Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Learning to Fly

Last weekend they had a special program at the Lebanon airport to introduce kids to flying and encourage them to develop an interest in the field. Since we have the Amazing PR Man in our lives, flying in planes is something we’ve all experienced, and we’ve all had a chance to fly in a hot air balloon thanks to my Mentor. Plus, we’ve traveled a fair amount so the kids have had their fare share of flying experience, both on big jets and small commuter planes, but you can’t beat the experience of flying on a small plane, where you get to wear the headset and talk to the pilot.

Every year the airport sponsors this program, and I learned it’s a national thing. It’s called the Young Eagles, and you can go up in planes across the US and have it recorded in your flying log book. It’s really cool, and I figured it was a fun thing to do on a Saturday while A was away at a track meet. N was up for it, and it also meant we could have lunch at Five Guys.

The day started out nicely, with good weather. I woke up early in the AM and made the falafel mix for the market. Then N and I headed over to the airport while R took A to her track meet in St. Johnsbury. There was a pretty good crowd out there, and we saw several people we knew. N went up in a small single engine prop plane, though he had a chance to go up in a helicopter but didn’t want to wait around. I can relate.

They flew for quite awhile, and I lost track of which plane was his because there were so many taking off and landing. N said it was fun, but not as fun as flying with his uncle, the Amazing PR Man. Since the airport is over by the driving range, we’d brought along his clubs and hit a couple of buckets, as well. After that, we had cheeseburgers for lunch, then came home. N hung out and rode his bike while I cooked the falafels, which takes a few hours. When A and R got home, they were quite impressed with all that we’d done.

I can’t say I blame them. Then again, it’s just another day, right? Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Biczzz for the pic.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Four and Done

If you can believe this, I finally finished the fourth return (corner thingy?), and now I’m ready to complete the soffit. I have to say, making those returns was a bear of a job, mainly because there were so many angles. We’re talking angles and bevels, and then they all have to fit together. What a nightmare. People kept saying it would get easier as you did more of them, but I didn’t find this to be the case, and even if it were, when am I ever going to make one of those again? Hopefully never.

One other note, I realized that the soffit is half done, and I could even start to put on siding. Is that crazy, or what? Interestingly enough, the half of the house that is ready to roll is the one that is front facing, i.e., the one we look at. If I were to put siding on that half, it would look like progress is being made, and we all know that life is all about appearances.

This moves us into the next big stage of this project, and that’s ordering the siding, and that won’t be cheap. As anyone who knows us knows, big money purchase are painful, but hopefully I’ll just man up and do it. If we could just get that siding up, the house will at least be protected from the elements, and it will look so much nicer. The funny thing about Tyvek is that it has a finite life, and at some point, it doesn’t look that great, especially when it’s torn, stained, and flapping in the wind.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Things Are Looking Up

I think this past market was our eighth, and so far, the best. We did a pretty brisk business, and even though it was busy, it wasn’t painfully stressful. In fact, we paced ourselves well and even the preparation went well. The key is to have a supply of falafels ready to go, leaving the oil hot enough to make french fries on demand. When the oil gets cranking hot, the fries cook in 10-20 seconds, it’s amazing, though when those wet fries hit the oil, the reaction is pretty violent, if not disconcerting.

R was doing a bit of analysis, and it seems like our income stream is comparable to what we did with dumplings, with a fraction of the work. Personally, I think we have a better product, and we are developing a loyal clientele. It’s definitely more of a meal, and one of the few things are the market that is reasonably healthy, with lots of fresh vegetables. Sure, there’s a bit of fried stuff, but sometimes you need a little fun stuff to go along with the healthy.

Either way, the weather was beautiful, the crowds were out, and the kids had fun pitching in and hanging out. We’re also developing good relations with our neighbors in terms of bartering, and it works out beautifully. It’s one of the things I like about the market, developing relationships, if not friendships. Finally, A and N have become important helpers in our operation, and dare I say, we couldn’t do it without them. They really help out a lot, and it’s good for them to see and understand how people make a living, or at least try.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Sagie for the pic.

Homecoming Supper

HAIH returned from their big sojourn over in Europe, and we got to hang out and have supper with them. It was a nice to see them back, and I have to confess, I was glad they made it back in time to see their cat one last time. As I mentioned, we were watching their pets while they were away, and their cat was on his last leg. He was about 15 years old, and had a number of health issues. Our instructions were to have him put down if need be, and then save the body for their return. Seriously? I understood why, I just didn’t want to have to actually implement said plan, though we would have if need be.

Luckily, it didn’t need to be. In fact, I thought the cat was doing okay on the cusp of their return, and HH said she even let him out a couple of times when she got back, and she and the girls all got to see him when they got back. By the time we went over for supper, I think he had wandered off into the woods for his last hurrah, which when you really get down to it, is a nice way to go. He probably went to find his favorite hunting spot and just laid down and went to sleep. We should all be so lucky.

Anyway, I think it worked out well, and it was nice seeing our friends back from Europe. They were raring to go, much to my surprise, because after a long trip like that, I’m pretty useless. I’m pretty useless as it is, but especially so after a big trip like that. We had a nice supper on the deck, HH went for the Euro-inspired supper with fresh mozzarella and tomatoes, a killer potato salad and fresh bread. We brought along some cool cucumber soup and cupcakes from the market, and HH brought out some chocolate which we devoured. I think she was bummed that we ate all her chocolate, figuring we’d just have a few samples and be done with it, but she didn’t know how we eat chocolate in this house. We plowed through it, and I felt bad, so I left the bar she brought back for us from France. It’s the least I could do.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Alpha for the pic.

Liking It

We took a bit of a leap and nudged N into doing a video camp, he came out a happy boy because he liked it a lot. Consequently, mom and dad are happy, as well. N will sometimes hedge a little about doing certain things, even if they seem fun or he knows they’re fun. Then, when he does it, he enjoys it, and wants to go back for more.

This seems to be the case with TV production, which personally, I would love to see our kids venture into. I guess they already are. N was thoughtful at first about doing it, not committing one way or another, when he finally agreed to give it a try. Truth be told, we were going to do everything we could to get him to attend, because sometimes you have to get a little Draconian when it comes to having fun, and fun is what he had.

