Sickness has overwhelmed our family these past couple of weeks. Fran almost never gets sick, and she’s had something plaguing her for nearly two weeks. I had something a few weeks ago that lasted a couple of days. I thought I was going to get off lucky, but sadly that was not to be. I woke up one night and my little girl’s nose was pressed firmly into my mouth. As I sleepily wiped the snot off my lips I recall thinking “That’s not good.” Shortly thereafter I got one of the worst colds I can remember. It’s been about ten days and I’m finally starting to feel better. And that’s about it- we have spent the last two weeks fighting off winter maladies.
Well, despite being overcome with various infections we did manage to do one thing last week. The built our graham cracker houses. Each house is painstakingly assembled by hand from square crackers. Only the finest royal frosting and candies are incorporated into the designs.
This year Fran and I worked on a church together and surrounded it by four smaller houses (one for each kid). Not all of the candy made it onto the houses. The kids ate so much junk that an hour into our project they were compelled to rip off their clothes and start bouncing off the walls (literally).
We still have to add a sugar lake, but it’s a cute start. I dig our little villages. Maybe next year we will try gingerbread again.
On Monday we celebrated Mike’s Birthday again (to be fair, that was his actual birthday). He requested two chile verde burritos from Mi Ranchito (he happily ate them for several meals). Fran made a sweet potato cake but the platter it was sitting on in the oven shattered (from the heat) embedding the cake with tiny glass fragments. It was also hard to get the cake off the broken platter and it fell… a couple of time. But we popped a “9” candle on top of it and sang anyway. Then it was on to the presents. I would venture to say that Mike has very nice parents and extend family.
One funny thing that I wasn’t actually going to share: One of Mike’s presents was a Lego Batman figure (kind of like a robot). He put it together and seemed pretty pleased. I told him that I thought it was really cool. He looked at me and said, “You want to buy it?” I asked, “Why do you want to sell me your birthday present?” “Because,” he replied, “I’m all about the money.” Oh dear.
During the week Cam attended a documentary premier about the Garifuna people. It was filmed and edited by Ben Petersen, one of cam’s coworkers, while he was attending BYU. Ben did an outstanding job and you can see a trailer of his video below.
March 3, 2013. UPDATE: Ben has made his documentary available to watch on YouTube now. This is it:
One of Mike’s birthday presents was an Xbox Kinect. Now, before certain people accuse me of getting him this because it was present at a certain party… Mike had asked for a Kinect months ago, having used one at a friend’s house. I just want to say for the record: Wow, this is a cool toy. There was just nothing like this when I was growing up. We played a bit and it’s a blast (more games incoming). As per some unspecified parental guidelines somewhere I recorded my kids using the Kinect to they could laugh at themselves twenty years down the road.
And this is the year the Hughes family will not be the shame of the neighborhood. We used SilverLeaf Landscaping for our lightning needs and unhesitatingly recommend them- we are thrilled with the results. Fran picked red, white and green for the house lights. I have no idea how to take a picture of this so you get this crappy photographic abomination. But we didn’t stop with the house. White lights on the juniper trees…
…which have this nativity nestled between them. The pine tree in our front yard got done up in red with larger white bulbs. And green for the peach tree (and that’s an angel sitting next to it). Yes indeed, we are going to run these things 24/7, 365 days of the year. Yahoo! And we finally managed to finish decorating our Christmas tree! Although it won’t really stay finished for long. I’m pretty sure there was some kind of ornament war going on this morning when I came downstairs. However, there were no survivors left to question. I look forward to the day when our tree will be left alone and we can upgrade to something nicer and decorate it with a bit more flair.
It’s two in the morning. I need to get to bed. But I really want to bust this post out. For some reason this reminds me of college. I’d often be up late at night faced with a paper deadline. My intent was always to finish it as quickly as possible; rapid mediocrity was the goal. But I could rarely pull it off… I wanted to do my best. Luckily there are no real blog deadlines. No need to fight against the sweet siren song of my pillow. I will work on this tomorrow.
[The next morning] And just like that I’m back.
Work is getting busier. We’re trying to stay ahead of the curve, but each year we get slammed harder than we expect. Of course, we’re still light years ahead of where we were just a few years ago. I used to sleep at work during the holidays! A couple of months ago Fran moved out of the office we used to share. It’s taken awhile, but I have finally replaced her with a couch, two pictures, a shelf and a plant. Cumulatively they talk about as much as she did (which is to say when she was at work, she worked). No going back now.
On Tuesday Mike got his Wolf award! Fran is his Den Mother and I know she works hard to keep all the cubs on track. It’s possible Mike might actually enjoy the scouting program though. I wanted to attend the meeting, but I had made plans to see Skyfall with my Dad and brother (before I knew about the meeting). Overall I thought Skyfall was excellent (8/10).
