Searching for Deadly Squirrels

Jennifer heard the scratching in the attic again last night so I did my husbandly duty of climbing up into the attic this morning to see if I could see where the squirrel was getting in. I grabbed a flashlight and the ladder to get into the attic. For some reason here in Florida, no one builds houses with those nifty ladders that fold up into the ceiling. The only way to get into the attic is to buy a ladder and then stand on the top step, you know, the one that says “DO NOT STAND OR SIT”. So, I climbed through the attic and reached the other side of the house where our bedroom is. There was no evidence of any squirrel or any entry point. I sat up there looking and looking, but to no avail. I even had one of those horror movie moments when my flash light winked out and I had to bang the side of it for it to come back.

Today’s picture is of Abby decorating the Christmas tree. If you look close enough you will see the hint of a fish tattoo on her hand. This was her prize from our visit to Chuck E Cheese the other day.

The Shoeless Wonder

The day was dominated in the search for shoes for our child who doesn’t like shoes: Emily. The kid has the magical ability to repel shoes right off her feet. We will put shoes on her before leaving the house, I buckle her into her car seat, get in my seat, glance back to make sure I really did buckle her in, and she has no shoes on. How is this possible? I’ve even tried putting her shoes on one extra notch in the buckle, but it is no use. They still pop off. When we were looking for shoes, there was a perfect pair, but they were laces instead of buckles. Jennifer and I were in agreement that there was no way we were going to get a shoe with laces. It’s just more work for us having to tie the shoes every time they pop off. We found two good pair of buckled shoes at the mall today which should suffice for the fleeting moments when Emily is actually wearing shoes.

We watched Moulin Rouge today. For those of you who don’t know, once you have kids, you’re time of going to the movies on a regular basis ends. That’s why we have a subscription to Netflix. We alternate each week on who picks the movies. This week was Jennifer’s movie. Anyway, that was definitely an interesting movie. The look of the film was unique and the use of modern music’s lyrics in a traditional musical format was different. It was a little jarring because you were sitting there trying to play “Name that Tune” instead of paying attention to the movie. Jennifer didn’t like it. She thought it didn’t live up to the hype that was going on about the movie when it was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

Today’s picture is of the shoeless one hanging ornaments on the tree. If you could see her feet in the picture, they would not have shoes on.

Longhorns Dominate Aggies Once Again

This morning we went to breakfast instead of doing in on Saturday because we needed to get an early start so we could get the Sequoia to the Toyota dealership at 9:00. We figured if we planned to going to breakfast, we would be ready to get the truck in as early as possible so we could get it back on the same day. After noon, we got a call that the truck was ready and we went and picked it up. The scratches on the side are now totally gone. You cannot tell that there was even any damage.

The Longhorns rolled the Aggies today 26-13 in what ended up being a pretty wild game. Twice the Longhorns crossed the plane of the end zone and the referees didn’t call it a touchdown. One of these ended in a Vince Young fumble which the Aggies ran all the way back in the opposite direction for a touchdown. There was also an incident where a missed Longhorn extra point was advanced by the Aggies, but they ended up getting tackled in their own end zone for a 1 point safety. Everyone, including the announcers, were pretty much baffled on what was going on. But, once again the defense stepped up shutting out the Aggies in the second half. Now it’s a waiting game to find out if the 10-1 Longhorns will even make a BCS game. Last year they had the same record and were #5 in the BCS rankings and didn’t make it into a BCS game, because of how certain conference champions have automatic bids into the BCS. I know Tom is probably grumbling while reading this because his 11-0 Utes are in the same position.

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone is having a happy and safe Thanksgiving. We stayed at home today (since everything is closed) and fixed our Thanksgiving dinner. Jennifer worked hard to fix a very big dinner only for the four of us. We had a big turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, and pumpkin pie. Can you say “leftovers”?

We also got the Christmas tree out and started decorating it. Now the battle begins of keeping the girls away from the tree and picking off all the ornaments. Currently we are at the rate of yelling at them once every 15 minutes.

I put together another one of my game tribute sites. This one for Madden NFL 2002 PC. It was the first game that I worked on for Electronic ArtsTiburon.

Shopping at the Outlet Mall

Today we all went down to one of the outlet malls in southern Orlando looking for some shoes for Emily and to do some Christmas shopping. We made the mistake of saying yes to Abby’s request to eat at Chuck E Cheese, so after every shop that we went into we would get, “Now we go to Chuck E Cheese?” We also had Abby driving Emily around in the umbrella stroller, which was pretty humorous. Abby would spin Emily around in circles which would make Emily giggle. Yes, after the outlet mall, we went to Chuck E Cheese.

