Family

Halloween And Suchnot

We celebrated False Alarm G’s birthday. He turned 41. He said he wanted a Star Wars cake, and KrisDi delivered magnificently with the largest and most involved cake she’s ever made. In fact, three separate cakes stacked on top of each other. G was awed — literally speechless and drop-jawed. We lit candles, sang and blew them out, savored wonderful cakes, took a shot of Guamanian rum, and headed out for drinking and pool (G’s requested birthday activities). KrisDi and the kids stayed home with A and the kids.

G and I ate at a place that might have been named “Food and Liquor”, then pool and beer at Beveridge Place Pub, then pool and cocktails at Temple Billiards (we defaulted back to beer after G was nearly annihilated by a Dapper Dan), then pizza and beer at Holy Mountain, then we tried to go to Flatstick Pub for beer and mini golf, only to be shocked by a two hour wait. We had beer and went home.

While we were out, Chilkat and M drew a jail with a bunch of “HBs” to symbolize Chilkat spending her birthday in jail. I’m not sure why, but it was very cute.

The next morning, after G was finally coaxed into dragging his hungover corpus off the couch, we went to Bob’s Pumpkin Farm and Corn Maze with the False Alarms. My favorite part of the day was the kids’ corn “maze” — it was not a maze, just a path through a corn field. They had posted a page or so of a story about a square pumpkin (celebrating diversity) at every turn or so, and Chilkat breezed through reading all of them with almost no problems. She’s a good little reader.

That afternoon, we went to Popita’s birthday party at a local Y. Kids ran and played, we hung a pinata (in the process of doing so, I think I may have permanently hid a bottle of water in their ceiling). I also delivered the Pope’s presents — a bottle of whiskey from Guam, and a bottle of whiskey from Japan.

The next day, we had Daddy Son Day and Mommy Daughter Day. Chilkoot and I went to a park, then went swimming, then had a “trucknic” lunch for him at a QFC, then went to a brewery for my lunch, then we went to Chuck E Cheese, then we went home — Chilkoot fell asleep on the way, and then he slept on me while I napped on the couch. It was great.

We had a family night at Chilkat’s school. We picked and carved a pumpkin. Well, we picked, and I carved. Apparently Chilkat had a bottle of paint explode on her in an activity while I was busy carving a pumpkin.

KrisDi hired a photographer to do a quick 30 minute photo shoot. She decided to use it to get holiday pictures for holiday cards. So, we all dressed up and trooped out to a tree farm and preened in front of a camera. Our kids are cute.

We spent the afternoon and evening with T Dog brewing beer. Some other friends came along. It was the first time we’ve participated in a brewing activity for about four years…the last time T Dog brewed.

Halloween, of course. Chilkoot and I were gnomes (people guessed Santa, Elf, Wizard…). Chilkoot got to wear his costume with me at my work. Chilkat was Alex from Minecraft, and she asked KrisDi to be a Creeper. We trick or treated around the neighborhood. We hit maybe twelve houses before the kids got sick of it. Then KrisDi and I sat on couches while the kids answered the door for trick or treaters. Chilkat loved the opportunity to boss people around. “Only take TWO pieces! NOT a handful!”

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October, Part I (sans Asia)

General silliness. Chilkat decided to put her own makeup on, and did a much better job than I would have expected. She also decorated her little brother in a similar fashion. They played dress up in Mommy’s clothes.

We took the ferry out to Port Townsend for the Kinetic Skulpture Race, where my coworker’s family had three separate entries. We saw the street portion (brake check) and water portion this time. Not fast paced, but amusing, exciting, and interesting. Les came with us as well — his first experience of this illustrious event.

As a side note, the kids were playing with their Elmos on the ferry, and a one year old became fascinated, and they turned it into something like a puppet show for the kid, to the great amusement of the child in question and the grandparents and parents of said child.

While I was gallivanting, KrisDi and Les took the kids to Salmon Days. If KrisDi wants to say anything special about it, she’ll have to do so. KrisDi also chopped her hair even shorter (still looks good).

Chilkoot got his flu shot (I think he was pretty good about it). And, KrisDi took the kids to Build a Bear (again).

