March 2022 Part I

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P Dubs and T Dog had their kid, whom I guess I will be calling D Dubs. Everyone’s doing fine. Chilkat was actually willing to hold him, but we had to strongly encourage Chilkoot to do so. Not sure what his hesitation was, but we could only get him to do it by letting him sit on a couch with a pillow on his lap, and putting the baby on the pillow. Both of them adore him. As I’ve told KrisDi several times since he was born…he’s cute, I can see P & T are going through a wonderful time in their life, and I’m super glad I don’t have another kid that age.

Mom came out to visit, a delay from her originally scheduled visit (I think February was the original plan) when omicron was raging. We didn’t have any major mom-related plans, she was mostly just hanging around with us while we lived our normal life, which included a large number of things.

The kids had their auditions for the next Kettleworks show, which is about a bunch of toys and is set mostly inside a claw game. Chilkat got the lead role of Dot, an anxious cow, which I thought was kind of funny because I’d had a conversation with the director a month or two previously where I said something along the lines of, “Chilkat was born to play characters with anxiety.” Chilkoot is playing several supporting roles. KrisDi and I are the photographers again.

Because of JTF and our trip to Hawaii, Chilkat didn’t get a regular old birthday party. So, she had a small party/sleepover with three of her friends, followed by “family” party. I still don’t fully understand, but she chose cactus and tacos as her birthday theme, so of course KrisDi complied magnificently. We ended up eating tacos or variations on tacos for like 80% of meals for a week.

KrisDi (“and I”) had gotten Chilkat tickets to see the Wailin’ Jennys for Christmas, and I don’t remember if this was the original schedule or if it was delayed due to pandemic stuff, but we got to take the kids to go see the Wailin’ Jennys sing at Benaroya Hall, which was lovely as expected. Chilkoot got a hat, and at intermission, Chilkat and I went to go and buy her an autographed poster — but we ended up at the back of a super long line for merch. I sent her back to our seats while I waited in line and the show started, so she wouldn’t miss any of it. Parenting is moving in the direction of letting kids do things on their own — in this case, navigating through an unknown and crowded space with no parental supervision.

Chilkoots’ Scouts’ Pinewood Derby had been delayed due to coronavirus stuff, but we finally got to do that, too. Which meant finishing the car first. Chilkoot’s car was decorated as a watermelon slice, but he named it Cantaloupe.

Chilkoot was thrilled to actually winhis car was faster than all the other cars, including the “unlimited class” made by people not in the troop or not following the car rules completely.

My birthday fell on a Monday. I had a full day of meetings, and then we had a parent meeting.

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February 2022 Part III

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The Monday after JTF, we took a janky Uber ride to the Sacramento airport, flew from there to San Diego, and then on to Honolulu. Then we had a bus ride to the hotel in Waikiki.

We got to the hotel pretty late on that Monday night. After we checked in and got into our room, we decided to walk around the hotel grounds a little bit. We saw a frog.

Of course, I woke up hours before anyone else. I found a coffee shop about a 15 minute walk away (which I went back to every morning). When the rest of the family woke up, we planned to go to Goofy’s (on Auntie M’s recommendation), but it was a 1+ hour wait to get in. So we walked on to Aloha Cafe, which also had a similarly long wait. So we walked on to a random waffle place in a Korean market named Upon, which was excellent. Chilkoot cried when he dropped his waffle, and the lady behind the counter felt really bad for him. She told him it was too crispy anyway and she was going to make him a new one, but he said he liked it crispy. So he got a whole new crispy waffle. It was cute. He wanted to go back every single day.

Our main activity for the first day (Tuesday) was to chill out at the pool(s). The hotel had several (one with a couple of little waterslides). I walked and Ubered around town for a bit beer shopping. We had lunch at the pool (nachos and tropical drinks). We had dinner at a Yard House — not the most exciting place to visit, but they had lots of local beer and food the kids would eat (and it was walkable). We stopped at the Lappert’s close to the hotel for ice cream, but the line was super long and they were out of a bunch of flavors (including the one I wanted).

The second day (Wednesday), we rented a car. We stopped at Leonard’s for malasadas and drove out to the Dole Plantation for a tiny train ride through their fields, a trip through their giant maze, a walk through their flower garden, and lunch. We had a Dole whip, and we fed chicken to a chicken. I think this is a photo of Chilkoot saying something along the lines of, “Excuse me, I think you have some chicken juice on your beak there…”

Then we went to Matsumoto Shave Ice and all of us got brain freeze, and then we headed on to Waimea Falls, where we took a short hike and culminating in actually swimming under the waterfall. Chilkoot was convinced he had only been there for a few minutes, though it was much closer to an hour, when we needed to head back down for the luau, and he had a bit of a meltdown.

