March 2021 Part I

Click here or on the owl above for the rest of the photos

The kids continued with their coaching, completed their auditions, and got their castings for their ongoing Kettleworks production. Chilkat will be Olaf (just like she wanted), as well as the bishop. Chilkoot is Pabbie, the Duke of Wesselton, a townsperson, and he’ll also be Sven (the reindeer) for a different version of the production.

Spring is here and the tulip and crocus bulbs KrisDi planted are starting to come up. Unfortunately, something in the neighborhood (probably rabbits) thinks they’re delicious.

KrisDi got a haircut. Unrelated, and a bit more important, she also got her covid-19 vaccine (Pfizer), through the military because she’s an “essential worker” due to the fact that she supports defense.

Chilkoot started hybrid school on March 4th. That means he goes to school in the morning MTThF, and asynchronous remote in the afternoon MTThF + W morning. He rides the bus. So far, we’ve made sure someone goes with him and is there when he returns. Sometimes his sister joins. He’s the only kid in the neighborhood at the bus stop right now (but that might change next week when other kids start hybrid school). The first couple days, he seemed fine and seemed like he was enjoying it, but for whatever reason he decided not to talk for 10-20 minutes after he got back, answering all questions with gestures and grunts. Everything seems fine now. He has the same teacher he’s had remotely since the beginning of the school year, and many of the same classmates, and a bunch of his friends have ended up being physical classmates.

He says it’s fun. They start with morning work, then morning meeting, math, writing, recess, reading, and then go home, then some remote stuff (reading/phonics and specialists and small reading group).

Chilkat sometimes asks for over-easy eggs for breakfast, but we learned that Chilkoot doesn’t like soft-boiled eggs.

Dr. Seuss books were recently banned for racist imagery, leading to a spike in their value. We happened to have a compilation book that included a couple of these, and Krisdi tried to sell it on eBay. Bids got up to $177.50 for a book we bought for $15 or less, but then eBay took the listing down so it didn’t get sold.

We had another food truck come into the neighborhood to sell barbecue; HB and his two older kids came out and they gallivanted about the neighborhood while we ordered and waited for our food, which was pretty nice for everyone involved. An owl also landed in a tree right next to our house, which was pretty cool, and afforded some pretty nice photo opportunities.

KrisDi bought a little rack for our clean and dirty masks.

I finally rearranged our garage storage so that KrisDi’s and my bikes can stay inside and I can open my trunk when I’m parked.

Chilkoot disappeared one morning. I was in meetings and KrisDi probably was, too. The kids’ door opened and they left. Chilkat was downstairs on her iPad or having breakfast or something (she’s often earlier than Chilkoot). But Chilkoot wasn’t downstairs on the couch or in the kitchen, or in his room…turns out he went into our room and collapsed on our bed with the lights on and door open.

I changed the oil in KrisDi’s new car on Saturday the 5th, with little pomp but some circumstance. It’s always an adventure changing oil in a car you’ve never worked on before. I don’t have the right oil, I don’t have the right filter, I don’t have the right tool to remove the oil filter, I don’t have any idea what the “drip range” is once the drain plug is removed. So it took forever, I had to take a trip to buy new tools, and I made a huge mess. But I got it done.

On the night of Sunday the 6th, KrisDi noticed a mouse running around near our fireplace in the living room, and freaked out a bit more than I would have guessed. The next day, while we were working, I was interrupted by her screaming while I was in a meeting, because a mouse was running around in the dining room where she was working.

So I bailed from the one-on-one I was having with an employee, and between the two of us we caught the mouse between one of my shoes and a piece of tupperware. I took it outside, walked halfway down the block, shook the poor bastard up and flung him down on the road and smacked him with the shoe.

Then we went back to meetings.

Later, Krisdi decorated our house with things that reek of lavender and/or fir to try to repel mice, and we called a local pest control company.

Posted by snaotheus in Family, Photo updates, 3 comments

February 2021 Part IV

Click here or on the birthday photo above for the rest of the photos

The day after Chilkat’s birthday, we hosted a second one for family. This time some of the cake actually got eaten. More presents, and time with the cousins. Possibly the most notable occurrence was the cheesy photos in front of the red carpet backdrop. P Dubs’ was my favorite.

