Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunday: Good Grief! I haven't Posted Since - Wednesday

It's the end of a good weekend, and I see I've got some catching up to do.

Thursday, June 26, 2008.

The family high point of this day was that a friend of my son's, the friend's mother, and younger sister, came over around noon to ask if my son could come over to their house for a while. My wife sent me to fetch him around supper time: they three kids were playing on a backyard trampoline. "A good time was had by all," I'm told.

Friday, June 27, 2008.

Part of Ash Street in front of our house, near the corner of Ash and Ninth, had been excavated Wednesday, Filled in Thursday morning, and then excavated again Thursday afternoon. I'm pretty sure the contractor had a good reason for doing that.

Our son has been talking about WALL-E, the new Disney/Pixar movie, for quite a while. It started showing at the Main Street Theatre today. He asked me if I planned to go, and if so, when. We'll decided to try for Sunday afternoon, when there's a 1:30 showing.

Saturday, June 28, 2008.

I didn't note anything out of the ordinary for today, except that my son and I went to church today, instead of tomorrow, so that we'd be able to get lunch ready earlier than usual tomorrow - all in the good cause of getting us to the WALL-E movie, naturally.

Sunday, June 29, 2008.

Back to today. My son and I had the house to ourselves for a while this morning, as the ladies went to church. #1 daughter was here, and decided to go along to the movie. She, my son, and I have very similar interests.

I grilled the burgers, not doing too badly at all, if I do say so myself. Then, after a bit of work with the dishes, my son, #1 daughter, and I were off to see WALL-E. That's the first movie I've seen, since some time last year.

That turned out to be an excellent way to spend about two hours of the afternoon. It was a good show - top-notch effects, and a better story line than I'd expected.

My son got one of those watches they were giving away for the first few showings. It's not the best timepiece in the world, but he's pleased with it, anyway. What makes it a bit special is that it's got the two main characters, WALL-E and EVE, embossed on the band, just above and below the watch.

#1 daughter stayed for supper, she and I talked after the rest of the ladies and my son went to Soo Bahk Do, and then it was time for #1 daughter to return to Alex, to feed her rabbit.

After the rest of the family came back from Soo Bahk Do, I learned that my wife has advanced to the next color belt - or will as soon as she does the qualifications. (I think that's the way she phrased it.) In other words, she has to break a few more boards.

My son and I read Garfield, as usual, and that brings me up to date.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wednesday: The Ants are Back

It's a good thing we hung onto that ant killer. Saturday, my wife had a tab set up on the kitchen counter, with a full compliment of ants around the liquid, filling up, and an unusually energetic set of ants whizzing to and fro, around the bait.

Those streaks are high-velocity ants.

It seemed that the ants were zipping around faster than they normally do. Someone, #3 daughter, I think, suggested that they were on a sugar high from the bait.

Today, we've got another wave of ants.This is a different species: tiny things. If they're like the last set that looked like that, we're going to have a hard time dealing with them.

The scene from our front porch.

The Ash Street Project is in our front yard today. The crew is doing a really good job of keeping the dirt and mess as close to the street as possible. And, as far as my son and I are concerned, having a construction site less than twenty feet from the front door is great: we've both been keeping on eye on what's happening.

I picked up the van this afternoon. We've got two new tires on it, and parts for a defective switch should be in Friday. No sense in keeping the van at the garage. I'd intended to go straight to Fitness Guru, but forgot my duffel on the front porch.

Just as well. As I rounded the house, my son asked if I had a little time. He led me over to the south end of the excavation and asked me what a pair of metal slabs was for. I told him that it was almost certainly a sort of caisson, holding back dirt so that the sides of the trench wouldn't collapse on the guys working down there.

A safety device, I think, for the guys who were taking a well-deserved break.
You can see them, up on the grass.

I sorted through more books, read "Garfield" with my son, and so the day ended.
There's more about the Ash Street Project at Sauk Centre Journal.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tuesday: Sooner or Later, We'll Want Air Conditioning

I dropped the van off at the garage today: for a straightforward replacement of two worn tires, and a not-necessarily-straightforward investigation of why the dashboard fan switch gets hot.

The Ash Street Project is in our front yard now. There's a deep excavation at the corner, and a quite redundant 'Road Closed" sign in front of a mammoth pile of dirt that blocks the road.

