Saturday, May 19, 2018


I took the girls down in the valley today.  We went to my parents and then we all went to a local Alpaca farm.  Hailey, who's deathly afraid of all four legged animals, was amazingly brazen and brave.  She ran up to a few feet behind her sister as the oldest tried to feed the yearling male alpacas some rabbit food.  The yearlings weren't sure what to make of it, but they were curious about the small humans and spent a lot of time investigating the diminutive humans from a distance. 

Overall, it was a wild success.  The humans came out unscathed and the alpacas continued wearing their amusing haircut, which left their legs and heads with full hair, but their bodies shorn. 

We had lunch with my parents where the girls ate fairly well and my father all but killed himself trying to pay the bill.

Apart from Cora being so far away, it was a good, good day.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Three Grown Men Hiding Behind a Car

Last year was Chloe's first year of school.  We live in a small town and most kids walk to school if they are in town.  We, being the protective parents we are, asked about a possible bus to take our beloved five-year-old to school, but we were rebuffed and given a map with a route that she could walk.  Being a teacher, and knowing some of the teachers and knowing a couple who's kids attend the same daycare we were able to wrangle rides for Chloe all year.  This year she has taken her bike most days, whether riding to school with a teacher and then riding her bike back to the daycare because I leave the bike before I go to work at the school, or walking.  Either way, it has been stressful on this whole family making sure she gets home and yet meeting our own afternoon needs as employees.

Well, Chloe's Grandfather works for the school district.  He has seen that many children have been picked up by the bus in town and he inquired with the bus garage as to why THEY can get picked up and his granddaughter cannot.  Well, the bus people gave him some excuses and ignored him, but he mentioned it to his boss and low and behold there is a state statute or law or something that says if she is a member of this program...which she is...she needs to be given the option of riding a bus to school.

The next day we got called by the bus people saying, miraculously, they could give her a ride to school on the bus.  Today was the first day she was able to do it.  Her grandfather walked her to the bus stop to make sure she got on the bus and knew how to get there.  This afternoon, knowing where the bus stop is and having my camera, I wanted to make sure she got off the bus alright and maybe get a picture of her first bus ride home.  I still had dishes to do, so I figured I'd watch and go home before I picked the girls up, so no need to alert her to my presence.

So...while I was awaiting the bus a familiar pick up pulls in and parks behind me.  It was my father-in-law come to make sure she made it to daycare ok.  I sheepishly waved.  He got out and we took station behind the vehicle and waited.  Then one of the city guys showed up.  Asking about why we were being suspicious.  We explained and  explained the camera and then we all three commenced to hide behind the vehicle as the bus pulled up.  Three of us watched through the windows of the vehicle as the bus driver instructed Chloe to walk in front of the bus but where she could be seen.  Then my daughter darted down the steps and to the front of the bus where she hesitated and finally ran.  All the way to the daycare.

The three of us men congratulated ourselves on our well conducted nefarious plot to observe a little girl get safely off a bus and go to daycare.

Later we were to find out the little girl's grandmother had conducted a similar operation in her front yard to watch for the granddaughter's approach.

It takes a village and a village is what we have.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Good Book, a GREAT AUTHOR!!

My favorite author is coming out with the latest in her best series.  Here's the ad for it!

I'm not paid, but I like to share the love!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Home Again, but Not For Long.

 My sister and her husband got it in their heads that Texas would be a great place to move to to help the Lord...I'm no expert in what the Lord needs for help, I always rather thought he was self-sufficient, but they think it's a fine idea.  I do know that it is more difficult to visit Texas over the weekend than it is the Tricities.  So we have not seen them since last September.  They have come back for only a few weeks and must leave again before the week is over.  So, as a last hurrah of sorts, the whole family, or what could get together on short notice, came together for a dinner to see them off.  These are some of the pictures that were taken while they were here.

 Cora was at the camera on the tripod for the next series...
 First there was Isaac staring and smiling at the un-manned camera, so Cora started taking shots...
 then another brother came on the scene..."You taking pics?  I'm in!"
 And the next, a sister this time.
 "Hey, we taking pics?"
 " Don't forget about me!"
 "Hey, I'm the dad!"
 And hey reached critical mass and began to fission.
 Here you can see the diiference between Cora holding Hailey, and Daddy holding Hailey...see?  It's the smile.  Yeah, and I might be puffed up a bit in the realization that she likes me a bit more...but that's normal pride, right??

