July Part I

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The kids stayed with Nana and Papa, and we went down to join them on the 4th of July. We had breakfast at Mitzel’s on the way down. Chilkoot and Chilkat both got to go tubing behind the new boat (currently informally dubbed “Polish Delight”). My back was still too shitty to risk unexpected impacts, so I didn’t get to tube. The kids enjoyed it, though. KrisDi’s coworker and her husband brought their boat out, so we literally had two boatloads of people.

I haven’t spent much time on boats since I left North Dakota, but when I lived there, I spent a lot of time on them in the summer. I realized there’s a lot of things I learned and didn’t think about anymore, that a lot of other people haven’t ever learned — like how to hold boats against a dock, how to approach a trailer on the ramp, the fact that you need a spotter and some kind of signalling system when pulling tubers…anyway, we had a lot of fun, no one got hurt and no boats were damaged. We did have one weird experience where our boat was going (very slowly) through a confluence of wakes, and hit it at just the wrong angle and just the wrong time, taking blue water over the bow — completely drenching KrisDi and her friend and changing the balance of the boat to be much more nose-down than is appropriate. Luckily the bilge pump worked.

My back was pretty sore by the end of the ride, just from impact and from twisting around trying to help with ropes and tubes.

Mild firecrackers were lit offsmoke bombs, paratroopers, sparklers, etc. All was well, until some sparkler dropped into V Dubs’ shoe, yielding a small but deep burn.

Les and KrisDi grilled up some dinner. The cousins played. The uncles and aunts and grandparents drank beer and shot the breeze. Bonney Lake is in a county that doesn’t legally ban the personal use of fireworks, and it was like a war zone — fireworks everywhere. It was a good day. In particular, on our drive home, we were on the downslope into a valley and you had a huge view of the skyline on the upslope on the other side — and it was just blanketed in fireworks.

The kids didn’t want to go home with us that night. So, they stayed, and the next day KrisDi and I had a little parents’ night. We went to a few breweries and a beer store, and ate at The Cutting Board, a Japanese place in Georgetown.

The next day, the kids finally decided to come home with us. KrisDi and Chilkat went on a Mommy/Daughter day, mostly visiting the zoo and Chuck E Cheese. Chilkoot and I went on a Daddy/Son day. We went to the Snohomish aquatic center, went out to lunch, and I can’t remember what we did with the rest of the day.

We went to Wild Waves to ride rides (again, my back prevented me from participating, but I read on my phone a lot). We went to The Bine after dinner, and both Chilkoot and Chilkat drew stuff and asked the restaurant to put them up on the wall. You can see in their drawings that they both know what hops looks like, which was also noticeable by Chilkoot asking if the grocery store was selling giant hops.

KrisDi won a major award for some kind of cooking contest at her work, but I don’t remember what it was.

Chilkoot’s been in T-Ball this summer. He’s done all of the classics — skipping to the base, covering his face with his hat when he’s supposed to be fielding, picking flowers when the ball is headed toward him, walking instead of running (and claiming that he was in fact running, and only stopped running because we were telling him to run).

I finally enjoyed my birthday present: A night out to see Eddie Izzard. The first time I saw Eddie Izzard, it was on VHS in Oklahoma, and I got eight stitches in the fat layer and eleven stitches in the skin of my left hand. This time, I didn’t get any stitches, but he was funny and it was fun. We also went to a couple breweries and ate dinner at a Malaysian restaurant, which included some pretty tasty frog legs.

The next day, our Oregonian friends came up for the weekend for Chilkoot’s birthday party. We tried all the whisky we brought back from Scotland (and more) while preparing for the party. The kids goofed around. After they went to bed, the adults goofed around, too.

Chilkoot picked a baseball theme. KrisDi went over the top. Her cake was fantastic as usual — we disassembled an actual hat to use the brim as a support for the cake brim. We had a pinata. We learned my back isn’t very good at holding up, swinging, and stabilizing a heavy item at the end of a long stick while it sustains impacts from children wielding baseball bats. Lots of kids and lots of adults came.

Chilkoot got a haircut (before and after). The kids went to the dentist. Chilkat’s been nursing a mostly-detached tooth for weeks, and Chilkoot finally has a couple slightly loose teeth.

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American June Part II

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This is where the actual end of school year occurred. 27 June. Can you believe that? It seems insane. Chilkat and Chilkoot posed for their regular end-of-school-year photos.

Les got a boat, finally — a good deal on a used ski boat. He bought it without D seeing it (apparently this is a good method for major purchases; its also how they finally ended up with a house). The kids got to ride on it; they had a good time.

We had our first camping trip of the year. We went to Twanoh State Park with the False Alarms. One of the things I find I enjoy about camping is experimentation — looking for alternate methods or tools or completely different solutions. Experiments for this trip:

  • New camping cookware to heat water for coffee in the morning. Previous trips, attempted to heat water over the fire in a pie tin. Which kind of worked. New method was much easier, but still used half a bag of charcoal to make one cup of coffee, which wasn’t satisfactory.
  • KrisDi decided we should have a cast iron pan for cooking over a fire. I think we only used it for pizza on this trip, which was another experiment. How many people do you know have made pizza dough from scratch at a campsite and cooked it over a campfire? The pepperoni pizza and the tomato mozzarella basil pizza both turned out great.
  • Color fire — I remembered from my youth that Dad had a canister of some kind of chemical we could add to the coal furnace that would change the color of the fire, which was amazing when I was a kid. Turns out, Amazon has handy little packets you can toss into a camp fire for the same purpose. Kids loved it. But it’s a pain in the ass that they burn forever, and you have to wait until they’re gone to cook over the fire.
  • Welding gloves — recommended by my little brother as a handy means of rearranging your fire. They’re insulated enough you can actually reach into the fire and grab burning logs and move them around. They also make great oven mitts. Don’t dawdle, though, they’re not heat proof, they’re just really effectively heat resistant.

