Tim who?

So as I’m listing my “I’m thankful for” people list (read below) I got distracted and stopped listing family members…and didn’t list Tim, Sally, Adam, and Julia.

I’m moving them up to #3.5 on the list since I am, of course, thankful for all of them. I know my mom and dad are thankful for the time they spend with them and I wish we lived a little closer so we could also spend time together.

Me and my brother have lived apart for a while and I’m not sure anyone other than us understands the nature of our relationship, but that’s ok. He also has a birthday today, so I think I double whammy neglected him.

Love you “Alton” people. I hope to see all of you soon.


It’s funny but I sometimes forget I haven’t even been doing this blog for a year. I only really remember when it comes time to post milestone items like “Things I’m thankful for” on Thanksgiving. I’ve never written them down or shared them with anyone. Once again I get to record these things for posterity.

1. It would be pretty uncool to have a blog called “We Love Larry” and not be thankful for the man himself. Mom---Don’t read this to him, he’ll just get upset. There were some pretty dark days near this time last year and during a lot of them I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to see my dad again. I’m thankful for all of the days between that time and now because I sure didn’t think I would get them. I’m thankful for you Dad.

2. Equally uncool would be to be thankful for Larry, but not for my mom. I’m so thankful that for the times when we couldn’t be at his side or be there to help, my mom was ALWAYS there. I’m thankful for you mom and I love you both.

3. Sara, Sam, Jen – I would probably have to start a whole new blog to express how thankful to have you guys in my life. I love you all.

4. Beth, John, Allie, Linda, Bill – you are not #4 on the actual “I’m thankful for” list, don’t pay any attention to the numbers.

5. Health – I’m thankful to have the strength and energy to have roamed the hills and mountains of Norway, biked the miles of trails in Holland, traversed the subways and streets of London and to be healthy and strong enough to do it again if I get the chance.

6. In a mixed bag of thankfulness I’m thankful for: The lady who keeps Sam’s school running, people to throw candy at during Halloween, my long distance co-workers who seem like they are closer than they are, the opportunity to work from home and help my kids have a normal day, my friend Mike who can always be counted on to add further value to my mostly daily observations, the Tijuana Flats girls who prove that “kids” are still hard workers and nice people.

oh…and anyone who reads this blog and shares my day. I hope that those of you that do read this have a great Thanksgiving and as much to be thankful for as I do.



The other day I was at the grocery store playing a cat and mouse game with the actual shoppers there. I only have one job when I’m at the grocery store, and that is to drive the cart. I don’t really drive the cart as much as I kinda lean on it and bitch and moan my way through the aisles. The cat and mouse game enters into the fray when there is a lull in the shopping action. Not wanting to be a burden on other shoppers I always try to pick a place to park the cart where I won’t be in the way. It usually goes like this.

Jon: I think I’ll park over here by the Limburger cheese.

Shopper #1: Excuse me sir…but I’m trying to get to that cheese you are blocking.

Jon: Oh, sorry. I’ll just move over here by the pile of expired chicken cutlets oozing out on to the floor.

Shopper #2: Hey buddy! You wanna step aside while I scoops up them chicken pieces?

You get the picture. It doesn’t matter where I try to hide there is always some joker trying to get what I’m blocking. Another problem with the grocery store is that apparently the rule for driving a cart are completely different from driving a car. There is driving on the wrong side, no signaling, no one yields, it’s chaos. I have, however, removed this problem from my life for the most part. I found that I am now a known complainer of such extremes that no one really wants me to go with them to the grocery store anyhow.

Bring a nickel, tap your feet

Remember the other day when I mentioned the smoking lobster guy? Dressed as a lobster, holding a sign, touting a restaurant special? Well the sign holding situation is reaching a very tension filled time. The lobster has moved down the street and now there is a dancing hot dog entering the fray. A couple of days ago we pulled up to the stoplight a block down the street and Sam yelled out “Smoking lobster!” Sure enough, there he was in all his glory. The problem was he was in the median and I think he was taunting the Pizza hut girl holding a sign across the street. Not to be outdone the Dominos guy was going head to head with the homeless guy on the other corner. Once I had taken all of this in something caught my eye on the other side of the street. That’s right…enter the dancing hot dog. I have prepared a visual aid for you so that you can see how this all looks, at least on “paper”

Collier Corner

I’m somewhat nervous about taking a picture of any of the participants because I think they might use their costumes as a way of covering up who’s beating me up. Plus…who wants to be beaten up by a dancing hot dog.

