Afterwards, miserable, we went out for ice cream. I kid again! But we were pretty miserable, with our stuffed bellies aching and distended. Nonetheless, we gamely wandered around Zona Rosa for a little while. The kids even found the strength somehow to chase each other around for a bit. Just the thought of doing so made us feel like vomiting, so we eventually made our way home for.. you know, sleep. And digestion.

So what did we do first thing the next morning? We went out for breakfast. Of course. I don’t think any of us were even hungry. It was force of habit, more than anything. It’s Saturday morning, the in-laws are in, we go out for breakfast, and we choke down the food whether or not we’re hungry. In this case, we headed to the standard Corner Cafe for the standard biscuits-n-gravy and cinnamon rolls and eggs and bacon et cetera. (At first, I type “et catera,” which, given the food-related nature of this post, seemed appropriate, if accidental.)

i couldn’t bring myself to point out the food in their teeth

After the delicious but unnecessary breakfast, we headed back to the house. Nana took the kids out to spoil buy stuff for them (that’s what these grandparental types do), and I concerned myself with cutting the grass. Quickly. Very quickly, it turns out, because the skies were gray and heavy and threatening and I knew that it was probably going to be rainy for several days. Kind of a now or never situation there, so I was rushing through it. Lo and behold, our neighbor, unbidden, showed up in the yard with his mower and offered to help me get it done in half the time. And so it was that the two of us mowed the backyard in no time flat. See, there are still people in this world who are good and kind and selfless. That’s not to say that I’m one of those people. I’m just saying, is all. Anyway, the joke was on him, as the rain held off for another seven hours.

Grass trimmed, the kids and I napped while Shannon and her folks headed to the Argosy for some gamblin’ fun. (Shannon won $20, hooray, we’re rich?) When they got back from getting fleeced gaming, we took the kiddies to go see Monster vs Aliens in 3-D!

Shannon knows we hate to share popcorn, so she brings little bowls we use to split up the giant bag of greasy kernels. Here are Steven and his Nana, waiting for the show to start. This picture was taken with the camera we were using the pirate the movie.

they can smile, because they weren’t the ones who spent 40 freaking dollars to see this thing

Maya was initially freaked out a little by the 3-D effects, but they eventually grew on her and she ended up enjoying the flick.

she’s a soul girl

Of course, we all ate like pigs furing the movie–popcorn, candy, and so on–so what better to do post-movie than go home and eat? Shannon’s dad had prepared a feast of beef and chicken kabobs on the grill. And a feast it was, with enough grub for a small army. Admittedly, a very small army, but still.

With bellies stuffed (yet again) we settled in a for a night of more movie-watchin’ as the rain started to pour. Hellboy II, this time, and of course we waited until Maya went to bed. The sequel was a little less creepy than the original, but it was still a bit much for a five-year-old girl.

As Sunday dawned, the in-laws headed home, leaving a refrigerator full of leftovers, and we headed for church. But alas, the eatin’ wasn’t over yet. As if we hadn’t shoved enough vittles down our gullet, we got together with some friends for happy hour at Houlihan’s

why am i the only one being strangled 

We made a meal of appetizers, and they were all yummy. But when you mix them together–blue cheese-covered potato chips, Thai chili chicken wings, mini-sliders, and chocolate cake–it’s a recipe for indigestion. I can almost see myself wavering and bulging like in those old 1970s Pepto-Bismol commercials that I can’t be bothered to search for on YouTube.

I can’t be bothered to do much of anything, really. For instance, my stomach is too full and I am too miserable to bother proofreading this thing. If there are errors in it, so be it! I really need to go vomit. Good night, everybody!

Weekend Roundup high, Weekend Roundup low

Ah, so here we are again. ‘Tis Sunday afternoon, and I’m sitting before a headache-inducing computer monitor trying to work out excuses for not doing this thing. There are blogs on the Internet where the bloggers in question post multiple times a day. One post a week, I make, and that’s when I can’t convince Shannon to sit down and type something for a change, and still I whine about it. I write for a living, people! The last thing I want to do on a sunny Sunday afternoon is pretend it’s Monday morning. Bah!

Oh well, I’m paying for this site, so I may as well put something on it. Oh, I’ll post a Weekend Roundup for you people, but danged if I’m going to enjoy it. Let’s look at the highs and lows of each day this weekend.