Afterwards, Jennifer went to a Girl Scout meeting. She’s been helping out this troop which is meeting up at our church. I was left with the kids and I figured Oreo cookies would be a good snack for the girls. That was until Emily came out of the play room with her hands and face covered in black and Abby screaming, “Emily’s a mess!” in that “I’m telling Dad on you” voice.

Tonight I finished up Sly 2: Band of Thieves game. It was a pretty good platformer, but not as good as the original, Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus. The plot was good, but sometimes the missions started to feel the same and I never really felt challenged. I would only recommend the game if you like platformer games and you’ve played the original game. Next, I will be starting a new series of games, another platformer by the name of Ratchet & Clank. The latest game, Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal has been getting good reviews, so I figured I would start with the original game since it was in the bargain bin for $20.

Today’s picture is of Abby opening presents at her party last Saturday.

Saying Cheese Amidst a Sea of People

I took the whole week off from work, but today they were having a company photo, so I went up there to participate in that. I missed our last company photo because we were still living in Austin at the time. All 250 or so employees were down in our lobby area while the photographer was up on the third floor balcony. We’ll have to wait and see if you can actually see me amidst a sea of people. We also video taped a “cameo” video for the beginning of our game. We all yelled “EA Sports! It’s in the game!” and cheered.

Jennifer went to the Toyota dealership to see how much money it was going to take to fix the scratch on the Sequoia. It turns out that it will be about the same amount that Jennifer saved by complaining to Rent a Jumper. They are going to have to repaint the area that was scratched. We are going to take the truck back in on Friday and leave it there so that it can get fixed back up.

I put the final touches on the Close Combat: Battle of the Bulge tribute site. This was the second game I worked on and the last while I was at Atomic Games. I’m slowly going through all the games I’ve worked on and getting tribute sites up. The next one will be Madden 2002.

Today’s picture is of Emily playing on the bounce house at Abby’s party.

Bounce House Vindication

The day started out with Jennifer placing a call to Rent a Jumper to tell them how displeased we were with the bounce house we rented for Abby’s party. She told him it was frustrating enough without the attitude the driver had, which sent us over the edge. The lady on the phone said she would relay the message back to her boss. I figured that was the last we would ever hear from Rent a Jumper. I was wrong. They called back later that afternoon and Jennifer convinced them to give us half the price we were supposed to pay since they we only had the bounce house for half of Abby’s party. So, I will take back what I wrote earlier. Everyone can consider using Rent a Jumper.

All the Frenchville archives are back in operation, even the Abigail Rose French web site, which was the original web site that I started when Abby was born. Pictures from Emily’s birth and our move to Orlando are also in there.

Recovering from the Party

We intentionally didn’t do much today. The party yesterday was so energy draining, all we could do is sit around the house all day. Abby received a croquet set for her birthday so we went outside at one point and I showed her how to play. It was pretty cute. She would pick up the ball and take it to each gate and hit it through with the mallet and exclaim, “I win! I win!”

Because we were hanging around the house, I had time to work on Frenchville. You will notice that the web site is pretty much starting to look like it’s old self: the Book and Game Shelf have returned; links to personal web sites for the games I have worked on; and archives of all my old entries are now up and going. There’s a few more old archives I want to get back online, specifically, the original “Abigail Rose French” site.

One incident, which I forgot to mention yesterday. While pulling the new Sequoia into the garage, Jennifer scratched the side rear quarter panel. It’s scratched pretty bad, down through the paint. We are going to see if it will buff out, but I have a feeling it’s more than a superficial wound.

Here’s another picture from yesterday’s party. All the kids are around the table getting ready for Abby to blow out the candles. You can tell they are all pretty sweaty from jumping on the bounce house.

The Party

Today was Abby’s party. Everything went well except for the bounce house we ordered didn’t get delivered until 12:30 and the party started at 11:00. We had the kids running around in the backyard for an hour and a half. We were really pissed at the delivery driver, who didn’t even apologize for being late. His only reaction was, “Do you want me to set it up or not?” I really felt like telling him no, but Abby was really expecting the bounce house so we reluctantly told him to go ahead. So, I will tell everyone who reads this that our experience with Rent a Jumper was horrible and for you to use them at your own risk.

Once the bounce house arrived, the kids had a ton of fun jumping around and sliding down the slide. When it came time to eat cake and open presents they were all dripping with sweat. Abby said that she loved her party and that’s really all that matters.

Happy Birthday Abby!

Happy Birthday Abby! This morning four years ago Abigail Rose French was born. We can’t believe we are the parents of a four year old kid. She amazes us everyday. I was cleaning up her playroom tonight in preparation of the party tomorrow and we have a bunch of Abby’s artwork hanging on the wall. I was pruning all the old pictures when I came across a very good painting of a face. I was amazed. Jennifer said that she signed her name in a card at church the other day. It was an A, a backward B and a Y. Close enough. Today’s picture is from Abby’s third birthday party.