Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Like a (non-functional) bridge over...

 ... troubled waters.

Two years ago: In case a two week statewide lockdown wasn't enough ("two weeks? how're we going to survive? how can they do this to us?? how...?), the city shut down the high level West Seattle Bridge on this day, 2020. It actually looked like good timing at that point. I mean, who was going anywhere anyway?!? And "months" maybe meant by the end of the year it would reopen?

Two years later, we realize that two week lockdown was nothing compared to what was coming, and we've weathered regime change in Seattle and DC, gotten vaccinated and boosted if we have any sense, and have learned to keep surgical masks in our cars at all times, slipping them on before heading into the store, or to chat with neighbors. And the freakin' bridge is still shut.

On the plus side, I'm still working from home, more than two years after that started, so I rarely have to deal with the clusterf that is West Marginal Way during commuting (last week it took M and K two and a half hours to go from our house to Capitol Hill). 

Thursday, March 17, 2022

It was two years ago today...

 Two years ago today (3/17/20), my company closed their offices and required us all to shift to working from home. 

This wasn't actually a surprise, as we'd gotten our first "we're watching this and will keep you updated" message on 1/30/20. In that one we were told that we could consider a "flexible work arrangement" if we were directly impacted. The next message, on 2/15/20, was an update about the situation and the restricted travel of anyone coming to the U.S. from China, as well as some restrictions related to work-related travel. On 2/27/20 those restrictions on travel were tightened, and on 3/1/20 there was no cross-border travel allowed. Wow did we not have a clue. No one did. Or maybe a few people. 

It's actually impressive that the company was communicating with us so early, and so globally, but then they have employees all over the world. Still, they impressed me then and still do now. The 3/1/20 message said "don't travel at all if you don't have to." On 3/3/20 they told us that the offices were being cleaned every night, and that if we didn't feel comfortable coming in, or if we needed to stay home due to school closures, we could work with our manager to coordinate working from home. On 3/4/20 the official recommendation was to work from home: "Please work from home" and while not a requirement, it was a "strong recommendation."  On 3/12/20 we were told to "Please work from home effective immediately." I had already begun doing so around 3/6. And then on 3/17, the offices were closed, a "hard close" which meant even those who preferred to go into work could not do so. This was the beginning of the last two years. The expectation, at that point, was that working from home would extend "through at least April 15." Ha!

Meanwhile, on 3/13 and 3/14, K and I went to a horse show where she did quite well. Few people were wearing masks, but there was a lot of air circulation, and to be fair, at that point it was hard to get masks. We also knew almost nothing about what we were facing. Handwashing and sanitizer were the key tools we had. We were hesitant, but she really wanted to go, so we did, wondering if maybe we were doing something completely foolish. 

There were also the first runs on supplies in the stores. Toilet paper!! Rice!!! Oh my!

Waiting to get into Trader Joe's, 3/13

No Quinoa!! Aaack!

How were we going to last until April 15th?!?

Saturday, March 12, 2022

It's been a long, long, long time...

 Like 9 6 years? Yikes! 

To be honest, some of the post reduction has been intentional. As the girls got older, I began to feel less comfortable sharing details of our lives, their lives, without their expressed willingness to have those details be shared. But I had intended at least an occasional post about what was happening in my life, like the two years we went to Kona so that I could paddle in the Queen Liliu'okalani canoe races over Labor Day weekend. This was in 2013 and 2014, and the first year our team came in 3rd in our division (not too shabby, given the size of the race and how many different teams from all over participate), and then also placed 1st in our double-hull division. The second year we came in 1st in our division (even less shabby if you ask me) and then again 1st in the double-hull the following day. 

2014 award ceremony

But I never got around to it. To be honest, a new job (in 2014), and growing girls, meant less and less time for any sort of extra curricular writing. I honestly don't know how single parents manage. I'm not particularly suited to multitasking when it comes to family/house matters. I stress while cooking, don't do well hosting gatherings, and in general need M to cover my back more often than she needs me to do so for her. In any case, I recently shared some of my old posts with the girls and we all enjoyed them, laughing out loud at times, and I got what felt like the world's best comment from K: "You know Dad, these are actually good, they're pretty funny." I'll take that!

But it got me thinking about possibly doing more writing, and one way to ramp up on that would be to begin posting here again, on occasion. The risk is low, given my audience is minuscule to begin with, and likely has dropped by 50% (so roughly 3 readers remaining?). And it seemed fortuitous that we just reached the 2nd anniversary of the Covid-19 pandemic, in that this gives me a convenient focus for at least a couple tries at new posts: "Two years ago...."

So, I'm going to kick it off with a try and see if it's any fun any longer.

Friday, February 19, 2016

... i picked the hard way every time...

or, "if I had a feather..."

This morning we did the spelling words that we didn't get to last night due to the meltdown over not being able to get crutches to play with (independent of any need for crutches).

And doing spelling meant insisting on doing it with a quill, because, you know, 'arry Pot'r and all that! But how does he manage to write so clearly?* And did he also have permanent ink?

in which we work on "i before e except after c..."

And another, clearer view:

"except when it sounds like a..."

*(dad's theory - Harry had a writing double!)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

... ride, 'Arry, ride...

