Happy Birthday to us

Yesterday was my birthday, tomorrow is Jen’s. Today some friends threw us a party where Jen opened her box from me, consisting of four items, three of which were related: ginger ale, ginger snaps, and more ginger snaps. If you consider the medicinal purposes of ginger, you’ll have another clue as the nature of “the question” alluded to on the 27th of Oct.

The fourth item was a printed itinerary for our Christmas vacation plans. We’ll be off to Costa Rica to visit with Jason & Mishael, our friends from Atlanta who now live there. Jen was rather surprised to see an itinerary to arrive in San Jose. After realizing that the San Jose we’re arriving at isn’t in California, the picture came into sharp focus.


Each year at Halloween our church hosts a “Pumpkin Patch” party. To get a mental picture, imagine a large building with 2-600 little kids all dressed up in their costumes playing various carnival type games, door prizes, balloons, and other exciting stuff for kids. Jen and I are in a group and our group volunteered to serve at the event and were assigned to assorted positions.

I was one of 11 people assigned to security detail. It is Halloween so a costume would be necessary. I had aspirations of being a Roman Centurion but a $15 plastic helmet and sword doesn’t do it justice and a “good” costume with real metal helmet and sword was a bit much at $800.

I didn’t give the costume much more thought until last night when Jen brought up the matter. Since we were now in the 11th hour, we were limited to clothing options in the closet. Jen came up with a great idea, an Agent from The Matrix. I already had the black suit and black square sunglasses. The white iPod headphones made a perfect earpiece, so only a few accessories were needed. A trip to Wal*Mart to acquire a black tie, tie clip, and hair gel and I was in business for a whopping $21.

The real work was done last night, reviewing the movie again to get the lines down: “Hello Mr. Anderson”, and other classics like, “I’m going to enjoy watching you die Mr. Anderson” expressed in monotone eloquence. I’m quite pleased to report that it was a smashing success. The most common comment was “You look so professional”, followed closely by “You look like an agent”. Everyone got the “government agent” part. Members of demographic profiles that would likely have seen the movie got it immediately, and everyone else guessed Men In Black, or CIA agent.

Defining moments were intimidating 15 year olds with nothing more than an expressionless stare and issuing an appropriate agent greeting to a miniature Neo. The little Neo was quite taken by the experience as well. We enjoyed ourselves very much this evening and hope that you too did something enjoyable and memorable on this holiday.

Noah arrives!

Congratulations to Jen & Eric on the safe arrival of Noah.


Noah is a healthy 8 lbs, 4.5 oz. Both Noah and Jen are doing well. Visiting hours today are 8-8 and they’ll be home tomorrow.

A warm western update

After arriving last week, the first order of business was a fishing trip in Ilwaco, WA, at the mouth of the Columbia river. As Ricardo and I drove down we encountered schizophrenic weather. We’d have torrential rains for a short while, and then it would be clear and sunny 5 minutes later. The weather continued switching personalities during our entire drive there.

Due to the inclement weather and resulting 11-14 foot waves, we weren’t able to go into the ocean fishing and had to instead fish in the mouth of the river. We caught three decent silver salmon but we were both disappointed by not being able to fish in the ocean. We could see the breakers crashing just out past the mouth where we were fishing but they were too much for any of the chartered fishing craft to deal with.

We also fished from Ricardo’s boat in Mukilteo for two days, catching two minnows (about 10″) and one decent (9 lbs) silver. On Sunday, I visited with Ryan Merrick and we went out sailing on his father’s boat. It’s been a long time since I’ve just sat around and waited for the wind to blow. It’s quite tranquil and eventually the wind did pick up, affording us a fine bit of sailing.

I continue to be amazed how fleeting time can be. I had aspirations of visiting Rich (brother-in-law) and Mitzi & Bill (mother and step-father in-law) but I can’t imagine where that could fit into the next two days. Being mobility challenged does not help. The clerk that took my drivers license when selling me my fishing license didn’t give it back. I failed to notice until we got back to Mukilteo. It’s being mailed to me but in the mean time, I have to impose on others to get around.

As usual, it’s sunny and warm in Seattle.

Anniversary Day!

I have a most wonderful husband! Look at these beautiful flowers I received today expressing his love. I do love my laughing bouncing nutty lovable huggable Tigger!

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Thank you for being you.

Love is the most wonderful thing

It’s my second wedding anniversary and I’m in Mukilteo, WA, over 2000 miles from my wife. I’ve heard many older couples describe how their love grows deeper with every year that passes. Today, I’m barely into my third decade, and two years married and I feel like that truth is an iceberg that I can only see the tip of. I had an experience last week that really brought this to the forefront of my conscience.

I was hanging out with a group of guys that I used to work with. They are all great guys, and all rich in skills related to the Internet industry. They have their own company that’s doing well and I was sitting around in their “offices”. Watching six guys working away in close proximity with piles of computer equipment all around awakened many fond memories in my past.

