One of those 25 things posts

So going around Facebook lately are these 25 random things posts.  So here is mine.  I thought I’d put it on my blog and wait for it to import over to Facebook

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

In MY rules, you can tag as many or as few people as you feel like and if you are tagged  you don’t have to do anything.

1. I have resisted doing one of these things for very long but have finally given in.  Kind of like Facebook itself….
2. In my high school graduating class of about 400, I was voted “Most likely to be a millionaire”.  Hasn’t happened (yet)
3. I am a giant cheapskate.  Though I prefer “frugal”. In 2005, I bought $15,519.82 of groceries for $763.10
4. I once sat in every seat of the entire Row W of the Richfield Coliseum (where the Cleveland Cavaliers used to play)
5. Continuing the stadium / arena theme, I once fell down about 10 rows of metal bleachers at Nippert Stadium (where the University of Cincinnati football team plays).  Looking back at it, I really could have died but managed to survive with only a cut above my ear and a dislocated shoulder (which popped back in at the hospital before a doctor even got around to seeing me)
6. Back in the early 90s my friend and I used to dial into text-based bulletin boards on our 300 baud modem and register accounts under the name “John Jaha”
7. There was also a phone number that we used to call pretty much non-stop (777-4513 I think?).  Nobody ever answered but it had an answering machine where we used to leave messages all about John Jaha.  Hey it wasn’t our fault that he’s the man who can bring it (and he’ll never get sent to the minors).  All this John Jaha talk started when we noticed that he had hit .344-30-134 for a minor league team in 1991 (back when those numbers meant something).  We talked about how he was “the man” who “could bring it”.  We talked about him for years, including the creation of a song detailing his many exploits (kind of like the Chuck Norris facts I guess).  The punchline of each stanza of the song was “And he’ll never get sent to the minors”.  Example – “He’ll hit .400 lifetime, he’ll slug 1000 homers, he’ll drive in 5000 RBIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIS…. and he’ll never get sent to the minors”.   Good times!
8. I have pooped off the side of a pickup truck that was moving at about 50 mph
9. I have pooped my pants while simultaneously throwing up
10. It’s not my fault that many of my interesting stories involve poop and other bodily fluids
11. I got a 1400 on my SAT (back when it was out of 1600) and a 33 on my ACT
12. I was born in Germany and was in many countries in Europe when I was a baby that I don’t remember, but I have been to Canada and lived in the Dominican Republic (for 2 years) that I do remember.  In the US, I have been to 40 states and 807 counties (including every county in OH, IL, DC and RI, DE, and hope to visit all 3142 counties before I die
13. Speaking of counties, I once drove through all 88 counties in Ohio in under 24 hours (23 hours, 34 minutes and 34 seconds to be precise).  On another occasion, I drove 34 hours from Chicago to Cincinnati by way of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, entirely to pickup new counties
14. The first music cassette tape that I owned was Young MC’s “Stone Cold Rhymin’”.  In college, I created the first (and probably only) Young MC fan homepage.  I still think that Young MC is awesome
15. Since June 2008, I have found over $39 in coins on the ground and such – that’s not counting the $1.14 that a 10 year old girl gave me, quite possibly thinking that I was a homeless person trying to find money to feed my starving kids
16. In high school, I was once at a friends house where one of my other friends was opening up some mail that had gotten sent to the wrong address.  As my friend was trying to figure out ways that he could cash this $100 check made out to someone else (while we all tried to convince him what a horrible idea that was), someone commented “Isn’t opening up someone else’s mail a federal offense?”  Literally no more than 15 seconds later, the doorbell rang and it was the police
17. Like my wife said in her 25 things note, we did initially bond over Beavis and Butthead jokes.
18. I also really did not want to go to the dance where I initially met my wife but my friend Jim convinced me to go
19. With 5, I have more children than probably 98% of the people I know.   But I still don’t think I have a huge family
20. I own 3 rental properties
21. Starting in about 11th grade and up until about 2 years ago when I decided I was old, I wore shorts year-round. In those 15 years or so, there were only 2 times that I was ever cold.  #1, when my friends and I went out at night and walked on the ice at Lake Erie during a week where it was so cold (like 20 or 30 below windchills) that they closed the school for “cold”.  So cold that as I struggled to walk back up the ice covered stairs from the lake, my (non-gloved of course) hands were sticking to the metal bannisters and pulling skin off.  #2, when we came down to UC for an official visit.  We sat at Nippert Stadium and watched a football game in a blizzard.  This caused us to create a new temperature scale to compete with Celsius and Fahrenheit called “Stadium” where all temperatures are measured in the number of degrees that they were warmer than that day
22. In high school, I was a National Merit Finalist but (in my opinion because one of my teachers didn’t like me) was not invited to be in National Honor Society
23. I have a daughter who has Asperger’s Syndrome / mild autism.
24. I really want to hike the entire Appalachian Trail before I die.  I’m not sure I have my wife convinced that we should all hike the AT in 2016 as a family
25. I can type 100 words per minute which explains (part of the reason) why I am so good at games like Word Challenge