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Accident and loss

The stars are bright tonight.  I stepped out to look.  The breeze across my back, the effect enhanced with my advanced case of age induced hair on my back, felt good compared to this afternoon's warmth.  Still, the skies looked to be clear and wonderful.  Yet, I,  father of two, decided to eschew their company for that of my laptop.  Something I appreciate more and more every day.  Google has added such a vast amount of knowledge at my finger tips that I have no need to experience the real world.  I rely on younger, smarter, more electronically apt individuals to bring their experiences to me. All in all, that is a healthier model.  I know from experience that being in reality is dangerous.

Having been in a car accident recently, I can attest that they are no fun.  Which leads me to this evening's admission.  My beautiful 2002 Toyota Tacoma died.  She died honorably.  Cora chafes when I call it a she.  She harkens back to the Spring of 2002 when i christened that truck "Apollo" after the ice skating Olympian.  Having just watched the Olympics we were enjoying Spring Break,  as I had returned to school to become a history teacher (Who even DOES that?),  on the coast, but a freak late winter storm had hit and it was a much colder stay at the beach than we had imagined.   This day was our arrival at the coast...which had been hammered by snow storms all the way to the within 20 miles of the beach. The reason was how well the truck handled on ice. I believe that was the time we had a seagull ride the truck as we backed around in circles.  Good times.

What Cora doesn't know is the hundreds of conversations that Apollo and I had when Cora wasn't there.  I knew she was somewhat under-powered, but she always delivered all the horsepower she could to get me in and out of the situations I got myself into.  One time my father and I went up to the Whiskey Dick area to look for a plane wreck...only to find ourselves in an incredible situation that ended with me shredding two tires just to get out of the loose shale hole we'd found ourselves in.  Other times it was in the midst of passing that she delivered jut that extra bit of torque to get us out of the way.  The thing is, throughout her life, that truck was awesome to me.

Did I get to all the scheduled oil changes? No.  Did i always find the time to do all the maintenance that was necessary?  No.  (This post was begun a week or so ago, so forgive me if there is some amount of disunity)  I loved that truck.

So, as I was heading home one day from school, over Konowac Pass, I found myself stuck behind a slow driver.  I don't have patience for slow drivers, they are dangerous and a menace.  There is a one mile stretch that allows for passing.  I eagerly awaited our arrival.  Apollo doesn't accelerate too fast, so much planning is necessary.  I was at the low end of third, but down-shifted to second and then back to third again and whipped out as soon as it was clear.  Things were going pretty good...although I think the guy began to speed up...and then I saw a van come up out of an orchard.  I thought, it'll stop.  Ok, it'll slow down and see me.  Ok, this sucks!  YOU IDIOT MOVE!!!!!!!  I could not go to the right, because the idiot I was passing was there.  I couldn't go many other places either.  I slammed on the breaks and slammed on the horn.  The wheels were squealing, and I was tense as could be.  Then, (for some reason I forgot about airbags) I knew we'd hit, and the airbag went off.  It was just like in the movies.  POOF!  It was out and gone.  I didn't hit it because I was tensed the hell up.  It HIT me though.  Myforearms were both bruised.  The one holding down the horn faired worst.

I managed to realize I was in both lanes and put it in reverse and managed to pull out of the oncoming lane before the truck stopped.  She died there.  Quietly, dripping oil and anti-freeze.  On the road.  She had saved my life.  I never quite treated her right, but she gave all to save me.  I loved that truck.

I jumped out.  I was cussing up a storm.  I was upset at the damage that had been done, particularly about the fact that I wouldn't be driving her home.  I checked to make sure the person in the white van was ok...sure, she was holding her stomach, but she wasn't bleeding and she hadn't the hell stopped.  She was stupid to pull out in front of someone.  She said she was fine.  I looked at me.  I was fine...though the bruises were already showing on my forearms.  I dialed 911.  She was on her phone too...I assumed she too was dialing 911.  Nope.  It turned out it was her daughter she called.

