Week of Travel

July 29, 2019 by Adam in Family

There's a lot of comings and goings this week, which is always a little disruptive.  I hop on an airplane at the break of dawn tomorrow, hang out in Salt Lake City for a few days, and then head back home to Joanna and Ben and briefly Emma.

We got Joanna off to Portland on Sunday morning, leaving Emma and I to have some father-daughter bonding time.  She went on errands with me to True Value, picking up supplies for the basement floor patching project.  I hung out with her as she cleaned her room.  At other times we played The Room 3, Regency Solitaire, and watched a combination of Parks and Rec and Avatar the Last Airbender.  And we made a pretty good quiche to boot.

Now it's a day of work and getting ready for my trip.  I'm going to screw up my courage and fill out expense reports.  I'd rather debug code.

County Fair

July 28, 2019 by Adam in Family

Joanna, Emma, and I went down to the county fair this morning.  I gave blood a few weeks back and could get in free, and Emma decided she really wanted to see the pig racing.

We got there when the gates opened, heading to the nearly empty hall that had row upon row of entries for pies, preserves, photos, paintings, and so on.  There was an Area 51 cake, every kind of cookie, and some kid who had made nearly a hundred custom Pokemon cards.  It was kinda awesome.

Next was the animals - goats and pigs and bunnies and such.  Joanna and Emma really liked that part.  We wandered out into the hot sun, trying to find the piggie race.  It turns out it wasn't for awhile, so Emma and I watched motorcycles make insane jumps and perform second-long zero gravity tricks.  Eventually it was piggie racing time and we listened to bad pig puns and rooted for our favorite pig.

We returned home tired, but happy that our fair experience would sustain us in the years ahead.

Mocha Friday

July 26, 2019 by Adam in Family

Work was funny yesterday - Health Catalyst went public, so there was bell ringing and empassioned speeches and trivia contests.  I mostly tried to keep my head down and fix bugs.  We developers can be a little antisocial at times.

We got Duncan off to Rochester just fine, with Kevin meeting with Ben on the way down from Portland.  I think it went well and hopefully sets the stage for a better visit with Ben and Kevin's family in August.  Joanna's been exhausting herself going through Ben's room and making it cleaner and safer for their return.  There are boxes of clutter that we'll eventually need to go through, but the room itself is feeling less opressive and chaotic.

Emma was around last night, being chatty and cheerful.  She helped with dinner and we watched Megamind, a very funny superhero movie.  Joanna and I will be in a kid-free house for the first time in ages tonight. Hopefully we can go out and enjoy our brief respite.

Mid Week Update

July 24, 2019 by Adam in Family

We have quite a few changes going on at the moment, though this day was generally low-key and productive as I had it off of work.  Joanna headed up to visit Ben on Sunday, leaving Duncan and I to hang out before he flies out to Rochester with his dad.  We're still trying to get a firm Ben plan, though the general idea is that they come home next Tuesday assuming all goes well.  Kevin flew into Portland today and had a good visit with Ben, so that's a good sign.

I met with mom today for a long chat over coffee and tea, catching up on assorted goings on.  It's sounding like Seraph and Robbie coming back to Oregon one day has moved towards more than a possibility, but I'm trying not to get too excited.  I think she's mostly adjusted to the time zone and caught up on sleep.  It was good seeing her.

Joanna returns momentarily, in part to visit Duncan and get him ready for his trip.  I attempted to help him pack, dutifully counting socks and underwear to make sure he was mostly prepared.  I will miss that goofy kid.

Pioneer Day Projects

July 24, 2019 by Adam in Adam's Projects

Thanks to the Mormons, today is Pioneer Day and I had it off from work.  I started in after a hearty breakfast of french toast, taking Sam's disassembled semi-broken desk and turning it into a smaller work bench for Ben.  The general idea is that Ben can move the sewing machine and glue gun down to the basement area, freeing up the kitchen table which is generally covered in knick knacks.