My wife and #3 daughter were over at the Sauk Centre grandpa's this afternoon, minding the shop for him while he was out. Our son was with me, and had the task of starting the baked potatoes. He remembered the task without my prompting. Which is a good thing, since I'd forgotten that he was supposed to do that.

For all the dust, noise, and shaking of the ground, the Ash Street Project gives us something to watch. Walking toward the church, I met a lady with a toddler. She told us that she was from a nearby town, where her street had been torn up recently. The two of them were here to watch the work, apparently.

The toddler said "WHEE!" at one point, after a particularly large machine made a particularly loud sound.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Monday: Catching up on Saturday and Sunday

I see I haven't made an entry since Friday.

It's been a good weekend. I grilled both days, with #2 daughter keeping me company while I grilled Saturday.

#2 daughter and I talked a bit, but mostly she spent time with #3 daughter, and my wife.

The Ash Street Project working its way closer to our house. Today, a backhoe scooped out most of what was left of the three elms in front. Again, the good news there is that the northernmost tree had a rotting core, and might have come down in the next wind storm. It was taller than the house, and it's much better that in came down in controlled conditions.

My wife is still having me evaluate the many books that came back from the farm. #2 daughter helped with that. She went through the piles, looking for books that she found useful and/or interesting. She found quite a number. Including, I believe, one that's in Latin.

The Sauk Centre Grandpa stopped by for a while, to see the stuff and talk with us. He's been out of town for some sort of meeting. I gather that he's glad to be back.

Sunday was Soo Bahk Do night, as usual. My wife tells me that there was a test this time - and that she may have done well. I hope so. That's proven to be a good learning experience for her, and the kids.

Today was pretty much routine: back to daily chores. I got a bit of organizing done in my 'office' space: and have plenty more to do.

My son and I read Garfield all three nights, of course.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Friday: June Sostice, and the Weekend's Eve

I'm actually writing this Saturday morning, as heavy equipment shakes by the house.

#1 daughter's landlord arrived, at last, to let her in. She called me to let me know that she was okay. Asked what had taken him so many hours, he replied, "I'm not going there." I suspect that he hadn't been having a good day.

Friday was the longest day of the year here, the June Solstice: Summer Solstice, for those of us who live in the northern hemisphere. I understand that there was a big get-together at Stonehenge, over where England is now.

I went out to Fitness Guru for exercise, and #2 daughter came home for a weekend visit.

#2 daughter told me that she and the rest of the custodial staff cleaned seven floors of a dorm that had hosted wrestlers. She found mud in the back of a desk drawer. It had dried, which made things easier. But: mud?!

The other notable event at this household was that, at about 10:20 in the evening, we noticed that we had no water pressure at all. None. Negative pressure, in fact. After my wife had told me of the situation, and was calling a string of people about it, I went over to the kitchen sink and opened the faucet.

The idea was that water would come out of the faucet, and into the cup that I held under it. What actually happened was that I heard a slurping sound as air entered the faucet.

I'd gone out to make sure that we were still plugged into the city's water supply. The Ash Street Project contractor has us connected to a flexible hose, and getting water through our outside faucet. I haven't checked, but my guess is that everyone along Ash Street south has been, or will be, hooked up like that.

Quite a good idea, actually.

Someone came to check quite promptly, apparently. I heard a truck, or something with a heavy-duty motor, outside: and by 11:45 we had running water again.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thursday: Just How Smart are the Ants?

My wife bought ant killer the other day. Immediately, the ants disappeared. She hadn't even opened the bottle: they just weren't there any more.

I'm sure there's another explanation, but it occurred to me: 'Maybe they knew!'

We're keeping the anti-ant insecticide. Odds are pretty good that they'll be back.

Meanwhile, I took my laptop down to the shop in Alex this afternoon, and asked how our son's computer is coming along. My laptop's hard drive is probably kaput, and my son's computer is still being looked at.

All the repair jobs are taking a while now, since we had that run of lightning storms. People don't take as much care with their computer's electrical connections as they should.

Aside from that, I got some more photos of the Ash Street Project. I'll probably use them in Sunday's Sauk Centre Journal. A crew was filling in a major excavation at the intersection one block north of us.

One of the cousins was here today, visiting #3 daughter. I learned that she's quite interested in history, so gave the go-ahead for her to look through the books that we brought her from my father's place. She left with over a dozen: not light-reading ones, either. I've asked for a selection of those to be returned, when she's through reading them.

