Tag Archives: Home

Thoughts on DC

I recently spent some time in our nation’s capital. I hate the traffic, so I usually rely on the Metro, taxis, or Uber. This time I decided to walk to various places and take in the sights and think of weird things:

Washington, DC tries to discourage driving, so many people use scooters, bicycles, and skateboards to get around. Naturally, there are also joggers. However, in the residential areas there are a lot of brick sidewalks, which tend to be uneven. Was this by accident, a cruel joke, or a business move by orthopedic surgeons?

Television coverage of the district includes lots of people yelling and screaming at one another. However, when walking, people rarely greet anyone they don’t know. On the other hand, when driving, they LOVE using their car horns. I guess it reminds them of yelling and screaming.

There are quaint row houses, with many of them being quite old. We stayed in one (AirBnB) during a family trip, and they are quite nice albeit expensive. It was amazing how many were being gutted and the whole interior rebuilt–not just remodeled. I guess if you can afford to buy one, you can afford to hollow out the inside and completely rebuild

As nice as those homes are, I noticed that many have bars on the doors and windows. The bars could be for security, or maybe the bars are to help the politicians who live in them feel right at home

Priorities

My priorities never seem to be in the order I wish they were. I’m dying to get in some guitar and drum time, and after readjusting my ham radio station, I want to get on the air.

Unfortunately, we had a bit of a plumbing disaster, with the need to cut a hole in the wall. Naturally, the hole needed to be cut right next to my radio gear. I need to finish patching the hole—which is progressing nicely, thank you—which creates large amounts of dust. I have a number of painting tarps, but I don’t want that much weight on my gear, so I need to get a couple of cheap plastic ones. Once the hole is patched, sanded, primed, and painted, then I can……….put all of the shelves back and all of the office supplies, etc. back on the shelves. After dusting, vacuuming, and replacing all of the air purifier filters in the room (theoretically to keep regular and kitty litter dust under control), then I just may have time to play.

If I’m not too tired, maybe something inspired by one of my favorite groups (with apologies to the Beatles).

“I’m Fixing a Hole”

I’m fixing a hole where the plumbing was broke, Which keeps my hands from playing, My guitar.

I’m priming the crack that is now plastered up, Which keeps my hands from playing, My guitar.

Oh, it really doesn’t matter if I prime it right, Or if I paint it right, No one will know.

A great big shelf will hide it all,None of this work will show at all. No one will know.

I could continue, but I’ll spare you the insult.

Aging Together

I’m not as young as I used to be, and neither is my house. Houses age faster than people years, but not quite like dog years, so my 20 year old house is like a 60-ish year old person.

A few years ago it required a roof transplant, followed by (not one, but two) HVAC—heating, ventilation and air conditioning units. I think that when they went from being furnaces and air conditioners to HVAC they got to raise the price.

Last weekend a storage shelf gave up the ghost, just as I was standing in the line of fire; I spent the rest of the weekend, bruises and all, building a shelving system you could use to hold the piano.

My confidence was building—I remembered how I used to be able to fix things. Then I disassembled an iPad, replaced the broken screen—and the batteries, as long as I was in there. When reassembled, it worked. My confidence took a great leap.

Now, normally I am not burdened with an overly strong ego, which is probably good and keeps me out of trouble. However, after two successes in a row . . . . Well, when the shower started leaking,I felt I was up to the challenge.

I Googled and YouTubed and decided that I could handle this, even though plumbing has always been my nemesis. I bought the correct parts, and even drove 20 additional miles to get a particular lubricant that was supposed to make disassembly of the shower control easy. Within 15 minutes of arriving home, proper tools, parts and lubricants at hand, the faucet assembly snapped off at the wrong end.

This was now a job for not just a plumber, but a plumbing contractor. Fortunately we found one who showed up within the hour. Everything is back to normal.

In hindsight, it makes sense. If my heart and circulatory plumbing were messed up, I’d want the right specialist, and not some amateur to operate on me.

I guess my house felt the same way.

Repurposing

goodwill

I both donate to and frequent the local thrift shops. My wife and I refer to it as “hunting for treasures.”

I look at it as a way of giving each item one more chance to be useful, rather than ending up in the landfill. We don’t (knowingly) donate things that don’t work, although we’ve bought more than a few of them. Doesn’t matter – it’s a good cause.

We recycle. We compost. We try to show that this is a wonderful world and we all need to be good stewards.

Today I put a few things on eBay and Craigslist.

I guess I could claim that my time is too valuable, and it’s wasted on such trivialities.

But, as I travel through life, if I leave things as good as I found them, I think that’s a good thing.

If I am able to encourage my children to follow suit, that’s better.

Quickstart Guide for New Parents

baby

Congratulations on starting your family. As a new parent you may be concerned about properly raising your child. There’s no need to worry, all of the documentation required is included with your new baby.

This Quickstart Guide will give you key information on raising your family until you have time to read the entire manual.

Your oldest child will act as a practice model. It is expected that you will be more attentive, more restrictive and generally more paranoid about this child. It is normal to check on a first baby every few minutes when sleeping to make sure he/she’s breathing. You can expect to favor healthy, possibly organic-locally grown and home pureed foods. You may decide to restrict television to educational channels or prohibit it entirely. Every bump and minor bruise will cause you to rush to the emergency room.

However, subsequent children will require less attention. For your second or later child you will permit them to eat whatever they want, watch television 23 hours a day, and only missing limbs or arterial blood spurts will capture your attention. In addition, these younger children come equipped with the highly developed ability to irritate your oldest child and cause him/her to misbehave badly. This sibling interaction will keep the entire family involved for hours.

