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Stuff Off The Top Of Our Heads

We’re Baaaaaaaack!!!

Posted by Daniel on Thursday, May 24, 2007

Okay, I know that the posts here have gotten a bit thin of late, but now that the family visits are over, I can actually get back online and fill you all in.

There are tons of pictures I have that need to be posted and, as is always the case, several really funny stories to go with them.

But that will begin tonight, as I have a meeting with the mayor today and then am to be sworn in of the Parks & Recreation Board of Directors this afternoon.  So I won’t get online until late this afternoon.

Will be back tonight.

Stay tuned…


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The Visit – Phase One

Posted by Daniel on Friday, May 18, 2007

It’s hard to believe…two have come and gone…two are yet to come on Sunday.

My oldest brother, Terry and his wife (my BFF), Teresa, were seen off at the airport today, on their way to Arkansas for my nephew’s graduation.

Two and one half days of laughs and catching up.  Now just a memory.  It’s always over too dang fast.

Now, Steve and I get 36 hours of rest, before my mom and youngest sister arrive on Sunday.

This one is short…because I need sleep!!!  But I will write about it all (there have already been some rather odd and funny events so far) next week.  Between now and then, I’ll just keep posting some of the pictures as we take them.

Talk to you next week…


Terry & Daniel

Terry & Teresa

Terry, Teresa & Steve


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Six Months For One Week

Posted by Daniel on Monday, May 14, 2007

Well, it’s here. The final countdown. Twenty-four hours until the first plane lands to deliver the first wave of family visitors.

For the next eight days, this newly-redone house will play host to a long-overdue family reunion, of sorts.

First my brother and sister in-law…then my Mom and youngest sister.

I’m about as nervous as I can possibly be and have had precious little sleep since last Friday. I mean, will it all be worth it? All the hard work we’ve done to and around the house – a project that we’ve worked our asses off for over six months – will be put to the comfort test…at long last.

You know how when your relatives (the nice ones anyway) will tell you that you don’t need to make a big fuss over their coming to visit?

“We’re just coming to see you…it doesn’t matter what the house looks like. Don’t go putting yourselves out just for us.”

Uh huh.

Like we’re not going to make the place as palatial as we possibly can. AS IF!!!

Hellllloooo!!! What kind of gays would we be if we didn’t put all of those hours spent drooling in front of the TV soaking in each delicious episode of Martha Stewart…and then not putting it all to good use??? Guuurrrllll…is you crazy?? Martha would catch lavender-scented wind of that faux pas and smack us with a nicely dried asparagus centerpiece and then personally shred our gay cards into a lovely potpourri dish.

I’ll be honest…we’ve worked tirelessly for over six months on project after project, and we still didn’t get everything done that we’d hoped we would. Oh, the inside is pretty much where we figured it would be (though I didn’t have time to redo the main bathroom as I’d planned). But all the outside planting just didn’t have time to get done. For this and next week, we’re on nature’s good graces to provide the aesthetic background of wildflowers, crabgrass and overgrown perennials.

On the upside of that, I did manage to put together the ginormous brand-spanking-new shiny silver gas bar-b-que grill we bought to replace the old faithful (yet o-l-d) charcoal grill we’d had for years. I did that all by little self…no help. Which was no small feat, considering the makers neglected to provide two very crucial screw holes that were to support the main gas line. No problem, now that I know how to use a power drill. I just hope no one notices when I run the second it’s turned on for the first time. But hey, that’s what big butch brothers are for, right?

Anyway, I’ve been looking forward to this visit more than the normal trips I take to California to visit them. As this is the very first time member of my family have visited Missouri…ever. And it looks as though we will have perfect weather for whatever we all decide to do. Especially sitting out on the deck and sipping mimosa’s…or whatever.

Well, wish us luck as we play hostess (Twinkie & Snowball) and we’ll keep a light on for ya.

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Spread Too Thin

Posted by Daniel on Wednesday, May 9, 2007

I wear too many hats.I think it’s very possible that I have something in common with Queen Elizabeth II.