Virginia Tech

So back on New Year’s Day, my alma mater, the University of Cincinnati football game played in a bowl game against Virginia Tech. Since my dad works at VT, we put a little prop bet on the game. The loser had to wear a hat of the winner and take a picture at work with co-workers.

My dad actually flew out on New Year’s Day but had to fly back before the game. We stopped by the mall for some free Chick-fil-A (and to look for coins of course!) but the hats at the store in the mall were like $25. Neither of us really wanted to pay that, so we decided that he could just wear my Bearcats sweatshirt.

Of course, then he forgot the sweatshirt, but it didn’t matter anyways, as the Bearcats lost.

So here are my picture(s).

Here are my coworkers and I (I believe all UC grads) with the Virginia Tech hat.  I'm making the "thumbs up"

Here are my coworkers and I (I believe all UC grads) with the Virginia Tech hat. I am making the "thumbs up"

And here is the silly pose.  Dougs sign next to the hat I believe says "Stinks"

And here is the silly pose. Dougs sign next to the hat I believe says "Stinks"

Meijer Box Tops deal report

Okay so Meijer had a promotion this week where if you bought 10 participating products, you got a custom coupon for 70 box tops for education. Each BTFE has a face value of 10 cents, and you can turn them into your kid’s school, or, in my case, sell them on eBay.

This is actually somewhat stingier than similar deals that they have had in the past (the best was one where you got 100 BTFE for buying 12 products, and it was on the same week as super double coupons!)

As is usually the case with deals like this, with coupons it’s fairly straight forward to buy the 10 products for less than the $7 face value of the coupon, making it a moneymaker.

My report:

40 Chex Mix
24 Bisquick 40 oz
20 things that I can’t tell Carolyn about
38 Jars of frosting
20 Muffin mix
13 Hamburger Helper
4 Boxed potatoes
1 Cheerios Snack mix

I paid a total of $87.08 and if you add that all up, you’ll see that is 160 products, or 16 coupons worth. So they have a face value of $112, but I think I can eBay them for a net profit (after ebay and paypal fees) of $8 each at least, which would make them $128. So a net profit overall of about $40 or more (plus all that food).

As an added bonus, that $87 came out of the “Dan” envelope because I’m treating it as an investment in selling the box tops, so the total weekly grocery bill was only $53.

The mechanics of being the best man at your best friend’s brother’s wedding

So while working late at night I get an email that says, in its entirety:

Why didn’t Larry ask Harry to be his best man?  I mean, they’re brothers!

And doesn’t Larry have a best friend of his own?  I mean you’re not even Larry’s best friend; you’re Harry’s best friend!

In what world would you be your best friend’s brother’s best man?

