Archive for the ‘The Incredible Tom Builder’ Category

We had an incredible Christmas this past year. One of those holidays that was so wonderful because we did nothing, had no travel, and had nobody over. It was divine!

During the Christmas break, the men of the house poured over a Christmas gift from the woman of the house. A book called “Backyard Ballistics”. Before I knew it, the boys were coming home with things like lighter fluid, hairspray, PVC piping, long matchsticks, bags of potatoes, Pringles cans, duct tape, and things I don’t have names for. For two days a flurry of activity took place in the kitchen and in the garage.

When the moment came to actually perform the launch, our son elected to do his “video” time, rather than witness the fruition of those hours of hard work.

EEEERRRRR. Stop the tape.

I was about ready to turn the boy inside out, but Tom Builder had given him a choice, and Mr. Incredible handled the side issue of our son’s ridiculous indecisiveness (not wanting to disappoint Dad, but really wanting to do PS2 Star Wars for the 5oth time) with stunning ease. Our Princess of Wails, on the other hand, knows good Daddy time when she sees it, and was all about launching potatoes out into the pasture.

And so this is how it came to pass that two girls and the man of the house found themselves strapping our self made potato cannon to a paddock gate to prepare for her maiden launch.


None of us were quite sure of what to expect, but Mr. Incredible had high hopes of launching potatoes to infinity and beyond. What none of us were expecting was the enormous sonic boom generated by a squirt of hairspray, a spark, and a mere potato! The launch was a complete success with potatoes blasting far out into our first pasture, while Ken and I giggled over how loud the gun was. So ear busting, that we could only convince ourselves to launch five potatoes for fear that the cops would be at our door in another five minutes. Who knew that plunging potatoes into pastures could be so much fun for grown men?

So if you knock at the door, and no one answers, head around back. We’re probably just shooting spuds.


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And I don’t mean lightbulbs. This is the type of “Going Green” that will set you back more than a few stacks of energy efficient lightbulbs. This is “Going Green” the old fashioned way. The John Deere way.

It took a whole year to pass by before Tom Builder could commit to a tractor purchase. He perused tractors online, while our beautiful wildflower fields grew. He cautiously weighed the options a weekend here a weekend there. Meanwhile, without grazing animals, Fall brought an amazing growth of 2-3 feet in the fields. It was an interesting science project and fantastic study in wildlife. To get to Kansas (the creek), Mr. Incredible mowed a wavy path through our wildlife project that felt like walking on the yellow brick road.

All winter, Mr. Incredible vacillated between used and new tractors. The frost and snowfall that fell out in the field made our mornings stunning; over hot coffee we were greeted with fields of sparkling, delicate tinsle outdoors. However, what our suburban minds did not account for was all of the field mice that suddenly found our acres of brush to be a wonderful place to settle down and raise 600 families. Spring thaw began to hit, and the pressure was on my indecisive man. A few weeks ago, he finally resolved to bite the bullet and make an investment of a lifetime. In the end, he decided on a beautiful squeaky clean John Deere 5300 with enough implements to keep him busy for many seasons.

The children have all had happy rides around the pastures, and witnessed field mice fleeing in every direction for their lives. All barn cats from neighboring locations have formed a posse that convene in the evening to scour the fresh turf. I’m looking forward to my first lesson from the man who now takes his business calls in his new mobile office with a spectacular view.

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A month ago, Mr. Incredible, did something I’m still trying to recover from. He does little things for me all the time. But this was a big thing. A really big thing.

He says to me, “I would like to serve you better this year.”

(huh? am I dreaming?? where are the cameras?)

He goes on, “You were home watching the sick kids that Sunday, but the Pastor mentioned a couple of weeks ago that we should write down someone we want to serve better in 2008. I wrote down you.”


“So I’ve been thinking that the best way I can serve you is to do something for you that you really hate to do.”

(listening, very, VERY, hard)

“But I’m not sure you’ll let me.”


“I’ve decided to do all of your grocery shopping in 2008.”