As the 911 operator began talking to me, I looked behind my truck at the growing line of vehicles.  There was an officer.  WOW!  That was fast.  I explained my problem to the 911 operator and notified her there was an officer on the scene.  She said she was doing what she was supposed to do and hung up.  I assumed an officer was on the way.  Nope.  We kicked the parts of both cars off the road and the officer and his friend began directing traffic.  Turned out they were Sunnyside officers up to do an interview.  They just happened to be in the area.

They directed Traffic and I waited.  The lady had several farm worker friends show up, and her daughter.  Her daughter spoke English.  It turned out she was uninsured.  She told the officer she did not look to see if anyone was in the lane she was pulling into.  She also said that when she saw me she just closed her eyes...fat lot of good that reaction did.  She admitted to the sheriff that she had not stopped.  Then she got mad when he ticketed her for not yielding the right of way and then also for being uninsured.  The officer put up with a lot of racist accusations, for the woman was a Mexican, and she assumed that because she was a Mexican that was the reason she got a ticket...obviously it didn't have ANYTHING to do with her breaking the law.  Anyway, he was unperturbed by her accusations and issued her the ticket and gave me the case number.  She had her rig towed back to the farm shop by one of the farm tractors.  I had a tow truck come get mine.

I had put my 1/2400 scale ships into the truck that day because that Saturday I would be presenting to the Submarine Veterans of Central Washington.  I planned to show them my ship models and a few of my other items of historic interest.  Unknown to me, the accident had created some major damage to these tiny ship models.

The sheriff who showed up a bit early because the operator didn't realize the officer on scene had no jurisdiction, offered me a ride.  I accepted, hoping it would be in the was not.  I'm just glad my hands were in front of me.

I had texted Cora that a lady had hit me with her car.  I failed to mention that I was OK, and also forgot to mention that I was in the truck when it happened.  She was a little rattled to be honest, and no one could blame her.  She called within minutes and I explained the situation that I was alright and uninjured.

Many of my fellow teachers drive the same road and a few of them texted to make sure I was ok and did not need a ride. My father-in-law called to see if I was ok.  He had found out from another teacher.  I found out then that I have a truly wide range of people I can call on.  It was comforting...though I wish they had all just written me a text before all this instead of me getting into an accident to find it out...

I lived.  I knew, somehow, that I would never drive Apollo again.  I was mad.  I was hurt.  I still am a little.  I regret that I wasn't able to use her to take some garbage to the dump.  But the insurance company gave us an equitable amount for her loss.  Turns out Toyotas don't lose their value very fast.  Of course she only had 155,000 miles on her and I planned on putting at LEAST that amount on her and more!

later, I realized all that had gone on, it finally sunk in how very close to death i had been.  That was a serous crash.  I was astounded at how well I reacted under that pressure.  I was calm and cool...well, apart from the cussing, but honestly, we had that truck since it had 310 miles on it.   It was a friend of the family.  It moved from Washington state to California and back again.  We took it many places and it took us places.  It was a true an inanimate object sort of way.

Apollo, you died on June 9.  I will remember you always.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

First Tooth!

 Chloe, my gorgeous, highly intelligent, friendly child, lost her first tooth on Monday, April 11.  She thought it was the best thing.  It happened at or near lunch.,  She claimed that she thought she had some leftover food in her mouth, and then when she spit it out, there was her tooth,  She and her friend Wynter went to the nurse and came back with a "treasure box"  with a tooth in it.  The Tooth Fairy left her an even five dollars for her first tooth.

It was a good day.

Update:  4-16-16:  Chloe to her mom about "Castle" a tv show we'd hoped would bore Chloe into going to bed to sleeep.

Cora: Why are you watching this?

Chloe: "this is intereesting for a kid...probably a 6 year old...that lost her tooth...on school"

Monday, February 15, 2016

Valentines Day and Presidents' Day Weekend

 It turns out that Hailey really likes swings!  We visited a couple parks this weekend.  We went to the "Duck Park" and the Moxee park.  While Hailey looks upon uneven surfaces with consternation, she does smile upon swinging!

Chloe was helpful during the weekend, too.
 This morning, Cora had to work, so I was alone with the girls today.  I honestly don't know how Cora does it.  She is an awesome partner in this family and I know I would never want to do it without her.  On the walk to the park I stopped for coffee, because there is never enough.  When I was done I put it on the bench.  Hailey found it and proceeded to make me some of the cutest pictures I've had the chance to take.

 These pictures have so many possible captions!

 We are definitely a cohesive unit.