My wife, our son, and #3 daughter went to Soo Bahk Do again tonight, as usual. Also as usual, I read Garfield with our son.

Update, about 10:50. #1 daughter locked herself out of her apartment. She used a neighbor's phone to call her landlord. He said he was five miles away, and was coming. Four hours ago.

#1 daughter is a bit concerned. She called here about 10:30, and talked mostly with my wife. I got a call a few minutes after that. A woman asked me when I was going to let #1 daughter into her apartment. I think that was #1 daughter's neighbor, under the impression that she was calling the landlord.

This could be a long night.

Wednesday: This Day Went Fast

This day whizzed past. My wife and #3 daughter went out this morning for their usual Wednesday-morning-with-the-Sauk-Centre-Grandpa, and were off again for the last half of the afternoon, at a music lesson.

I got out for an exercise session. I think the things are helping. Some of the pulling, pushing, and turning seems to be easier now: which probably means I should put it up another notch.

#1 daughter showed up around noon. She came to pick up the laundry she'd done on Monday - and forgot to take with her. Also, she helped my wife with some of the re-organizing that's happening in the house.

Speaking of which, when I got back, Sunday night, I discovered that my wife had backed a hutch to the left side of the desk I use. It hides the clutter of cables that's behind the computer, and gives me a sort of 'office wall.' It actually helps me concentrate, I think.

And, the arrangement looks nice from the other side.

I see that I wrote, but didn't post, yesterday's entry. Clumsy. I think my wife's right: I do need more sleep.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tuesday: Still Spinning, but I Got a Little Done

The Ash Street Project settled down to making this household's collective life interesting today. We had some momentary water outages this morning: nothing serious, just enough to have the faucets spit at us a little when we turned them on later.

More exciting, we were without natural gas for a while. A crew from the gas company came around noon, setting up to lay our new gas line. This one is plastic, replacing the old metal one - which ran straight under the garage. The former owners made some interesting decisions when they remodeled this place.

I think someone cut this little trench by hand.

I'd asked the technician from the gas company if we needed to move things out of the way, when he was here earlier in the month to check the place out. He assured me that there would be plenty of room.

He may have been an optimist. Or, he may not have realized just how big the machine that his company sent would be.

That was precision driving, getting that thing back here.

The crew that was here today did a really good job of cutting a trench down the east side of the garage, then running a slit westward toward the street. The guy on the trencher modified the slide a little, but as our son said, "maybe now it will work better."

That was a tight squeeze.
You can see the slide, to the left of the trencher.

Next step, cutting a slit in the sod, and pulling the gas line through it.

This gives an idea of how deep the gas line is.

So, now we've got a filled-in trench about five or six inches across, an untidy line of sod running toward the street, and an embossed yard where the tire treads sank in a bit. Nothing that a season or so of natural growth and raking wouldn't take care of.

But, one of the guys told me that there contractor has a restoration company come in and fix things up after they're done. Great! The only thing is, I suspect that strips of our yard will look better than the rest, where the restoration guys did their work.

One of the great side-effects of the gas line work was that my son and I had some time together, watching what was going on and talking.

My wife tells me that #2 daughter made the Dean's List at Concordia during the last academic session. #2 daughter's pretty happy about that. So am I. "That's my girl," and all that.

Apart from taking some photos of the Ash Street Project, I got some more writing done, did a few errands downtown, and put in time at Fitness Guru, that exercise place.

And, once again, topped off the day by reading Garfield with my son.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Monday: Definitely Monday

I spent most of the day catching up on what I'd normally have been doing over the weekend: writing posts for blogs, that sort of thing.

#1 daughter came in the morning, presenting me with a storage tin she'd picked up at a rummage sale: one printed like the old animal cracker circus wagons. That was a very thoughtful Father's Day present. As a child, I loved playing with those boxes, and still remember cutting out and adjusting the wheels.

I forgot to mention this: Yesterday, my wife and all gave me "Time Tunnel" DVDs. We all enjoy that old show, so it's a good family gift, as well as a Father's Day thing.

It's been a beautiful day, but I haven't been outside. I'll correct that omission tomorrow.

And, as usual, I closed the 'family' part of the day by reading Garfield with my son.

It's been a good day.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sunday: Back at Home

I've been out of town for the weekend, seeing my father for Father's Day, and to get some more stuff moved out. Actually, it was #2 daughter and my son who did most of the moving work.

