It’s been awhile since I sat down long enough to do anything. Christmas has been super busy in a good way this year. We had a few Christmas parties, made some cookies, opened some presents, and traveled through Winter Storm Euclid (or was it Freyr?). When and why did they start naming snow storms? Well, I know the answer, but still, it seems weird. Anyhow, our normally-6-hour trip took 11 hours. That was a lot of fun. We saw many wrecks and people using colorful hand gestures to communicate the colorful lip movements we saw.
Anyhow, back to the subject at hand…the cookie tragedy. Along with Santa, I absolutely love sugar cookies with sugary icing. Emily, on the other hand, hates them. Really, she just hates making them. Since it was Santa (it wasn’t on my account I am sure), Emily mixed up the dough and put it in the fridge to chill. I discovered the dough and ate it…well, most of it anyhow. She had to mix up another batch which meant that there was no chance she was going to do any other sugar cookie related anything.
Being a culinary genius, I helped Abigail mix up some icing and we decorated the cookies ourselves. Emily said it was easy to identify the cookies I decorated. What do you think, friends?
Anyhow, we are still alive and jolly here in West-by-God-Virginia and hope you had a groovy Christmas! How about you?
Since this is the last day we have together, dear friends, I thought I would say so long and thanks for all the fish. I guess the apocalypse comes tomorrow so our time is short. I am going to miss many things, but I guess that’s the way it goes. Well, here is a list of the top 12 things I am going to miss when I am gone:
You, dear friends
Tahitian Treat and Mountain Dew
The Dukes of Hazzard
Spicy dill pickles
Blue ball point pens
I am signed up to be a “now zero days” ham radio operator, just in case the world takes a little time to end. I will broadcast over the air to keep track of how the apocalypse is going…I figure I can stay up late on the radio, since I won’t have to go to work. I probably won’t bother setting my alarm either. Hey, this isn’t sounding so bad!
Well friends, if by some miracle the world doesn’t end, I will be headed to the doc to pump my stomach to get rid of all of the dill pickles, pop rocks and Mountain Dew. Leave a light on for me just in case!
Just a few days ago, Isaac crossed over into teen-hood. Some folks dread the teen transition, but for us, we see Isaac becoming much more enjoyable. The boy was a bit wild when he was young, but he has settled down into an awesome kid! We give Isaac some room and let him be around us when he wants and be alone when he wants. I don’t know if we are just fortunate or if other folks try to push their growing kid into something they are not. Whichever way it goes, I am so thrilled that Isaac is growing into a pretty great young adult.
Isaac was born under duress. You can read more about that here. When he was born, he was 19 inches. In a mere 13 years, he has grown to 5’8″. That’s is just a little shorter than I am. He wears a size 14 shoe. That’s bigger than what I wear. I am not sure when he will grow into his feet, but I think he is on a pretty wild path!
I don’t know what is ahead of us, but I know that I am so proud of both kids and love them more than anything. I love being able to watch them grow into real people adults and to be a part of such wonderful lives!
Emily is “slaving away” tonight baking cookies to give to a few folks I will be seeing tomorrow. We have been to the grocery store 4 times today (yeah, I know…not a word from you) getting this and that. Anyhow, Emily asked me if I wanted to put the chocolate kisses on the warm peanut butter cookies. I declined. She fussed a little (only a little…she is well known for her restraint) and it was then that I decided I must be the Grinch.
You see friends, I am the Grinch because I do not really enjoy most of the Christmassy things that I am sure I am supposed to like. I do not like setting up a tree. I do not like decorating a tree. I do not like caroling. I do not like baking cookies. I do not like wrapping Christmas presents. I am ok with unwrapping them though. Anyhow, I really do not enjoy a lot of the traditional things. I am only one pathetic wiener-dog-dressed-up-like-a-reindeer short of being the full blown Grinch!
I always try my very hardest not to be grumpy around the kids but sometimes my Grinchness comes out. But it was 60 degrees today for goodness sake! How come we all aren’t Grinchy? Perhaps some warm cookies and a glass of milk will cure my Grinchy self. It may take as many as a dozen to cure me…
We like to play hide the pickle at our house. It’s an old tradition meant for the whole family to enjoy. We sometimes play hide the pickle when guests come to visit also. Gosh, I love to play hide the pickle!
When we lived in Nashville, we had a friend who worked part-time at a place that sold Christmas ornaments. One night at a get-together, she asked if we wanted to play hide the pickle. Being young and carefree, we eagerly agreed. She gave us a box with a glass pickle inside. I had never heard of the tradition but apparently folks back in the old country would hide a glass pickle ornament somewhere in their Christmas tree (check this out for an explanation).
I think whoever finds it has to clean the kitchen or do push-ups or something like that. The kids love that of course! So, we put our tree up the other night. Only since we moved back to West-by-God-Virginia have we had a real tree in the house for Christmas. We headed to the farmers’ market to get a tree grown in WV (which isn’t all of them at the market) the other night and finished decorating it finally. The finishing touch was for me to hide the pickle deep in the tree which delighted Abigail. Really, it’s a great tradition and one for which I am thankful!