I mean aside from the obvious punchline. Besides, I’m too young to be a Queen…Princess yes, Queen no.

Like Her Royal Hinie, I also wear too many hats. Mine, however, are figurative…while hers are just plain fab-u-lous!!

See, just yesterday, I received an email announcing the following:


I am happy to report your appointment to the Parks and Recreation Board of Directors was approved by the City Council last night. You will receive a packet in the mail sometime around the end of this month with the agenda for the meeting on June 6th.

Thanks again for serving our City.”

[Signature of City Official]

This was, to say the least, quite a surprise. I honestly thought they were joking with me when I was informed that the City Council had given my name to the mayor as someone they were recommending for the position. This, it seems, comes on the heels of a very productive first quarter with regard to the work being done in my subdivision.

Another hat.

As it happens, a City Councilman lives in the same subdivision as I do. There used to be two of them living here, but one moved to a smaller home for health-related reasons.

This subdivision, like most others nowadays, has a Homeowners Association.  Now, for those of you who don’t know, these Associations consist of at least 100+ homes (members), a Board of Directors and Officers (President, V.P., Treasurer and Secretary).  For the past three years, I’ve been serving as President.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this little snippet of trivia before, but at the risk of stroking my own ego, I figured it bared repeating.

Now bear in mind, this ain’t no paying gig.  The rewards are few and the challenges – not to mention the hard work involved – are many.  While my position mainly requires me to oversee operations, it often finds me up to my neck in the actual labor of whatever task is at hand at the moment.  To say that this is a full-time “job” would not be an exaggeration.  And I have discovered, in many cases the hard way, that you just can’t please all the people all the time.  But I won’t go into all of that here.

For the past three years, we’ve made great strides in bringing this 35 year old subdivision into the modern times.  Many of the homeowners here have been here since day-one, and many of them aren’t too happy with change.  They’ll gripe a bit (3 AM phone calls prove that) about this or that current project, but I’ve become quite adept at getting them to see the upside of things in the end.

Anyway, I think this may be the reason my name was brought to the Mayor’s attention when the position on the P & R Board opened up.  Maybe they think I am just bursting with ideas and can bring fresh ideas and perspective (their words) by being on that Board.

I don’t mind telling you (as I told them), I don’t know the first thing about Parks and Recreation oversight.  I do know that it includes oversight of all city property (land & buildings), which oversees about 60% of a city’s annual budget.  But Parks?  Recreation?  I’ve lived in this city for over 5 years now and I have yet to go to one of the parks here.  And to date, the closest thing I’ve found to ‘Recreation’ here is the drive-thru at McDonald’s.

Not that there is no recreation here…

I’ve just been a little too busy to enjoy any of it.

Wish me luck…I’ll need it.

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What’s Next…Locust??

Posted by Daniel on Sunday, May 6, 2007

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Okay…this has been a very weird week here at chez Anderson-Howard.

If I were a religious person (and I most certainly am not), I’d swear we’ve somehow incurred the ten plagues.  I think as of today, we’re working on either #3 or #4.

I’ll backtrack a little to explain.

Now that it’s finally warming up in this area, we thought it would be great to open the windows for some long-overdue fresh air.  I say long overdue because this past winter hung on a bit longer than normal, and quite frankly, I was getting a little itchy to get outside to start my annual planting/landscaping.  After one last gasp of below freezing weather that lasted a week, much was lost to the arctic blast.  Plants that were already budding and beautiful froze and now look pretty sad.  Even our brickwork aroud the gardens turned – somehow – into powder.

Anyway, now that it’s warm, we opened the windows.  For some reason, hundreds of horseflies (notice I didn’t say houseflies) has gathered inside one of the master bedroom windows.  We have NO idea where these pests came from or why they only seemed to gather in that particular window.  Especially considering it’s a double (side-by-side) window and the window next to it was completely void of the little pests.  Now, just as mysteriously, they are all gone.  Save for the few our mighty huntress Sheena was able to snatch out of the air.

Moving on to the second plague…MOLES.