Let's see what's happened:

Friday, June 13, 2008. I got up after a rather late night of preparation. I'd gotten ready for one of the usual up-Friday, return-Saturday trips, then learned that our son and I would be staying through Sunday. For Father's Day.

Obvious, when I thought of it.

So, I tried to get the late-Saturday and Sunday stuff done, too. Finally realizing that it wouldn't happen, I decided to get some sleep. Not the worst decision I've ever made.

That brings me up to Friday morning. I did some more last-minute work, then our son and I started off, about half-past noon. We picked up #2 daughter in Moorhead, and I indulged in a drive through Fargo-Moorhead as a way to get back to the Interstate, northbound to Hillsboro.

We had a pretty good talk with my father. Also, #2 daughter and our son got his Father's Day present set up: a TV/DVD/VHS we brought with us.

Back at the farm, #2 daughter fixed supper, we watched a movie, and so to bed. It had been a big day.

Saturday, June 14, 2008.

After a good night's sleep, my son, #2 daughter, and I went into town, talked with my father as long as his breath lasted, went to church, then returned to his place. I was feeling pretty tired by then, so I took a nap - not something I usually do.
Supper and the start of the first Lord of the Rings movie followed. We also paid attention to the weather, as a line of thunderstorms passed through.

We got quite a bit of rain, and wind. And, later saw a rainbow that made a full arch. It was the first time that my son had seen a rainbow.

We also finished the first Lord of the Rings movie. My son was impressed with it: he seems to think it's in the same league as the Bionicles movies. Which, for him, is high praise.

Sunday, June 15, 2008. Father's Day.

Back to today.

It took a bit of time and effort for #2 daughter to wake me up this morning. She would get a response out of me and then I'd start snoring again, she tells me.

We had another talk with my father, I washed dishes while #2 daughter and my son got the van packed. I dropped #2 daughter off at her place in Moorhead. Next stop was Fergus Falls, where my son and I had a meal at Debbie's Homestyle Kitchen: that's been a bit of a tradition for trips up to the Red River Valley.

"And a good time was had by all," as my father would say. It was a good trip, all around.

There'd been rain in Sauk Centre, too. It's going to be a muddy Monday to work on the Ash Street Project.

My son brought in all of the stuff they'd packed, after I parked the van in the back yard. He explained that he was looking for a particular item that #2 daughter had packed in the van - an alarm clock/radio with an alarm that can be set to two times, I'm told.

There's quite a bit of stuff piling up here, by this time.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Thursday: Ash Street Project Takes Trees

It's been a hectic week, but I don't feel like I'm getting anything done. I think that's partly because I've been bouncing back and forth between tasks. Take yesterday, for example. I got off to a good start, updating blogs, when I heard thunder.

That stopped any work on the computers. The lightning that goes with thunder doesn't mix well with electronics. So, I picked up a pencil-and-paper project before going through about a half-dozen books about Julius Caesar, Herod, and Hannibal. Then back to the blogs.

Today was off to a good start, although I got distracted in the morning. Our son and I spent quite a bit of time watching the three old elms in front of the house get cut down. I'm going to miss those old trees.

On the other hand, we've got a much better view of the western sky, and probably avoided a very unpleasant surprise. The guy who was using the saw told me that when he got through the tree's hard shell, a few inches thick, there wasn't any resistance. And, water started pouring out. That tree was rotting on the inside. At least this way, we had a skilled crew to bring it down in a controlled way.

#3 daughter had a good idea this morning. She realized that the young man out front was doing heavy work in what was shaping up to be a hot summer day, so she decided to start a batch of cookies. With some assistance from my wife, they got made, along with a pitcher of lemonade.

My wife's the one who actually took a small fold-up table with the fixings on it out, got the young man's attention with a definite "hey!" and let him know that there were snacks available.

Somewhat later, he told me, "good food," with a cookie in one hand. His enunciation was a little muffled, since he was getting the words out around another cookie. I'm glad this household was able to put out some food. Those guys work hard.

I spent over an hour at the small publishing house where I used to work, sorting out some software and data handling issues they had. Next stop was the post office, to get some things mailed.

The rest of the day and evening was punctuated with severe thunderstorm watches and warnings: none of which did more than drop quite a bit of rain on us, happily.

