December 2020 Part II

As usual (and despite pandemic conditions), we went to E Dubs’ place for Christmas Eve. We ate well, we opened presents, we drank a bunch of stuff. While we were there, we got a Ring notification of motion in front of our door, and got to witness some douchebag in a gray hoodie stealing two packages from our doorstep (Chilkat’s replacement headphones and a gift from Eldest). Once we got home, Chilkat and Chilkoot both wrote notes for Santa.

Christmas Day, the kids woke up early and we opened presents. Chilkat’s big present was a drawing tablet, which she was excited about. Chilkoot’s big present was a hoverboard, which I don’t think I have a picture of. KrisDi’s parents came for dinner, which was veal osso buco, with French opera cake for dessert. Both fantastic.

A couple days later, the False Alarm mom-and-kids (B and M) came over for a gift exchange, and the kids actually went outside to play for a substantial time, going down some neighborhood paths and being somewhat adventurous for once. Even more unusual, M actually played with the other kids.

It’s becoming an annual tradition to dig shit out of the closet, complain about it, donate or give away 5-10% of it, and then put it back. This year, it was actually somewhat triggered by the kids, because they wanted the blocks Grandma gave them a few years ago, which were buried under the other stuff in the closet.

Someone in our neighborhood decided to try and switch our food choices up a bit and started contacting food trucks about coming to our location. The first one was a taco truck, and their food was quite good. The kids’ burrito was especially notable for size.

New Year’s Eve…we decided to do completely remotely. We opened a Zoom meeting at about 5 our time and invited a bunch of friends to drop in and/or hang out. It was interesting to have various combinations of OK, ND, CA, and WA friends. On the other hand, Chilkat went to a friend’s house for a sleepover. I’m not entirely sure how late we stayed on, because I was pretty hammered by the time we went to bed. According to KrisDi, we signed off about 1:30 AM. Chilkoot, without his sister, got to stay up just as late as us.

Random stuff:

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December 2020 Part I

For the rest of the pictures from 1-22 December, click here or on the ridiculous beard above

The way the holidays lined up, I took the three days before Christmas Eve off and consequently had a full two weeks off of work. The kids school schedule aligned with that, and KrisDi also took those days off. Unfortunately, something untoward occurred in my lumbar region two days before the break started. I decided to work through it on the first day of the break and changed the oil in my car. My back got worse and worse over the course of that day, and I couldn’t actually sleep in a bed through the night for the next three nights. I woke up in the middle of the night and moved to the couch, where I could use the power recliner to change positions without exerting. It was really bad, almost as bad as two years ago when my disc exploded on New Year’s Eve and I went to the emergency room, and eventually had surgery. Now, as I write this four weeks later, the lower back is not too bad, but I still feel like it’s sensitive and I have to be careful with it.

Because of the pandemic, we had a remote Grandma Christmas. We Zoomed with Mom for hours, opened presents, drew ornaments for the Grandma Christmas Tree, photographed and emailed them to Mom so she could print them and put them on the tree. We shared silly Snapchat Christmas photos. I wowed everyone with my stylish beard ornaments (see photo above). I was pretty pleased with my drawing.

Everyone but me went to the eye doctor. It might be the first time for KrisDi since I’ve known her. Chilkoot’s eyes have changed somewhat, but the optometrist said his current glasses will continue to be fine. Both KrisDi and Chilkat were prescribed reading glasses. That means that both KrisDi and Chilkat got to try on glasses and pick a pair.

Because of Christmas, we had to hang lights on the house. I endured it, as is my duty, and I don’t think I was too whiny about it, but you’d have to ask KrisDi. She thought ahead this year and tested each strand before using it, but found several of them to have series of lights that had failed for the traditional reason of one and only one light wired somewhere in the series had croaked. She proceeded to spend (in my mind) an inordinate amount of time identifying and replacing the faulty bulbs so we could reuse the ~$5 strands for another year. Personally, I would be OK with throwing them in the trash every year and buying new ones every year. No storage concerns, no tangling, no worries about lights being out when it’s time to decorate. To be fair, I think there was a dearth of outdoor Christmas lights at local shops in 2020 (maybe they were identified as a TP replacement), so my approach may not have been practicable this season.

Parent/teacher conferences happened in this period. Remember the entire school year has been remote. Chilkoot’s was totally fine. The only issue for him was that he had started getting into the habit of not turning on his webcam and/or wandering away from his desk (with his computer) and maybe not paying much attention to class when the teacher couldn’t see him.

Chilkat was another story altogether. Apparently she hadn’t turned in anything for the entire school year. Whenever we had asked her about it, she said she had done everything she needed to do, or there was nothing she needed to turn in. We didn’t have access to assignments or anything like that, so we didn’t know. I guess we should have reached out to the teacher to check, but I would say for damn sure she should have reached out to us and told us there was a fucking problem, so we could address it before three months had gone by. So, now Chilkat’s behind and frustrated. She at least had been paying attention in class, so she wasn’t totally clueless. She’s generally doing OK (except when she decides she doesn’t know how to do something like long division and just flails instead of thinking). Changing the habits is hard — after three months of doing nothing, she’s just not used to having stuff she needs to do. It’s improving at this point, though (about a month later).

Random stuff:

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November

Click here or on the photo above for all the pictures for November

I collected the photos for the first half of November, and there was like a dozen that I wanted to post. So I thought I didn’t have enough to warrant a post on its own, and waited until I had the whole month ready, got the photos prepped, then started writing out my list of things that happened, and damn, there was a lot of stuff, even if there weren’t that many photos.

