Polaroids at Dawn

April 30, 2021 by Adam in Family

Ben woke me up this morning in a hopeful way, asking if he could go on to the balcony to take pictures of the sunrise.  We hung out in the crisp morning air for a long while, chatting about the trees and the clouds and the city around us.  I watered the balcony garden, which is doing very well.  Taking a moment to appreciate the world around us was much appreciated.  Too much this week has been frantically crossing things off my list or rushing to another appointment.

Duncan and Joanna come home tonight, along with Emma from her mom's.  Our quiet week will get more exciting and perhaps a little messier, though I miss everyone when they're away.  Tomorrow we've got a murdery mystery around the library to solve, along with a multi-part mailed murder mystery that Ben got for his birthday.  Should be entertaining.

I picked up mom from the airport - it was nice to see her again.  I had a physical this week, which went well, though of course my doctor wants more tests to make sure everything's okay.  I suppose she'll want me to stop sniffing glue next.  I get my second COVID shot next week too, hopefully doing my part to get Lane County back from the extreme risk category.  It's nice to finally feel like this disaster is coming to a close.

Visiting the Farm

April 26, 2021 by Adam in Family

Weekends are always a whirlwind of activity in contrast to the usually quiet weekdays.  Duncan and Joanna arrived Friday afternoon, Leia becoming silent again and Data excited to be home, flopping down in the middle of the floor.  We did our usual routine of fancy breakfasts - waffles Saturday and crepes on Sunday, along with pizza and anime/science Saturday night.  Duncan hung out with a friend.  Joanna did some work on the farm.  Ben, Emma, and I went to the farm Sunday to play with chickens and walk through the woods.  Dad came over for dinner Sunday night, entertaining Ben in particular with tales of aviation, space, and engineering.

Today's a little frantic with endless work meetings, taking Ben to and from school, getting mom from the airport, and trying to get some actual work done.  I think I'm finally understanding this complicated feature - my brain is full of numerators and denominators and filtering now.


April 25, 2021 by Adam in Emma

Emma and I had a photoshoot this morning, getting something ready for her senior picture.  The one in front of the azaleas was the best looking, but I was fond of the cabbage background myself.

Mocha Friday

April 23, 2021 by Adam in Family

I never would have gotten a Spotify subscription for myself, but Joanna likes it and got us all a family subscription.  Little did I know just how many sea shanties were out there, not to mention bluegrass covers of Eye of the Tiger.  I try not to think too hard about all our subscription services, but this one has turned out to be pretty cool.

Life continues, with all its ups and downs.  Duncan knew the South Eugene student killed in a car accident this week, rooming with him at Newport Academy.  We talked to the kids' parents over Zoom earlier this year.  Too many losses this last year.

At the same time, Ben's doing great in math and shooting for an A+. His enthusiasm for French isn't quite there, but he's doing okay in art and science.  He's also been a good sport this week, going to endless appointments, helping with dinner, and being a scifi binge watch buddy.

Emma calls every day - we chat about chemistry, gardening, and the ordinary things we do each day.  Joanna, Duncan, and Data arrive for dinner tonight.  It'll be nice to get the crew back together again.

New Normal

April 22, 2021 by Adam in Family

Life seems to have a steady stream of new normals.  Joanna and I chat over video and exchange text messages throughout the day. 

Ben and I have our computers nearby. He'll occasionally laugh at my meeting comments and I have to explain that my local coworker was amused by my Shrek joke.  Monday Ben cooked dinner and served me the last of the birthday cake, which was very nice.  We chatted about helicopters on mars, talked about school, and continued our epic Expanse watching spree.

I occasionally get away from my desk sneak outside into our garden which is in full bloom.  I put up the hammock an briefly tested it out before work called me back.  I've got interesting little problems and puzzles to work on, as always.

Tomorrow brings the whirlwind of Emma, Duncan, and Joanna, not to mention Data.  Leia's personality has changed with everyone's absence.  She's far more vocal, unfortunately in the middle of the night sometimes, and very needy in terms of pets and attention.  I can sympathize.


April 19, 2021 by Adam in Emma

I took Emma down to get her first COVID shot.  It was at the WOW Hall, which normally does a lot of concerts, so it was way cooler than Walgreens where I got mine.  The live band was nice, as were the bleachers and general ambiance.  They seemed more organized than Walgreens, with a timer for the 15 minute wait.  Mine was a chair in the store and it was up to us to leave after 15 minutes, or I guess gasp for air and stumble to the nearest employee.