Now, I should start finishing yesterday's entry in the Sauk Centre Journal.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Transitions: Chairs, Books, and a Call from Hospice

Today, one of the kids noted that we had enough chairs to seat the whole family: aunts, uncles, and cousins. I'm not entirely convinced: it's a big family. Still, we've got a lot more chairs in the house now, than we did last week.

I've been going through my father's books. I think we've got the lot here, now. He had several copies of Gibbon's "Fall of the Roman Empire." I was able to reduce it to two: one with an index and my father's notes, the other with quite decent illustrations. I wound up with two "Don Quixote" translations: I've found knowledgeable sources which say that each is a fine translation and the other a waste of paper; and I don't have the time to learn seventeenth-century Spanish, to decide for myself which is the better translation. Now, I'm going through multiple books on Herod, Hannibal, Julius Caesar, and Herodotus. My wife hopes that I'll be willing to part with some of them.

It's a fascinating exercise: I haven't done this much reading and evaluation of his lungs aren't able "literature" in quite a while. It's also rather sad. My father and I have very similar interests, although he's been more informed about Rome, where I've become better versed in some technical subjects.

I doubt that he'll be reading these again. The books aren't "light" reading: figuratively or literally. Some of those books are downright heavy.

My father's mind is still sharp, but he has to work hard to pull oxygen in through his damaged lungs. there isn't all that much left for holding up a weighty tome.

On the other hand, he was able to pull himself up by the 'trapeze' (that cable-and-bar arrangement you see sometimes over hospital beds). Once he got his head up past the head of the bed, something happened and he dropped back.

Problem is, he'd shifted position by then, so his head clipped part of the bed. That's why someone from Hospice called. He's got what the medicos call a 'tear' about the size of a quarter on his head. Hurts like the dickens, I gather, but it's been treated and shouldn't be too much of a problem. Didn't even need stitches or staples.

This isn't the cheeriest time in my life. No complaints: My wife and I got to raise four of our kids, and I'm part of a great family. But my father and I are now dealing with the fact that he's got a "terminal condition," ast a form I signed recently put it.

Clearing out my parent's house, going through my father's books, and doing paperwork to transfer financial responsibility, remind me that my father is getting ready for the end of his life.

It may be weeks, months, or, maybe, years, but soon I won't be able to hear what my father has to say about being a father, dealing with the passing years, ruling families of Ancient Rome, or quack grass.

I'll miss that.

Monday: Here Comes the Heavy Machinery

Our son and I had a good time this morning, watching the curbs being pulled up on our block. We were both taking pictures. He's expressed the opinion that "it's so cool." several times now.

I could feel the ground bounce, when the oversized backhoe tapped a particularly recalcitrant bit of concrete, near the corner. The operator really knows his stuff, handling the bucked as if he could feel with it.

In fact, the way the bucket moved, when moving a section of concrete into a better position for lifting, reminded me of the way some dogs will push things around with their muzzle.

I spent most of the day either writing or working on a graphics project, punctuated by a visit to that exercise place. Our son got more lawn mowing done, my wife has been bringing order to the apparent chaos of the stuff that she and the others brought last weekend, and #3 daughter has been doing homework.

One of the characteristics of home schooling, at least the way we do it, is that you're never really away from school. Not a bad way to work things, I think.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Sunday: Sunshine, Family, Grilling

It's been a beautiful day. #1 daughter came down from Alex to spend the day with us, always a pleasure. She spent most of her time with #3 daughter and our son, but I got a little talking in with the firstborn of the family.

Our son is excited about a movie, "WALL-E," that's coming out later this month. So am I, for that matter. The show about a little robot looks like fun.

I grilled burgers after church, and didn't incinerate them too badly. While I was doing that, a bird (a baltimore oriole, I think) and a squirrel were having a sort of discussion in the tree south of the grill. The topic, pretty clearly, was which had the better claim to a particular branch. I think the oriole won.

The next branch over is where orioles built a nest last year.

I took a nap (not my usual practice) in the afternoon. That was probably a good idea.

My wife and #3 daughter are resting up from a very, very, busy weekend. I found that they hadn't entirely cleared out the house up in the Red River Valley. There's some left for me to do.

Still, filling a good-size rental truck, a trailer, and the back of a pickup, put a sizable dent in what's left to do. And, since the storage company apparently wasn't able to get the unit ready (or the previous users didn't return the keys), what was supposed to go into a 10 x 20 storage unit is now in our house. It's getting a bit cosy in here.

