May 2020 Part II

Click here or on the photo above for more pictures…

We had our 11th anniversary. I made KrisDi a flight of White Russians: Regular, Vanilla Cardamom, Chocolate Peanut Butter Marshmallow, Salted Caramel, and Horchata. I made a peanut butter sauce, a marshmallow sauce, the horchata, and the whipped cream I put on top. It was a lo-o-o-ot of booze at the end of the day and super sweet. I don’t think we were able to finish the whole flight. KrisDi also made another fantastic Beef Wellington, which we enjoyed with some fancy scotch (not at the same time as the white russians).

I killed a little (375ml) bottle of blended scotch the Pope got for me in a blister pack from the impulse buy section of a convenience store in France. I used it for a beverage similar in nature to an Irish Coffee. I also killed a another unknown bottle of Asian liquor by simply dumping it out. It had grown chunky and tasted terrible.

The kids tried to sleep in the Playfort. We padded the floor with blankets, put sleeping mats out there, put sleeping bags on top, let them take stuffies out there, they each got a lamp, they both got to take their iPads and auxiliary batteries to bed with them so they could message us if they needed something (it’s within our wifi coverage)…we put them out there a little before 8:30. By 10:30 it was pitch black and started to rain, and the noise of the rain on the roof (and whatever other noises or distractions) was enough to scare them into calling for help and retreating to their bedroom. Here was their message:

Miss K’s birthday occurred, and we still couldn’t go hang out with her. So I used Total Wine’s home delivery option to provide her with her first bottle of scotch (Aberlour 16) and as an added bonus her own bottle of peanut butter whisky. Response to Aberlour: “That smells…[sip, long pause, fairly well-masked grimace]…not bad actually.” PB Whisky: “This one smells like…like uh…buttered popcorn jelly beans! [sip]…Whoah! Hoo hoo! That’s like candy! That is dangerous!”

Skylar and Gerald’s egg hatched. The kids decided if it was a boy, they’d name it Bob; if a girl, Lavender. Since none of us have any idea whether it’s a boy or a girl, we have named it Bobender. Again, due to line-of-sight challenges, with additional “freaking out the bird” and regular old timing issues, it was really difficult to try to get any pictures (many tries, standing on a stool on the precipice of a stair…). Eventually I got a few good pictures of Skylar (or maybe Gerald) feeding Bobender. A day or so later, I stepped into a digital photographer’s nightmare:

When I went to get the pictures off the camera, my computer could not read the memory card. I tried multiple disk recovery options and file recovery options (several hours of work). KrisDi did, too. Eventually gave up, and tried to format the SD card — but couldn’t even do that. I’ve never had flash memory completely puke on me like that before. That meant the last couple days of pictures were totally lost.

It gets better, though…I grabbed another SD card out of a different camera, took some pictures, and then I couldn’t physically remove the card from the camera! Wiggling, tools, pushing and pulling, etc. No dice. Googled around and discovered the technique of bending the tip of a sewing needle to slide in next to the card, turn to get the hook behind the card, and pull to get it out…

Only to have the bent tip of the needle break off inside my camera.

I eventually got the second SD card out by sliding a thin flexible metal spatula (not a kitchen tool) in beside it and wiggling around. I discovered that the case of the SD card had cracked, separated, and the resultant ridge was catching on something inside the camera’s memory slot.

On to SD card number three…scraping the bottom of the barrel in the memory department. We lent out DSLR #2 to a friend before the lockdown, took the SD card from DSLR #3, and now we were on to the cheap, crappy SD card from the little waterproof point-and-shoot camera. Next step down is whatever random ancient cards litter the bottoms of the drawers in my desk.

And the camera couldn’t read, write, or format it. Laptop could, though. On a hunch, I looked very carefully down the SD slot, and saw a little silver speck trapped under what looked like a copper or brass strap way at the bottom…using four hands and another sewing needle, I dislodged it and got it to come out, and then everything was working fine. And we ordered three new SD cards (for a total of like $20). This tiny little speck of needlepoint disabled my $1200 camera + $1100 lens and nearly gave me a god damn heart attack.

