April 2020 Part II

Click here or on the photo above for more photos…

Coronavirus shut-in continued. Kids got better at doing schoolwork at home, in terms of how to do things they need to do. But definitely not in terms of focusing on them and getting them done. I still bet they’re better than the majority of kids out there, but they annoy the living fuck out of me. Not much changed.

We had a stretch of nice weather. We were able to actually use our fire pit once or twice, and toast some marshmallows and cook some li’l smokies.

We participated in the Washington Camp In — park rangers got together with a bunch of volunteers including musical guests and hosted a streaming event with sing-a-longs and dancing and stories and all sorts of whatnot. The kids set up a tent in the family room and we all slept down there. I joined them late, because I Zoomed with the Pope and the Phoenix and drank while shooting the breeze with them. It’s funny — the ability to video chat with both of them at once is no new capability, but for some reason it never occurred to us to have a digital get together before we were all isolated.

The kids also enjoyed the nice weather by getting out their scooter, plasma car, and bicycles. There’s a slight slope on a cul de sac down the street from us, which they dubbed the “big hill”, and we started letting them go down there unattended as long as they promised to stay away from other humans. It gave us a much appreciated break from them (and vice versa I’m sure). Chilkoot asked me to take the training wheels off his bicycle. He of course wasn’t very successful on his first day, but we encouraged him and he made some progress. A while later, while I was still “at work”, KrisDi was out with him and he started making it short distances without a parent’s hand on his bike. If he kept practicing, he’d be doing great, but he really likes sitting on the couch with his iPad, so he hasn’t made much progress. He keeps freaking out and twisting around to check and see if Mom’s or Dad’s hand is on his seat keeping him safe, which of course causes him to crash.

Work on the Playfort continued: The drawbridge now has ropes for lifting and lowering attached to a dowel (this doesn’t work as well as I would like because to bring it up from the inside you have to walk all the way to the back of the fort and maybe pull a little more; to put it down from inside, you have to sort of hold the rope and let it slide through your hand until the handle gets to you; from outside, to close it, the handle hits the floor and then you have to feed the rope in through the holes manually). The trap door got a neat little pocket handle that goes flush when not in use and a rope ladder that nobody can successfully climb (Chilkat almost made it once). KrisDi (with a tiny bit of help from the kids) painted the panels between the studs on the inside with colors specified by the kids.

Miss K is now Mrs. K. She was supposed to get married in Hawaii, and we were supposed to be there (on our way home from Guam), but obviously that didn’t happen. They decided to have the wedding in a park out here (social distancing to some extent, with masks and everything), and someone opened a Zoom meeting so we (and another friend) could “attend”. It was cute. Wish we could have been there for real. If we had known ahead of time, we might have been able to sit in our car near the park or something. Anyway, we had fun taking wedding photos “with” the bride.

Random stuff:

  • KrisDi weeded, tilled, and planted some stuff in our garden. Hopefully we’ll have some tomatoes and peppers and arugula in a few months.
  • As mentioned in a previous post, KrisDi dyed the kids’ hair purple (Chilkat, Chilkoot).
  • A robin, now named Skylar, built a nest in the bush right outside our window. We can see her in it sometimes, if we approach the window slowly and don’t scare her.
  • Movie night — kids made us snacks and tickets and we watched a movie in our room.
  • Chilkoot signed up for some online ukulele lessons, which was going fine. Since then, he’s mostly lost interest.
  • Chilkoot continued dressing as his sister, or “mini Chilkat” or something.
  • I don’t know what the story behind this crazy hat is.
  • I finished a bottle of something…not a single recognizable character on there. I thought it was sake, and drank it like it was about 20% abv, but I think it was shochu, because it hit me like it was about 40%.
Posted by snaotheus in Family, Photo updates, 1 comment


This morning, Chilkat came downstairs a little earlier than normal during the last week or so of coronavirus isolation. She told me a nightmare woke her up. Here’s what I got from her description of her nightmare:

Our house had a flat roof instead of the peaked roof that it has in reality. Instead of a back yard, the world ended behind our house. The Playfort was in the front yard instead of the back, and it also had a flat roof. The front yard had a landscaping wall similar to the one in Nana and Papa’s back yard. A big storm was rolling in (we did actually have a short period of real-life lightning and thunder a couple days ago).