We have an old Amish-made bit of furniture for an old school TV, which has been fairly useless if really pretty.  I whipped up some shelves and moved in the remaining games, which frees up space on the wire shelves for other things.

Finally, I bravely cut a hole in the basement linoleum floor over one of the bumps.  Sure enough, there's a layer of thin particle board that warped when water ran in from the washing machine drain.  I'll have to think about next steps - a simple patch might due for now, though long-term ripping up the floor is likely the ideal solution.

14 Year Old

July 21, 2019 by Adam in Duncan

Duncan turned 14 today.  We were all remarking on how big he seemed and that he starts high school in the fall.  After breakfast we made him open various presents - mostly cool t-shirts and various forms of cash that he turned into video editing software.

Around four the horde of teenage boys started to arrive.  They ran around the basement, talking loudly, went to the park, ate pizza outside, and now are downstairs playing Monsters Seeking Monsters, a monster dating video game.

That's our boy.

Birthday Boy

July 21, 2019 by Adam in Adam

I had a great birthday.

I worked a bit in the morning, wrapping up the last bug assigned to me and having everyone say nice things about me at work.  I got out early and started hanging out with kids, getting to talk to everyone.  Sam, Emma, Joanna, and I all got to play Jackbox games over the Internet.  Later Sam and I played Tabletop and mostly messed around and looked at different games.  Later on Emma and I played several rounds of Magic, where she kindly let me win.

Eventually dinner rolled around and Joanna laid out assorted tasty veggies and rice so we could  make our own Yumm bowls.  This was followed by the best cake ever - chocolate and rum and whip cream frosting, topped with almonds and chocolate covered espresso beans.

Finally, there were presents - a couple great books, an Amazon Fire stick, soap and a drawing from Emma, and an external hard drive.  It was a great start to a new year of my existence.

Moon Baby

July 19, 2019 by Adam in Adam

It's nice that everyone is getting so excited about my birthday today.  There are endless stories about the moon landings on NPR and YouTube.  Emma was telling me last night "50 years go your mom was in Canada waiting for a boat race."  In many ways, it's just another day - I took a shower, did the dishes, got breakfast ready, and headed out to the back shed to work.  At the same time, it's hard not to reflect on my life with all the twists and turns.  I'm generally happy and proud of the things I've done.  I've got a great family and built things that made people's lives better.  Hopefully the next 50 years are equally rewarding.

Mid-Week Update

July 18, 2019 by Adam in Family

It's been a busy week.

Monday morning I woke up early and took Joanna in for a procedure.  It went well, and I ran off to mail mom's medication to Meg's house by Wednesday.  Then it was picking Joanna up and getting her settled into the couch for a day of recovery.

We've had a bunch of interviews and meetings this week, though I only sat in on a couple.  We're hiring a new person who is very new to coding, but I think she'll work out and Jacquie seems eager to mentor someone.

Joanna headed back up to Portland Tuesday afternoon to see Ben and attend a family meeting this afternoon.  I listened in - Joanna was her usual amazing self, going through the timeline of all the relevant Ben events and medication changes.  I think Ben's care team was suitably impressed.  The general plan at this point is to reduce and rearrange medication, possibly do some assessments, and get Ben ready for a release next week.  Because Ben was throwing up so much, it looks like it'll be a little later, though the good news is that Ben was feeling better and keeping food down.

The rest of the week isn't much calmer.  Joanna comes home shortly - I have takeout waiting.  Thursday Emma comes over.  Friday is my birthday - I'm hoping to sneak out of work early and maybe play some games with Sam over the Internet.  Hopefully somewhere in there is cake.  Saturday has a horde of teenage boys coming for Duncan's birthday.  Joanna plans on heading back to Portland sometime next week.