Friday - The High

I got a new grill! Our old one was more than 10 years old and was essentially falling apart, so I convinced some sucker a good-hearted local craigslist user to take it off my hands. You could put an ad for bubonic plague on craigslist,and as long as it’s free, you’ll get half a dozen responses within the first minute, people wondering when they can come pick up this plague. Anyway, new grill, and it grilled just dandy.

Friday - The Low

We watched Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. Well, Shannon and I watched it, anyway (Tom, of course, fell asleep). It was an entertaining and funny and filthy movie, so I’m not sure what I’m going to complain about here. Wait, I guess the “filthy” part? Oh, I know… I had to cut the grass Friday night, so that was pretty low. I guess?

Saturday - The High

I made some wicked awesome waffles for breakfast Saturday morning, with homemade warm strawberry sauce (for toppin’), as well as scrambled eggs and bacon. What a feast! I mean, sure, it’s not Waffle House, but it filled the belly just fine.

Saturday - The Low

We spent most of the day cleaning house. The few moments I spent outside of our abode were the moments I spent in Wal-Mart buying weed-n-feed. Oh, this is the excitement of life as an adult. Can’t wait to grow up, kids? Well, take a good, long look at me, and savor every moment of your childhood.

Oh, well. At least Maya got to lick the beater when she and Shannon made chocolate chip cookies.

no, she wasn’t licking a junked primer-gray Cutlass

Sunday - The High

Maya got to spend the afternoon at her teacher’s house. At least one of us doesn’t mind reliving what goes on during the weekdays, I guess. Her school had a fundraising auction a few weeks ago, and one of the items up for bid was an afternoon making crafts and crepes with her teacher. Shannon and another lady–the mother of a friend of Maya’s–went in together to bid on it and ended up winning. So today was the day! She was so excited, she wouldn’t stop talking about it all day. Seriously. I had to threaten to punish her to get her to shut up about it.

so this is what it’s like when your students actually like you

Sunday - The Low

This.

Freeze frame! A Weekend Roundup in lame pictures

I don’t have much to say about this weekend. That’s not to say it didn’t have its high points, of course. Shannon and I had a fabulous date night on Friday as our friends the Crows watched the kiddies. We had a great dinner on Saturday night with friends. I… cut the grass? Okay, it wasn’t all great. But that didn’t stop us from taking pictures of stuff! And so, I am taking the lame way out this week. That’s right… photos! Of stuff! That is, a few snapshots of The Weekend That Was. Except for Friday night, because we didn’t have the camera. Oh, and Sunday, because we didn’t care.

Maya lost another tooth. Considering she has roots in Arkansas, it’s amazing she has this many left.

maya, post-barfight

While mowing on Saturday afternoon, I inadvertently uncovered the nest of some fairly-newborn bunnies. Is… is that rabbit mooning me?

is saddam hussein hiding down there? no, he’s long since dead 

Naturally, this aroused the ire of the house’s natural predator, Elly the Pug. She wanted nothing more than to rip those tiny rabbit babies to shreds, so I had to figure out some way to protect them from the bloodthirsty maniac. No way Elly’s getting in there! And they can probably get out if they’re kind of smart about it! We hope!

white trash invention at its best

Maya swears she didn’t put her hand on the ink pad. She only put a triangle piece of paper on it, she swears!

really? i never would have guessed

A Tex Mex fiesta at El Maguey! A passel of amigos joined us at the eatery for food, fun, conversation, and… well, I guess that was it.

the dos equis bottle did nothing as Maya abused me

Steven feasts on chips-n-salsa with Garrick (sp?) and Zach (sp?).

boys! the camera will not steal your souls, I swear!

The Nowotnys grin as storm clouds loom.

that pacifico was mine, baby, and it was GOOD

Tammy and Amy (mother of Zach [sp?] and Garrick [sp?]) strike a pose.

smile all you want, ladies… everyone knows you’ll be farting up a storm tomorrow

And finally… Maya was very excited about a book fair that they’re having at her school next week. So excited, in fact, that she decided to put flyers up around the house. She left out the “F” because “F” is for “Failure”!

f is for filthy walls

f is for frightening face you see in the mirror–mine

f is for fattening food in the pantry

f is for…. ah, who cares

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