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.

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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.

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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.


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.

Help, I'm Trapped in a Sims Game

March 31, 2021 by Adam in Family

I remember when the kids used to play the Sims games, controlling little people in a little house.  Sure, the kids would start with the typical work-and-buy-stuff cycle.  Inevitably, though, they'd be selling pool ladders and making elaborate mazes to the toilet.  The poor Sims would embarrass themselves or die horribly.  It was apparently greatly amusing.

With Joanna and Duncan in Portland, I've been doing the cat feeding and taking Ben to appointments, along with the typical work-and-make-dinner things.  Unfortunately the main sewer line started backing up again and the plumbing company that was going to schedule a more long-term fix haven't called back.  This has led to stress and frustration, along with dishes piling up and scheduling time to shower at mom's house.  I'm pretty sure an elaborate maze to the toilet will somehow appear next.

I'm doing my best to manage.  I've started packing for the Portland trip.  I went to bed early and woke up early to go for a run.  I'm pretty sure I can manage a shower during a gap between meetings and appointments.  Most of all, I'm hoping I can get in touch with the plumbing service and get repairs scheduled.  That would make it all better.

Strange Days

March 29, 2021 by Adam in Family

I moved my office into the house from the back shed over the weekend, taking over Joanna's desk on the main floor.  It's just Ben and I, along with the cats, rattling around in the big, empty house.  Joanna and Duncan are up in Portland, having moved into a nautical-themed place for the foreseeable future.  Duncan will have started his first day, though it's with the same counselor he's had virtually the last few weeks.  Hopefully he can settle in okay.

We deliberately tried to have a low-key weekend, though we were only partially successful.  Saturday was beautiful, luring us outside to plant things in hanging baskets and do some yardwork.  I was feeling pretty good until I realized the main sewer line had backed up and the basement toilet was overflowing.  After frantically plunging and stressing out, our savior Nate arrived and cleaned things out.  Unfortunately we have roots growing through the main sewer line, so we've got some more work to do before it's completely resolved.  In the meantime, we're cheerfully taking showers and flushing toilets.

We all got together for a Jackbox game after dinner before Joanna and Duncan hit the road.  Duncan's shirt won, though Joanna wrote the tagline and I did the art.  It's somehow fitting.

Mocha Friday

March 26, 2021 by Adam in Family

Duncan's having a hard time and we're looking to make some changes again.  Though it's still in the process of being worked out, I think Joanna and Duncan will head to Portland this Sunday so that Duncan can go to an intensive outpatient program.  It's the one he's enrolled in virtually at the moment, but it's not as effective and they seem to be closing it down due to lack of counselors.  While it's another big disruption to our family, it's clear that Duncan needs more help than he's getting and doing things virtually isn't working out very well for him.  The thought is that Joanna can rent somewhere long term and come back on the weekends.  Hopefully I can figure out how to water the plants, feed the cat, and get Ben to various appointments.

We've put everything else on the backburner as we figure out next steps.  We'll probably try to finish the foundation of the farm shed.  Joanna has some 4x6's to frame the gravel that's going to be dumped.  Once that goes in place we need to dump gravel on the road to make it passable and then we just need to have a cabin plopped into place.  Hopefully it's all generally manageable even if Joanna's away most of the time.

As for me, I continue to heal from my two days of too much exercise.  My muscles are a little sore, I have a couple broken blisters that look gnarly, but a few more days at my cushy desk job should get me back to normal.

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