Trials and Tribulations

April 19, 2021 by Adam in Family

We continue to muddle through, as best we can.  Duncan had a hard weekend and we weren't quite sure if he needed a different level of care, but we opted for the existing program as that's where he seemed to be doing best.  He and Joanna headed up to Portland again this morning and hopefully things go better this week.

As for the rest of the weekend, Ben celebrated birthday festivities with Chloe and Francis, eating cake and going to an escape room with a Russian biohazard theme called the Red Scare.  They didn't escape, but I think they enjoyed themselves.

Ben, Emma, and I hung out quite a bit, watching shows, playing games, and generally having a good time.  Ben's been working on art projects, getting some fancy china for his birthday that he's been attaching clay fingers, eyes, and mouths too.  It's creepy, but awesome looking.

Joanna continues gardening projects and is quite happy at how much produce has appeared recently.  I was compelled to eat freshly harvested greens in my salad, which was quite tasty.

Lots of running around today.  Ben's headed to school shortly.  I'm taking Emma in for her first COVID shot.  Hopefully things quite down by this evening, just Ben, Leia, and I.


April 14, 2021 by Adam in Ben

Ben turned fourteen today.  We were trying to figure out what he could do today that he couldn't do yesterday, and apparently it's the minimum age to work in Oregon.  I'll see if the coal mine is hiring.

He's had a lot of changes lately, from surgery a couple weeks ago to the start of hybrid school.  Plus it's just been the two of us and our cat Leia for most of the week.  He's been doing remarkably well, healing nicely, catching up with homework, and really enjoying his two days of in-person education.  He's been watching a lot of science videos and chatting with friends online.  We'll wind down our evenings with The Expanse or some of the news/comedy YouTube shows.

Today will probably be pretty low-key.  I was going to pick up some goodies at Sweet Life and we'll eat sushi in front of the television for dinner.  The weekend will have most of excitement, from family birthdays to an escape room with his cousin Francis and a longtime friend from school.

Hybrid School

April 12, 2021 by Adam in Family

Hybrid school starts today, one of those funny sci-fi terms we invented for the pandemic.  Ben's the only one actually attending this afternoon, and only for a few hours.  I'm not sure how academic it'll be, but I suspect it'll be good for the kids to get together again.

The weekend was busy, but generally good.  I managed to pour some concrete around the hole created for the sewer clean-out.  I helped Ben get through his math and science homework, making an experiment on conductivity that was fairly interesting.  I was feeling under the weather after my covid shot, so I took it easy Saturday, but was feeling perky by Sunday.  Most everyone who can have a covid shot has had their first one at this point, with the exception of Emma who has to wait another week or so.

Duncan seems to be doing okay, playing on his computer and hanging out with a friend for a long while on Sunday.  Joanna did some gardening.  I helped with laundry, cooking, and cleaning, along with our usual pizza and hearty breakfast traditions.

Road Trip Mocha Friday

April 09, 2021 by Adam in Family

I made myself a mocha and hearty breakfast this morning as Ben and I are hitting the road to Portland soon.  He's got a doctor visit where hopefully the tubes will be taken out.  I haven't given him any pain meds for a few days, which I suspect is a sign that everything is healing up nicely.

Yesterday was a bit of a whirlwind, getting my covid shot, running errands for Joanna, and having a brief walk with Emma.  Somewhere in there I managed to get some work done, make dinner, help Ben with two science and one math assignment, and read a few chapters of the latest Murderbot book.  Life feels busy but good.  I'm excited to see Joanna today and get everyone home for the weekend.  Our weekends tend to be equally full, but I'm hoping we can have a little downtime here and there.

I continue trying to get everyone I can scheduled for their vaccine.  Emma's signed up for the 19th.  I pestered Jamie until she signed up for a shot today.  I know Emma really wants to go on a train trip this summer with her mom and grandma, so I'd like to think I helped a little to make that happen.

The Beginning of the End

April 08, 2021 by Adam in Adam

Just got my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.


April 07, 2021 by Adam in Family

Our kitty Data is a big weirdo.

He learned somewhere with doors and cupboards that sometimes if he paws long enough, it'll open and he can go through.  Because of this connection in his little kitty brain, he spends his days staring out the window at birds and squirrels, scratching away at the window until he gets tired and goes to sleep.

I have a lot of sympathy for Data.  Escaping the house into the wide world is deeply appealing these days.  Yesterday was warm enough for shorts and a t-shirt.  I snuck out to water the garden and soak in the sun.  Tomorrow I have my first COVID-19 shot - it feels like we're finally seeing the beginning of the end.