Three trees, each with a pink "X" on them: due to be removed next week.

The Ash Street Project will probably reach our house tomorrow, or very soon after. That means that it won't be long before the three big trees in front of the house will be gone soon. #1 daughter hugged the southernmost one this morning.

I'm none too happy to see them go. But, I tried negotiating with the city about it: and couldn't convince them. That wasn't too surprising, since a photo of them had been used as an example of how some trees absolutely had to go.

Still, it was worth a try.

I've got a webcam set up, looking at the north side of the corner of ninth and Ash Street, that should give a pretty good look at some of the street work.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Saturday: Our Son and I Had the House to Ourselves

It's been quite a couple of days. My wife and #3 daughter spend much of Friday and most of today at my dad's place, visiting my dad and clearing the house for renters. One of my brothers-in-law and his wife took them up, picking up a moving van in Fargo-Moorhead, I understand. That left our son and me at the house with ourselves.

Friday was the last day of school for our son. He was none too happy to see the school year end. Particularly since his friends who were in sixth grade won't be in the combined-grade class he was in next year. On a happier note, he returned with stuff he'd cleared out of his desk, and some treats.

One of those was a can of instant string. He showed me how it works, spraying it over part of the family room. He offered to spray me, but I declined. Another treat was a bottle of 'stocky bubbles' - act like ordinary soap bubbles, except that when they touch a surface, they don't pop: they stick. Since he blew them in the living room, they stuck to the living room floor.

He agreed to wipe down that part of the floor: which is now quite clean.

He also mowed the yard Friday. Part of the yard, that is. He also got bored, doing a straight back-and-forth pattern, so part of the back yard had long grass with curvy paths through it.

I had a talk with a representative of one of the companies that are doing the Ash Street Project. He was touching base again, about what needs to be done in the front yard. My wife has been handling that, so I answered general questions, and made a note for my wife to contact him on Monday.

There are pink Xs on the three big trees in front, by the street. They'll be gone after next week. Can't say I'm happy about that, but I knew they would be cut down, when the city used them as an example of trees that would have to go.

Our son cut over most of the creative mowing today, and helped me set up for my wife and all coming home. More accurately, making room for the stuff they brought with them.

My wife and #3 daughter got home around 8:30 or 9:00, with my brother-in-law in his wife. And a van full of stuff, plus what they'd strapped onto a trailer or onto their truck. Following my wife's instructions, our son had fries and hot dogs ready for them. They'd done a lot of work already that day, and did more when they got here.

I tried helping them, but decided they'd get the job done with less trouble if I stayed more toward the sidelines. I settled down at the computer in the north room. Later, when it was time for me to read Garfield with him, he shifted some material around, so he could get to me - and so I could get out.

This weekend's work has cleared my dad's place, except, I understand, for two beds for us to sleep in when we go up there. That was pretty good work: and now we're ready for those renters, whenever they're ready to move in.

It's good to have more of the family under the roof.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Thursday: Thunder, Lightning, and an Evening With the Family

Yesterday zipped by pretty fast. I did my daily writing, drove to Alex to pick up a turntable - now equipped with a needle - and 'swiffered' the main first floor rooms. I must have gotten more done, but it's not coming to mind. That 'swiffering' is what I call wiping off the floor with a towel-headed mop. On the sort of hard surfaces we have here, it's quite effective.

#1 daughter came yesterday, and today. The two of us took out time to talk, but mostly she helped my wife get the attic organized. Those two ladies are doing a remarkable job up there: and may be doing a better job than I would have.

My wife talked with quite a few people yesterday, making plans for the next few weeks, including one of her brothers. After that talk, she laughed and said how pleased she was with her family. Her sister-in-law had negotiated with a you-drive-it moving van company, and dickered down the price we have to pay.

I agree with my wife: I married into quite a family. That brother-in-law of mine, whose wife saved us a neat sum, will be on a construction job in northern Canada for a few months - one of the many skill sets that's a phone call away. More to the point, they're really fine folks.

Today I did my Fitness Guru exercising a little earlier than usual - and a good thing that was. It was sprinkling by the time I drew in the driveway.

We heard thunder after that, so the computers got shut down, and I found paper-and-pen work to do. There's a flash flood watch out for central Minnesota - but I'm not complaining. There were tornado watches from southwest Minnesota to Central Oklahoma earlier this evening.