All week the kids talked about their respective productions, and it worked out nicely because A was doing a volunteer internship, but wasn’t overseeing N’s group, so they were separated, but also together. Perfect. I could tell N was enjoying it because not only was he enthused about doing every day, but he talked about it. He doesn’t volunteer to be on stage or to perform, but when he does, he is good at it, and I’m not just saying that as a proud parent. Objectively speaking, he can really get into a character and present himself nicely. He is articulate, projects his voice, and is a natural performer. The teachers at clown camp said the same thing, and enjoyed having both A and N in the camp because they were such a positive presence. I heard this on a number of occasions from the teachers, and this year, when the kids decided not to do it, they contacted us and wondered if A and N were going to be there.

Either way, regardless of what I think, the important thing is that N enjoyed it. A is a given, she has fun no matter what she does, but we’re still searching for things that really speak to N. Sports are all covered, he’s a jock, but in the quest for balance and well-roundedness, we’re always looking for those special intellectual and cultural experiences.

At the end of the week, the kids presented their work, and again, N was excited about the day. He even had a chance to wear one of his ties, which he doesn’t get to do that often. The final day had a party, complete with pizza and treats, and we all got to sit and watch their movies. Now I realize I’m the biased parent here, but the kids really did a nice job on their films. They were clever and funny, and thoroughly enjoyable. Maybe it helped they were short and to the point. I thought everyone did a nice job, and of course, I especially enjoyed N’s projects, but don’t get me started.

It was nice to see friends attending, as well. JDB came to watch, as did HH and the girls A&I. Afterward they had a little award ceremony, and then we were free for the day. Of course the kids wanted to go get ice cream, so we headed over to Fore-U, and then it was time to go home and have something healthy for supper.

All in all, it was a really nice day, and best of all, the kids had fun doing something creative and cool. You can’t beat that.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Robert Warren for the pic.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

French Fries and Firewood

Our french fries are starting to catch on, which like everything in life, is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you’re happy when people like your stuff, but on the other hand, it means you have to work harder to meet that need. Life is easier, albeit less satisfying, when nobody eats your stuff because then you don’t have to cook it. Last market we ran into increased demand, and at times had trouble meeting that demand because fries really cool down the oil. It’s just one more thing we have to work out, but it wouldn’t be a farmer’s market without the challenge, right?

Anyway, we employ the Belgian method, which involves cooking them twice. It’s the same process that McDonald’s uses, not to mention any gourmet chef who wants to make killer fries. You slow cook it the first time to cook the inside, then flash cook it right before serving to get it crispy on the outside. They come out really tasty, when properly done. The big issue is doing the first cook, which takes awhile. I found myself sitting around twiddling my thumbs, feeling bored and sorry for myself, when it dawned on me that I could get other things done in the meantime. Nothing like being productive.

What I did was put the fries in the oil, set a timer, then go and split wood, which is about 50 feet away. I have about 15 minutes, so it’s plenty of time to split 5-6 blocks, then I go back and take the fries out of the oil. It’s beautiful. Not only am I not bored sitting there twiddling my thumbs, but I can take care of something that needs to be dealt with. Man, I love when that happens.

It makes me actually want to cook french fries more often. Then again, maybe not.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Daniel Go for the pic.

Gently Nudged

We went to A’s big movie premiere for her camp, and it was fun. A loves making movies, and I think it’s a great direction for her to pursue because it addresses her creative inclinations as well as her technically savvy ways, especially with computers since everything is digital, at least at this level. N and I picked up A’s buddy ES and we attended the screening, which is a lot of fun to watch.

Afterward BF mentioned that A could intern as a future counselor, who are all high school students. It’s really a way to get your foot in the door for more experience doing digital media, as well as gaining more experience in TV production. As it turns out, she will intern for the beginner’s session, which involves younger kids. Naturally we thought N might be interested, though he often has reservations about trying new things. This is where mom and dad had to step in.

I had pretty much decided that he should do the session, for a number of reasons. First off, he’s a really good performer in front of the camera and on the stage, it’s just that the idea of it doesn’t appeal to him. When he actually does it, he has a blast. A good example of this was clown camp, where the counselors raved about him and his sister and how great they were at performing and being in character. I think it surprised a lot of people because he’s generally calm, cool, and collected. Secondly, his sister is going to be a counselor, so he’s not all by himself, and she tends to bring out the best in him when it comes to performing. I also thought it would be a good way for him to meet more kids his age, and not just hang with A’s friends.

Finally, I think it’s good for him to get out of the house. A has all sorts of camps and activities, and during this time, N is at home with me. This means I’m the entertainment coordinator for a young boy, which at times can be challenging. Often it can be fun going golfing or playing tennis, or better yet, hitting the ice and playing hockey, but I can’t afford to do that all day long. There is just way too much to do, and it’s good for a kid to broaden their horizons beyond what their boring parents have to offer.

With this in mind, I really thought he should do it. He hemmed and hawed, but never gave a definitive “no,” which meant that there was hope. Sure, we could have forced the issue and gave him no choice in the matter, but that doesn’t seem fair. Either way, he said he’d go for it, and sure enough, he had a blast. He really enjoyed the first day, and he and his sister could “talk shop” about the latest in digital movie-making technology. In fact, that’s just what they did on the ride home, a sure-fire indicator that a good time was had by all.

Man, I love when that happens. The beauty is that now I have the day to do fun stuff for myself, like cook meals, make falafels and build corner thingies for the barn. After that, as a reward to myself, I’ll mow the lawn and split wood. Life sure is good for a real-man in training.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to davidd for the pic.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Day of Rest... sort of

When I say a day of rest, I mean for the kids, not myself. The word “rest” only applies when we’re on vacation, which is yet another great reason to take vacations. This weekend the kids took it easy and I was able to get some things done around the house, or rather, the barn. Early in the morning I headed over to the ice rink to help Mr. Hockey remove the ice, and it was quicker than I thought. Don’t get me wrong, it takes days to complete the job, and it’s an incredible amount of work, but my part only took a few hours. The problem is that a lot of the jobs require only two or three people, so once the big jobs are done, my presence wasn’t really needed. Fine by me.

After the arena, I went home and headed straight for the barn to finish working on the corner thingies, or as my Mentor has informed me, the “returns.” I kind of like the name “corner thingy,” but it’s hard to explain this to contractors because not only do they have no idea what I’m talking about, but they wonder how I came up with such a dorky name. I did manage to get 3 out of 4 of them completed, and the last one is about 90% done, so I’m in good shape. Once they are done, I can install the soffit, which will be a lot easier with HH’s nail gun, and then we can put in siding. Amazing.

Then again, sometimes it takes me months just to hammer in a few nails, so no sense in celebrating, just yet.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to David for the pic.