Friday was the Sabin’s Christmas party (SCP). Everyone who’s anyone attends the SCP. Here’s a shot of our lovely hosts, Jason and Rachel… Jason is kind of holding her, I guess. I’m not sure really sure what’s going on. And here’s me and some of the boys. Fran isn’t going to like the picture of her I posted. I have no idea what hanging out of her mouth, but I love her.
Party goers played games, ate delicious food from Rubios and the evening culminated with the white elephant gift exchange. The gifts ranged from slightly thoughtful to comically obscene. I’m sure the full scoop will be provided by Rachel later this week. I don’t know why they do it, but a big thanks to the Sabins for another fun party.
Saturday brought another party- Mike’s ninth birthday. We rounded up a few of his friends and headed over to the Lehi Jack & Jill’s. First up: Bowling. Kids love bowling. I think for them it’s like a chance to break something over and over without getting in trouble. The kids turned out to be better bowlers than the adults (excuse: kids had bumpers). I think Fran will be okay with this picture of her. She was an excellent party coordinator.
After pizza and cake it was time for Laser Tag. I really like the Jack and Jill’s setup and it’s nice to see what you are shooting (visible beams). Once again the kids the kids beat the adults (excuse: gun issues and uneven teams). After laser tag we opened presents and returned home exhausted.
On Sunday we ate at my parent’s house (sandwiches… I love sandwiches!) and reveled in their cool nativity (I used to play with pieces from this same set when I was little). When we got home we were able to get the tree up, but the only thing that got decorated was Mike. Maybe next week… if we have any energy left.
For the last five years I have had an APS exhaust. I’m pretty sure that APS stands for Auditory Pain System. Satan himself crawled out of hell to design this thing. The drone was always bad but after swapping the engine it was just too much. It had to go. And I won’t miss it.
The C6 Z06 Corvettes come with a bi-mode exhaust. Under normal driving conditions the exhaust flows through a muffler. Once the car reached 3500 rpms (and the accelerator is pressed down at least 25%) a valve opens to allow the exhaust to escape though less muffled pipes. It’s an interesting idea and something that I never really got to experience. It sounded like a chance to have my cake and eat it too. After a bit of research I picked the Billy Boat Fusion exhaust with 3″ piping.
The B&B Fusion exhaust is excellent. In quiet mode there’s no drone at any speed (well, nothing that I would consider drone). With the valves open it’s a got a nice rumble and sounds like a muscle car (nothing obnoxious but there is good amount of freeway drone). I am super happy with this upgrade. It makes a huge difference in the level of driving enjoyment. And I can actually hear my stereo now (no, that’s not a joke).
I popped in a Mild 2 Wild exhaust controller so I could fully enjoy the novelty of a bi-mode exhaust. The best part is that I can open and close the exhaust’s valves with my integrated garage door opener. Quiet or loud with the touch of a button.
For anyone curious: The Mild 2 Wild works by replacing the exhaust fuse located under the passenger kick panel. This gives the user the power to cut or allow power through that circuit. The fuse powers a solenoid which controls a vacuum line that opens and closes the valves inside of the Fusion (or the stock bi-mode exhaust on applicable Corvettes).
I recently discovered that there’s an “extreme” version of this exhaust that’s available for special order. It was made specifically for high horsepower Corvettes. Interesting. For the time being I’m happy, but I may consider that at some point in the future.
After more than five months I decided it was finally time to put on my ZR1 Spoiler.
I bought the spoiler on eBay back in June. I had the OEM part on my watchlist and one day it went on sale so I snagged it. When the item was relisted it was about a hundred bucks more. I love a good deal. But all good deals have a secret cost. I had to wait for over a month to get the spoiler and it when it finally arrived the paint wasn’t as nice as I’d hoped. But my car’s not perfect, so I decided I could live with it. See? I’m not the snob you thought I was.
At first I had no idea how to go about putting the spoiler on the car. Luckily YouTube provided me with an excellent tutorial (which I have shared below). Here’s how you do it: Pop out the tail lights (Torx, don’t remember the size though). Reach in and unscrew the four bolts from the stock spoiler. Don’t drop anything in there- you’ll have a heck of a time getting it out. Put paint on the six outer ZR1 spoiler bolts and then press the spoiler into place.
The paint markings will show you where to drill. I did this several times and double checked the symmetry with a tape measure. Drilling into the body is not a good feeling, but take courage knowing that they will soon be covered up. Swap the third brake light into the new spoiler, fit the spoiler into place and then tighten the bolts (not too much). Put your rear lights back in and Voila!
I spent a good deal of time adjusting the brake light and getting the fit just right. I keep reading about “thirty minute” installs. Not me- I spent at least an hour on this. When I was done I polished the back of the car up a bit and I think the ZR1 spoiler, despite some small paint imperfections, looks awesome. I’d recommend this modification to anyone.