(not listening anymore because I’m laughing so hard)

You have to understand exactly who this offer of a lifetime is coming from: Business man and CEO of two completely different balls of wax that demand on a good week only fifty-five hours of his life, a traveling man, Sunday school teacher, Men’s Group leader, ah yes, and let’s not forget the hours and HOURS that he’s discovered come with being on the Elder Board at church. Now pile on four kids, one wife, a house that still is being moved into, and 12 acres of property….you get the point. He’s often the last to go to bed, and up and out the door before dawn. How could I honestly let this man take another two hours of his life a week (that are not there) to grocery shop for a stay-at-home mother?

“Is that a Yes? Will you let me do your grocery shopping for you this year?”

(finding my voice) “Do you have any idea what you are suggesting?”

And the conversation went on.  Essentially, he had challenged me, and I consented.


It has turned out to be much harder than I expected. I have realized that grocery shopping is a form of control over the household. A control that requires letting go to a degree so that he can serve me, his way. In addition, I now know how much I am a STAY at HOME mother. Grocery shopping forced me to get out and meet society for the week.  I’ve also found out how much I shop from my head. Everything is up in my noggin, and now I need to write everything down to hand off to Tom Builder. Because of these three factors, I suprised myself  after two weeks, when I made the suggestion that maybe he should take the kids, and I could grocery shop without four tag alongs. Not an option.

So…Mr. Incredible has been doing ALL of the grocery shopping for over a month now. He’s doing wonderfully, and I’m feeling very guilty. Other than the fact that he is removing the one thing in my life that I do hate…there are additional unexpected benefits.

– He has brought me flowers, along with incoming groceries. Twice.
– He’s efficient. Doing multiple small trips between all of his business meetings.
– He buys things I might not, which gets us out of a food rut.
– Dare I say, we’re practically overstocked at the house.  I never thought I would say, “We don’t need any more milk.”

But most of all, I feel incredibly loved. Then guilty. Then loved some more. And perhaps hated now by a majority of stay at home moms. But, now you know, why this wonderful man in my life has earned his alias — Mr. Incredible.

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The other morning…as I attempted to do my early morning chores and quiet time before the children arose… I was foiled by a bad dream. The Queen’s Grace had run into the kitchen with tears and sobs. The dream regarded toys and game pieces at a friend’s house coming to life, and some odd thing about how one of the toys could make two fingers turn into one.  Wish my bad dreams went something like that.

All of this is mentioned simply to set the stage for why we had a talk around the dinner table about bad dreams that night.  Trying to turn something bad into something positive, I lightened the conversation up with how I have flown in my dreams. Many times in fact. In my dreams, I know exactly how to do it, and how my muscles feel as I push against the air.  Mr. Incredible shared that he knew how to fly in his dreams too. According to Mr. Incredible it involves a lot of concentration and is more along the lines of something Neo would do in the Matrix. Until that moment, it had never occurred to me that people might fly different than me in their dreams.

 So, feeling very comfortable with my mode of flying, I piped in.

“You know how I fly?  I FLAP.”

To my surprise, everyone burst out laughing.
You’re laughing too, aren’t you. 

As Tom Builder tried to recover (now feeling very svelt with his mode of flying), my own children shouted,

“You flap???  Like a BIRD? Like you have feathers???”

“Well. Yeah. But I don’t have feathers. It feels like I’m swimming freestyle in the water, but instead I’m flapping in the air.”  More laughter ensued.  Apparently, I’m a third world flier.


Tom Builder, perhaps feeling a little sorry for my weakness, decided to ask if I had ever tried flying after learning how to do it in my dreams.

Well, NO.  DUh-UH.

Upon which he then confessed that he had.  Picturing a little boy trying to jump off a roof, I asked how old he was when he tried. It was my turn to laugh.  He was in his twenties.

That’s an entrepreneur for you. I love that man.

So now, I ask my fabulous Knucker Hatch readers:

Have you ever flown in your dreams?
Care to admit if you flap or Neo?

(Whispering now)

Have you ever tried it?

