Monday, October 30, 2006

Any Gamers Out There?

Many people who know me are aware that one of my favorite downtime activities is computer gaming. There are about 5 of us who currently play games online together here in Minnesota, but I thought I just might put out a call to any gamers in the blogging community who read this little slice of Minnesota and see if anyone wanted to join up with us! We are currently enjoying the Battlefield series of games in the forms of Battlefield 2 and Battlefield 2142 - the latter of which just came out about 10 days ago.
If you haven't ventured online to play yet, all you need is the program, and there aren't any fees associated with playing online. It's totally free. If anyone wants to join up with the gang, you can find us through the free gamer link-up program at, and you can reach me at the handle musicman1234 (original, isn't it?) If you're a gamer and you don't play in the Battlefield series, I'd love to know what else you are playing! Melissa is absolutely stuck on this little game called Snood. She's like the grand master of the game at this point. I don't think I even hold a single record on the game anymore. See you online! (i'll have to post pics later. Blogger is being SLOW tonight...)

DMV Drama Continues...

Well, I guess it's my turn to post a little about the Minnesota DMV. I have to admit that it was Melissa who had quite the difficult time even getting her license approved, but I received mine in the mail today, and apparently there is a David Garrord who lives here. I don't know this David Garrord, but I sure hope he is a nice guy. I've never really been the one in my family to have my name spelled incorrectly, but I do remember many stories that my father used to tell us when he would return from a trip overseas. Upon returning from Japan he was always called Mr. Gasford and they pronounced his first name (Lowell) as Rowrell. I guess it is time for the torch to be passed, to me, Mr. Garrord as we launch out into the far out culture of Minnesota and teach the natives our new language. Here's to adventure!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Lincoln Brewster

Last night we had the privelege of attending a Lincoln Brewster concert at Constance Free Church (Dangie's church). It was awesome. He is such an incredible guitar player; it was unreal. We had a great time hanging out with Dan and Angie and reconnecting with Mark Wilson after the concert. Fun times! Thanks Dan and Angie for the great tickets and a wonderful night!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The DMV part 2: The happy ending

You might remember my unsuccessful trips to the DMV last week in a desperate attempt to get a Minnesota drivers license. They sent me away with instructions to obtain a more "official" copy of my marriage license. I made several different efforts and was unable to get anything different from what I already had. So I had David call the DMV on Thursday and explain the situation. Whoever he talked to said that they would have to accept what we had and give me my license. So we decided to take advantage of the half day of school Friday (last chance until the holidays) and give it another shot at the DMV.

Fortunately, after waiting in line for a half-hour, we got the "right person" who happened to remember me from our last visit. Apparently all they wanted me to do was "try" to get a more official marriage license. We didn't even have to argue it; she just agreed to accept it. It's kind of funny (but I'm still not laughing) that a week and a half later they would so willingly give me my license using the exact same documents that I brought in before.

Now we just have to wait 4-6 weeks for our new licenses to come in the mail. What's up with that?!? In Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois I got my new license on the spot. How is it that some places can do it in 4-6 minutes and other places take 4-6 weeks? This better be one fancy drivers license for that kind of wait!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A new menu item at Red Lobster?

Unfortunately we do not have a picture to go along with this post. We almost did, but didn't get the camera out quite fast enough. You'll have to just believe us.

So, we went out with some friends to have dinner at Red Lobster tonight. We'd finished our meals and were just talking; it was probably about 8:00 or so. Who walks in next, but the Domino's delivery guy. He's there to deliver about 6 pizzas. To Red Lobster. Does this strike anyone else as odd?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

A monumental birthday

Yesterday was David's 30th birthday. Happy birthday, honey!

His parents came to visit for a few days in order to help celebrate. However, much of the weekend was spent working in the garage, trying to organize it and make way for us to finally park both of our vehicles in it. It was a pretty huge job; we should have taken "before" pictures. You may remember my highly unsuccessful yard sale last spring. Well "somebody" wanted to bring all of the leftovers along so we can have another yard sale in Minnesota. So the garage was pretty piled with boxes of stuff we don't even want anymore. We finally got all of that out of the way and Dad Gafford worked hard on hanging anything and everything up on the walls to create more floor space. We were making progress.

And then I spotted it; David's "time capsule," as I liked to call it. When we moved David out of his parents house over five years ago, we were in a hurry and decided to dump his junk drawer in a bin and go through it later. We moved it straight into the shed of our new house, where it sat, undisturbed for the next 2 years until we moved to Michigan. However, moving to Michigan, the bin found a new home in the back of yet another storage shed. This house in Minnesota does not have a storage shed, and although it makes for a more crowded garage, I see it as a blessing, because David would finally have to sort through his junk bin. The bin that we'd been carting around for five years without really knowing what exactly was inside. It seemed very appropriate to go through such a time capsule on his 30th birthday. We got a real kick out of all the things we found.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The official "Welcome to Minnesota"

Today is October 11th and it snowed. I don't ever recall a snow so early in the fall. Welcome to Minnesota. I think the snow is even catching the geese off guard. Notice the group of them still swimming in the pond... They better pack their bags; they've got a trip to take.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Two trips to the DMV and still no license

I have had a very frustrating morning.