Repeats of past successes include pre-made grocery store shish kebabs, breakfast burritos placed directly on coals, grilled cheese sandwiches in pie irons.

I woke up early one morning and got at least one nice sunrise photo (see above). We hiked a little bit, but mostly we hung out by the camp site. The kids played a bunch, drew or colored a bunch, spent some time crawling around on top of the False Alarms’ car (don’t ask, I don’t know), and I amazed the kids and the False Alarms with an old trick that amazed me when I was little: Put water in a paper cup, and put the paper cup in the fire, and the cup will burn down to the water level but no more. As the water evaporates, more cup will burn.

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American June Part I

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Of course, the first thing we did after we got back from Europe was dress Chilkat and Chilkoot up in their new Scottish outfits. They also received their new stuffies — Chilkat named her Icelandic puffin Puffy, her Scottish bear Fluffy, her Irish lamb Sheepy. Chilkoot didn’t name his Scottish bear; his Icelandic puffin bobblehead was named Lunda (Icelandic for ‘puffin’); and no one can remember now but we think his Irish sheep was also named Sheepy.

We went to a local YMCA for Popita’s pool party birthday celebration.

We lived regular life for a while. Chilkoot made me an awesome sloth. The kids were cute. They continued to be cute. They were self-centered and grouchy enough to whine about the donuts I gave them for breakfast. We made pizza and had friends over. Chilkoot posed in baseball garb for his birthday party invitation.

The Washington Brewers’ Festival occurred. We went twice — Friday night for adults only, we took Les for Father’s day. It was fun. Mom came down and went on Sunday with us — the whole family.

KrisDi went to San Jose to hang out with her internet mom board friends. They played in a pool and visited wineries in a limousine, and (in the absence of actual observation) seemed to fuck around and drink.

While she was gone, I enlisted her family to watch the kids while I went to see the Pietasters with HB. We visited a distillery and a couple breweries first. I turned “I want to drink and see the Pietasters while they’re in Seattle for the first time in a decade” into “Happy birthday, HB!” The Pietasters were great.

Also while she was gone, I let the kids sleep in the bed with me. When I say, “Sleep in the bed with me,” I mean, they slept in my bed, took up all the space, and I slept on the floor.

The kids finally finished school in June (would have been earlier if it hadn’t been for snowmageddon). Chilkoot started going to karate practice with a different, much stricter and ‘with it’ instructor. He has tested and passed for his second belt (white with a red stripe).

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May in the USA

So, getting through all of Europe’s photos and blogging was a monumental task. Somehow, time’s passage continued. Way back in May, some stuff happened.

We got some more new furniture, including a pair of new end tables to go with the humongous new couch. The old ones I think went to the False Alarm family. Chilkat got a bunk bed. Her old bed went to Les and D’s guest room. Incidentally, now with the bunk bed, I think Chilkoot has slept in his own room twice since the end of school.

Chilkat drew this awesome picture of me. It’s not just an angry dad picture, it’s very specific: I agreed to let Chilkoot have some Nerds, but told him if he spilled any, I was going to take them away. Lo and behold, spillage occurred, and I followed through; that is Chilkat’s artistic rendering of the event: Dad angrily withholding Nerds.

I don’t remember if this is when KrisDi started or finished her painting project — she decided (while her husband was unable to help) to repaint almost all the walls in the house. Chilkoot helped a tiny amount.

Jeez, I just realized the kids were still in school back then! I’m pretty sure Chilkoot started writing “potato” but got distracted or ran out of time.

Chilkoot and I also went on a hike for Cub Scouts, out at Rattlesnake Lake. I took him out for breakfast on the way out there. He ran around screaming with other boys his age, and strolled along chatting with other parents. One of the other dads, basking in the beatific, amplitudinous sounds of my son playing, asked me, “Does he have any other volumes?”

“Yes,” I said. “This is the quieter one.”

Chilkat had her first communion (so there are lots of pictures of that, including rehearsal). Chilkat wore KrisDi’s dress from her own first communion, more than 30 years ago. We had a party at home afterwards. KrisDi made a pretty cake, and had a florist come in and decorate the cake with pretty flowers.

I took Chilkat for a Girl Scout activity at the Living Computer History Museum in Seattle. She made a card for KrisDi using a battery, LED, and conductive tape that would light up when the corner was pressed. She got to see old computers, and actually use them. Interestingly, this museum seems to specialize in keeping old hardware running (or restoring it), and letting visitors actually use it. They also have some more modern oddnesses, like a telepresence device that Chilkat had a good time with.

Mother’s Day had another color run 5k. Mom came down for it, T Dog joined the family, I dropped them off, and I went to drink coffee (and I think work) while most of them walked and got colorfully messy.

KrisDi and I also had our 10th wedding anniversary. We took the day off and went to Sour Beer Festival. I gave KrisDi some crystal beer glasses. We had agreed not to give each other presents, so she was disadvantaged; luckily, my present to her also included beer glasses for me, so everything was fair.

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