KrisDi bought a bench chest to put in our bedroom, so now we have a storage place for some exercise equipment like resistance bands, weights, and yoga mat.

Chilkat has grown I think almost six inches in the last year. I’ll have to put up a comparison of photos soon.

We visited the Popes for whisky and pizza, which was fun. They just completed their second year of parenting for three.

Chilkat had her yearly doctor appointment, with no big surprises, except that she’s statistically pretty tall (which seems weird because her friends tower over her). We already knew she was statistically pretty thin. In both cases, within the normal range.

The kids have been spending a substantial amount of time preparing for their Frozen auditions. As I write this, the auditions are complete, but the cast hasn’t been announced yet. That’s supposed to happen this afternoon.

KrisDi gussied herself up for a new photo for her work ID, but the system broke and she didn’t get to go for it. Still cute, though. My beautiful wife. <3

Posted by snaotheus in Family, Photo updates, 0 comments

February Part III

Click here or on the cute 10 year above for more photos between 14 and 20 February 2021

There was still plenty of snow left on Valentine’s Day. The kids spent a little more time outside and made snowmen. KrisDi got everyone fancy cookies from her friend (mine, including some Scotch chocolates and Chilkoot’s). I had already given her flowers and didn’t really have anything else to give her, since I’m a deadbeat. Our big Valentine’s Day activity is still making lasagna from scratch: Noodles, sauce, sausage, ricotta, and mozzarella all homemade.

However, we had difficulty with the cheese this year. The ricotta did not seem to cooperate, not seeming to coagulate (I don’t know what the right word is), although in the end that turned out OK. The mozzarella requires rennet, and when we started the process we remember that last year we used some of the liquid rennet in the pantry and threw the rest out because it was past its expiration date. So we needed rennet that day, and it’s not an easy thing to find, and Seattle was still more or less snowbound.

We called 12-15 places, most of them not even carrying it, and a couple carrying it but not having it in stock. One local cheese specialty place had it, and when I said I’d be there in a few minutes to pick it up, the response was, “No you won’t! We’re closed, I can’t get to the store with the snow!” She also tried to lead us to a rennet-less mozzarella recipe, but we decided that was a last resort.

We eventually discovered that a market in West Seattle, an 18 mile drive, had it in tablet form (as well as a couple other hard-to-find items we wanted or needed), so I trekked out there through the snow and amongst the Seattle drivers in the SUV and picked it up. So, probably 2.5-3 hours after we tried to start making mozzarella, we got started.

And failed miserably. This cheese barely formed any curds at all, like less than a handful when we were expecting enough to make about two pounds of mozzarella. In desperation, we tried to redo the process with more rennet and got nowhere. So I went back out to the store and, in defeat, just bought some mozzarella.

Noodle-making went fine. We changed the process this year and used the stand mixer to mix the dough instead of doing it by hand. Sausage and sauce making is pretty simple, basically just seasoning ground beef and crushed tomatoes respectively.

We split it into two pans this year, one to cook the day of, and the other to freeze and cook later. It was delicious.

Fat Thursday is the Thursday before Ash Wednesday. It is a traditional day for making paczki (I pronounce it “paunch-key”) in Poland. They’re roughly equivalent to jelly donuts. KrisDi made paczki this year, though not on Fat Thursday, and she didn’t fill some because our weird children don’t like jelly. Chilkoot liked it. They were very good.

Chilkat’s birthday theme was “night at the movies.” KrisDi laboriously built a complicated six-layer chocolate espresso cake which was both beautiful and tasty, and was…nonplussed by the children’s disinterest in actually eating it.

KrisDi put up signs and theme-y stuff, teepees for the kids to sleep in (I think it just sounded cute), Chilkat groggily posed in front of this backdrop, backstage passes were delivered to the two guests.

KrisDi provided everything for the kids to make their own pizzas. The kids played and watched movies. I think they all had fun. They “slept” over (we let them stay up as long as they wanted, and I still heard giggling when I woke up around 2 AM).