I have had this yearly war to wage against the little burrowing varmints in hopes of staving off the considerable damage they inflict on the lawn.  Keep in mind, it’s a very huge challenge to keep a lawn growing here at all, considering the soil and erosion (rain) problems we have every year.  So what lawn and landscaping I do have, it tears me up to see every morning the new damage the moles have done every night.  After trying every holistic remedy known to man to rid us of these little diggers, we finally caved in and called the professionals.  $300 and some poisoned gummy earthworms later, the moles are back…and I think they invited friends.  That battle wages on.

Now we get into the latest of the plagues…FLOOD.

For the past 36 hours, it has been raining here and it appears not to be ending for another three days.  When I say “raining”, I don’t mean nice steady drizzle.  I’m talking non-stop gully-washers.  At last measuring, we have topped five inches and it just keeps coming.  And, thrown in for good measure, a heaping helping of hail. (would that count as the fourth plague?)

We are not on what would be considered a flood plain…it’s actually very hilly here.  But our newly remodeled family room (which is in the basement) has been flooding since early this morning.  We’ve spent all day rescuing everything down there and cleaning up the water and trying to keep it dry, but every time it starts pouring really hard (about every hour or so), the flooding returns.

I know I shouldn’t complain really, considering we’ve not been hit by tornadoes…but our neighbors to the west have, in the past 36 hours, had to endure over 300 twisters.  So yeah, I am counting my blessings on that note.

Is Steve right?  Is my karma so bad?  Have I really pissed off “Caravanis” (the Patron Saint of Minivans) to the point that she has decided to smite me?  

Fine.  I’ll light a candle and set some burnt offerings next to my neighbor’s minivan.  Maybe lay a wreath made of dandelions on the hood, just for good measure. 

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I’ll Give You A Quarter For The Little Fuzzy Guy

Posted by Daniel on Monday, April 30, 2007

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Garage Sales are madness. And the only other time (outside of the Wal-Mart parking lot) that I see such a large concentration of my old arch enemy, the MINIVAN CARAVAN!!

But so long as they are actually buying our crap, I can deal with it.

This year’s sale was pretty good, I must say.  We managed to make twice as much money as we did last year thanks, in no small part, to the bounty that was the assloads of Spongebob merchandise.  One guy who was walking, managed to buy 3/4 of that and left here with about 8 large bags.  Thank you, Geeky Man, whoever you are.

Once again, Steve did all the selling while I did all the shopping.  I did, however, manage to keep my purchases down to $65…and managed to find some of the most beautiful Italian crap that fits perfectly with the motif of the newly-finished first floor of the house.  One particular heavy-assed wall hanging should prove to be quite the conversation piece.  😉

Business was up quite a bit this year everywhere.  Last year, only about 20 homes participated in the sale…this year there were over 30.  Thanks to the increased participation and subsequent extra traffic, we were able to unload almost every item that we had outside.  I believe we even got several offers on a pallet of paving stones which was just delivered so that I can re-do the landscaping.  I tell you, if the shit ain’t nailed down, someone is gonna ask “how much?”

Next week is the Neighborhood Spring Clean-Up.  A chance to get rid of all the crap that wasn’t bought by the frenzied masses this week.  Since I’m President of the Homeowners Association, I get to be in charge of that little event, too.  Going from shopping home-to-home to manning extremely large trash and yard waste dumpsters is quite a humbling thing.

And the Clean-Up lasts all weekend.

Think I’ll have to do some shopping after that…and eat Lemon Cake.  😀

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I Just Made a Lemon Cake, and I’m Tired