Walking the Dog

We should get into the pet care business. This past couple of weeks we took care of three sets of pets, and let me tell you, it was a little crazy. As anyone who is busy can attest to, just adding one more thing can drive you nuts, even though you’d happily do it for your friends. At one point, we had three sets of cats to feed, not to mention a dog to walk. It was a little crazy, especially on market day, but we weathered the storm.

Of course, there was drama involved, as well. First off, let me say that I love dogs, but having to walk a dog two to three times a day can be a chore, especially when you’re tired, hot, and busy. I felt bad for HH’s dog, he was home alone, and he’s such a good pup. He really missed his family, so I felt like it was really important to keep him company. It didn’t help that the weather was either pouring rain or scorching hot, but you do what you have to do.

One thing that complicated the scene was that one of her cats (she has three) is fairly old and having some health issues. The entire time that they were away there was some concern that the cat would have to be put to sleep, and I for one did not want to be the one to do it. He’s a really nice cat, too. Being old and sick, he didn’t really go out much, or for that matter, move. We brought food and water to him, and tried to make him comfortable. He seemed okay, just tired and weary. Every time we arrived at their house, we crossed our fingers and hoped to find him alive, which we did.

In the end, he made it through, and with HH’s return, his spirits seemed to rise and he even started going outside. For a cat, you can’t beat that. It was during this time that we also watched our neighbor, the H’s, cat and fish, not to mention the P’s. Now that everyone’s back (whew!), we can resume our usual crazy schedule, which at least doesn’t involve life and death decisions regarding pets, which is fine by me.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Jamie Frith for the pic.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Inner Tubing Fun

What’s the best way to beat the heat in New England (besides air conditioning)? Getting wet, of course. There are countless ways to get wet up here, but decided to try something new and rent inner tubes and ride them down the river. I’d heard about river inner tubing, but didn’t really know what it entailed. There used to be vendors from the S. Royalton area that were always promoting it, and we finally decided to give it a try.

Our timing was good, actually. We were going for it on Sunday. I contacted Tweed River Tubing on Saturday, and the guy said the river was flowing pretty fast, too much so for kids. He said it takes about 2.5 hours to do the ride, but they were clocking in at 1 hour, so they did not recommend it for young kids. In fact, the day before, they weren’t even letting people on the river, it was so fast. The guy mentioned that it was dropping, and that buy Sunday it should be fine. I appreciated his honesty.

We headed out Sunday after lunch and were ready for some white water fun. The river in question is the White River, and you grab a tube just outside of Bethel. I was a little cautious with N, but it was actually pretty safe, and man was it fun. We had a blast, and the kids were raving about it, as were we. The water was flowing nicely enough to make it fun, but not so much to make it scary. You get tube, a paddle, and life vest, and jump in. The water was cold, but it was hot outside, so we weren’t complaining. It had actually cooled off because it was cloudy, but it was still warm.

The ride was a blast! There are sections of rocks that give you a little white water experience, and there are channels and chutes that you jet through. Lots of joyful screaming. You can control your direction and speed with the paddle, but for the most part, you just go with the flow. On one dramatic note, at one point on the river, a family had brought along their 3-year old (for real?) and they hit some rocks, flipping the child’s tube over. Apparently nobody really knew how to swim, so they rescued the child, but there was so trauma and maybe some injury. I can’t say for sure, but there was this serious rescue operation. A bit of overkill, if you ask me, and the river is strong, but not that deep. I was wondering why they couldn’t just hold the child and walk to the shore. Instead, it seemed like the brought in the Marines.

It made for some drama, but didn’t diminish the fun. It was a great way to cool off. Someone was saying that it was the best weekend because heavy rains made the river flow, but not dangerously. As summer progresses, unless they get ample rainfall, the river tends to dry up to a trickle, so our timing was good. I love when that happens.

Afterward, we had supper in Bethel at some shack on the side of the road. Greasy fried foods, the kind we love to hate. I just wanted to mention that our experience with Tweed River was awesome, I give them thumbs up and recommend going with them if you want to river tube.

I know we’ll go back to them, and can’t wait until the next time. Thanks for reading, and thanks to DiscoverDominica for the pic.

A Walk Spoiled

I have to confess that I’ve never disagreed with Mark Twain’s assessment (did he say this?) of the game of golf. Maybe it’s because I never really played it growing up, but somehow golf never really captured my imagination, even though everyone around me plays the game. I probably never would have even tried it had N not wanted to give it a go. A few years back he developed an interest in golf, so naturally I tagged along for the ride. He takes it pretty seriously, and is into the gear. He has a set of clubs, complete with all the drivers and irons, not to mention the putter. It’s a cool set, and he loves taking care of it, making sure everything is where it belongs. That’s just the way he is, it’s really cute.

We’ve golfed a few times at the 9-hole course nearby, but mostly we go to the driving range, which I enjoy, maybe even a little better. I like whacking the ball, and going to the driving range is not only cheaper, but it doesn’t take all day. This past week, we had all day with some decent weather, and he asked if we could go golfing. R agreed, and even A said she’s tag along and ride the golf cart and search for balls. That meant the guys were going out for a round of golf.

We tried a new range, as well, and headed off to Carter CC in Lebanon. I’d never been there, but had driven past it countless times. It’s actually a decent course, nice than Windsor, in my opinion. N and I played a 9-hole round, and if you can believe this, I really had fun. First off, N has really come along in his game. As I said, he takes it seriously, and you can see when he swings that he’s all about form. The thing about golf, at least in my opinion, is that when you maintain proper form, things don’t work out that well at first. A person’s first inclination (at least for me) is to ditch form and do what works, or at least feels more comfortable. However, if you’re patient and do things properly, eventually things will fall into place, and I think that’s what’s happening with N. He struggled a bit at first hitting the ball, but gradually his swing developed, and now he’s hitting the ball well. Bear in mind, he’s just a kid, but I’m impressed with how he can hit the ball. It’s really cool to see.

We did 9 holes and maybe it was because it wasn’t too hot, but we had a blast. The course is nicer so it made it fun, as well, though it’s hard when people come up behind you and are waiting to tee off. Also, since it’s a small course and people are doubling back, it can be a little treacherous with golf balls flying all over the place. Treacherous for us and them.

We played for several hours, golf is such a time drain, but enjoyed it, and even I came away from it seeing some of the merits of the game. So much so, in fact, that I think we’ll do it again, soon.