Election day happened. We were stressed. Obsessing over election maps and count status and whatnot. We drank some scotch. We killed one of the bottles we brought back from Scotland, Aberlour 12 Year American Oak, and then KrisDi decided we weren’t done so we also drank some Casg Annamh.

Mom’s birthday happened, too. She turned a hundred and thirty-nine. She’s pretty well preserved. We had planned on seeing her, but canceled that due to pandemic conditions. We went so far as to make her a birthday cake, which we ate without her. It was delicious. We treated the car we gave her the previous month as her birthday present.

The kids online theater thing, Bots, was performed. The director has learned how to do it better — she builds the video and then livestreams it through YouTube instead of trying to share as a video playing on her local computer via Zoom.

Anyway, the play is about a robotics teams competition. Chilkat played MC Aubrey, who is very straight laced and likes to correct people, so it wasn’t much of a stretch for her. Chilkoot played Quinn, the leader of the team that always finished second. He got to record something similar to a rock star music video, which he really enjoyed.

The two of them decided to do a traditional childhood thing: Sled down the stairs. I remember using a hamper for this. They made a “sled” out of a cardboard box (I like the decorations). Ever cautious, they also decided to use safety equipment, such as a bike helmet for the rider, and a pile of pillows at the bottom of the stairs.

A couple years ago, KrisDi made a bourbon chocolate cake for a friend’s birthday, and he and his other friend, both ex-marines found it to be too bourbon-y and couldn’t handle it. Five year old Chilkoot discovered he loved it, however. Recently, he asked KrisDi if they could make a bourbon chocolate cake together, and they did. I’m not sure how much he actually helped, though. They didn’t frost it, which is nice. I ended up eating most of it, I think. We also had some caramel sauce I could drizzle on top. Later, they both decided they wanted to make cupcakes (just the box type).

After a couple weeks of trying, Chilkoot lost his tooth. He was a trooper about it (mostly). He gave his mom two tries per night, and then me two tries per night. He needed to be hugging Apple Bear. We did this every night, until it finally came out. Then he was super excited for a moment, running around, and then inexplicably started crying.

My work was unable to have a company picnic or Christmas party this year. To replace it, they ordered a bunch of boxes of chocolates from a local chocolate maker, Theo’s, and arranged for a one hour Zoom event with a Theo’s employee to talk us through the contents and talk about the chocolate roasting process. It was nice, and very cool.

Parent-teacher conferences happened. Chilkoot is doing fine, but we had to talk to him about keeping his camera on and paying attention, and set a new rule that he has to sit at his desk (he and his sister had taken to sitting on the bed during class). Chilkat, on the other hand, apparently hadn’t turned in any schoolwork at all. It would have been nice if we had gotten some communication about this issue sometime in the first three months. Since then, we’re working on catching her up some, we’re communicating more with the teacher about what the expectations are on a day-to-day basis. She was at least (mostly) paying attention in class, and she’s pretty smart, so she’ll catch up.

We had a socially distanced Cub Scouts event. We went to a nearby park to pick up trash. Everyone wore masks, to the limit of the kids’ abilities to control impulses and physical positions, we stayed away from each other and were outside.

Thanksgiving was nice. We hosted KrisDi’s parents and older brother’s family, which we shouldn’t have done for pandemic reasons, but deemed reasonably safe. With the reduced number of people and no one hanging around after, I got to keep SO MUCH leftover turkey IT WAS AWESOME.

Right after Thanksgiving, we went to a local market and bought a Christmas tree. KrisDi and the kids decorated it, over the weekend KrisDi and I put up the outside lights.

Chilkoot and I were horseplaying. I was lying on the ground and I had him up above me, and I tickled him or something, and he curled up and twisted, rolling out of my grip, and coming down with his full weight on my knee right on my forehead. It hurt a lot. I thought it was hilarious. Chilkoot felt really bad, and I tried to use it as a lesson. “We were both horseplaying, and we both know you can get hurt horseplaying, so it wouldn’t be fair for me to be mad or you to get in trouble.”

Random stuff

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Weird dream

I don’t have any idea why, but I was crawling around in some sort of attic like space in a large garage, almost a warehouse, that was quite tall — the wooden structure I was crawling around on was probably 15 feet off the ground or something like.

It resembled a large shelf, and was extremely flimsily constructed. The supports were 1x2s or something like that. I had to crawl very carefully and as it was flexing and creaking underneath me I was calmly thinking to myself, “I wonder why I’m not freaking out about this.”

I was making may way back toward the corner where the “entrance” was (maybe a ladder or something like that). This required in a at least one spot precariously swinging myself around a large object affixed to the ceiling from one section of the flooring/shelving to another.

As I got close to the corner, KrisDi showed up, and a scraggly black and white cat. KrisDi explained that the cat had been causing a lot of trouble for the woman who owned and lived in the building we were in, and that she’d been trying to get rid of it for a long time.

I asked if I should kill it, and we thought, “Probably.”

So I grabbed it by the neck. The cat didn’t react or try to get away or anything like that. I thought about it for a moment, then swung it in a half-loop and flung it as hard as I could toward the floor below. As the cat was headed for the floor below and my flimsy platform shook, I thought to myself, “I wonder if I’ll feel bad about this tomorrow.”

I think I woke up before the cat hit the ground.

Posted by snaotheus in Dreams, 2 comments