Posted by revelkc on Sunday, April 29, 2007

Hi! Remember me? Yeah, that’s right, I’m Revel, stalwart (?) other half to the Tempest. I haven’t been able to post for quite awhile, and I have missed it. Not that ideas haven’t floated in and out of my cerebrum on a regular basis–they have. The Great Idiot still pisses me off on a daily basis. His houseboy turned fall guy, AG the AG–I’ve seen better liars at closing time at the old Cabaret. Karl the Snarl, after he got out of my girl Sheryl Crow’s face (Sheryl, if you’re reading–I am a HUGE fan, even more so now), could possibly face his political Waterloo over something as completely boneheaded as violating The Hatch Act. (As Bugs Bunny says, “What a Maroon!”). And excuse me, who the hell is Mike Gravel? Before the Democratic debate (the feel-good debate of April 2007!!!) I had no idea he was running. I still am not sure he’s really running, but I hope so…he was on FI-YAH. I hope this, of course, for the entertainment value, but also out of curiosity that he might be able to wring just a few more bemused looks out of Dennis Kucinich. And last but not least, George T–or as the ever lovely Maureen Dowd calls him, Slam Dunk shows us all that it’s never too late to make your self look like a the whiniest of whiny lackeys to a misbegotten hell-hole of an administration.

All of these things have been on my own personal radar, like they have been for many of you. And I want to write about them, truly I do. But you see, I just made a lemon cake, and I’m tired. REALLY REALLY tired.

Ok, the simple making of the cake didn’t make for my exhausted condition. Hell, the cake was SUPPOSED to be chocolate chip cookies.

Buckle your seat belts, this is the chain of events that have kept me from slicing and dicing, George, Gonzo, Karl, and the rest (and Ann, she may be quiet right now, but that smell in the air HAS to be her….).

Lemon CakeWe were out of brown sugar, that’s why no chocolate chip cookies. So I compromised and made the lemon cake with white chocolate chips and homemade lemon butter cream frosting. Why did I have to have this? I WANTED A REWARD. You see, I have had home made chocolate chip cookies (and if I do say so myself I make excellent home made chocolate chip cookies) on the brain since a week or so before our Annual Neighborhood Garage Sale (at which we made a tidy $200.00, thank you very much…of which Daniel held himself to spending only $65.00…which is very good for him. He can tell you what he bought later, I think he’ll do it more justice). The reason? Because Pam complimented me to Daniel, saying I always had nice treats for sale during the annual event.

But I gotta tell you, the past 4 months of Gay Construction (which I subtitle the G.A.R.P. for Great Anderson Remodeling Project) have worn me out, and likely led to the shortage of brown sugar, which lead to chocolate chip cookies turning into lemon-white chocolate chip cake, which I insisted on making because I have been so worn out I wanted a reward.

See, it makes sense. Ok, rearrange your entire house, come back, sit down and reread it, and it will make sense.

The G.A.R.P. is our combined brainchild, a nearly superhuman effort that is sure to be remembered in a Beowulf style epic poem. At least on 18th Street if not all of Willowbrook. And Manchester, England…are we still big in Manchester? I hope so, I was hoping for some kind of band at the airport when we finally get to visit on our European-Australian tour.

I would say I just digressed, but lets call a babble a babble. Where was I? Oh, yeah…

The G.A.R.P. is what Gay Construction has been all about since the dawn of 2007. The Anderson family, or at least four of them, are coming to visit, as you no doubt already know. This required, of course, more than a light dusting. We have been in full tilt boogie mode revamping the Great Room, Dining Room, and Foyer, and it has been well worth it. And the Annual Sale is something we have been a part of every year since we moved here. I want us to make a good showing, we are after all the First Couple of Willowbrook. (That little reminder was for our neighbor, former first lady Nancy. She KNOWS why.)

So G.A.R.P. plus sale plus Pam and Daniel plus my undying love for a crazy Italian man led me to a quest for chocolate chip cookies that morphed into a lemon cake consolation prize.

Did I tell you, I just made a lemon cake, and I’m really tired? I’ve missed you guys, and I want to tell you all about it sometime.

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One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure

Posted by Daniel on Thursday, April 26, 2007

Everything MUST go!!!Sure, but what if it’s not one, but two men…and they’re gay…and they have great taste…and

Okay, so this Saturday is the annual Spring Subdivision-wide Garage Sale.  A chance for people to come and buy all the shit I bought at their garage sales last year.  