Kettleworks auditions are coming up. Chilkat and Chilkoot are undergoing private coaching for the auditions. Chilkat is doing Olaf’s song from Frozen, “In Summer,” because she hopes to be Olaf. This is nice, since she’s interested in taking a more important part, but worrisome in that I’m not sure how she’ll handle the disappointment if she doesn’t get the part she wants. Chilkoot doing “Together Again (Again)” from Muppets Most Wanted

Posted by snaotheus in Family, Photo updates, 1 comment

2021 February Part II

Click here or on the cold bubble above for more pictures between 7-13 February

We had the False Alarm girls come over to celebrate M’s 10th birthday and pre-celebrate Chilkat’s. It was nice to see them. All three of them (as I understand it) have had Covid-19, though none with any real symptoms. Mom False Alarm has also gotten the vaccine, since she works in health care.

We started sticking some stuff up in our fancy garage storage, and donated some old toys and stuff. It’s nice to have a little more room in our house.

The Super Bowl happened. As far as I’m concerned, it’s an excuse to drink beer and eat food. The fact that Les and D brought me a Cloverdale summer sausage makes the game worthwhile. Add to that the fact that KrisDi made wings and I got an “imperial” version of one of my favorite local IPAs in growler format, and it was a pretty good day.

My neck has continued to be…well…a pain in the neck. ? I set up a series of physical therapy appointments, which seemed like they had been helping, but for the last five days or so I haven’t been able to hold my head up straight or turn it to the right.

The Washington Hop Mob would normally have had their week-long series of events by now, but of course covid19 ruins everything. Happily, several brewers decided to go ahead and brew Hop Mob beers and release them in cans, and I was able to find two mixed four packs, and my friend HB also got the same two mixed four packs. We’ve Zoomed three times now and drank a pair of them each time to talk about them.

Kids went to the dentist. Chilkoot hated it, he says. According to KrisDi, Chilkoot was so-so, and Chilkat was great — not doing her nervous stuff at all, even though she didn’t like it. They now have electric toothbrushes.

They had an online dino thing featuring Sue from the Field Museum. Chilkoot says it was fun learning about dinosaurs, and KrisDi says they both really enjoyed the material.

I got Krisdi flowers for Valentine’s day. I usually do it several days early rather than on the day of because (1) it’s a little bit more of a surprise, (2) doing it late might also be a surprise but would seem like I forgot, (3) usually flower selection is better. She seemed to appreciate them.

Chilkat made a poster for school pleading for people to stop littering. Apparently she has gotten into drawing balloons.

Not exactly a food truck a I understand it…the neighbor(s) who is getting food trucks to visit found a Mexican place that delivers empanadas, but would only deliver as far as our neighborhood if the order was very large, so the neighborhood pooled a giant order. They were good. Each of the shapes is a different filling. I think we got 8 or 12, I can’t remember, so I guess we have some stuffed in the freezer somewhere.

KrisDi continued (or started) to prep for Chilkat’s movie theater themed birthday party.

We got a little snow. It started out slow, but it increased pretty rapidly after that, impacting the following…

Chilkoot’s boy scout troop had a day camp event at Camp Sheppard that Saturday. Since it’s in the mountains and we had forecasts for a lot of snow, we had an exciting preparation the day before: (1) We learned Chilkoot’s boots didn’t fit him any more, (2) we thought we should get Chilkoot a coat with a functioning zipper if he was going to spend a day outside in 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and (3) we thought I should, too, since mine broke last year at Camp Sheppard and it was forgotten because I haven’t needed it since. So Friday, while I was working, KrisDi ran out to the store and bought them. Apparently finding boots in Chilkoot’s size was particularly challenging. No idea why.

We also had an exciting morning of, with all the scout parents texting each other and trying to decide whether to brave the roads out and risk not being able to come back. One parent contacted the camp and reported that plows were plowing; I’m relatively confident in my snow driving, and I figured that if most of the snow was mostly done accumulating and plows were running, I was likely to be successful with KrisDi’s new AWD Subaru SUV. We packed lots of food and water and a pair of sleeping bags, just to be safe. Assuming we made it to the camp, they had cabins.

Most of the roads had been plowed and most of the rest were pretty decent (by my standards). We didn’t have any trouble and there weren’t too many morons out yet (though there were some, and I’m looking at you white Buick tailgating the cautious driver in front of you).

Camp Sheppard had been set up with a series of activities starting at 10 and going until 5.