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Growths

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September Part II

Zwanze day has come and gone. This year, the Slow Boat hosted again. They only sold 80 tickets instead of 100 this year, though, and they sold them all in one day. Last year, they sold 50 on one Saturday and the other 50 on the next Saturday. Last year, on both days, they lines were full to selling capacity by about 7:30 in the morning. So, to get tickets for KrisDi’s one must-have beer event of the year, I arrived at the line roughly 7 hours before ticket sales started. I had learned at this point that “waiting in line for some beer thing” is also a social event amongst those beer-nerdy enough to participate — people bring beer to share with each other, and spend the day BSing, mostly about beer. So, I remembered to bring beer, and anticipated sharing with others.

So, in essence, KrisDi selfishly took the kids out and ran errands while I selflessly read books, drank beer, and socialized with beer freaks — in the name of getting both of us tickets to a beer event both of us were excited about.

The event itself was also nice. We sat next to some people who were familiar from my line-sitting. There were only 80 people there, so lines were short. Mom watched the kids for us, so it was a quiet mom-and-dad event. And, we actually got to talking with the people next to us — a young, recently married couple that recently moved to Seattle area. About a week later, they invited us to their house for a “bottle share” (beer nerds get together and bring bottles of beer to share). There were several other people — and I was one of the less rabid beer people there. This is a little surreal for me.

I did think it was funny…this couple has lived in Seattle for a couple months, and I think they’ve made more friends than we have in ten years.

Some time ago, Chilkoot’s vacuum died. I diagnosed it as a battery pack failure, and was unable to obtain a replacement. So, I disemboweled the vacuum to salvage its motor, in the hopes of using it to make something move. I wanted to turn it into a number of lessons for the kids: Building things is fun; things don’t always work right the first time you try, but you can learn from them and improve based on what you learn; don’t get frustrated, think about what happened and what to do about it.

Anyway, the project was shelved for a while after the initial interest. The previous set of iterations had resulted in a car that could move, but not while carrying its own battery.

Recently, Chilkat saw it on the shelf and decided she was interested in resuming work on it, so we did. This time, I improved the “bearings” by using little eye-screws to hold the axles, which also gave the car a higher clearance and required relocating the motor (from the inside to the outside).

First test run had the belt slide quickly off the driveshaft, which is unsurprising. I coached Chilkat into the idea that we could put something on the end of the driveshaft to make sure the belt couldn’t come off.

So, as the video attests, we got the car moving under its own power, but the wheels come flying off after a little while. Then we had to go somewhere else.

Chilkat also learned what happens when you short a powerful battery with flimsy wires: The insulation melts and/or burns, things smell bad and get hot, and in this case, you leave permanent damage on the table top. This was my own fault for not warning her and for not disconnecting the wires from the battery while working on the car – but it was exciting. She felt really bad about it, and I had to work very hard to keep her focus on what she learned from the ordeal, instead of on the feeling that she ruined something.

KrisDi and I went to see Modest Mouse. Mom came down to watch the kids while we adulted. It was fun. For some reason, this show smelled like Amsterdam.

KrisDi let me go to the Fresh Hop Festival in Yakima with my friend and former co-worker, Mr. JJ. It was pretty fantastic, but also pretty dangerous. Most beer festival “samples” are 5 ounces on the top end — this was 8 ounces on the bottom end, with many places giving them away for “free”. It’s a long drive out there, and I didn’t feel particularly well the next morning, but it was fun. Mr. JJ and I have been out there the preceding two years, but not for the festival itself — just for the pre-festival proliferation of fresh hop beers about town. We also dragged his neighbor along with us for his first visit out there, and hit a couple breweries on the way out there and back.

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September Part I

False Alarm A had a birthday. KrisDi made her a cake using a new icing technique — “mirror glaze”. She also took her to a painting event and a for a pedicure. While she was gone, G False Alarm and I watched the four kids, and invented a new technique for coloring: We taped a un-colored picture on the outside of a window, and let the kids color the inside of the glass with white board markers.

The next day, we went to their house, where we mostly finished up their clusterfucked kitchen sink. When I left, everything was working, but the connections to the sink leaked a little bit.

Chilkat started first grade. She seems to be doing well. She seems to like the teacher, and there was (as far as I know) no crying on her first day.

Chilkat also lost her second tooth; her first permanent tooth has been named “Onesy” and the second one “Twinsy”.

Chilkat reached another pubescent milestone: She put up signs telling people to keep out of her room.

A & V Dubs both had birthdays and shared birthday parties. First was at a Pump It Up, the next weekend was at their house. They are now 4 and 2 respectively.

Not a lot else going on. Just life.

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