My wife, our son, and #3 daughter got ready to go to Soo Bahk Do, but came back very early. They hadn't found anyone else there. As a result, the four of us spend a fairly cozy evening in the living room, listening to rain fall on the roof, punctuated by lightning, thunder, and one brief power failure.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Tuesday: I Overslept

My body's probably trying to tell me something. I overslept this morning.

But, once up, I got some writing done. After lunch, I went to the place where I used to work and sorted through a few cubic feet of papers - part of an effort to clear unnecessary stuff out of the building. That left me with some time to check out an item at Wal-Mart, and get photos of the Ash Street Project.

That street and utilities replacement and improvement project is coming along well, as far as I can tell. Today's obvious bit of progress was a long stretch of sidewalk getting poured on the west side of the Stearns County Fairgrounds.

Our son got home before I did. He spent most of the day at the Arrowwood Water Park, up in Alexandria. Near Alexandria, actually, if it's the place I'm thinking of. I'm told that he had a good time. This has been a big week for him already: two major go-and-have-fun field trips in a row.

My wife and #3 daughter moved at least half of the furniture in the north room around this morning. She tells me that it's in preparation of more stuff coming in.

That gives me quite an incentive to get busy at organizing my stuff - and getting rid of the extra/outdated/useless papers.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Monday: Rain, Work, and a Little Thunder

Our son left at the regular time today, but after touching base at school he and his class went to ValleyFair. He got back, as expected, a little after 7:00: and surprisingly un-tired.

He told us that he'd gone on one roller coaster, for the first time in his life, and some other rides. And, had a good time. On the way back, he told me that those kids who had a seat to themselves lay down and rested. He was one of those kids.

Tomorrow, it's the Arrowwood water park in Alexandria.

I've no clue how these trips are "educational," but our son is enjoying them.

I spent the day getting a bulletin that I edit ready for printing, brought it to the printers, and managed to get most of my online writing done before supper time. While downtown, I noticed that Winter's Corner Drug had a 'SALE' sign up in the window: quite a substantial reduction, too.

It's a little surprising that I got so much done. Thunder and lightning obliged me to shut down the computers for a while this morning.

My wife and #3 daughter don't have any scheduled activities until Soo Bahk Do on Thursday evening, so my wife is setting up a schedule of chores to get done.

My wife and I were talking about my dad's place this evening. She tells me that one of her brothers says he's found out that it's cheaper to rent a U-Haul, than to use his own truck. Also, that with the rig he's found, he figures that he, his wife, my wife, and #3 daughter can get the house emptied in one trip.

I believe it. Marrying into a German family, I've gotten used to witnessing rather high levels of productivity.

It's a good thing, too: the goal is to get the place ready for rental by August.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sunday: An Unexpectedly Long Visit

#1 daughter showed up earlier than usual this morning. We generally meet up with her in church, but today she came walking up the driveway about an hour before that.

She spent a great deal of her time with #3 daughter, and some with me, too. The two ladies seemed to be catching up on what #3 daughter had been doing on her computer - putting together a music video, I take it.

Having grown up long before personal computers existed, I'm still impressed with how much one person, with relatively little equipment, can do these days.

I grilled lunch, enjoying the bird songs in the back yard. Aside from the pleasure of turning a few slabs of frozen burger into part of a good meal, that weekend routine gives me a chance to relax for a few minutes, and just enjoy being around here.

After lunch, I got some writing done, and then took a nap. My wife woke me before supper.

Our son has told me, several times, that his class is going to ValleyFaire tomorrow. Each time, he's apparently forgotten about the previous times. Repetition is a good learning technique: I am unlikely to forget that he expects to be back around 7:00 tomorrow evening.

Back in my day, we had field trips: but not to amusement parks. I doubt that there's much educational value in this trip, but I hope he has a good time.

After my wife, our son, and #3 daughter left for Soo Bahk Do, after supper, #1 daughter and I had a chance to talk a little. Then, it was time for her to go - at which time the other two ladies and our son showed up.

While #1 daughter and I talked, at the 'main' computer, I saw a hummingbird flit in to the feeder, check it out, and leave. That's the first time I've seen one there.

Inspired by the sight, #1 daughter and I went out, retrieved the feeder, and brought it in. Ants had found the feeder, too, and had an impressive column or two marching up and down the support pole.

I washed out the feeder, mixed another batch of formula, and set it outside again. If all goes well, I may see another hummer tomorrow.
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