Finley was assigned a book to read over the quarantine, John Christopher’s The White Mountains. Grudgingly, she picked it up yesterday and started reading it after she’d slogged through a pile of homework. By dinnertime she was on the last five pages, and had a giant smile on her face. It’s been a while since I’ve seen her sit with a book—a story, and not a book of lists or facts—and devour it with singular focus; she’s been too obsessed with Gacha videos and her iPad to want to read anything. The Tripods trilogy is a gripping series of books. I remember reading it after I’d caught the BBC series when it played on public television in the mid 80’s. Hoping to keep her interest in the series, I wiped her old Kindle of games and installed Overcast, the library eBook sharing app, then downloaded the second and third books using her library card. She’s currently laying on the couch digging in to Book 2.
The tulip tree in front of the house is in full bloom right now, and my desk at the porch window faces it. I’ve been watching people walk, run, ride, and mosey by the house for the past two weeks, and it’s amazing how many people are pausing underneath the bright pink leaves to look up at the canopy in awe. It makes me wish I’d set up a camera to capture pictures of everyone that’s stopped; I’d have at least 10 from today alone.
With three weeks in the rear view mirror, it looks like I’ve got idiotking moved completely from my old webhost to new, and it seems to be a bit zippier in terms of pageloads and updates. It took some digging to understand what the new hosts’ migration directions were, and a couple of pokes to their customer service desk to get what I wanted, but everything is where it should be and working faster than it did before.
I’ve been promising both Finn and Zachary we’d go snowboarding for two years now. Last year was a bust for a couple of different reasons, but I wanted to make good on it so they didn’t think I was a complete loser. I planned out a Tuesday night dropoff with Karean so we could hit the road early on Wednesday and be at the slopes by 10. In a rare display of foresight, I prebought the tickets online and downloaded rental forms so that they’d be pre-filled when we walked in to the shop.
Our drive up was uneventful, and we were in the parking lot by 10:10. At 10:30 we were sitting on benches in the rental barn putting on boots and zipping up snowpants. They issued us boards and we walked out to the bunny slope to wait for our instructor, an amiable fellow whose name I forgot, who ended every sentence with “Word.” Nobody else was there, so we had Word all to ourselves, and he took us up the Magic Carpet to the halfway point on the bunny slope and he showed the kids the basics. Finn has been through this twice but still hadn’t mastered stopping without falling, so we worked on that while Word helped Zachary get his basics down.
We moseyed to the bottom of the hill and then climbed on the chair lift to the top of the bunny slope, and wade our way down from the top again. I let Word work with Zachary while I tried to get Finn to stay upright, and she began to get real frustrated. At the point where our patience for each other was running out, Word and I switched and I asked him to help her with stopping. By the time we all made it down the mountain, she was stopping in complete control and Zachary was in control of his board.
We agreed to stop and get some lunch, so we thanked Word and headed into the lodge. After they downed a pizza and a burger they were ready to hit the hill again. We used the magic carpet for the rest of the day (I didn’t want to leave one of them to ride the chair lift alone) and Finn did three runs on her own without falling down once, practicing her stopping on her heel edge. I helped Zachary with his control and we worked on braking as well.
Finley, whose outright fear of the Magic Carpet kept us from riding it the entire second half of our last trip, was so confident in herself that she rode it alone several times, as did Zachary. We stayed out on the bunny slope for two and a half hours, practicing our control, and I showed Finn how to turn into her right foot and brake on her toe side.
By 3:30 we were all a little tired, and Zachary had fallen on his butt one too many times, so we packed up our stuff and headed home.
There was a point in the day where I was sitting on the slope in the sunshine, watching the two of them push off and glide down the hill, turning into the board or away from it, pushing out with their feet, and stopping upright, smiles on their faces, and it about made my heart explode with pride and joy for the both of them. And I was glad to be here, on this earth, under that warm sun, with a body that still works, strapped to a board so that I could stand on two feet and glide down behind them and tell them how fucking good they were doing.
I’ve spent a tense couple of days trading emails with my target hosting provider trying to hammer out the details of migration and transfer. As of right now they’ve migrated WordPress over to an instance on their servers and I just now got them to understand that I want to move the domain over as well. I sent over the Auth code Friday morning and got the ball rolling, so let’s see how fast it takes to get the rest of it moved. While this is all happening, I’ve been juggling tabs in my browsers like a circus clown, switching from account to account to communicate with the various companies involved. It’s making me feel schizophrenic. One minute I’m using my namesake account, next I’m using my idiotking account, and then I have to switch over to Gmail for authentication, which means logging out of my work account…
It’s been weird because the content is frozen while we sort things out; not having the site there to record on is like not having my phone in my pocket—I feel like there’s something missing. I have a problem with losing things, as documented here many times, and when something is unavailable or out of my reach I feel unmoored. This site has grown into something more than just a place to post pictures or links to funny websites; it’s an imprecise digital history of my life. Here and on Flickr are how I mark the years of my life, because I can’t keep track of it all in my head. It’s one of the only good habits I’ve ever been able to keep, and even when I’m having a slow month of posting, I’m still thinking about posting something. Even if it’s a list of shit I did over the weekend.