The luau was fun. They had activities at the beginning to put guests to work preparing food. Chilkat helped squeeze some coconut, and Chilkoot helped skin some taro root (using the cut off bottom of a tin can). The food was good, the host was funny, they had lots of cultural dances and things to show us, and of course they finished with a big dramatic fire dance. Both of the kids were pretty tired and fell asleep in the car on the way back (Chilkat and Chilkoot). I had to park the car at the rental place and walk back to the hotel. I then had to walk back in the morning to drop off the keys and paperwork.

The next day (Thursday) we had our most expensive meal of the whole trip: We decided to be lazy and have room service for breakfast (Chilkat and Chilkoot). This was another pool day. We had kind of a late lunch / early dinner — we let the kids hang out at the hotel room and rest while KrisDi and I went to the Maui Brewing Waikiki location. We ate, had some beer, and got takeout food for the kids, and brought it back to the room. We also drank some of the previously purchased beer in the room that day. This was also the day I discovered 32 bug bites on my feet. Best guess at this point is that I picked them up walking through a field on the way back from the rental place at night. They drove me CRAZY for almost two weeks.

Friday we decided to walk out to Eggs and Things for breakfast on the way to the Honolulu Zoo (first picture) followed by the Honolulu Aquarium (first picture). We stopped for lunch at Paia Fish Market for lunch — very fresh, very good seafood. More time in the pool, and another night where the kids hung out in the room and we visited a brewery for dinner for us, takeout for the kids. This time it was Waikiki Brewing. We had shaved ice again that night, just at a place close to the hotel, and it was nowhere near as good as Matsumoto.

We went back to the waffle place on Saturday. This time the nearby Korean fried chicken place (I think it was called Crispy Chicken) was open, so I had chicken and waffles for breakfast. It was very nice. It was another day of pool stuff (Chilkat, Chilkoot). A second visit to Lappert’s in the mid-day when the line was short and they had the flavors we wanted. Another day of letting the kids chill while we retrieved dinner, this time at Hana Koa Brewing. That was my favorite brewery visit. I had ramen there that was just OK. KrisDi’s noodle dish was very good. The cook came out and asked what we thought about it and seemed to be open to the “not great” feedback. We brought back a crowler and finished the beer we had in the room while we packed.

The trip home involved getting to a bus at 5 AM. We had a fairly long layover in San Francisco, where I got to have Pliny the Elder on tap and I discovered an robot-automated coffee stand (didn’t get anything, just thought it was neat). I was the only person on the plane on the flight home that cheered when they announced, “Weather in Seattle is 42 and rainy.”

Takeaways: I needed a vacation from the kids after this vacation with the kids. The bickering and whining is so fucking annoying. The lack of any adventurousness. We had to basically force them to go to the beach and put their feet in the ocean. They want to go on “big vacations” like visiting other countries — no fucking way right now. The amount of money we’d spend on such a trip just to have the kids bicker and whine and resist doing or trying anything interesting — just, no fucking way.

Of course, it wasn’t all bad, far from it. I enjoyed the pool time with the kids. I taught them how to launch each other the way my brothers and I used to when we were kids. I enjoyed the lack of agenda for most days. I enjoyed the different things that we saw. We did get to visit interesting restaurants and breweries. The kids did try some new stuff. The luau and waterfall were cool. Overall, I had a lot of fun. Also, I managed not to get any sunburn until the last day, and it wasn’t even a bad sunburn.

I can’t really get any useful summary or feedback from the kids. Chilkoot keeps saying the best part of the trip was just, “Being in Hawaii.” Maybe the hotel internet is better than home internet? Maybe he actually likes the sun and humidity? I asked him again just now and he said maybe the shaved ice was his favorite, and he also brought up the waffles.

Chilkat enjoyed the Dole plantation and the chickens and seeing how pineapples grow. She also brought up the shaved ice and the pool and the waterslide.

KrisDi mentions the shaved ice, weather, the pool, not having to go to work. Really enjoyed the whole trip. Going out to dinner without the kids.

I’m sure I got something wrong in this post, and hopefully KrisDi will correct me in the comments.

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February 2022 Part II

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The Super Bowl was coming up, and the local Haggen’s stopped carrying Cloverdale’s summer sausage, so I got Wilmbo to mail me a selection of sausages. He’s a good man.

We also had a surprise 40th birthday party for T Dog. I can’t remember if we told her she was coming over for Chilkat’s birthday or just for the Super Bowl, but we had decorated the place and of course KrisDi made a beautiful cake. You can compare to the same cake I made for KrisDi’s 40th.

We got a new camera, a mirrorless full-frame Canon R6 with an adapter so we can use all our old lenses. There has been some weird behavior and it has substantially worse battery life than the 6D (expected), but it takes nice photos and sometimes it’s really nice using the touch screen to tell it where to focus.

Chilkoot decided he wanted to make a card castle with KrisDi. They used the whole deck. Then he blew it down.