Well friends, I don’t know about the people with whom you spend time, but if they ever ask you if you want to play hide the pickle, cautiously nod your head and see what happens!
The other day, after my birthday hootenanny, my wife and kids only complained a few minutes (in honor of my day) when I said I wanted to roam about aimlessly in the local Cabela’s store. The Cabela’s people put on quite a show and I like looking at all of the things that I may buy cheaper elsewhere. There is something cool about actually fondling the products you are considering purchasing.
Anyhow, we all wandered by the fishing area where Abigail happened upon a lovely display of earrings they had out on display. She was amazed at how many varieties they had and how soft and fluffy they were. “Do they just leave them out in the open like that?” she asked. As Emily and I turned to see what she was talking about, we noticed that she had found the fly-fishing display and was holding one of the flies up to her ear to see how it would look. Thankfully she didn’t end up with a hook in her finger! I guess you could wear flies in your ears and they would be pretty cheap as earrings go. You’d better not walk too close to a stream though or a hungry trout may jump out of the water wanting a kiss!
I went up to the deluxe shed by myself last weekend. We are pushing pretty hard to get a few things done before the snow flies. I was doing a lot of work under the house and had successfully ducked the cross beams for a couple of hours. Towards the end of the day (luckily!), I misjudged my duck and smashed my head right into the cross beam. I had a hat on which sort of protected my head, but I got a little messed up. If you are easily grossed out, do not continue reading!
I was not painting with red paint…
I was wearing work gloves to protect my dainty hands so they were pretty dirty as you might expect. When I hit, it dropped me right on the ground. It wasn’t a matter of teetering around and then sitting down stunned. It put me down hard. My hat came off and I knew I had done damage. My hat was off my head and I immediately put my nasty gloved hand on my head. Sure enough, I was bleeding and had just smashed dirt into the cut.
Glad I had big band-aids and candy!
I staggered over to the car where, luckily (once again) I had remembered the first aid kit. We keep a fairly well-stocked first-aid kit with us when we are working. Since we are working with power tools and low hanging beams, it only seems wise.
Yes, that is a piece of skin in my hat
Anyhow, I self-doctored and texted Emily… It sort of makes me laugh a little when I read it now. As I was texting, I went back to my hat. I found the chunk of skin that was ripped off still in the hat. I decided not to keep a souvenir. I think that was the right decision. I will always carry with me, though, the memory of the squeaking noise that skin being ripped off my head made. It was awful and that is how I knew for sure I had done damage. It looks ugly and gooey now but I think I will make it through ok. I definitely need a better story to explain the scar though…
I recently completed another trip around the sun. I am in favor of more trips as the alternative is not so good. Anyhow, this birthday, I had the pleasure of hearing Abigail sing in the annual Appalachian Children’s Chorus Christmas concert at the Clay Center here in the city. Abigail loves music and has been singing lots in preparation for this concert. It is so cool that she has the opportunity to perform in front of a large crowd in a first-class facility.
I did enjoy a birthday party at a local restaurant with some of my family several days after my actual birthdate and that was cool of course. It’s really been a week-long celebration of, well, me! It’s ok though, I am worth it!
So, anyhow, back to the concert. Abigail is a part of another musical group which performs Wednesday night as well. None of us knows the songs she’ll be performing or how this concert will proceed. It’s like a surprise present! Birthday presents when you are a kid are cool, but I think I get this adult thing a little now…the best gift is hanging with the kids and seeing them doing things they love! I still think I mostly think about things as if I were a 14 year old, but every now and then, I get to be an adult and it’s pretty cool!
We started on our deluxe shed just over a year ago. We often aren’t able to work more than one day each week on it and it has long seemed as if we might never get the place to a point where we could enjoy it. We are still a long way from being done but last weekend, Emily and I were able to make great progress on the stem wall that runs around the upper side of the house. It’s weird but that step alone makes it look like a nearly-completed project!
We are three quarters of the way done with the stem wall and should finish it pretty easily. We also started back-filling the foundation which says the foundation is complete like nothing else could. I really hate digging dirt and I was super concerned that all of our trudging over the piles of dirt and all of the rain and snow we have (already) had would have packed the dirt but I was pleased that it wasn’t so bad. I would love to have a skid-steer, but in lieu of that, I suppose this job wasn’t so bad by shovelfuls.
A few weekends ago, we poured the piers on which one of the decks will rest. It is possible that we may actually be able to walk right into the house rather than climbing up a ladder to get in. Simple decks go up quickly too so we may see even more progress quickly. Finally, I am starting to see it..this house is coming together. I am enjoying most of the work we are doing on the house, but I am so ready to be able to move inside to the finish work. I know Emily and the kids will be glad for that too…indoor plumbing is really high on their list. That’s the first priority after we get the outside work finished. Now, if only the snow will hold off….