No argument from N on that one. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Fevi in Pictures for the pic.

Best Market Yet

From a sales perspective, our seventh market was our best one yet. It also happened to coincide with the one market day when it didn’t rain (funny how that works) but instead we had blazing heat. It only gets up in the 90s for a limited number of days up here, and this was one of them. We got a break from the breeze, and clouds would roll by giving us some shade, so while it was hot, it wasn’t as bad as it could be, and I was behind a hot stove for most of the time.

We have been a bit downtrodden over the past several weeks because not only has the weather been bad, but the crowds have been somewhat anemic. I’m not sure, why, maybe it’s the economy, and the weather has been a big factor. This time around, there was no rain in the forecast, just scorching heat, which can be as detrimental as rain, though at this point, I’ll take heat over rain. We lucked out because the day was fairly breezy, which made the heat much more tolerable, and there were some clouds to offer moments of respite from the sun.

The day started out slow as usual, but we got a few bursts of business within the first hour. By the second hour, however, things usually slow down, and we sit around and wonder what’s in store. By 5:00PM, people started filing in, which makes sense because it’s the dinner hour. Things really started heating up (no pun intended), and we were busy. So busy, in fact, that it got a little stressful. Nothing like the dumplings, but still a little hectic.

By the end of the market, we had sold out of fixings, even though we had a few falafel balls leftover. It was a good day for business, better than any we’d had thus far, so that’s a good thing. On the other hand, it also means we have to re-stock our supply for the next market, not that I’m complaining... maybe a little.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to SalFalko for the pic.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Family Tennis

The rain had gotten us down because it just seemed endless, so when we finally got some nice weather, were we ever happy. The first few days without rain were fabulous, sunny and warm, but breezy, dry, and not too hot. Just perfect.

I worked outside on the barn and yard, but if you can believe this, the kids stayed inside and did origami projects and played Monopoly. It’s nice they were able to entertain themselves, but they sort of missed out on the first beautiful day of summer. When mom got home, she was surprised (a little incensed, perhaps?) that the kids didn’t go out, and after supper, she insisted that we get out and do something. We decided on a game of family tennis, followed by tending our garden plot, which is right next to the tennis court.

N and I drove over with the rackets and stuff, and R and A walked through the woods along the trails. I have to say, it was a lot of fun playing tennis, and personally, being the totally objective person that I am, I think N has come along rather nicely as a tennis player. We can actually rally and are moving towards playing an actual game. We both really enjoy it, and it’s a nice way to make the most of the nice weather.

R and A showed up and we had a family tennis match, and again, it was a lot of fun. Tennis is one of those games that you can really enjoy if you don’t take it too seriously, i.e, you’re not too competitive. Afterward, we walked to the garden, did some weeding and watering, and then went home. It was, to say the least, a really nice way to end the day. We should do it more often.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to mary piepmeier for the pic.

Friends On the Ice

The summer ice came in a few weeks ago, and it’s one of those things where people don’t always know about it and consequently, don’t show up. This is a bummer for the arena, but also for people who are on the ice. The more the merrier, as the saying goes.

This time around, I sent a message out to all the hockey families letting them know, and lo and behold, it was a zoo out there. Plus, as you can see in this picture, hockey players get along so well. The hardcore high school kids came out in full force, and took over one end of the ice. Man those guys are good. On the other end, there were a couple dozen kids, and it was a blast. In all honesty, there might have been too many kids, because it was a bit crowded, but fun, nonetheless.

A funny sidenote was that A didn’t really want to go, she doesn’t really enjoy the open sticks because it tends to be mostly boys. The really enjoyable aspect for her is to be with her buddies, so she tried to contact them all to see if they were going to the open stick. She couldn’t get ahold of them, but when we got to the arena, they were all there. Talk about serendipity, I love when that happens.

It was fun being back on the ice, especially when the kids get to see their buddies. It also makes life easier on me, which is no small thing.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Mika Kylmäniemi for the pic.

Hammer in Hand

Since we can’t seem to find a contractor who wants to stick with this project, at least one who will work for peanuts, I have to take the helm once again. This means that the barn will move at a snail’s pace, but it will move, nonetheless. Truth be told, a lot of the hard and complicated stuff is done, and if I can find the time (a big fat whopping “if”), I can do a lot of the stuff. I’m talking soffit, corner thingy, siding, and insulation. If we can just get it that far by the end of summer, we’ll be in good shape, and the barn will look a lot better. Plus, it will be weather resistant. I have my work cut out for me.

I got started just as the scorching summer heat kicked in, but that’s the nature of the weather these days. Pouring rain, or scorching heat. We’ve had so much rain that I’ll take the heat, for now. No more complaining from this whiner. I will, however, say it was pretty brutal at times, but when you just bear down and do it, sometimes you just forget about the misery.

One thing that helped me a bunch was getting my hands on a nail gun. I asked HH if I could borrow hers, and she said she’d be glad to see it put to good use since she doesn’t do contracting anymore. I can’t believe how much easier it made my life. I installed the front soffit (with HH) and secured it with nails hammered in by hand. Not only is it a bear holding the darn piece of wood up, but nailing upwards is torture. My Mentor has alluded to this on many occasions. Plus, the nail gun is so much faster. I got the soffit in on the gable end in no time, even though I had to rip the boards and paint them.

The one thing that will hold up the soffit is the corner thingy, but once those are in, I can put the soffit in all around the barn, and then think about siding. Can you believe it?

Keep in mind, there’s no cause to celebrate until the job is done, because at the rate I work, it could be months. Then again, R won’t let me slide that long.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Eric Allix Rogers for the pic.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Gift of Nice Weather

After being pounded for what were the wettest May and June on record, you can’t help but appreciate some beautiful weather, and we had two absolutely gorgeous days, warm and breezy, and sunny. The past rain that we’ve had has been just ridiculously brutal, I’ve never seen anything like it. The state has really taken a hit, sustaining water and flooding damage all over. I read one article that said the damage from the current flash floods was worse than Irene. We need some sun.

Now if I was a complainer, which I am, I’d say it’s getting a bit hot, but for now I’ll just keep my mouth shut and enjoy being dry... at least until I get too hot.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to David FSLoh for the pic.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Corner Thingy

There’s a name for this corner piece of trim, and I’m sure my Mentor as well as the Amazing PR Man know what it is, but for now, I’ll just refer to it as the corner thingy, and it’s been a thorn in my side regarding the soffit/fascia. I have a few main immediate goals for the barn, and one of them is the soffit, because once it’s in, I can start putting in trim and then siding. That way we don’t have to look at Tyvek all day.

