Saturday, September 30, 2006


This afternoon, Deborah couldn't stop quite as fast as she thought she should have been able to, but swerved at the last minute, so "bump" was pretty much all that happened.

For reference, the cornering light was broken when we got the car; now it's just a bit more so. Nobody hurt. Deborah was pretty rattled, though.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A strange creature

I discovered this strange creature on my couch last night. I'm not sure what to name it... a pushme-pullyou? Freezeme-cuddleyou? A two-headed gigglequilt?

Suggestions are welcome.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Terribly Tired No More

Mike got his bike back together, so now it was my turn. Deborah had to go pick up May from work, so I borrowed the kids' wagon and trundled off noisily to Mike's basement.

Michael Brown and the flying tire irons of doom!

It wasn't a moment too soon that we got that new tire on. I was shocked to discover how little was left in the center---about an eighth of an inch of rubber and steel between me and some horrible accident. I must have one very dizzy guardian angel.

One of the fun things abut working with Michael is to listen to his accent wander. He's spent significant parts of his life in Kentucky, Maine, and France, so you pick up little bits like tar arns (tire irons) or ovah theyah (over there) or raclette (really strong cheese melted and scraped onto food), but only happens for a split second, before he goes back to using the local accent. His editorial bent prevents him from using the local grammar, of course.

Dear Santa...

For Christmas, I would like a garage floor. I like the carport a lot, but dropping finely machined, oily parts into the dirt makes me say bad things. If you send a cement truck, give me a few days' notice, and I'll be happy to build the forms.

P.S. Deborah asks if she can keep the cement truck. She's always wanted one.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


It has come to our attention that Paul is now, actually, twenty-six, not 27 as we had previously stated. We regret the error. All proofreading, editorial, and fact-checking staff have been fired.

Since we didn't have time on Sunday (May had to work) Paul got his presents on Tuesday. That's Arthur Dent himself in my living room, bathrobe and all.

We then continued the celebration by going mini-golfing. Fiona beat us all by about 30 strokes, but I suspect that may be because she didn't play the last 15 holes. The holes she did play were a bit more reminiscent of hockey than golf...

The tree takes shape...

I stopped and talked with Brian again on my way to work this morning. Turns out he hasn't been doing chainsaw art since he was 8, just carving and whittling. He started out with knives and Exacto blades.

That's coming along nicely, don't you think?

Monday, September 25, 2006

New life for a dead tree, part 2

So where were with our tree?

I stopped and talked to the guy on my way to work this morning. You'd think someone running a chainsaw wouldn't want to be bothered, but it seems this guy's on the lookout for people to talk to while he's working. His name is Brian Yoder. Apparently, he's been comissioned to do several more trees around here.

Here he's fitting a new piece on the top, as the part that was supposed to go there was rotten. I suppose that's a common problem if your main medium is dead trees...

I did a search for this guy, and found out he's been doing this since he was 8. The commentary (by RevPharaoh) on that bit of info was pretty funny:

"Yoder had been doing chainsaw art since he was eight years old?!?"

This raises all sorts of questions, like:

Where were his parents?

Was his first chainsaw art on purpose or accidental?

Does Suzuki make child size chainsaws for young artists like they do violins?

My eight year old wants to start making bulldozer art. Should I encourage him?

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Paul very wisely brought a book with him when he came to visit on Saturday. After all, if you're going to be excluded from the kitchen in this house, you may as well have something to do.

So what was going on in the kitchen, you say?

Fire, that's what! Our two pyrotechnicians are trying to get all those candles lighted... not an easy task, given how much heat that many candles put off. The cake here is a two-layer German chocolate layered with cherry pie filling. I tried making this myself before, but it looked more like a volcano on a plate than a cake...

"to... youuuuuuuuu...."

Happy birthday, Paul!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Light the... Night?

Every year, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society holds an sponsored event called "Light the Night" in Winona Lake. It's quite the spectacle—about a thousand people streaming past our house in the dark, carrying lighted balloons and wearing LED badges that sparkle, pulling kids in wagons and chattering happily. They give out paper luminaries to houses along the route to light at 7:00 and add to the festive ambiance.

