Archive for ◊ December, 2008 ◊

Author: aaron
• Thursday, December 18th, 2008

We’re having our second “snow day” in a row in Seattle (this one with actual snow). Every time we get a hint of winter weather out here it causes most folks to FLIP out. Growing up in MT I’m pretty accustomed to getting around in the snow (especially considering I delivered pizza for 3 years while in high school… all season long). Anyway, when people freak out around here about the snow I usually try and contain myself and not go all, “you think this is winter weather?!? you have no idea what it’s like to drive ice encrusted roads in a rear-wheel drive station wagon with bad tires all winter long!” I try to just smile and nod and watch the funny weather people on TV and kind of roll my eyes when nobody’s looking.

But today, I’m allowing the indulgence.

So, my penultimate winter driving story goes something like this. These are the facts as best I can recall them (my brother Jason can back me up, he was there too).

It was the first day back to school after Christmas break, my senior year of high school, which would have been Jan of 92. We’d gotten pretty socked in with snow over the break, a couple of feet I believe. It was starting to warm a bit and the streets were getting slushy, but then all of a sudden this cold front moved in and EVERYTHING froze over. I’m talking like an inch or so of solid ice on all the roads and temperatures well below zero.

The official word from the school district was “we’re not taking attendance today”. Not to be confused with “school is cancelled” because it wasn’t cancelled. People were there, teachers were teaching, classes continued. Just if you didn’t happen to show up it wouldn’t count against your attendance record. Well, that’s sure considerate of them isn’t it? If I get stranded and freeze to death on the side of the road please don’t be bothered to call my parents because I didn’t make it to school. Also, bear in mind… this is the early 90s so cell phones were still pretty much a novelty.

My brother Jason and I dutifully bundled up and piled into that 1980 Mazda GLC wagon I mentioned earlier. I had started the engine warming up about 15 minutes prior, and we were as ready as we’d ever be. I spun the car around (literally) and started creeping up the street towards Rattlesnake Drive (yeah, that’s really the name of the street). We slowed and slid to a stop at the stop sign, blinker on, checking the traffic and ready to make our way towards school. Just then, the engine died. Fine, no problem. I crank the key in the ignition in an effort to get us going again and what do you think happens.

The key breaks off in the ignition.

It was THAT cold. The metal was brittle enough from the cold that the key just snapped when I tried to start the car. Fortunately, the car was old enough and the ignition loose enough that I could just pull the remaining bit of key out without any trouble. In fact this was a handy technique that I used when delivering pizza. I could pull the key out with the car running, lock the car and run the pizza up to the door. Very handy when it’s like -20 degrees outside.

Now, if I were a “Seattle-ite” back then I would have done what any good Pacific Northwesterner would do… abandon my car. But no, by God we were going to make it to school! I told Jason to stay put, pulled my hat down a little tighter over my ears, flipped up my collar and started walking back to the house (I was totally having visions of Luke Skywalker on Hoth at that moment and was hoping someone wasn’t going to have to come along slice open a tauntaun to keep my half frozen self alive). Unsurprisingly though, I made it (the 2 blocks) back to the house, got the extra key and ran back to the car. The new key hadn’t had the chance to freeze yet and started the engine right up.

Jason and I made it to school on time.

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Author: aaron
• Monday, December 15th, 2008

Sarah has braved the holiday mall madness each of the last three years to return victorious with the obligatory “kid sitting on Santa’s lap” picture. This adventure is fraught with peril and you never quite know what you’re gonna come out with when it’s all done. But, whether smiling or screaming, these pictures are a seasonal and parental must. Not only do they bring smiles to the proud parents and grandparents, they’ll make for some great “just look at these cute baby pictures” material when he starts bringing girls home. I’ll file these right next to the bathtub & kitchen sink pics.

Also, glad we were able to get Pooh in the picture this year.

2008

2007

2006

Category: Family  | Tags: , ,  | 2 Comments
Author: aaron
• Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

If there’s anything I’ve learned about parenting a toddler in the last few months it is this: don’t ever think you’ve figured out what’s going on in that cute little head because the second you do you’ll be wrong.

Joel recently has taken to saying “I don’t like” insert-thing-here. Usually it is something he DOES in fact like but we’re not letting have / play with / do. In other cases I think he’s just trying to express his disappointment with the current situation. For instance, yesterday morning I was walking out the door to go to work, which provoked a flurry of disappointed cries and wails from the boy. I say, “OK, Daddy is going to work now. Bye” and he’s all, “NO! I don’t like Daddy!”

Clearly that’s not what he means (at least I hope not).

On the other side of the spectrum there are times like this morning. Joel slept well and, although awake, stayed contentedly quiet in his bed until after 9:00. (Pause here while I thank the Lord for Joel’s sleeping habits and pray fervently that his little brother is as merciful) I roll out of bed to go get him and he looks up at me and says, “Daddy will get Alfie and some milk”. “OK honey,” I reply. As I’m carrying him over to our bed he snuggles into my shoulder and murmurs “I am very happy.”

I’m just going to take him at his word on that one.

Category: Parenting  | Tags: ,  | One Comment
Author: aaron
• Sunday, December 07th, 2008

Joel and Sarah spent an afternoon last week making one of Joel’s favorite treats… Pumpkin Muffins. Much like one of those cooking shows, Joel wants to show you how it’s done so you can make them too! Check it out:

PS> If there were an award for some kind of simultaneous single-handed-toddler-wrangling / video-taping / baked-goods-making sport, Sarah would totally win.

Here’s the recipe if you want to try this at home! Sarah points out that one of the best things about this particular recipe is that the muffins are completely edible whether or not they’ve made it to the oven.

Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins

1 box chocolate cake mix (dry)
1 small can pumpkin
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 tbsp cocoa powder

Mix well and bake according to box

Category: Family  | Tags: ,  | 3 Comments