The soffit is a bit of a chore, but doable, as long as the fascia is complete. The fascia is complete for the most part, it’s just the corners that need to be completed. I’m guessing there are several ways of doing the corners, but a more elegant and decorative way is to construct a corner thingy. They do look nice, and we have one on our main house.

It’s a little tricky making it, especially for a weekend warrior as myself, who has limited time because he’s busy walking dogs and feeding cats. The first one was built by HH, and not only did she whip it out in minutes, but she did a beautiful job. When I tried to follow in her footsteps, I struggled a bit, and it came out a little off. It’s hard for me to get beveled cuts to line up with straight edges. After several minor adjustments, I got it done, but it took me awhile, and afterward I walked away. Unfortunately, the need to get it done didn’t go away when I did, so now I’m back to finish what I started.

I spent the better part of the morning making one, and it turned out okay. Feeling empowered, I built another, and it was a disaster. I think I rushed it too much and tried to cut corners, and the thing is mess. I went back and worked more slowly and methodically, and the results, thus far have been better. I will try to finish the last one today, and then I can finish the fascia, put in the soffit, and we are ready to roll on the siding.

That, of course, will be an interesting adventure, as well. Until then, thanks for reading.

Finally a Soffit

It’s been several months (years?) in the making, but I finally started putting the soffit in on the gable end of the barn. Why so long? The better question is, how did it ever get done in the first place. One of the big problems I ran into was the corner thingy, whatever that’s called. The one corner thingy was built by HH, and she not only did a great job, but she whipped that thing up in a matter of minutes. I tried making one on the other end, and it took me hours and was a piece of junk. I came away discouraged, so naturally I tried to avoid doing it, and managed to maintain this stand for months.

The big problem is, I can’t really put up siding until that darn soffit is in. The gable end soffit is actually easier than the front and back because it abut directly against the joists, versus the front and back, where I had to install mounting pieces for the soffit to attach to. This was an incredible pain, because we’re talking 96 linear feet worth of work, but they also had to be level with each other. In retrospect, this would have all been so much easier using a nail gun, but no sense in crying over spilled milk.

Anyway, my immediate goals for the barn are to finish the soffit and install the insulation on the second floor (more on this later). To finish the soffit, I need to install three more corner thingies, and then insulate the joist spaces on the other gable end. This is a bit of a chore, but I have the insulation cut, and all I need to do is glue it in and spray foam the gaps.

It all sounds rather daunting, but I’ve done it before, so it’s not debilitating. Famous last words? I managed to get about 80% of one end done, but had to stop until I get that corner thingy in. Speaking of nail guns, HH let me borrow hers and it’s made all the difference in getting the soffit done, talk about a time saver. I think it will really come in handy when it comes time to do the siding.

All in all, we’re moving along. I figure one small step at a time, and before you know it, the barn will be done... or not.

Until then, thanks for reading.

Driveway Repair

The last few weeks and months of rain have simply pounded the state, and in certain areas, the damage is pretty extensive. Even we have taken a few hits, especially the roads and our driveway. We live on a dirt road that is a hill, and when the rain pours, it becomes a bit of a river. Normally it’s not too bad, but every once in a while, the road floods and gets washed out. This time around the damage was not horrible, but there are some sections along the side that are precariously missing, reducing it to a one lane road.

There is a culvert running beneath the road that drains into our front yard, which is a bummer, but that’s just the way it was designed. The front of our property gets soaked, it literally becomes a swamp, and affects our driveway. It also makes for mosquito city, but that’s an issue everywhere. When the water is extensive, it overwhelms the culvert and runs across the road and into our driveway. When there’s enough of it, like this last time, it washes out part of our driveway. Small channels are one thing, but this time around we had some big ruts.

The town came and fixed the roads, and I figured it would be no big deal for them to toss a little gravel onto the end of our driveway, but no such luck. We were on our own (what else is new?). No problem, we’re New Englanders in training. Our neighbor has a massive pile of dirt and gravel across the road from us, and I asked him if we could take some. He said to help ourselves, and even offered to level our driveway later in the day with his tractor. N and I went out there with a wheelbarrow and two shovels and filled in the gaps, which are always bigger when you actually confront them.

It took about 6 loads, but we managed to fill it in and make it look presentable. We had to be places later in the day, but when we got back, EB had in fact come and smoothed over our handiwork, so it looks nice. Plus, it gave N and I a chance to do real-man’s work and feel like capable workers. You can’t beat that feeling, especially when you’re a real man in training.

We looked into buying a small quantity of hard pack, which we might use to cover the dirt, but that’s another project for another time. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Richard Childress for the pic.

Looking at the Bright Side

The weather for the market has been killing us, but if there’s a bright side to it (you always have to look for a bright side), it’s that people like our food, and we even have some return customers. I think the market as a whole suffers from a lack of variety, and it seems smaller than previous years, maybe as a result. On the other hand, with fewer choices, more people are inclined to eat our falafels.

I don’t know why so many vendors dropped off the map, but I’m guessing they didn’t feel it was worth it. I’m beginning to wonder the same thing, but it’s still a little early, and again, the weather has made it very difficult.

Oh well, nobody said chasing the American Dream was going to be easy. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Jacki Gallagher for the pic.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Pet Sitters

Don't ask me how we get ourselves into these things (actually, go right ahead), but we are pet sitting for three of our friends, and it’s driving us crazy. Normally you wouldn’t think twice about watching a friend’s cat or dog, but somehow everyone we know left at the same time, and we’ve been running all around trying to maintain order.

It’s really a timing thing, and unusual. Even doing cat care is pretty easy, though changing litter is never fun. It’s walking the dog that complicates things, because that’s what takes up time, and we don’t have time over here. Plus, dogs need to be walked at least twice a day, preferably three times, and who’s got that sort of free time? Not me, that’s for sure.

To add to the drama, our friend’s cat is on his last leg, and any day now could be his last. He’s a great cat, and it’s sad, but it might require veterinary intervention, and I don’t feel so great about being the one to implement this option. Plus, they want to freeze the guy after it’s done for a proper burial when they return, which I completely understand, I just don’t want to be the one in charge. Of course, I’ve become the one in charge.