Keep an eye on your newspaper headlines because this is gonna blow at some point and once again…you are in the know.

A beast of a feast…

I have an obligatory post due today regarding my visit to Sam’s school and their “Thanksgiving Feast”. Jen had to work, Sara had school, but me and Sam had a good time. I wonder what those people think of me? Maybe it’s a tad conceited to think that they pay any attention to me at all, but I drop Sam off and pick him up pretty much every day. I show up in the middle of the day in shorts, T-shirt, and in need of a shave. I’m sure most bets are on “unemployed slacker”. I guess they would be half right. Anyhow…here are some pictures of “The Feast”

IMG_0059 IMG_0061IMG_0070

I see dead people

This morning I was remembering a funny incident from my past and I thought I’d share it with you.

I was listening to morning radio in St. Louis and the topic was dreams. At one point one of the radio hosts made the comment “Did you know if you die in your dreams then you actually die in real life?” While they were discussing this for a while I started to think about it a bit and then I picked up the phone and called in. They were still going on and on about if you die in your dream then you really die when I killed the whole conversation. I asked the girl who made the assertion the following question: “How did you survey this? Did someone ask 100 dead people if A: Were you dreaming when you died? and B: In your dream were you dying? One of the other hosts started cracking up and then picked up on the theme. They razzed this girl mercilessly for the next hour. I felt a little bad about that, but I’ve heard this assertion repeated since then a dozen more times.

Island Time

Larry and Wilma have headed further south for a much needed break from grandchildren and living in a house full of the “other” Carrolls.

My in-laws have graciously given them shelter in their condo on Pine Island and I hope they can take some time to enjoy the sun, read a book or two and get away from everything. I’m not sure they have much of a choice because Pine Island isn’t exactly a hopping place unless you’re a fisherman or botanist. Either way I’m sure they will enjoy it.

Members only

Today I had one of those thoughts or bunches of thoughts and said to myself…”Gotta remember that. That would be a good blog entry”. I have since forgotten what it was.

On another note, we took the kids to get their flu shots and the gods decided to reward me with something to post here anyhow. Presumably until I remember the other thing.


You might have to look closely to see why this is funny, but there are some thoughts about how this happens.

- Someone wrote it down wrong and gave it to the printer?

- Printer got this and didn’t know it was wrong?

- Person who received  the signs didn’t notice it?

- Person who placed the signs in the ground didn’t notice it either?

This is either a whole bunch of indifference or incompetence. Either way it’s slightly funnier that it is for the opening of a new hospital. I hope the doctors here are not “Opening Team memememembers”

I went yard

Yesterday was the Worldwide 3rd Annual Superspectacular Valencia Gardens 2009 yard sale. Simply by reading that title you have experienced the highlight of the entire event. I am not a fan of yard sales, but they are necessary evils that bridge the gap between legitimate commerce and the black market. The problem is that I HOPED to sell all the stuff I didn’t want anymore for a fair price and thought if Jen and Sara slept in long enough I wouldn’t collect anyone else's junk either. Neither of those things happened. The funny thing is that there really seems to be no logic to the yard sale. People buy, and don’t buy, the goofiest things. I didn’t have any goofy things to sell, but here are some of the funny things that happened.

- 27” TV for sale Flat screen, not flat panel, mind you…but a nice TV. I ran an extension cord out to the edge of the garage especially for the lucky individual who bought it to test its viability. The guy who did buy it got me for an extra $5 because it didn’t have a remote and had no interest in testing it. The guy who bought the $2 lamp, however, asked me if he could try it out with “that extension cord over there”.

- People would buy things, pay me, and then leave the stuff there to pick up later. THEN they would come back and forget if they paid me or not! I could have sold a pair of twin beds we had about 6 times by this method.

- The Lexmark printer for $10? Didn’t sell. An old “Cars” Halloween costume for $1. SOLD.