... upon your Nimbus stick... or, "Mount up, Harry Trotter!"

The current obsession in our household is with Harry Potter. Or 'Arry Pot'r, as we attempt to say. Combine this with an on-going fascination with all things horse-related, and we end up with some unique creative play. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

K is a reader. I am too. We all are. K is also very sensitive to violence or any suggestion of violence. And I am too. So I get this, I'm sympathetic. She's also disinclined to stretch herself much. She doesn't embrace new experiences. If she had her way, we would never repaint, never move furniture, never change a thing. Except maybe to get some horses to put in the back yard.

She will read just about anything having to do with horses. Or anything that she's already familiar with. She is not especially adventurous, in other words. So she'd rather reread Thoroughbred #22 a fifteenth time than branch out to something I'm recommending but which she's unsure of (example: The Good Master).

She has "known" for years that 1) she did not want to read Harry Potter, 2) it was too scary, 3) it was (probably) a "boy book", 4) (a bunch of other reasons I can't recall at the moment. But at some point L decided she wanted to hear the first Harry Potter book, so M started reading it to her at bedtime. They were nearly through with it when K got sucked in too, and once they were done, L & M watched the first movie while K insisted it would be too scary and so she and I watched "Mr. Dobbs Takes a Vacation" which is an odd Jimmy Stewart movie full of early 1960s "humor" that K seems to love. I think this was the fifth or sixth time we've watched it. L & M moved on to the second book, and this time K was listening from the start and liked what she was hearing. When they finished that book, they all (we all) watched the second movie, K with some trepidation but knowing the story, willing to give it a try. She loved it (just as she'd loved the book), and immediately wanted to watch the first movie, so she, L and I did. Then K went and read the first book. And then second book. And the first book again. And all the while, she, L & M were working through the third book.

"just 10 more minutes!"

Now all K wants to do is watch Harry Potter movies (the first two especially - the third one didn't really grab her fancy). And play horses.

Which leads to something I like to call "Harry Trotter."

As near as I can tell, listening in from the kitchen while the girls play in the living room, is that they are in a stable, and the horses have names like Dumbledore and Nimbus 2000 and Fireball and Snape. They wear robes and discuss other students and classes like Dark Arts and play quidditch disparage muggles and ride horses and brooms and have created an imaginary world that combines the two seemingly disparate worlds in a way that I love. And don't quite "get."

But that's ok too, because I'm a parent and they are playing and being creative and damn, I love that.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

... me and you, and you and me...

or, "just another Sunday morning in WS."

This weekend we were actually all in town together. Same place, same times. It was nice.

Friday night K&L convinced us that we had never gone out to eat for M's birthday, so we went out to our neighborhood pub-food place and had burgers or fish&chips or squash enchiladas. At the end of the meal K sat up and said, "Now that is what I call a good Friday night!"

Saturday M took the girls shopping and I got some work done on the house, finishing one of my two "absolutely going to have this done by the end of the summer or my name isn't..." projects, which apparently it isn't, because this is now 10/4 and last time I checked the end of summer was a couple of weeks ago. Astronomically speaking I mean. As far as normal people go, summer has been gone for at least a couple of weeks, if not longer. Which isn't to say that it's gray and damp yet. It's been pretty darn nice. But the trees are changing, and the light is more oblique than the summer sun. And the days are getting shorter and cooler, both of which make me sad. Apparently some folks love the fall, the changing seasons. Me, I miss my summer sun and warmth.

And on Sunday L and I went on a bike ride while M planted a tree she's had on her list to plant. K mostly lay about in her pajamas, reading in the oblique light. We also had L's final cross-country "championship" race, which was much like the other two races except that for this one everyone across the finish line was handed a "participant" ribbon.

All of which makes it sound as thought we're something like the Waltons, happy and content and fully aware of all the glories of the world around us. And for the most part, now and then, we are. But there were also tears. Make no mistake about that. There were tears about how there was nothing to do, about how K pinched L, about how no one ever gets to have dessert any more... there were battles about someone sitting on someone else's bed, uninvited. There were disagreements about horses during games, about rules during Yatzee, about who got to have the last of the orange juice....

Which is to say, it was pretty much a normal weekend around here. And right now, normal seems dang nice.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

... i can't sleep when i can't sleep with you...

...or, "the bed's too big without you."

I took this last weekend, in Wenatchee:

M is out of town this weekend, and this morning when the girls called me at 6.30 (I was still sleeping, having gotten up at 3am the day before), I discovered that they were together in K's bed and had been all night.  This isn't an unusual occurrence, and there's something I love about the fact that they will snuggle like this. It's  generally L driving the doubling up. She sleeps best when she sleeps next to a warm body (something that doesn't bode well for parental comfort when she's off at college!). She spent most of her first 18 months sleeping happily between M and me, and we used to joke that at least we were going to know when she got home from her dates as a teenager, because she would be climbing into bed with us when she did.

Tonight I just went up to kiss them goodnight before I climbed into my own bed, and discovered again that they were bundled together in K's bed. I moved L, mostly out of a hope that this will mean they'll both sleep longer tomorrow morning. We'll see. I do hate to split them up. For all the arguing and fighting they do, they sure do come through for each other when it counts.