Weekend Update

July 14, 2019 by Adam in Family

Ben was transferred up from RiverBend to Unity in Portland.  Apparently traffic was bad and the driver got lost, but they managed to make it there in 4-5 hours.  Joanna and I followed the next day, bringing Duncan, overnight bags, and some clothes and books for Ben.  They'd read through Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and were starting All Those Explosions Were Someone Else's Fault.  Without a cell phone, they apparently turn into an avid reader.

We worked our way through the elaborate security checkpoints with cheerful people, locked our cell phones in our cubby, and went to visit Ben.  They were generally cheerful and happy to see us.  We chatted about Star Trek and my new business idea selling lab grown burgers cloned from celebrities.  Unfortunately Ben started getting really nauseous and threw up a couple times.  Each time they'd start feeling better afterwards and perk up again.  We left them napping and went to send Duncan off to his friend Ash's house.

We checked into the Ronald McDonald house, which is a donor supported place for out-of-town families to stay when their family is staying at the hospital.  Since it's a children's hospital nearby, there are lots of kid murals on the walls and the building is surrounded by play structures.  Joanna was wiped out and lay down for a bit, then we walked over for dinner at a Japanese place, and visited Ben again.

Ben was still cheerful and happy to see us, though physically they looked pretty worn out.  They'd read the Boldly Go graphic novel I picked up for them and they showed off the cool art inside.  They threw up again, unfortunately, despite the anti-nausea meds.  Eventually visiting hours ran out and we had to say goodnight.

I mostly slept okay, despite the mural chicken watching me in our farm-themed room.  I found coffee in the communal kitchen and we'll head out to see Ben again after breakfast.  There's a family group late afternoon and we head home tonight, with Joanna returning Tuesday.

Somber Mocha Friday

July 12, 2019 by Adam in Family

I heard news yesterday that there were layoffs at PeaceHealth's IT department - mostly the people not in Vancouver.  The Register Guard is saying 50 people, which is a big chunk of those that remained.  I'm glad I got out when I did, though I feel for all the people who are no longer there.

Eclipsing all that, Ben's mental health issues ended up escalating and we've checked them into a secure room at the ED based on their psychiatrist's recommendation.  We're not sure what's happening exactly - there was a medication change around this time, so we're hoping that's related.  Joanna spent a lot of time with Ben yesterday, delivering books and talking.  Ben seems pretty subdued and scared.  At this point they're waiting for a bed to open at an adolescent mental health facility - the closest of which is in Portland.  Depending on when that happens and Ben's further assessment, we'll see how things go.

I think Joanna and I are visiting Ben mid-morning.  Jonathan at work is being great and told me to take whatever time I needed.  I've been continuing to paint and rearrange the basement, as sometimes it feels that carving out a little bit of order and stability is all I can do.

Tooth Lady

July 11, 2019 by Adam in Emma

I took Emma to the dentist yesterday to get her last baby tooth pulled.  It was quite stubborn and keeping her adult tooth from popping out.  My dad got her numb and after a quick yank it popped right out.  She was a little subdued afterwards, but the next day she was fine.  Now I have to work on my last tooth fairy note for Emma - I think I'll start with "You think you've finally escaped my grasp . . ."

Board Game Weekend

July 08, 2019 by Adam in Family

It was a generally fully weekend.  Ben had a bunch of friends over.  Joanna drove up to the Black Sheep gathering and returned with wool for new projects.  Emma got a 4 on her AP US History test, so I sang her the "I'm proud of you" song.  Duncan continues to be all about playing Minecraft with friends - I'll often hear excited exclaimations from his room.

Joanna got a new Pixel 3a phone and started playing with it over the weekend, taking random pictures of me to try it out.  She's also been slowly planting her horde of plants in the garden, which is looking increasingly gorgeous.  The warm days require more watering, but the flowers and veggies are loving it.

I managed a little more time working on the basement, painting a little more and organizing things.  Emma and I played a Magic tournament along with a few other games, plus a trip to Metropol for more board games, so I feel pretty well gamed for the week ahead.  She's off in Portland next weekend, so it'll be a little quieter than usual the next few days.