- FREE mirror squares. No takers. $2 rickety wooden ladder? SOLD.

I did, however, experience a first at this yard sale. I told a lady that a scarf she picked up was 25 cents. She said she’d take it, but I didn’t have change at that moment. She said no problem, “Just take the dollar for it.” For all you expert yard sale people out there…this is just unheard of. I think I’m going to frame the dollar.

It wasn’t me officer

So remember the people who were calling my phone? I have another story of mistaken identity.

We moved here in 2005, settled in, got ourselves established as the Carroll family on Hawk Hill Loop. Excited to get mail at our new address I would diligently retrieve the mail every day and was pretty excited when in no time I started to get mail addressed to me. I kept thinking it was strange that after all of these years people would still send mail to JOHN Carroll. I’ve worked hard to establish myself as the “No H” Jon Carroll. Even funnier, I thought, was that the mail kept coming to our house at 22711 even though the JOHN mail said it was supposed to go to 22811. By now, being the smart people that you are, you have determined that there might be more going on that just a simple misspelling or address issue. You would be right. Curiously this is what was occurring. Here are two residents of Hawk Hill Loop and their addresses.

John Carroll – 22811 Hawk Hill Loop

Jon Carroll – 22711 Hawk Hill Loop

Haha, this is funny, strange and confusing as hell for the Postwoman. The one additional side note that made me a little wary and concerned for my own identity is that I got a couple of “Notices to Appear” for the “H” John and I can’t really remember how I found out, but it was for Possession of Marijuana. This hasn’t been a problem yet, but I envision the day when I’m tooling around Land O Lakes on my scooter, minding my own business, when I’m surrounded by Sheriffs deputies in a weird episode of COPS. Remember this when you are watching late night TV and you get to point at the screen and yell out “I KNOW THAT GUY!”

Lazy, hazy, crazy days of….me

Things that are currently driving me crazy…

- Why can’t you ever find a pen when you need one? Are they hiding in the “other” sock from the dryer?

- When I find a pen why is it always red, out of ink, or broken?

- When is is ok to take the last of something? I NEVER take the last of something. If everyone played by this rule I guess there would always be little bits of stuff around. Besides Sara who takes the last of things?

- Why do people walk on the side of the road when there are sidewalk along the road? 50% of the kids that walk home from the bus stop around here do this.

- Why does it cost $695 for that old car theft system, Lojack when you could just throw one of these in your trunk and be good for $100.

- Facebook recommendations. Apparently if 15 of my other friends are cool with someone…I should be also.

More Veterans Day…

Just a good thing to watch with your favorite Vet.

Veterans Day

I think this is the longest I’ve gone without posting. Sorry.

Happy Veterans Day to my Dad and others.

It’s been nice having Mom and Dad here in Florida. The kids are enjoying their company. Sam and dad have some ongoing banter about bananas. I think it is a conspiracy to rid the world of bananas. Sam like bananas until Larry arrived. Larry is a bad influence. Strange to write that in a blog titled “We love Larry”. I love him but my kid better keep eating fruits and vegetables when he leaves.

We haven’t really done a lot except hang around and be together. I’ll take it.

Pictures later.

Good morning Captain!


I’m sure a lot of conversations or, in this case, blog posts start with “I love my son but…” Well.

I love Sam but…

His timing is killing me. Every morning I get up before everyone else and try to get my day going. You probably don’t need the details, but it only includes a shower, some breakfast and coffee. I don’t know how many times I have made the coffee, gathered up some food and sat down only to hear the shuffle of his little feet coming to find me. What can you do? You can’t look at him and say “Oh shit, you’re awake!” I always just give him a hug and ask him how he slept. Sometimes I get a story about one of his dreams or the usual “Great!” Some day I’ll realize that this was obviously the right thing to do and miss it when he’s off to college or just not interested in a morning hug. Right now I’m going to scarf down these cheerios and finish typing. Shhh.

Dutch treat

It has been one of those weeks. I can’t specifically blame any one thing. Ever have one of those weeks?

Highlights might include:

  • Jen got a new bike. Remember that “Buy me a Dutch bike” crusade she entered into on Homeroamers.com? Well I got together with the usual suspects and we all chipped in and bought her a bike. Here is a picture of it.