It's also our traditional bro night/date night tonight.  I think I'll get sushi for Ben and I and turn over YouTube to him so we can watch weird videos.  We've been spending our evenings watching The Expanse, the second time for me.  It's a great space show and I'm catching details I missed the first time through.

Ben's also caught up in math and we did forecasting for SEHS as well.  He picked some electives around drones and aviation, and I think we may try to get him in the robotics club.  He's also recovering nicely from surgery - we've stopped the pain meds and he has a follow up this Friday, hopefully to remove the tubes and be declared ready for service.

Easter Weekend

April 05, 2021 by Adam in Family

Despite all the whirlwind activity of the weekend, it feels like things are picking up.  Friday afternoon was spent cleaning the house and doing laundry, along with excitedly flushing all the toilets thanks to our repaired main sewer line.  I picked up Emma and a tired Joanna and Duncan arrived for dinner.  It was nice seeing everyone together again as our days are more scattered than usual.

Saturday started with hearty waffles and other breakfast goodies.  Emma wanted to build a cold frame out of scrap wood.  I made her do all the work, from pulling nails to using the circular saw.  At the end she triumphantly showed off her nice box, waiting for an old window to be put on top at her mom's house.

Somehow along the way I decided to tidy the under porch area, which turned into Joanna and I in a cleaning frenzy.  It's one of those projects that kept spawning more work instead of less.  We assembled the wet/dry vac, threw out old garbage, got another car load of donations ready, and generally got to tasks we've been ignoring for a decade or two.  At the end of the day we were exhausted and satisfied with our progress.

Easter Sunday started with crepes and whip cream, along with plenty of coffee.  I wasn't quite as enthusiastic about projects, though Joanna headed to the farm to finish pounding rebar into the foundation.  I managed to hang out with kids a little, continued Ben's surgery aftercare, and helped get Joanna and Duncan ready for their return trip to Portland.

Joanna put together an impressive Easter egg hunt, carefully segregating eggs by height so that Duncan could get the high ones, Emma the low ones, and Ben didn't have to stretch far due to surgery pain.  The best part was the puns written in most of the eggs, which the kids read all together in the living room.  I think they liked those even more than the chocolate and money.

Duncan managed some quality hangout time with friends and I lended him my old work laptop as he wanted to do some video editing while in Portland.  Hopefully we'll have a better sense as to how long he'll be in this program.  We all want Duncan to be okay, and I'd love to have everyone at home too.

I think all is going as well as can be expected these days.  I carefully checked the COVID-19 eligibility and after doing a little math, my BMI is .1 into the overweight range.  I thanked the extra whip cream I put on my crepes and signed up for a vaccine this Thursday.

Back Home

April 02, 2021 by Adam in Family

Ben and I just got home after a whirlwind couple of days.  Seraph was a lifesaver, taking care of the kitties and even doing the dishes.  The sewer issues have been resolved for the time being.  Most importantly, Ben is doing well after his surgery and though he was pretty achy and tired the first day, he seems more back to his normal self today.

We headed to Portland Wednesday night, getting to this funny Airbnb place in Beverton.  Since it was our traditional bro night, we left Ben and Duncan to watch YouTube while Joanna and I went for a walk through the urban forest trails near the house.  It was nice to be able to spend a little time together after being apart since Sunday.  We stuck Ben into the walk-in closet, which was big enough for a mattress.  The rest of us crashed out in the main kitchen-living-bedroom and woke up at 5 a.m. for surgery the next day.

There was a suite of cheerful providers that got Ben settled and ready to go.  He'd worn his full Nasa regalia, which entertained them all.  After they took him away, Joanna left to get Duncan ready to go to his program while I hung out in the waiting room, writing code and getting periodic "everything's okay" pages on a little pager they gave me.

A little before noon he was awake enough that a single parent could go back.  I headed in and chatted with a very groggy Ben.  He was mostly pain-free, but pretty sleepy.  After napping a little we got the whole aftercare tutorial and went home to stick him in a recliner where he mostly stayed until this morning.  Other than being nauseous at first and his throat hurting, he had an okay first night and slept really well.  This morning he seemed much more his usual self.

Right now we're decompressing after the long drive and some lunch.  I have some unpacking and cleanup to do.  If I'm feeling enthusiastic I might grab some concrete to patch the place where the sewer line cleanout valve was installed.  For now, it's just nice to take it a little easy for a moment.

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