I had no idea what he was talking about and wondered if my 2:20 a.m brain could possibly handle this. But after a bit of conversation, my friend Jim and I sat down to discuss what scenario would cause Larry, the brother of your best friend (Harry) to ask you to be his best man. Not to mention only giving 5 days notice. We both agreed that it would seem to be customary that you would know far in advance of 5 days who would be the best man at your wedding.

At first I suggested that perhaps Harry had either died or fallen into a coma and was therefore unable to attend the wedding. Harry was originally intended to be the best man, but due to this tragic accident was unable to, and that explains why you were called on such short notice. Possibly Harry fell into a coma – had a bad bout with a malignant carcinoma.

But in the end, it seemed to all fall into place that you are in fact the future Mrs. Larry’s close friend. Possibly even her BEST friend (in the sense that she has no better friends), even though you of course have a best friend in Harry. There was a history between you two, perhaps some sexual tension, but in the end, things did not work out for whatever reason.

You’re truly happy for Larry and his new wife, but this history still causes you to lament as she walks down the aisle that there goes, in fact, one more girl that you won’t be gettin. Nothing serious – just a moment’s hesitation for some reflection. That also would explain why afterwards you began blinkin (back tears). Certainly your sweet and tender reaction does not hurt your chances with any bridesmaids, stacked or not. By the reception though – you’re over the tears. You wish Larry and his new wife well, and since the reception is so pumpin with the base so thumpin, and a bridesmaid so ready willing and able to dance to a different groove – things are going much better.

It also explains why there might be a need for a libido check. You want to ensure not only that things are all in working order, but also somewhat of a systems check – can I really face Mrs. Larry as she gets married, etc.

PS – If you managed to read this whole post and have no idea what I’m talking about, you might want to watch this video (especially from 3:15-3:50) (possibly NSFW) and/or read the last paragraph here. Then come back and re-read this blog – I promise it will seem much funnier

Diane Tafuri, #1 Agent

So there is a billboard that is on my way home from work. It proclaims that Diane Tafuri of Sibcy Cline has been the #1 agent for 13 years. I thought that it said 13 straight years but her website says it was 2008 plus 1995-2006. So I might be mis-remembering the actual billboard.

But what I want to know is #1 at what? I think I am going to have a hard time believing that the same person can be #1 for 13 (out of 14) years at any meaningful thing, in a field that is known for its competitiveness. Something like “Most homes bought in a year” or “Most homes sold in a year” or “Smallest average days on market” or even “Highest customer satisfaction”.

I am sure that she is very good at what she does. But to be #1 for that many years – I just can’t see it. I think it is much more likely that the #1 that is touted is meaningless. Something like “Best agent named Diane” or “#1 top selling agent on my team which is just me and my mom and she gives me all her leads” or maybe just a title – like the top such and such get the title “#1 Agent”. Reminds me of the whole #1 Dad thing from Seinfeld.

Though after Googling around, another theory I had is that it is an actual award and it goes to the total dollar amount of your sales. Because I see that Diane lists tons of Indian Hill property and has 19 active listings over $1,000,000. So I guess if that is true then to be fair to her it is accurate, but to be fair to my earlier point, it is pretty meaningless, at least to the common Joe like myself. It’s not quite as hard to get the top dollar sales amount when one house you sell counts the same as 20 sold by someone else… Though again to be fair to her she probably does have pretty good connections in the kind of folks that are typically interested in those kinds of houses. But I still think the billboard is somewhat misleading, but hey what kind of marketing isn’t and hey if you got it, flaunt it, I guess.

PS I had a hard time deciding whether or not to put her name on here because I couldn’t decide if I was a) interested in what she would have to say if she found this or b) afraid of the million dollar #1 beatdown she might put on me

My awesome goaly wife

I just wanted to let it be known that my wife is doing awesome at her goals.

She is exercising like a champ.