I did eventually get some replacement pictures of Bobender and family, but I don’t think they’re as good as the ones I lost. I like this one of just Bobender, though.

We decided to take a moderately controlled risk and and visit P Dubs at his new place in Gig Harbor. Big D and Les came, too. P Dubs grilled, we had a flight of heavy stouts, we walked around the neighborhood, I played with the camera, it was fun. I tried to stay a little distance away from people I don’t live with. I’m not totally sure anyone else really did. Although Chilkat broke down completely at the end and couldn’t resist giving Papa a hug.

We also used it as an opportunity to give P Dubs and T Dog some stuff: our old mower (now replaced with an electric one), old lumber, old cordless drill, old crib (although I think that actually went home with Les and D), and their portion of our home made whisky barrel stave taster flights.

Their new place is nice — a little older, but in a pretty neighborhood, nicely isolated from neighbors, short walk to pretty views, lots of nature and/or nice landscaping.

In general chores, we finally broke down and used a weedkiller in our backyard, raked up some detritus, and spread some seeds around. Hopefully by the end of the summer it will look a little better (believe it or not, that’s already an improvement); we’ll need to keep on top of weeds coming up.

Chilkat got some kind of a butterfly kit, I think for her birthday. Caterpillars arrive in the mail, you take care of them until they turn into chrysalises; transfer them to a net cage sort of thing, and wait for butterflies to emerge. In Chilkoot’s ongoing quest to destroy everything out of sheer carelessness, he cartwheeled into the container with the caterpillars, got yelled at (this is by no means an isolated incident, he gets yelled at for not paying attention to his surroundings all the time, and told over and over and over again that “sorry” is too late and doesn’t fix anything).

After the chrysalises were in the cage downstairs, he cartwheeled into them again (I’m not joking about the cartwheeling, he just blindly cartwheels around the house). He got yelled at again, and I think he panicked (I hope it was panic), because then he picked up the cage and with both hands over his head chucked it back into the corner. He sure got screamed at a lot for that, by everyone. I despair that kid will ever learn.

Luckily all the butterflies survived (except one that disappeared — the kids theorize he was eaten by the others). We kept them for the prescribed week and then let them go in the yard. One or two posed nicely. They didn’t all leave the same day. Oh, and the butterflies forgave Chilkoot.

As Chilkat’s increasingly digital production of Aladdin approaches (now they’re planning on recording all the parts at the actors’ homes and digitally putting them together into a production), they wanted to take headshots for the program. We went out to the home of one of the castmembers’ family and got pictures taken in the garage, exchanged various props and/or decorations for complicated logistical reasons, and failed to stay six feet away from the director (though the photographer was pretty much fine). KrisDi curled Chilkat’s hair and even did a little makeup. Part of the exchange was equipment to turn bedsheets into backdrops. This was a huge pain in the ass to do, and I only helped with one — KrisDi did like four or five.

Finally, we had another half-assed attempt at socially distant socializing. We went to Bonney Lake for D’s birthday. P Dubs and T Dog as well as E Dubs and his kids came out, too. Birthday visit to Bonney Lake for D. More barbecue (this time smoking some chicken), more beer, and a tiramisu cake made by KrisDi (delicious, of course).

snaotheus

Posted by snaotheus

2 comments

What an eventful month! It’s a universally accepted axiom that any photos you lose, whether digitally or on film, are the best you’ve ever taken and ever will take, so don’t despair about that. Just accept that your masterpieces are gone forever.

The wails for help are funny. They’ll embarrass the kids no end in another 10 years. Or less. 😉

Why are you trying with such apparent rage to strangle that poor stuffie?

snaotheus
snaotheus

Strangling “Tiny Rabbit”?

I don’t remember specifically why, except I was pretty sure it would shock the children. 🙂

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