We got through most of it, and now we’re down to one set of pets, but this includes the dog, so it’s the most work. When you factor in all that’s going on, it’s just amazing to think of all that we have to do. On any given day, I walk the dog and feed the cats, then get on with our day, make and eat supper, clean up, and then head over to walk the dog and feed the cats. As you can imagine, all I want to do is lie down and take a nap, but I have to keep moving, because the animals need me. The funny thing is, once I’m walking the dog, it’s very enjoyable, he’s a good pup, it’s just the anticipation of walking him that kills me. After a long and exhausting day, it takes everything I have to motivate.

In fact, the other day, we were away for A’s track meet for literally 8 hours, stopped in the capital for supper, then on the way home, we stopped by our friends to take care of their cats, then came home and I went and took care of our neighbor’s cat. How’s that for pet sitting?

I’ll say one thing, I sure am looking forward to our friend’s return, in more ways than one. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Craig Elliott for the pics.

Is Someone Trying to Tell Us Something?

I don’t know what to make of this, but it’s so discouraging when the weather just beats you down. We did our sixth market and man was the weather awful. It’s disappointing because you work hard all week preparing for that day, and you feel you’ve done all that you can, and then the weather just slams you. It makes you wonder if there’s a message in there.

This past week we were so on top of things, and we were ready to rock and roll. The morning of the market it was even pleasant, and the forecast said it would be cloudy but the chance of rain was small. Boy were they wrong, the rain was of biblical proportions. It rained so hard that the courtyard started to flood, and I was beginning to wonder if we would all float away. At some point you’re standing under the tent telling yourself how stupid this all is. So not worth it. Of course, nobody showed up. What’s crazy is that you think (hope?) that it’s just a passing thing and the sun will come up and dry everything out, and often this is the case, but not this time. It rained hard, and we’re talking deluge, for about 20 minutes. We got so soaked, and all of our stuff was sopping wet.

If there’s a bright side to it, it’s that the kids had fun playing in the rain. There are some kids that come to the market with their parents, and N played in the rain with them, as did A, though she tends to help more on the business end. We bring N’s bike with us, so he can ride around and look cool, which we all know is very important to a boy.

By the end of the market, we were soaked and discouraged, and ready to go home. The bad weather never let up, which for the record is unusual, but it’s been an unusual summer, and everyone in this area is suffering for it. We have been watching the Ken Burns documentary about the dust bowl, and though our experiences pale in comparison to the amount of suffering they endured, there are certain analogies, mainly in terms of the weather. They got slammed in the Plains during the drought, but every year they stuck it out and hoped that things would get better, only to be disappointed. It’s a heartbreaking story, but one of resilience.

Makes me feel embarrassed that I’m even complaining, but of course, that won’t stop me. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to michael baumann for the pic.

Back on the Ice

If you can believe this, we have been hitting the ice, and it sure feels good. The summer ice is back, and there was some question as to whether they would even have it, but here it is. They had open stick so I packed up the kids and we went over. N usually likes to do the open sticks in lieu of doing summer hockey camps, and that’s fine with us (saves us loads of money), but A tends not to be so enthused. She’d rather do other things, like stay home and chat with her friends, but I insisted that she come with us. She decided it wouldn’t be the end of the world, but figured she’d try to see if her buddies might join her, but she contacted them too late and couldn’t reach them.

As luck would have it, however, the reason they didn’t answer their phones was because they were all at the ice rink. A was thrilled, so everyone was happy. I think a large part of hockey for A is the social aspect, and who can blame her? She’s at that age. With A all set up with her friends, N and I could focus on hockey, and his friends were there in full force, as well. In fact, you could say that it was a bit over-crowded, since the big kids were on the other end, we only had half the ice to work with, but we made due. When you have ice in July, you can’t complain.

We had a great time, and it felt good to skate again, besides the fact that it was nice and cool inside. After the open stick, my team from last year had a game, and they kept asking me if I could play, not because I can contribute in any meaningful way, but because they were short on bodies. Sometimes you just need someone to stand in the way. I felt bad, and they even said that they were all paid up and I could skate for free. The reality is, it’s not about the money (maybe a little), but more about time. I had the kids with me, and to play hockey means a few hours where I’m not taking care of the yard, the house, or the family. There’s also the issue of making falafels now and then.

Even though games only last an hour, the reality is, it’s a big chunk of time out of the evening, and I’ve just got too much going on. Plus, I’m still trying to jumpstart my glorious freelance writing career.

Oh well, at least there’s winter to look forward to. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to ABBAS KHORSHIDI for the pic.

Bike Repair

When N got his cool new BMX bike, I was dreading assembling the thing because not only did he want it ready immediately, but I am not that well versed in putting bikes together. Fortunately, they shipped the thing pretty much ready to go. All I had to do was put the front tire on, hook the brakes up, and he was ready to rock and roll.

The only problem was, I wasn’t completely clear on how the brakes worked. I followed the instructions but brake cables can be a little touchy, and they weren’t working perfectly. Sure, the bike was functional, just not perfect. To his credit, N never complained, he rarely does, but it was apparent that something wasn’t right. Being the trooper that he is, and a cute one to boot, he tried to adjust the brakes on his own, but that didn’t resolve the problem, and may have made things a little worse. I didn’t say anything, but clearly something had to be done.

I took the bike over to Paradise Sports and they did some quick adjustments. I figured brakes would be a piece of cake for these guys, they’re pros, and it was, though it was more involved than I thought it was be because I really screwed things up when I assembled the thing. They got the brakes done, lubed up the necessary parts, and had it ready to roll in no time. Now the brakes work beautifully, the bike runs like a charm, and everyone is happy. What more can a person ask for?

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Running (amd watching) Under the Blazing Sun

Last weekend A had her first summer track meet way up Essex Junction, which is around Burlington. I know I’m a whiner, but it was a brutal day, and I’m not sure how many more of these track meets I can handle. First off, it’s about a two hour drive up there, and the meet started at 9:30. This meant leaving around 7:30. We lucked out with the weather in the early part of the day, because it was threatening rain (what else is new?), and the cloud cover kept it cool.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a track meet, but they’re long. I’ve been to several of A’s, and they last up to 4 hours. Those meets, however, pale in comparison to this one, which must have lasted about 7 hours, I kid you not. It must have been around 4:00PM when it was finally done, I couldn’t believe it. To make it all the more aggravating, your child’s events happen once or twice during this time, so you’re stuck watching all these events that you have only a passing interest in. Sure, it’s fun to watch, but 7 hours? Come on!