So here is how it goes at this house:

  • We start rounding up all the stuff that can – and should – be gleaned from the household inventory.  This usually begins after Christmas.
  • Steve takes off the two days prior to the sale to begin pricing and arranging everything.
  • Displays are mapped out, categorized and organized.  After all, presentation is everything!!
  • Signs strategically placed.
  • Steve sets up his desk, cash box, beverages for sale, stereo on, and takes care of customers.
  • Daniel, as President of the Homeowners Association, goes from house to house helping where he can.
  • Steve sells the shit out of our crap treasures.
  • Daniel buys more crap treasures at the other sales.

Generally speaking, Steve is very adept at selling stuff in a garage sale (which is perfect, because I am so not a people-person and selling to the public just isn’t in me), while I meander through the subdivision making sure all is going well and traffic keeps flowing evenly.  Occasionally I will see something I can probably do without, but simply must have.

One important thing we’ve learned over the years about garage sales, especially having one of your own…We now know what will and won’t move.

Clothes and books – You might as well donate them to some charity organization before your sale.  These items just sit there, occasionally being picked through but ultimately being passed up for a spatula or one roller skate.

The big movers are electronics.  This year, we have ass-loads, as we’ve been upgrading everything from computers to TV’s.  

I can hear Steve’s cash register now…cha-ching…cha-ching!!

This year, I’ve also decided to unload all of the Spongebob Squarepants merchandise.  I’d almost forgotten just how much of that shit I collected…and most of it’s still in it’s original packaging!!  Everyone I know had been giving me items over the years because they knew I was so into it.  I can’t believe I fell for the hype.  What am I, twelve???

Besides, now I’m really into Transformers…I hear they’re more than meet the eye.

Anyway, you’re all invited over this weekend to gawk at our goodies and buy something.   I’m sure you’ll find just what you’re looking for here…but if you can’t, I’ll be buying it right around the corner.

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Caution: Gay Construction Ahead – Part 10 – We + Wind = Whoopsie!!!

Posted by Daniel on Sunday, April 22, 2007

It is what it is.There are just some things that I am not good at.  It’s a bitter pill to swallow (take it from an expert) and really throws a crimp into my whole theory of just how creative and clever I am.  And as sometimes happens, someone or something must pay for my ineptitude.

Take yesterday, for instance.

On what amounted to yet another day of shopping for thingamabobs, doohickies and wachamacalits for both inside and outside the house, we first needed to stop over at Scott and Ray’s house.

They just bought a brand spanking new gas oven and so we decided to buy their practically-new flat-top oven.  A hundred bucks for something much easier to clean than our current electric oven seemed a steal.  And I’m all about making things easier on Steve…especially the cleaning part…which I completely suck at.

So we go ever there to pay for and load up the new oven.  It was a necessary trip anyway, as Steve wanted to drop off a check to Ray for the new super-computer Ray is going to build for him.  “It’s going to make Daniel’s computer look like a Commodore 64.”, Ray said.  And I’ll have you know, mine is pretty top-of-the-line.

Anyway, checks and cash delivered, Steve and I load up the new-ish oven into my truck.  Everything fastened down and steadied, off we go to bring our new treasure home.

Now, it’s only about 4 miles between their house and ours, and most of that is covered by two miles of highway, so it isn’t as though we had a lot of stops at lights between there and here.  In retrospect, maybe that wasn’t such a good thing.

About a mile and a half from home, we’re driving (five miles under the speed limit) and for a moment, we feel the truck lurch.  Keep in mind, this was a particularly windy day, so it isn’t uncommon to feel your vehicle move when you catch the winds just right.

This time, however, we caught the wind just wrong!!  A split second after feeling the truck lurch from the wind, we hear and feel a very loud BANG!!!  I look in the rear view mirror…yup…the oven was hit by the wind, came loose of it’s bracings and flopped face-first onto the bed of the truck, landing very hard on the dolly with which we used to move it.

Steve suggested calmly that I pull over, however I already knew what we’d see, so why bother?  “Let’s just get home.”, I said.

It’s funny the different ways people tend to see certain events.