Larry and Wilma will be here tomorrow night as we are all looking forward to it. This will be the longest bit of travelling they have done since Dad got sick. I hope everything goes well so they feel secure to do things like this again. They will be here through the month of November. Hey Mike! – Stop over and water the plants will ya?

All in all it has been a quiet and uninspiring week. Look above. Only one highlight. Crazy.

Opt in and opt out

Not my material, but he shares my thoughts


Every year, tens of thousands of people die because organ donor status in the US is opt in. If you want to be an organ donor when you're dead, you need to go through steps now to opt in. The default is "no."

Press releases, sent by the billions, seem to have become opt out. If you don't want the barrage of nonsense, PR firms appear to believe that one by one you must alert each and every publicist in the world of your desire to not hear from them.

401 (k) plans tend to be opt in. If you do nothing, you get nothing.

Talking to the police after getting arrested is strictly opt out. Nothing to sign, you just talk.

Cheese on your pasta used to be opt out, but now it appears to be becoming opt in.

Bacon should never be opt out. Sorry, but that's just the way I feel.

I think there are a few general principles that could save us time and money and hassle:

  • If there's a public good involved from a certain behavior, the default should be opt out.
  • If the pressure or cost of opting out is high and it involves a civil right, then opt in is a better choice for our society. (Obviously a potential conflict to the first rule).
  • If a business benefits in aggregate and the consumer is penalized on average, then it's smart public policy for it to be opt in.
  • If your business is going to depend on this connection as an asset, opt in is the way to go. Opt out email is another word for spam.

So, I'd make organ donation opt out, public religious observance opt in, newsletters opt in and smart financial choices opt out. Anything that tricks a consumer into paying for something ought to be double opt in. And without a doubt, email (and commercial transactions of all kinds) are opt in. Smart for both sides.

No need to sneak around. Ask first.

Area 51

So we have this Vespa scooter. We haven’t ridden it since we left for Europe and the battery has since died. The other day I purchased a battery and had the lovely experience of filling it with battery acid. For some reason I decided that working with sulfuric acid isn’t a big deal. Don’t need no stinking gloves, glasses, skin on my fingers. I proceeded to fill it and get acid on my hands as I picked up the battery to put it in the scooter. I also took this moment to put the screw package in my mouth to hold it while I did this. Mind you the screw package had been in the same box as the acid…which had some leak spots on it when it arrived. I’m surprised I didn’t just decide to chug the acid, since I was being so stupid. I finally got the battery in and decided to take it for a spin. I hesitate to ride the scooter because it reminds me of a joke that is pretty much true. The clean version of the joke goes something like this. “Scooters are like ______. They are fun to ride until your friends see you.” See..I couldn’t really clean it up. To top it off the helmets we have for this scooter make us all look like Marvin the Martian, minus the brush thingy.

Here is a picture of Marvin. I MIGHT send a picture of someone other than me riding the scooter for funny.



Since the inspiration of this blog is one of my parents and the other parent is really awesome…here is a link to a cool site about Awesome parents. I haven’t sent any Larry and Wilma pictures yet, but I think I have a couple that would work.

Click here for Awesome Parents


So I have a dilemma. My new phone came complete with a phone number that used to belong to what seems to be 3 different people. Two of the people I don’t really have a problem with. The first guy is apparently a guy named “Nut”. He gets calls from all over the country and everyone seems to be sad that Nut doesn’t answer the phone any more. The second person, Joan Aguilar, gets a call from a robotic caller about once a week. I press the hell out of #1 since it says they will quit calling Joan if you do that, but alas, it seems to be a lie. The third person is the dilemma. “Steven _____” apparently owes someone some money. The people tasked with getting the money think I’m Steve. I tell them my name is Jon and that they have the wrong number and they always say, “Ok Steve”. I refuse to tell them my last name because I don’t really feel like I owe them anything, but they are very persistent. I’m almost willing to tell them my last name, but I’m not sure that will end the questions. What do I do? I kind of enjoy making them mad at Steve’s expense. I figure I don’t really have anything to lose by making them mad at him. Any suggestions?