I’ve finished up a pile of small but time-consuming tasks in the bathroom. There’s kick moulding all the way around the perimeter of the bathroom, finished off with toekick at the bottom edge. Various holes and dents in the wall are patched and painted. There’s a coat of eggshell white on everything except for a few places I can’t see without direct sunlight.
I have the wall heater hooked up to a thermostat as of this afternoon, but for some reason the thermostat isn’t waking up. I called my neighbor and double-checked the wiring diagram it came with, and he confirmed my research. I’ll have to track that issue down later this week when I’ve got some time.
I ordered the sinks on Friday, and the marble folks are going to be here on Wednesday to measure for the countertops, which is a big relief. Once that’s all in I can hook up water and get the last big utility working in there.
Jen hit the Costco on Friday for bulk quarantine supplies, and Saturday morning Finn and I hit the store for the remainder. I’m watching the news with a wary eye not because I think it’s the second coming of the 1918 Spanish Fever epidemic, but because I know I’m standing square in the crosshairs of the virus: a low white blood cell count and a commute that takes me to and from a heavily trafficked city in a thin metal tube. Our leadership has been very cool about keeping people informed and offering telecommuting as an option, and I’m going to take them up on that when the first case hits D.C.
Sunday I took Finn and a friend to the mall for the afternoon. We walked inside and I asked the two of them to meet me at the same spot in two hours, and then I walked away and let them figure out where they were going to go. Then I texted Jen and said, “I have set them free on the mall. Should I be worried?” because I was a little worried. We texted back and forth and she made me feel better about it, and I put the worry out of my mind. We’ve been trying to give her more freedom in small doses. Apart from some stupendously dumb choices she’s made on her own in the last two weeks, we know she’s a good kid and normally does the right thing, so I put it out of my mind and looked for some work clothes. At 5:00 I walked back to the rally point and found them sitting on the floor drinking bubble tea, chatting happily with each other.
Laying in bed at 9:40 with a snoring dog next to me. I took Finn and Zachary snowboarding today (more on that later) so I’m a wee bit tired and emotionally wrung out; the two of them could not have done better today.
Meanwhile, the guy came to measure the counters and recommended two smaller sinks, so we’re changing the order to reflect that. We also need to buy the faucets before they come to install, as they’ll cut the holes for those while they’re here.
I bought this shirt for Jen ten years ago because I loved the design; it didn’t fit her well so she didn’t wear it much. Finley claimed it a year or two ago and loves it, and that makes it even better.
Saturday I took advantage of a relatively light schedule and got a solid block of hours in the bathroom for the first time in over a month. First up was to get the linen closet leveled, centered on its pedestal, and secured to the wall. Before I could do that I had to install a section of wood, included with the cabinets, to stand it off the wall by about 3″. I clamped it to the cabinet, scribed it (the wall is not straight), and tried using the new band saw, but found that the band saw was in desperate need of adjustment. Instead, I cut it freehand with the table saw. I clamped it on to the cabinet and screwed it in place, then snugged the whole cabinet up against the wall: a perfect fit. Now the extra room will allow the cabinet doors to clear the door casing when they’re open.
Once that was secured in place, I knew where the woodwork around the window could be, and started putting that back in. I’d already cut the stool, so it was simply a matter of putting the surrounds back in, measuring, cutting, and milling the casing, and setting up the top moulding. After caulking and adding wood fill to the nail holes, I leveled the small cabinet next to it and secured that to the wall. At that point it was time to wrap things up, because we had advent plans for the evening.
Jen got us tickets to see the Moscow Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker in the city, so we got our church clothes on, gave Hazel her sedative and put her in the crate, and headed into Baltimore. We got there early because they’ve begun security checks at the theater, so we had about an hour to kill before the curtain went up. We all got a cocktail at the bar and found some chairs in the upstairs lobby to relax in.
The production was beautiful. The Hippodrome isn’t the largest of stages, so I got the feeling they had to adjust the blocking to fit all of the dancers, but they did an amazing job and we were all captivated. The pair doing the Arabian Variation took our breath away. By the time we got home it was 10:30 and Finn went right to bed.
Sunday was a family day. The girls went to church while I ran some errands—a haircut and some Christmas shopping—and then did some small jobs around the house. When they got home, we went into Ellicott City for some lunch at Georgia Grace cafe, where the menu leans Greek and the food is delicious. Then we came back and took Hazel for a walk around the neighborhood. Back inside, we caught up on our Advent activities around the dining room table. First, we made our family picture, and then we cut out snowflakes to hang on the windows. Then we lit a fire and talked about our Christmas lists. I started feeling lousy and went upstairs for a nap, and by the time I woke up Finn was just settling down in bed.
I’m hoping this lousy feeling doesn’t mean I’m coming down with something, as I still don’t have a very healthy immune system. I did get a bunch of sleep overnight but woke up with the same sore throat and achy feeling.