For some reason, she jumped up on top of the Playfort, and from there she jumped up onto the roof of the house — but she was scared she was going to go over the house and over the edge of the world and she woke up.

Edit in the afternoon…

Chilkoot later told me (independently to the best of my knowledge) about his own recurring nightmare that he has whenever he’s sick: It’s like a gray screen with just screaming. It makes me feel kind of scared.

Posted by snaotheus in Dreams, 1 comment

April 2020 Part I

Click here or on the owl above

The month started with April Fool’s Day. KrisDi’s and my joke was unsuccessful: After dinner, the kids were playing outside in the sun, and I went out and yelled, “All right! Time for bed!” Chilkoot just stared at me and deadpanned, “No it’s not. The sun’s still out.”

Their joke was more of a mixed success. They left us this note, and hid behind the couch.

“Stay home, stay healthy” continued through the month. The closest I got to visiting my workplace was going into the parking lot to pick up my new computer (Lenovo C940 15″) that was incorrectly delivered to my work address instead of my home address (long and frustrating shitty customer service story).

The kids continued their self-school thing with mixed results. Some days went OK, and some not. KrisDi and I kept working (or trying, or pretending, or whatever).

We decided to get take out for dinner for the first time during this adventure. We saw on Ezell’s website that they were open for take out, and we tried to call them to confirm but they didn’t pick up the phone. We took a family walk there (which was eerie because of the how everyone makes way for everyone else). When we got there, we saw this. So we pivoted and got Thai from one of the neighboring restaurants. As KrisDi and the kids moseyed, I went to a local brewery (Bickerson’s) and picked up a couple crowlers, which are my new favorite serving size.

KrisDi decided to dye her hair, which also led to dying Chilkat’s and Chilkoot’s hair.

Chilkat continued her Aladdin rehearsals by Zoom — singing, dancing, reciting lines, etc. I’m not sure if she started to actually enjoy them at this point, but she has by the end of April.

Spring break started. All that really meant was that the kids were allowed to use their iPads in an unlimited fashion instead of trying to learn anything. KrisDi and I had to continue working.

We spent more time on the Playfort, including framing the walls, reinforcing the trapdoor, prototyping a drawbridge, putting up wall panels, taking the first one down and putting up a new one, painting, installing windows, starting the trim, building the production drawbridge, and oh how I hate Hillman #10 philips wood screws. They are made of such shitty, soft material that they strip to nothing with almost no pressure, they’ll shear under normal use, and I had to keep removing them with a vise grip because they can’t fucking operate as screws. Fuck you, Hillman Group. Your products infuriate me and I will remember this experience resentfully for the remainder of my days.

Easter happened. We did not go to visit family. We made a small (~10 pound ham) Easter dinner for ourselves, dyed Easter eggs, hid eggs around the house and the yard, got a stuffed bunny that murdered Chilkat, and watched church on TV. Also spent some time working on the Playfort.

A spotted owl came to visit us one evening in the dusk. I was working on the Playfort and I think Kristen noticed a large bird. She managed to run in and get the camera, which serendipitously had the huge zoom lens already attached.

Kids decided to have a movie night and set up their own little snack bar. If I remember correctly, they picked a beer for me, too.

KrisDi decided to learn how to make macarons while we’re stuck at home, a notoriously touchy treat. First batch was not a success — overcooked and maybe overmixed, they flattened out. Also, they were very salty, but that might have been because we had no frosting or filling. I think by the time the middle of April rolled around, she had tried twice and had marginal success with the second one. Still too flattened out, but not overcooked and basically the right texture. I’m sure you’ll see some pictures when I post April’s food.

In my ongoing quest to kill some of the bottles in my liquor cabinet, I drank a (tiny) bottle of Yuzu Gin given to me by a friend in Japan.

The kids researched and implemented their own science experiment. Six cups of water, three with primary color food dye in them and the other three shallow-filled, and paper towels bridging the six, so capillary action created a rainbow across all six cups.

Oh, and I took a nap and KrisDi couldn’t believe I didn’t drop my phone.

Posted by snaotheus in Family, Photo updates, 1 comment