Problem is, we now have Daylight Savings Time in Indiana. (Don't get me started...) So all these people streaming past our house at 7:00 were doing so in plain daylight. I guess they had to keep it early enough to put the kids to bed at 8:00, but it sort of ruined the effect!

May goes native on us

The four of us were sitting around the table last night, playing Barricada (an Ecuadorian board game) when May, annoyed by some cereal under her chair, said, "The kitchen needs vacuumed." We reacted instantly:

"Whoa, May!"
"May, wow, you Hoosier!"
"Two months and you're already talking like that!"

It's a bit of Indiana grammar that I've never gotten used to: the complete lack of helping verbs. It needs to be done. Or, perhaps, a nice gerund: It needs doing. But needs done still drives me up a wall every time I hear it. Apparently it affects Paul and Deborah the same way!

I will, of course, tease May mercilessly about this for a week.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

New life for a dead tree

Here in Winona Lake, we don't cut down trees. Well, not all the way. If they're in a nice setting, other things tend to happen to them. This morning, I came across this fellow by Rodeheaver Auditorium on my way to work, a very pleasant Amish guy.*

When I took this picture, he told me he was removing some embedded nails from the wood. I'll take more pictures as the day goes on. I can hear his chainsaw from where I'm sitting...

*It's generally a safe assumption around here that men with long beards and no mustaches are Amish, but not always: when I was with Deborah in the hospital a few years ago, one of the hospital staff apparently couldn't see my mustache too well, and kept offering me instructions on how to use the elevators.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Terribly Tired

What do you think---can get a few hundred more miles out of it? Aren't those shiny metal bits what they call "wear bars," and you're supposed to replace the tire when you can see them...?

I'm kidding. I'm way overdue for a new tire here. Those are the steel belts poking through. The new tire arrived today, after I scoured the internet to find a price that didn't make me wince. ($113. *Wince.* If you find a better price on a Metzeler Z6 rear, let me know.)

On the bright side, I've already saved money—the same tire at the local shop is $150 and they want $30 to put it on—and that's if you bring in the wheel on it's own. Instead, I'm going to visit my co-worker, Mike, and have him help me put the new tire on. Rather than pay the shop when his motorcycle tires wore out, he instead invested several hundred in his own tire-changing station. The way we figured it, between the cheaper prices on the internet and avoiding the shop's fee, the rig will pay for itself after three tires.

You'd try to get the most out of your tires, too!

Of course, I might have to wait until Mike gets his own motorcycle back together. Poor Mike---I used to think he was a pessimist, but then I started realizing that everything does happen to him. Not only did he get a flat tire, but he tore up his big toe getting his bike into the truck. Heavy bikes, kickstands, and sandals don't mix!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

May I help you?

Why yes! May joined the ranks of the workforce on Tuesday night after a very long application and interview process, and is now one of the three newest cashiers-in-training at Wal-Mart! Woohoo!

We will, of course, be missing all the free babysitting, which means that I'll be back to doing my split shift to watch the kids while Deborah goes to work. Oh well. I've survived this long...

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Sick Sense

I'm sick. Deborah is sick. Aiden is sick and teething. May is sick.


Saturday, September 16, 2006

You Can't Ride in My Red Wagon...

...largely because Daddy is sitting in it, and he's way too heavy to pull!

We bought the kids a nice old wagon at Kids Market on Friday, and we took them out for an introductory spin. I think just about everyone got into the act, giving each other rides in just about every combination we could think of. Fiona made a bit more progress with May than she did with me.

Nothing like a present from Grandma and Grandpa to promote brotherly and sisterly togetherness. :-)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Wednesday on the Lake

Winona Lake is really more "home" to us than a source of recreation, but Wednesday was an exception. Chad and Janene took us out for what is probably the last ski run of the year, but it was easily the best---Deborah got up for the first time!

Deborah, about to ski

OK, she didn't get up for very long---maybe ten seconds---but it was exciting. We borrowed the Volkers' "Big Kahuna" skis, which had the dual advantage of being adjustable enough to fit Deborah's feet, and wide enough to provide enough lift to get me out of the water without feeling like I was trying to lift a truck. They weren't terribly maneuverable, though, so wake-jumping took a lot of concentration. But it was great to be on top of the water for a change!