  • Playing in the snow. Making a snowman, turned into throwing snow and making snow angels.
  • Simple obstacle course — just running around stuff in the snow, basically.
  • BB guns. This was a pretty dismal failure. The combination of cold, masks, and safety glasses resulted in Chilkoot not being able to see anything through the fog. Additionally, I couldn’t fit in the seat next to him to really guide him on even holding and aiming, so he got nowhere with it. A few shots, no hits. Again no photos, because I was helping.
  • Archery. No photos, because I was helping the boy. He only got a few shots off during his turn, and didn’t hit the target, but he did get some power behind one and shoot it right over the target.
  • Lunch. They provided hot dogs, chili, and macaroni and cheese. Chilkoot ate none of this, eating kabanosy and Cheetohs instead.
  • Tubing. Chilkoot decided this was his last activity and he wanted to go home (which was fine with me because I definitely wanted to leave in time to get home while it was still light). He got to go down a fairly steep slope maybe eight or ten times, and about halfway through he switched to a tube that was much faster.

So he missed crafts, scout skills, and something else. Chilkoot came home saying it was the best day ever. The drive home had clearer roads, but more morons.

Meanwhile, KrisDi and Chilkat got to have a mommy-daughter day at home, also with snow. KrisDi made a big fort using tupperware as a brick mold. This was Chilkat’s favorite part. They wandered the neighborhood seeing the snowy sights. Chilkat made a snowman. They also put food dye in some bubble mix, as you can see on the featured photo above.

That sure seems like a lot of stuff for a just a regular week.

Posted by snaotheus in Family, Photo updates, 2 comments

February 2021 Part I

Click here or above for the first set of February pictures

A kid I hired in 2019 into his first professional job as a technical writer decided he wanted to try homebrewing. I don’t know if it was a gift or something he decided to buy, but he got a kit to make a brut IPA. He dropped off a bottle in my milk box, and after work one day I Zoomed with him and we tasted it together. It was much better than I expected. Better than a lot of homebrew I’ve had (not all), sadly better than some professional beer I’ve had. He named it Give Me The Brut (despite the plethora of terrible “brut” puns I supplied as possible beer names).

We made the kids clean their rooms. We told them they couldn’t play with their iPads until they were done. They finished Chilkoot’s room in a few hours (with a break to ride bikes around the neighborhood or something similar), but it took them another four days to finish Chilkat’s.

Chilkat’s birthday this year is going to be a small sleepover. She has decided to make it a “going to the movies” theme, which of course requires an exorbitantly priced snack stand.

BeerAdvocate was unable to host their traditional Extreme Beer Fest in person this year for obvious reasons. The decided to do it virtually instead. You pay whatever number of dollars, they ship you a box with eleven extreme beers and give you access to two livestreams over the course of two days with the brewers of each of the beers. We gave our friends in Oregon a ticket for Christmas, and my friend Mr-jj bought his own. We set up a two PC system, one for Zoom and one for the livestream. It was pretty interesting. I enjoyed it.

“Extreme Beer” isn’t intended to mean “extremely strong” — more like “pushing the boundaries of what you can do with beer.” So, there was a fruited sour that was more like a smoothie than a beer, a stout with miso in it, an imperial lager with marshmallow in it, a triple dry hopped black IPA. Nothing was *bad,* but the one that most impressed me was the miso stout (although it wasn’t my favorite beer to drink).

Although, several of these beers were quite strong, several of them topping 10% abv. KrisDi was like, “Three hours for two people to drink five or six beers seems like a long time.” Three hours was a bit of a push, especially on the second day, where the last beer was a 15% abv barleywine from Dogfish Head.

KrisDi had her parents order ceiling-mounted wire storage racks for the garage, two 4’x8′ sections. Les came over Saturday morning and helped me install them. This meant we had to move the adults’ bikes from their old storage space hanging from the ceiling above KrisDi’s car, and that the shelving blocks off both of the light bulbs in the ceiling. Solution to bike storage is only temporarily solved, because the new hanging location is a little too close to my car (and I can’t open my trunk). My ridiculously tight parking spot is now even tighter. The solution to the lighting issue was pretty simple, just getting LED strip lights and plugging them into the light sockets and running extension cords down to them. This is pretty satisfying because they’re so much brighter than the old lights.

Finally, Chilkoot made a video advertising a fictional business:

Posted by snaotheus in Family, Photo updates, 1 comment