Steve:  “Well, what are you going to do?  These things happen.  Maybe it was karma saying we really didn’t need the oven and probably would have burnt the house down if we wired it in wrong, anyway.  Hahahaha.”  (he actually did laugh)

Daniel:  “Wouldn’t you know it?!?!  Why??  Why did that happen??  Just LOOK at it!!  It’s completely fucking RUINED!!  We just paid someone $100 for US to cart this now-USELESS piece of shit away!!!  And now we’re going to have to pay the trash collectors even more to haul it away from our house!!!  Fuck…fuck…fuck…fuck…”  (this went on for another thirty minutes)

Steve:  “Do I need to explain the whole karma-thing to you again?”

I suppose he’s right, in a way.  Ironically, as we were pulling out of Scott & Ray’s driveway with the oven, I was singing the old Sanford & Son song.

So yeah, the oven is now trashed.  And once my Xanax kicked in, I found it easier to look at the new $100 piece as lawn art.  At least until trash day.

Today being Sunday means another shopping day.  It’s even more windy outside than it was yesterday.  I believe it’s blowing 25 – 35 mph.  Hmmm…We should go buy a new refrigerator.

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No More Moles – This Mo Needs To Mow

Posted by Daniel on Tuesday, April 17, 2007

It’s been a looooong winter, Puppets. And like you, I am so ready for some warmer weather.

I’ve been itching to get outside to work in the yard for weeks now and at one point thought I was going to be able to do just that. We’d dragged Audrey II (our overbearing Bird of Paradise in the 400 lb. pot…thanks again, Pam!!) outside, as well as turned off the heater in the greenhouse because the weather was perfect.

That was two weeks ago. Then, as happens every year about that time, winter swoops back in for a last gasp. We had another 3″ snowfall over the weekend – which melted almost immediately – and it looks like spring will finally have it’s start.

Unfortunately, Audrey II didn’t make it. We couldn’t get her back into the protection of the garage…alas, she was too heavy to move. Fortunately, her progeny are doing well in the greenhouse. Funeral services were a moot point, as she was already buried in her 400 lb. coffin. We’ll miss you Audrey… 😦

Although we lost our precious behemoth, life goes on here, and new plantings will replace those that couldn’t withstand winters’ icy breath.

I am now ready to venture outside to tackle the enormous task of beautifying the yards and deck. Problem is, while any other year, I can purdify the grounds at a leisurely pace…this year I’m kinda on a bit of a deadline. Family coming to visit (first time any of them have ever been to Missouri) mid-May, so I’ve only got one month to get everything whipped into shape.

My task may have been made a bit easier this yeas, as we finally threw in the towel on that whole “We can kill the wretched moles ourselves” thing. What a waste of time, money and chemicals. So we called the professionals in to spray and also set poison “worms” in all the holes. Then it rained. This shit had better work or else we just wasted $300 and will deprive our neighbors the delight of watching the moles move into their yards (from whence they originally came). Seriously, those moles had done so much damage to the yard(s) it’s going to be quite a feat getting them back into shape before May 15.

Now I really need to mow, pick up all the fallen twigs and branches from our neighbors’ tress that somehow only fall in our yard (thanks, Rick & Mary), start planting this years’ pretty’s (which we still need to get), and so on.

I also need to put together the new bar-b-que we bought about a month ago that is still in it’s enormous box. It’s been sitting in the garage and has served (the sealed box, that is) as a nice table on which to lay all the crap we painted for the indoor redecorating project. I did, however, manage to put together the new fountain in record time. That will go outside on the ground near the deck and in front of the greenhouse.

So much to do…so little time. And even though Steve says not to panic or rush things, I so want everything to be perfect (or as close to it as possible) for when they get up here. It’s just the way I’m wired. Not to say that’s a bad thing. I have been accused of being “…such a stereotypical queen…” when it comes to ‘presentation’, but I think more of it in terms of first impression. I don’t want it all to look pretentious…just nice.

What’s wrong with that???

Besides, it’s almost that time of year again. The time when the “helicopters” (or “whirlybirds” as Steve calls them) begin to rain down, covering everything in sight. For more on that, read here. Let’s just put it this way…Maple Seeds + Steve + Leaf Blower = Hilarity.

Anyway…Happy Spring, everyone!!!

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