And she is doing very well on eating only 1 thing of sugar per week. I think she would have caved yesterday if we had only had eggs in the house to make some sort of decadent dessert. And tonight she is probably gorging but it’s okay because it’s her one time for the week at her book club.

But I just wanted to support her and tell her how awesome she is

Workin hard for the money

So I had to stay late at work today because it was a really crazy day and lots of production problems and such at work.

So I get home right about the kids’ bedtime and my 6 y/o son asks “Why did you not get home till so late?”  I of course told him it was because I was working hard.

So then he replies “Oh right.  Because you couldn’t get all your work done”

Sheesh…. :)

Being a doofus

So it’s always fun finding out that you’ve been (or are being) a doofus. Thankfully it doesn’t really happen to me TOO often (he says with all humility). I mean, there are certainly times when I’ve been wrong on things but not often to the level where I sit back and think “Man that was REALLY dumb”

So I have been going out to the Y to exercise pretty regularly since the new year (I know, me and everyone else). I’ve been training for the triathlon in April. Mostly running, a bit of biking and I haven’t gotten back to the swimming though I definitely need to. But I’ve also been trying to do some weights.

Now, I have almost never done any weight training. I am pretty much a certified wuss in the weights department. Except for legs – for whatever reason, whether it’s playing lots of basketball or always running around the living room trying to jump and touch the ceiling, my legs have always been pretty strong.

So after talking with a few friends of mine that do know a bit about weights (and probably mishearing and misapplying their advice), I have decided to do some of the weight machines in reps. I try to do 15 reps on a particular machine / weight, then rest for a bit then do 10 then 5. Since I’m new, I am still trying to figure out how much weight to do on each machine. Luckily they have cards that you can take and fill out so you can remember from time to time how much weight on each machine. My thought was once I could do 3 reps of 15 on 2 straight days, that meant I was ready to move up to the next weight.

As an aside, these cards are just 8×11 sheets of cardboard-y paper with spots to write down which machine and how many reps. Then you put them in various giant folders, one for each letter of the alphabet. I think the idea is that you put it in by your last initial. Well, as you can imagine, the ‘M’ folder is giant, so it makes it near impossible to try and find your sheet again the next day. So, for purposes of the Y, I am Dan Zmiller :-) . I figured that was best since X is lumped with Y and there is no Q.

Anyway, so I was working on this one machine and I was on a 30 lb. weight. Now I know that sounds incredibly wussy and I’m sure that it is, but this is a machine where the weights are a bit lower. It’s not like the leg press or whatever. But I’m sure it’s wimpy just the same. But that is neither here nor there. What is both here and there, is that on my Zmiller sheet, last time I had done the 3 reps of 15, but this time I was only able to do 10 on the first time. I thought that was weird but just chalked it up to having done another similar machine or being tired or whatever.

But then, as I was walking around the machines, I noticed the additional weights that you can put on. Now those of you who know your way around a weight machine will know this of course, but there are additional weights that you can put on each machine. So, although the weights go (for example) 15, 30, 45, etc. there are also 2 5 lb. weights that you can add. So if you want 25 lbs, you can put the 15 lb. weight on and both the 5 lb. weights for 25. So I went back and it was not 30 lbs, but 40! 10 lbs. isn’t a whole lot, but in this case it is 33% more weight.

I always knew about these but just never thought about them. But now I will know to check them each time before I sit down!

Sunday Sacrament meeting

So as I mentioned in my last post, we’ve been dealing with some kid sickness. Because I have meetings and such that I have to go to church anyways, I went by myself last week. Church is definitely interesting with the no-kid factor in there.

So while I was sitting there in sacrament meeting, actually PAYING ATTENTION AND HEARING THE SPEAKERS, I had some thoughts. The big one was wondering if people that are in this (no-kid) situation appreciate it. And figuring that no, they probably don’t. So whereas I was there, really enjoying the speakers and such, I’m sure there were plenty of people who were just going through the motions or such. When you don’t get to experience certain things, I think it always makes it sweeter when you do. I know that has been my experience in life.