I didn't have school yesterday or today because of parent/teacher conferences (late afternoon and evening), so we decided to take this rare opportunity to finally go get our drivers licenses today. We'd hoped to do it here in Woodbury a couple of weeks ago, but research online informed us that we would have to go all the way to Saint Paul since we're from out of state and therefore have to take a test. This morning before we left I got online again to make sure we'd have all of the proper documentation to get our licenses and register our cars. We were ready to roll. So we get in the car and drive the 1/2 hour treck to the DMV, walk through the front door and read a sign informing us that this office is ONLY for drivers licenses and NOT for vehicle registration or plates. Well, shoot; we were hoping to be able to take care of it all at once, but we knew that the other part could be completed in Woodbury, so we got over it. We waited in line for a while and it's finally our turn. We get up to the counter and tell them that we've just moved from Michigan. She says, "Great, I need passports, birth certificates, and a marriage license." That's funny, the web sight spoke nothing of those items and therefore we did not have them. We were out of luck without them, but we could still take the test while we were there. Very disappointed with our wasted trip, we agreed to at least taking the test, which we both ended up passing by the skin of our teeth. So we drove home and decided though we didn't really have the time, we would just get the needed items and go back to the DMV and get it done. After all, my opportunities to conduct business on a school day are few and far between unless I want to use personal time and get a sub. We get back to the DMV and hand in our stack of documents and discover that we do not hold in our posession a "Marriage License." What we have is an "Application of a Marriage License." which is notarized and all, but it doesn't count. I explain to them that's all we got; we were never given an actual certificate. Tough luck. No marriage certificate, no driver's license for Melissa. AAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH! I've just wasted an entire morning and two trips to Saint Paul and I still have no drivers license. She gave me a web site where I can request a copy of my marriage license. Great, so I'll probably have to wait 6-8 weeks for that to come in the mail and then when in the world am I supposed to get back to Saint Paul during a week day between 8 and 4?

As you can see, I have had a very frustrating morning.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A much better Tuesday

I only killed one wasp today. It was a good day.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Just another Manic Monday

Monday's have been a little tough for me since I started school. Every Monday morning, we meet at 7:15 for staff devotions before the students come in at 7:50. Most Monday's I'm lucky to have 5 minutes to prep for my day unless by some miracle I get to school before 7:15. So, this weekend I decided to bring everything home with me so I could take the time I needed to review Monday's plans and be ready before staff devos. I also spent a few extra minutes Sunday night getting my clothes out and ready, packing my lunch ahead of time, etc. I thought I was sufficiently prepared to finally have a smooth Monday. The kids came in at 7:50 and by 8:00 the first wasp appeared. There was nothing I could have done over the weekend to prepare me for the next 6 1/2 hours.

I tried to tell the kids to ignore it and get back to work. After all, it was hovering around the light and there was no way I could reach to swat at it anyway. But then another wasp was spotted. Pretty soon there were five. I could no longer ask 16 fourth graders to ignore the five wasps flying around the room. So I sent a student down to the office to request a fly swatter or some assistance. Ten minutes later, a maintenance man appeared with a can of wasp spray and by that time we were up to about 20 wasps in the room. Trying to muster everything IWU ever taught me about Classroom Management, I had my students all gather to one side of the room so our hero could spray our flying pests to their deaths. There was no controlling them. The screams, the mobbing, it was complete chaos. Meanwhile, maintenance is spraying wasp spray all over the room, coating everyone's desks and leaving a trail of dead wasps all over the floor. He no sooner had them all dead before five more had appeared. By the time he was done, he had sprayed and killed about 50 wasps. Please believe that I'm not exaggerating. Trust me; I listened to my students count as each little wasp fell. It was roughly 50 wasps. So at that point, I have my students go sit in the hall while my student aide and I clean up the aftermath. All the while, more and more wasps are appearing. We ended up FINISHING a whole can of wasp spray in my classroom, meanwhile hearing my students from the hall, yelling "51! 52! 53! 54!" We get it all cleaned up, I invite the kids back in, lecture them about how I don't want to hear any more talk of wasps because we've got work to do. And then I look back and Brandon's about to throw up. I realize that my poor students can't even breathe because the fumes from the spray are so strong. So then we waste MORE time trying to find a fan to vent the horrible smell out of the room. Ok, now we're ready to get back to work. Wrong. Every 2 minutes I look out and they're all pointing in one direction yelling, "There's another one." This goes on for another 1/2 hour while I DESPERATELY try to teach! I told David that I literally could have been standing there naked and I don't think they would have even noticed because they were so fixated on finding more wasps. Fortunately, it was time for P.E. After dropping the kids off, I stopped in the office and told the administrators what I'd been going through. They got maintenance back on the job and they found the wasps nest outside underneath my air conditioner. They sprayed and literally hundreds of wasps fell out from underneath. Those that didn't die tried to escape....into my room. So I now had about 15 more wasps and much stronger fumes in my room. And it was time to pick up my kids. There was only a half hour now until lunch so I finally gave up and told the kids to grab a book; we were going outside. I was tired of trying to compete with a swarm of wasps. We would, in fact, have to go outside to GET AWAY from the bugs. Go figure!

Fortunately, by the time recess was over, the wasps and the smell were pretty well cleared out. For the most part we were able to get through the afternoon relatively smoothly. There were still a couple of random wasps, but nothing, NOTHING like we'd experienced that morning.

By the way, the death toll in my classroom came to 73 wasps. And I am proud to share that not a single student was stung in all of the craziness.