July 06, 2019 by Adam in Family

Sam and Skye made it to their apartment in Austin.  Since the van's AC broke, they drove through the night, down long roads surrounded by oil wells belching fire and the occasional abandoned structure.  Sam said it felt very post-apocalyptic.  They unpacked half the van, slept, and finished the rest this morning.  He says it feels like an alien landscape, with hot humid air and strange wildlife outside.  I think they're excited and settling in, which makes me happy.

I took Emma kayaking at Fern Ridge Reservoir yesterday.  The weather was nice and the lake was big and mostly empty.  We chatted and navigated through the reeds by the shore.  Strange aquatic plants were blooming.

It's a pretty quiet weekend so far.  Ben has a friend over.  I pained a little in the bathroom yesterday, but slowed down my frantic cleaning quite a bit.  My aches and pains from all that manual labor have finally subsided.

Sir Dumpsalot

July 05, 2019 by Adam in Family

It's forth of July.  The kids were somewhat interested in sparklers, so Joanna picked up a few odds and ends, including one called Sir Dumpsalot.  I recorded the event, unaware that the cheeky dog also shot out sparks at the end, literally and figuratively.  Apparently a nearby moth we hadn't noticed was equally unaware of the situation.  The good news is that it survived the experience, perhaps a little shaken.

As for the rest of the day, I woke up and painted the basement bathroom.  Emma arrived and helped move over board games into the shelves.  We video chatted with Sam and Skye - they're doing well, though the cat is stressed.  The plan is to drive through Texas overnight when it's cool.

Tomorrow Emma and I go kayaking.  Hopefully I can get the basement a little better put back together.

Cathartic Cleaning

July 04, 2019 by Adam in Adam

After getting Sam and Skye off on their journey, I finally took a peek into the bedroom and bathroom that Sam had inhabited for the last ten years.  It wasn't exactly in the cleanest of states, so I started by moving everything out into the "play room" area and doing some serious cleaning.  The carpet was vacuumed, emptying the dust container five times, then treated and vacuumed again.  I washed the walls and surfaces.  It started looking pretty good, though I decided I wanted to touch up the paint and headed to True Value with fifteen year-old dry cans of paint.  They worked their archeological miracles and matched the color, so this morning I was ready to go.

I painted the walls of Sam's bedroom, then worked on the trim and doors.  I listened to a science fiction audiobook, so the time passed quickly.  I managed a run in the middle, which is weird considering how worn out I was, but I suppose staying tired helps me not miss Sam so much.  I finally got to the point where I could put some furniture back, though perhaps not in the final location.  Tomorrow I start in on the bathroom.

Sam's been good about keeping me updated.  The van's air conditioning died as they passed through Idaho, and they decided to change their plans and drive through Texas at night so the cat doesn't cook.  I just heard they were shopping in Espanola, taking a break for a couple nights before making the final push on their trip.  I'm glad they're doing okay.

Off to Texas

July 01, 2019 by Adam in Family

We bid farewell to Sam and Skye this morning.  There was the usual last minute running around, but they got the cat into their jam-packed van and hit the road, hoping to make it to Idaho by tonight.  We peeked at their house in VR before they left, discovering they've got a huge park in their backyard, complete with a pool, pond, skate park, and lots of green space.

The last few days have been good, hanging out with Sam and Skye and playing lots of board games.  Joanna bleached Skye's hair.  We watched the very first Mythbusters in honor of their departure.  Joanna organized a family dinner Sunday night where everyone got to bid a fond farewell.

I had a good little cry after they left, followed by mom coming over to check up on me and cry a little more.  Now I'm well  caffeinated and ready to start in on a week of house projects.  I'm going to head downstairs and peek in Sam's old bedroom, hopefully finishing up my to-do list and heading to the hardware store for supplies.

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