Anyway, one of the talks was from Tracey Blackwelder and she used a metaphor that I really enjoyed (but am just now getting around to posting about). She talked about how they (until recently I guess) had a big 15 passenger van and how she found it interesting that she as a “soccer mom” could just whip this thing around, and talked about the joys of power steering. And comparing that to God and how with His help you can make kind of “course corrections” in life. And (here’s where I’m getting hazy between the lines of what she actually said and what I just thought about as she was talking about the general concept) I found it interesting thinking about that not only in terms of like course corrections as far as sin / repentance / forgiveness goes, but also just general life changes.

Especially in this January time of goal setting, how much easier it is to change your life when you have God around to be the “power steering”. Though I guess you could abstract this out even a little more and talk about the usefulness of any kind of support group (whether it’s family and friends or Weight Watchers)

So yeah I couldn’t decide if the talks were just really good last Sunday or if I just THOUGHT they were really good because I could actually HEAR them. And I also heard how loud everyone else’s kids were and thought “Are my kids that loud” before deciding “Yeah, they probably are”. Though in our ward’s defense, when my mother-in-law (also Mormon) came to visit a few months ago she said that it was the quietest meeting she’d been to in months.

Good vomit story

So – classic story that I want to share. We have recently been sick in our family, of the vomitous variety. As many of you undoubtedly know, one of the downsides of having multiple children is that they all get sick. And they don’t even have the consideration to all get sick at once. Nope, one gets sick, then they get better and get the next one sick, who in turn infects the next, etc. And sometimes by the time everyone’s done, we’ve caught something else.

So yeah, recently several of our kids had gotten sick. Carolyn and I managed to avoid the illness, most likely becuase we do silly things like “Don’t drink out of the cups of people that are sick” and “Wash our hands” – you know, crazy wacky wild ideas like that. So I took the last remaining non-sickie to Cub Scouts and on the way back (after eating pizza and Gatorade), he tells me as we’re driving back “I don’t feel good”. I ask him if he’s going to throw up and he says yes. So we stop the car, get out, and he barfs all over the side of the road.

On a side note, let me just tell you how refreshing it is to actually have some children that can throw up in the toilet. As opposed to, say, wherever they happen to be. I’d say we have 2 1/2 kids that can manage that right now. As a 2nd side note, if you’re walking around Hyde Park, I’d avoid Paxton Avenue, IYKWIM.

So yeah we get back in the car and flee the scene before anyone comes out and notices us. He says he’s feeling better and you know how you get after you throw up – you feel a little better having cleared things up, so to speak. So I decide to continue on with our grocery shopping. In hindsight this was a clear “Dad” move.

So we’re at Sam’s Club and we had just finished checking out and he again says that he’s not feeling good. So I’m like “Alright” and we start busting for the bathroom. Really it was a pretty convenient time – we had already checked out, and we were up at the front of the store near the bathrooms. So we were booking it – I’m pushing the cart and he’s right there with me. I get to the bathroom and stop to leave the cart and get him into the bathroom when I look back and notice he’s a few steps behind me. HE HAD STOPPED TO PICK UP A PENNY THAT WAS ON THE GROUND!!!!! This was a crucial delay and cost us – as he threw up in the foyer by the water fountains and then again at the entrance to the men’s room.

So clearly I am doing a good job of teaching him the rules of coin picking up, I am not doing so great a job at teaching him the rules of vomit / bladder control. As anyone who has thrown up and/or nearly peed / pooed their pants knows, any delay can be crucial. And most importantly, once you feel it is “safe”, then your body just starts going. That’s why so many people have accidents right when they get to the bathroom but before you make it to the actual toilet (or get your pants down). You have spent so much time, effort, and mental concentration getting to the bathroom that once you make it, your mind is like “Ahhhh we’re safe now”.

Anyway just thought I’d share