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How can one man look so stinkin’ cute and at the same time have a 100+ fever? After a grueling week of travel and late nights, all of the loss of sleep caught up with my Tom Builder in a matter of an hour last night. Freezing to death, the man donned his “sick-wear” garb which includes: long underwear, fleece sweatsuit, tundra Russian mafia hat (stocking cap was MIA), and a carnival assortment of blankets.

Is he not absolutely adorable? And still smiling, even after my sister (who is staying in town for the weekend) and I had a good laugh at his expense urging him on to make Russian mafia/gang signs. Tom Builder doesn’t reduce to a babied ball of mush when he’s sick…he’s still tough as nails…but he’s sure fun to love on in such an Arctic state.

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“It felt so good to have a day off today.”

This coming from Mr. Incredible after nine hours behind either a sledge hammer, rototiller or a Bobcat. I am learning, that what my husband really wants to do in his free time is be a twenty first century gladiator. To destroy, or build, that is the question. I’m also learning he is really good at doing both.

Tom Builder has a full week with a rented Bobcat. What this guy can do with a Bobcat in thirty minutes is a wonder. On Wednesday evening, on my way to drop the kids off at AWANA, I drove between two gaudy fortress-like structures that buttress either side of our entrance to the property. Tom Builder and I have always disliked these things as they scream with their white stucco and lion topped heads “Welcome to the Fortress. Don’t touch anything.” We wanted our property to have a more inviting feel that matched our family’s personality and said something more along the lines of “Welcome to our Home. Take a load off and stay awhile.” Upon my quick return, I was greeted with “The Fall of Rome”…

The picture above was taken a day later, when most of the stucco and concrete had been transported by Bobcat to the second entrance to the property that goes down to the barn. Tom Builder’s plan is to lay all of this rubble down on the farm road, crush it, and then pile pea gravel on top of it. Meanwhile, he spent the rest of the day yesterday, smoothing out the entrance with dirt so that he can start laying pallets and pallets of sod at the entrance today. Did I mention we are also getting our new carpet today?? Did I mention that we could be watching up to 4 additional dogs for a week beginning tomorrow? The next few days are going to be CRAZY!

But as long as Tom Builder has a smile on his face, and is so loopy about driving a Bobcat that he can act goofy with his hat…it is all worth it.

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Under normal circumstances, anniversaries are froo-frooey. Let’s face it squarely: Anniversaries are for the ladies. We’re the ones that in fifth…er…tenth grade started creating anniversaries for our unsuspecting beaus. Our anniversary dates could be anything from your first date, to your first kiss, to the day you first shared a PBJ.

But men, if you hold out long enough, there is at least one anniversary out there that is custom built just for you. Hang in there with that marriage, and by the time you reach eleven years with your one and only, you’ve earned it. The gift of steel. Arrrrrgh. And like most men, the men in the Knucker Hatch house, love their steel toys:

So, the traditional gift for your eleventh wedding anniversary is steel. How bout that? It sure beats the 10th year of tin and the 12th year of linen. Whoop-dee-do. But STEEL…now, that has possibilities. Tomorrow, Tom Builder and I celebrate ELEVEN years together. And as has become tradition over the last couple of years, the one and only tradeshow we attend for our business, falls on the week of our anniversary. Which has truthfully been a bit of a bummer, since I stay home with the kids and he works his tail off in Kentucky for 4-5 days.

But back to the topic of steel. If I was a really cool wife, I’d have that Bobcat he’s been talking about getting, waiting for him on the driveway. THAT’s steel baby! (But then that brings back memories of when I tried to surprise him with a fantastic stainless steel grill that I couldn’t even get out of the back of the Explorer. I had to nix the surprise, and have him help me get the 200lb box out of the truck, and then he had to put it all together. You’d think I would have got a clue when it took three men to get the box in the car. Lame.)

Sometimes I wish I could be a man, just so that I could surprise my man with manly gifts. I fear that my poor faithful man is going to end up with something light and girly like a fresh new box of Brillo pads.

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