We made lasagna together again for Valentine’s day. Home made noodles, mozzarella, ricotta, sauce, sausage, the full deal again. KrisDi also baked bread to make garlic bread. Delicous.

Chilkoot got a new suit. He outgrew his old one, and he’ll use this one for his cousin’s communion and for P Dubs and T Dog’s wedding in a few months.

Since we were going to be out of town, Chilkat got to open some presents before her birthday.

The big thing was JTF. We flew with the kids down to Sacramento on a Friday morning. I got sent out by Uber to get In N Out for lunch. We spent way more money on the Uber round-trip than we did on the food. My driver on the way back was a crusty old dude who kept swearing at Google Maps. The food was unsurprisingly and disappointingly cold when I got it back to the room, but the burgers were still tasty (Chilkat, Chilkoot).

There were check-ins and a rehearsal that night. Then we went out to a local brewery, Fieldwork, for dinner which was convenient (size, location, kid-friendliness) and good.

The next day was really long, starting around 7:30 and ending around 9:30. The kids practiced in some random open space and then performed for the actual adjudication. Then they had some post-performance discussion with a JTF guy, and watched some of the other groups’ performances. Our group was I think both the smallest and the youngest, with nine kids total and the oldest being 13. We had lunch at Fieldwork a second time with some of the other parents, and then we got takeout pizza at night for dinner in the hotel with the big group by the pool.

Sunday, we had Tech Olympics and the award ceremony. Chilkoot was part of the team, which had to do a quick costume change, some “spiking” (taping marks on the floor), and set assembly (putting together a prop picnic scene). We had lunch at a place called Crepeville, and we got takeout dinner from a different local restaurant and ate in our hotel room.

There were also some “big group” activities, like a talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion, a showcase of new kids’ musicals, some interactive singing stuff, and a concert by some big name Broadway folks (which apparently Chilkat found less interesting than the book she was reading).

Our group won the Tech Olympics (which is pretty impressive, since they don’t even have a tech program), and the oldest girl in the group won one of the “Best Performance” awards (she was pretty awesome).

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February 2022 Part I

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The big thing in this update is the kids’ musical production finally happening. All of the kids got over and reached their isolation/quarantine limits (most or all of them are fully vaccinated and/or recently had covid 19) and they were able to actually (belatedly) perform together on stage in front of an audience, once on a Friday and once on a Saturday, with about 50-65 people in the audience each performance.

Chilkat played “Mama Euralie,” an old woman who adopts an orphaned girl who she finds in a tree. Chilkoot played a gatekeeper (who gets to stage-slap Mama Euralie’s husband), a story teller, and filled in a lot of little roles. Chilkat actually had some solo singing parts. I’m super proud of both of them. I think the whole group did really well, and dealt with technical difficulties and mistakes on the fly very well.

KrisDi and I volunteered to help in the front, setting up / decorating the lobby, and checking tickets on performance days.

The Sunday after, we hosted a cast party. It was very cute, and I think the kids really enjoyed being able to play and goof around without having to be disciplined and focused on rehearsal.

Now that that’s over, the “travel team” is preparing for JTF in Sacramento.

After the first performance, I decided that with the amount of time I’ll be spending wearing a mask this month, I didn’t want to have a beard in February. So I shaved.

The kids decided to re-enact an old photo, which I think is super cute. Original and re-enactment.

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January 2022 Part III

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One of KrisDi’s Christmas presents to me was tickets to see Mustard Plug and Buck O Nine. KrisDi’s parents came over to watch the kids, and we headed out. We picked up doner kebabs for dinner and took it to The Stumbling Monk, a Belgian beer bar I have heard great things about for years but never visited (and was also closed for like a year and a half due to pandemic). The had a small but fabulous selection of beer there, and that was lots of fun. We walked from there to the venue.

Where we discovered no crowd at all. As it turned out, the singer for Buck O Nine had a massive heart attack a few weeks prior. He survived, but the show was postponed, and as KrisDi figured out eventually, we had been notified of the change, but the notification was filed off somewhere and she didn’t know about it.

So we Ubered over to Holy Mountain and had a few beers just before last call, and then Ubered over to the Pine Box for a second dinner of pickles and pizza and a couple more beers. So, we had a fun night, but not the fun night that we had planned.

P Dubs and T Dog are having a baby, and we had a baby shower for them at Les and D’s house, mostly family, but a few friends. This is why KrisDi made the incredible, cute, forest-themed cake.

Kettleworks rehearsals continued and covid-related chaos also continued. We started preparing for the JTF event in February in Sacramento (followed by a trip to Hawaii). KrisDi’s been ordering lots of masks for the kids to try on.

Since my work started using a chat application, we opened a channel for food, where I post a lot of pictures of things KrisDi makes. They have renamed the channel to something like “Food…where snaotheus tortures us.” This conversation happened there, which made me laugh.

Chilkat decided of her own accord to clean her room. Surprising, and very nice.

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