It’s normal that you and your spouse will each have very specific ideas as to how the child should be raised. Each of you will expect the other to adapt on issues from cultural mores, manners, education, and hobbies right down to details, such as the correct way to fold clothes. Don’t worry, because you’re both wrong.

You may have received the optional “advice” feature for your child. Ideally this is provided through a maiden aunt who will be happy to provide unsolicited advice on how children should be raised and direction on all manner of parenting issues.

Again, this is only a Quickstart Guide. Remember to read the entire Child Rearing Handbook, which will save you much time and anguish. The Child Rearing Handbook is contained in the same envelope as your child’s warranty card, and receipt in case you decide to return or exchange the child. These items can be found conveniently located fg hu6th heiemn ded.

If you have any questions or problems, please contact us 1-8hg-stf-xd#@ or at http://www.&^hsg463nbgm.com/hasythr

Once again, congratulations on starting your family.

It’s Not Safe!

slash

Sorry to have to tell you this, but it’s not safe.

Crossing the street.

Sunlight.

Cooking with an open flame.

Going outside.

Staying inside.

Sorry – they all could lead to death, destruction, cancer, loss of self-esteem, or even a warped sense of humor.

However, look at how much we miss when we’re over-concerned with safety.

Beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

Rainbows.

Great food.

The chance to make a friend.

The chance to fall in love.

The ability to have a relationship with God.

In Sickness and in Health

SONY DSC

I haven’t written much this week because we’ve had a few medical issues around here. Three were planned, but there was at least one middle-of-the-night exciting surprise. The kids needed to get one last viral ailment before school let out and the dog showed that although he’s very lovable, he’s equally stupid. So five trips to various hospitals, including a veterinarian one, one to the doc-in-a-box, several to various doctors’ offices later, it’s now the weekend.

When I was younger, like most guys (I can’t speak for the female of the species) I saw love in terms of a commitment to “climb the highest mountains and swim the deepest seas.” Now that I’m older and have acquired s modicum of wisdom, I see things differently.

I made my marriage vows to my wife before God. However those vows grew to include not only the two of us but the whole family. “In sickness (and in health”) seems to be more aimed at the kids than each other. Likewise, “for richer or for poorer” – well let’s just say that much of our material wealth has been invested in our children.

“All my worldly goods with thee I share” – when I can’t find a tool, or that ten dollar bill that I had in my wallet, or the nail clippers, or whatever (and the list is impressive) it’s far more likely that one of the kids has borrowed/absconded/taken title to it than my wife.

But what a wonderful life. God, in his wisdom, has given me countless opportunities to share that I otherwise wouldn’t have had. He’s blessed me with a closeness such that if sharing is not completely effortless it is at least totally natural.

Fathers’ Day is tomorrow. Let’s first thank Our Heavenly Father on this day. (Isn’t it quite appropriate that both Mothers’ and Fathers’ days are on Sundays?)

Then, as a father, I want to thank Him for blessing me with my family.

Decorating

Not my real home.Accessories such as turret, moat, etc. not included.Not to scale.Tax, title and dealer preparation charge not included.

Not my real home.
Accessories such as turret, moat, etc. not included.
Not to scale.
Tax, title and dealer preparation charge not included.

My wife is decorating.

I know what you’re thinking, and no, it’s not nesting and we’re not expecting.

However, the experience is interesting.

I’ve lived in houses, apartments, hooches, tents, pods and whatever. As a guy my criteria is quite different from hers. I’ve slept with 40 of my best friends in a tent in some God-forsaken country. Her? Hasn’t happened. Never will.

Looking for houses I have been guilty of the following. Roof? Yep. At least four bedrooms? Yep. More than two bathrooms? Check. Kitchen big enough for me to play in? Okay. No restrictions on ham radio antennas? Good, let’s move in.

She chose this house based primarily on the school system and a good place to raise our kids. While the kids were in elementary school, her main focus was on them. Now that one is in high school and the other middle school, we’re both still busy, but in a different way.

She and her muse have been able to commune around soccer, dogs, cats, school meetings, etc. She started moving things around and for the most part the progress has been an accessory here, a lamp there as opposed to major remodeling. Okay we did replace the couch and chairs that the kids and pets had made unusable, but that needed to happen anyway. Bottom line is it just keeps getting better.

The part I like is that it feels even more like home. Our home. I see her in the way the rooms look. It’s a touch of class that makes my life more enjoyable. I think what I like best is the fact that it feels like her rather than some professional decorator who is a stranger.

I work hard, and cherish my time at home. With her touch, I cherish it even more.

Why Have Kids?

SONY DSC

The other day my younger son asked me why I decided to have kids.

Tough question.

Once upon a time kids were an economic benefit. Kids, especially boys, provided a work force for the farm or the herd. Why pay for workers when you can just make them?

However, once we left the farm and moved to modern cities and suburbs, economically that advantage disappeared.

So why DID I decide to have kids?

Actually, when I was younger, I was scared that I’d have a handicapped child. My oldest, in fact, is profoundly handicapped. Interestingly, just before she was born I finished my 24 months in Radiologic Technology, and was trained and more importantly mentally prepared for many of the things that her care would require. Especially the yucky stuff.

Funny how that worked out – you’d think some higher power was involved.

My older son was in high school and I was raising him as a single parent when I met my wife. I thought that my daddy days were coming to a close. Instead we married and decided to have a family.

Funny how THAT worked out – you’d think some higher power was involved.

Which got me thinking – the reason my wife and I decided to have kids was because we wanted to share. Share what we had, but more importantly to share our love.

I guess that desire to share is why God decided to make us – for someone to share with. He set the example for us to follow.

And that’s why we had kids.