Part of the problem with this meet was that it included 7-8 year old kids, which is sort of ridiculous. Do kids that age really need to run a 100 meter dash? It’s like going a mile for these kids, and they’re way too young. At least with A’s usual meets, the kids are 12-14 years old, which is reasonable. Then again, in the ultra competitive world that we live in, it’s never too early to get your kid on track to be a champion. In that sense, with all sports, you have to get them started early if you have any chance at that Ivy League scholarship.

On a bright note, A did well in her events. She’s a speedster.

The day was long, I have to confess. To N’s credit, he sat through the whole meet and didn’t complain once... well, maybe once, but that was perfectly understandable. The weather was nice, the sun eventually came out and it was hot, but we had sun protection, and packed plenty of water and fruit/snacks. Plus, the snack shed had burgers and hot dogs, so N could eat. Another problem is that A runs in one of the final events, so we were there for the long haul.

By evening time, we were ready to roll. The original plan was to go to Burlington for supper, but that would have meant driving further north, and by that time, the only direction we wanted to go was south, toward home. We stopped instead in Montpelier and ate Thai food, which was killer. We then had gelato, then headed back home. It’s a good plan to stop midway from Burlington because it’s such a long drive. It’s more bearable in one hour increments.

The final piece of the puzzle was that we had to feed our friend’s cats and water her plants. We were exhausted, but duty called. We stopped on the way home, took care of business, and finally walked in the door at home around 8:00PM. Talk about a brutal day, I never want to do that again, at least until the next track meet.

I will say this, spending all day at the track makes hockey season look like a piece of cake. At least with hockey, the game is done within an hour and then you can go home. I’ll take it.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Adventurous Black Kid! for the pic.

Protecting the Birds

I didn’t realize this, though in retrospect I should have, but in early spring, the baby birds begin to mature, and that’s when they’re the most vulnerable to predators, particularly trained killers like our cats. I completely understand why bird lovers hate cats, they are just way too efficient at killing birds, like a kid in a candy store. Unfortunately, when they kill the spring nesting birds, it destroys entire generations, especially when they’re so helpless.

Apparently, after they hatch, they develop to a stage where they are almost ready to be on their own, but not quite. For whatever reason, they leave the safety of their nest and strike out on their own, sort of. The parents still feed them, but they can barely fly, and end up hopping around on the ground, where they are sitting ducks to predators. Not such a great evolutionary adaptation, if you ask me.

The other day the cats got to a nest, and there were two babies hopping around the grass while the parents were frantically trying to save them. I snatched the babies up and tried to keep them safe, but they understandably were terrified of me, as well, and consequently kept running away. Meanwhile, our cats were sitting in the grass, just waiting to pounce and destroy. R came out and the kids pitched in, and we managed to get the cats inside the house. We then searched for the nest, to no avail. They would have jumped out, anyway, so we put them in a big box, and then left the box in a tree. One of the babies jumped out and ran away, but one stayed put, and perched himself on the edge of the box, as if he were ready to take off. As I mentioned, they were on the verge of being able to fly. Mom and dad were nearby, wary of us, but keeping track of their chick.

A few hours later, I checked on the box, and everyone was gone, including the parents, which I took to mean that they’d moved on with their lives. I sure hope so, because with cats like ours, they have no chance. In the meantime, we’re keeping our cats inside until the critical period is over and the birds can at least have a chance at survival. They aren’t happy, and are going a little crazy, but such is life. Our friend, W, does the same with her cats, and she’s a native who knows all about life in the wilds of New England, so we’re on the right track.

Then we learned that the birds nest twice in the summer, so we may have to do this all over again. Boy, life in the country sure ain’t easy.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Mary for the pic.

Market Report

We did our fifth market last week, and I have to confess, I was not so thrilled about the whole prospect. I think even R was a little in my camp, and she’s usually pretty gung ho. First off, the weather has been crazy. Not only have we been soaked with rain, but our driveway got washed out a bit, and there was some question as to how the day was going to be. Either torrential rain or stifling heat, no in between. It makes for a terrible market because nobody shows up and we have to suffer through the elements. I know, whine, whine, whine.

The forecast called for heavy thunder storms, so we had it in our minds that we weren’t going to go, which made us sort of happy. That’s a telling sign right there, isn’t it? The rain, however, never materialized, and the sun came out. We reluctantly packed up the car and headed into the big city, more out of a sense of obligation to follow through on something you’ve started, but man was it hot. As a consequence, business was sparse, as it’s been all season. Somehow farmer’s markets are just not that popular, and I remember talking to someone in the early stages about how she thought this area was going to experience farmer’s market fatique. Whatever the reason, turnout has been disappointing, to say the least. You could simply say that people aren’t buying our food, and I can agree with that, but on the whole, there are less people coming to the market, no doubt. The other vendors concur.

In the end, we did okay, but at some point, you begin to wonder if it’s all worth the time, effort, and anquish. It’s a lot of work, but you hold onto the hope that things will pick up, if we could just get a break with the weather.

Then again, maybe some things just weren’t meant to be. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Brian Gurrola for the pic.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Things We Do For Love (i.e., our kids)

We had this plan all laid out and my life would have been so much simpler if I had just left things alone, but I had to go and alter things and make my life crazy, all in the name of fun. What was I thinking?

We went to open stick at the ice rink the other day and there was a great showing of N’s teammates. We had a blast on the ice, and it’s nice for N to hang with his own buddies for a change, as opposed to A’s friends, who are all very nice, but happen to all be girls. Go figure. It’s a great way for him to see his friends and future teammates, so the more the merrier. The next time the opportunity arrived, of course I was going to bend over backwards to make it happen.

The only problem was, we had so many other things we needed to do, and it was looking like I wasn’t going to be able to take him over there. Total bummer. A had guitar in the big city, and then I had a library board meeting in the afternoon. Then A had track practice, so I was locked up. Just for good measure, we are watching three of our friend’s cats, one of which is on it’s last leg, but more on that later.

I wasn’t going to just give up, so I tried contacting N’s buddies to see if one of them would take him for the day and then give him a ride over to the ice. I inquired with several of them but they were either out of town or in the process of leaving town, so they weren’t going to make it. The big thorn in my side was this board meeting. If I didn’t have to go, then we were in business, because I could take A to her friends house where she could hitch a ride to track. Then I could take N myself to the ice and we could skate, and then afterward get A at the end of her practice.

Oh yeah, one more big complication was that I was cooking the falafels for the market, which eats up about 3 hours of time. Anyway, we hatched up a plan, which would have made my life easier, but complicated R’s day. She had to head off to work, so I would stay at home and cook falafels, and then I would take the kids to the big city for A’s guitar lesson. After the lesson, R would meet us and take N with her, and I would take A with me straight to my board meeting, where she could entertain herself with books and computers. Guess which one she would prefer?

After my meeting, I would take A home, prepare some supper, and then take her to track, during which I could go home and finish supper. Meanwhile, R would take N with her to work, and then in the afternoon, drive him over to open stick. She could hang out while he played. This would have worked out perfectly, except that I think N would have had more fun going to the ice with his friends, not that he doesn’t adore his mom’s company. One of our friends, the other Gs, actually got back to me and said they were going to the ice, and that N could come over and play before they went. They were going swimming and he could hang for the day. Woo-hoo! N was stoked about the idea, as was I. I called R and told her of our new plan.

The only problem was, it completely threw a wrench in my day, because I was right in the middle of cooking falafels. TG told me they were heading over to swim right after lunch and to bring N over anytime, the sooner the better. Of course I panicked and dropped everything and packed N’s swim and hockey gear. I drove over and chatted with JG for a bit, then left N with them and headed back home. I told A that she should be ready to roll when I got there, and once I got home, we headed to the big city for her lesson, forgetting her guitar in the process. Fortunately, her lesson is in a guitar store, so there plenty of options hanging on the walls.

After her lesson, we immediately headed to my meeting, stopping first at home to bring in the laundry because there was a threat of rain, which is business as usual around here these days. The meeting lasted about 1.5 hours. For the record, we got a lot done thanks to the diligence of the other board members. It was a good meeting, if there is such a thing. I then gathered up A and went home to get her track stuff, where we saw that R had come home early. This was a great development, because I had continue making supper, and then I had to get N at the rink. R took A to her practice, then came home and finished some of the dinner prep while I went to get N. I stopped at the rec center en route to get him a pair of lacrosse shorts (the only kind he’s wear), but that, too, is another story.

I always love going to the rink, and it’s nice to see friends there, not to mention the fact that it’s nice and cool inside. I thanked the G’s profusely, they really saved the day, and then had to head out to get A at her practice. It had started raining and figured her practice might have been canceled, but no such luck. We arrived just at the practice had ended, so our timing was perfect. She was hanging with her buddies from hockey, whereupon I asked one of the moms if A could hang with them later in the week so N and I could go to... you guessed it, the ice rink. They were more than happy to have her, so we have a tentative plan.

Now if this were the end of our day, I would say it was crazy and full, but it was far from over. We still had two sets of cats to feed, not to mention supper and falafels. Fortunately, we divided and conquered. R went to the Ps to take care of their cat and water the plants, while A&N biked over to our neighbors to feed their cat and fish. Meanwhile, I finished making supper, which was fish tacos. I had to broil the fish. R had done the rest, and N cooks the tortillas because he loves to do it.

We had a feast, we were starving. Plus, it was on the late side since we had so many things we had to do. After, R cleaned up and the kids watched a movie while I slaved away over a hot stove cooking falafels. It was pretty brutal, and it was after 10:30PM when I had finally finished. Normally I would have been done by lunchtime, but as I mentioned, our plans changed and I had to adapt. At least I got it done, and now we are ready (sort of) for the market.

All in all, it was quite the day, but we accomplished what we needed to do and the kids had fun, and that’s the most important thing. I’m glad it worked out, but man were we tired.

Then again, if you’re not tired by the end of the day, then you’re clearly not doing enough, right? If I had to do it all over again, I’d do the same, except that I’d probably tell the library board that I couldn’t make the meeting, I have more important things to attend to.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Doug Wheller for the pic.

Crossing Paths

In light of the recent tragedy that has befallen our friend CH and his family, I’ve been (fairly) diligently making meals for them and taking them over to their house. Real man’s food, of course. Every Friday we take over some sort of main course dish, with some side like a salad, and of course, a 6-pack of beer. Good beer, too, the kind my Mentor would approve of like Long Trail or Harpoon. I’ve been leaving the food in a big cardboard box.

The whole process has had a mysterious quality to it because I was dropping the food off and wasn’t even sure if they were getting it, much less eating it. I didn’t want to bother them so I would just leave the box on their front door and leave. I don’t know how to contact them, they don’t have phone service, and CH doesn’t do email. I figured as long as nobody was complaining, I’d keep doing it.

Well, the other day, I went over and his son HH was sitting on the front porch, and I had a chance to chat with him. He’s a full blown teenager, so he wasn’t interested in engaging with a boring adult, but CH has great kids, and he was courteous and friendly. He even thanked me for the food, which I took to mean that at least they were getting it, maybe even eating it. He also gave me a hug, which I thought was really touching. Again, what great kids.

Anyway, we were on our way to the big city to meet mom for dinner and a movie, and who should we see at the theater but CH’s other kids. His two girls were out seeing Monsters U, and we got there late so we scrambled to get the kids seats. It was dark, and we found two seats right in front of CH’s girls. They said hi and all that good stuff, and afterward A&N told us that they said thank you for all the food.

Isn’t it crazy how the world works? Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to jiwoong lee for the pic.

Website Revitalization

In light of my change in writing direction, I felt like I needed to revamp my website to make it more professional and less fun and whimsical. As you can imagine, this bummed me out, because I kind of like my website. To make the big bucks, however, you can’t mess around, so I decided to look into changing things. My first thought was to revamp my site, which would have been a bit of a chore, but not impossible. I also thought of converting it to WordPress, which is a more sophisticated platform. This meant learning a new program, and time and anguish, not to mention procrastination of monstrous proportions.

After toiling away at learning the program and failing miserably, I finally decided that the better way to go was to simply create an entirely new domain name and website. This would allow me to keep my site, which I’m fond of , and I can simply use my old program to create the new site. Everybody wins. In the meantime I can practice WordPress and get to know it, maybe even consult with a friend, but also get it up and running using iWeb.

Creating a new website from scratch isn’t easy, and I’m not even talking about creating the nuts and bolts. If anything, that’s the easier (not easy) part. The real challenge for me is in the aesthetics: how it’s going to look, colors, and layout. The fact that it needs to be professional makes it a little more straightforward, but still not easy. Also, I want it to be witty, not stiff, but not too witty such that potential clients won’t take me too seriously. Like life, it’s a balancing act.

The question then becomes, why do I get myself into these situations? As they say, with greater challenge comes greater reward, right? How much reward does a guy need?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Mal for the pic.