For a short time, I reminisced about how much fun those days were. The whole dating thing, a job that was so fun you’d work late “just because”, and chasing all manner of pursuits. However, it didn’t take long to remember the rest of the memories from the bachelorhood era of my life. It was a great time, but I left that era because this new one was calling so loudly.

Today, I’ve been away from Jennifer for seven days. Absence does make the heart grow fonder. I miss her sorely and despite having a great time here, I’m beyond ready to be with her again. I miss seeing her every day when she comes home for lunch. I love her habit of breaking into whatever I’m engrossed in so that I’ll pause and pay attention to her. I miss feeling her next to me as I sleep.

I cannot find enough words to describe all she means to me. She is the one I spent all those years looking for. She is so worth that wait. As I sat there observing “a life in the day of an uber-geek”, I couldn’t help but smile inside. Sure, the place in life where these guys are living is good, but what I have now is so much better, it needs a new category to describe it.

I can see that the future has so many wonderful and rewarding things in store. Jennifer, thank you for being so committed to us. Thank you to being so willing to learn and grow with me. Thank you for all that you are. You are great and marvelous, beyond my understanding. I can’t find words to express how much I look forward to spending the rest of my life with you.

Life isn’t fair

Sometimes you just have to take what life dishes out. Today, I got up and made crepes for Ricardo and I. After breakfast, the sun came out so a command decision needed to be made. This was the warm sunny day we were waiting for so we loaded up the truck and headed for the dock.

We put the boat in the water and puttered around the smooth as glass Puget Sound for a few hours, suffering intensely in the warm mid-day sun. Many others apparently felt the need to suffer as we did for there were quite a few other boats heading in and out.

After spending a good part of the day out on the water, we headed back in. A local fisherman had a sign out on the marina advertising his shrimp so we just had to stop and pick up some fresh shimp. It was quite fortunate as we had been terribly concerned about what our next meal might be.

I’ve posted a few pictures.

Variety, a spice of life

While I dearly love the Seattle area, there is much to be said for life in Northern Michigan. While a native puget sound resident might not agree, there really is not seasons there. It’s spring in northern Michigan (finally) and the stark browns and whites of winter are faded away and replaced with green and all manner of flowering colors.

When the world is green all the time, the value of spring is diluted. Here, the hibernating world is springing to life. Jen’s flowers are all popping up, the grass is turning green, and the trees have buds on them. The sidewalks are dotted with people and pets. You can’t imagine how much more beautiful and special the spring season is until you’ve had a real winter.

The Squirrel Nemesis

Based on a true story.

During the preceding months, innumerable small skirmishes have flared up. Typically they began as Mr. Squirrel was spied entering or exiting the building through one of the several unfinished eaves. This alone would not have riled the Squirrel Nemesis (SN) but accompanied by evidence that Mr. Squirrel was shredding the insulation in the roof and discarding it onto the lawn seemed to greatly annoy the SN.

The stakes were continually raised as the many doorways of Mr. Squirrel were removed, making it significantly more difficult for Mr. Squirrel to enter the residence. Despite the many attempts at exclusion, and to nobody’s surprise, the devious Mr. Squirrel continually found new means of entry. Wood could be chewed through, vinyl flexed, and the tiniest of cracks presented ample opportunity. Today, due to unforeseen (on Mr. Squirrel’s part) circumstances (the addition of F channel to the eaves) the furry little Mr. Squirrel was now unable to find his way back out.

This caused Mr. Squirrel much duress as he tried in vain to chew his way through the vinyl. Even more distressing was hearing his nemesis standing on the patio, laughing at him with a mildly gleeful smile. The war may not yet be over, but Mr. Squirrel was definitely feeling a little battle worn. The hostilities had been waged for quite some time but lately, the ability of Mr. Squirrel to freely enter and exit had been steadily declining. The two legged one seemed to have an entire arsenal of anti-squirrel devices at his disposal and he was holding nothing back. Through determination and cunning squirrel intellect, he had always managed to find a way back into the cozy nest he had grown accustomed to. Never before had getting out been such a problem.

After battling the impenetrable vinyl for some time, Mr. Squirrel picked another plan of attack. Since egress through the tiny crack through which he entered was nigh impossible, he began scouting about the house for another means of exit. As he entered an unfinished upstairs room, the sounds of his nemesis footsteps lighting up the stairs quickened his pace as he dashed about the room. For a brief moment, he paused at eye level, a mere two feet away, and stared down his adversary. The SN’s eyes glanced at a nearby crowbar. Sensing the impending doom, Mr. Squirrel chattered something, almost certainly some form of squirrel cursing, and then darted away, retreating back into the rafters.

This day was becoming a bit more stressful for dear Mr. Squirrel. He took a brief rest as he calculated his next move. After all the eating noises of the two leggers ceased, he once again began his attempts to exit the rafters through the vinyl. Almost certainly the grins of his nemesis chilled his fur-clad body. After some time, Mr. Squirrel once again gave up on the vinyl and fell back to Plan B: scouting out the attic, searching for another way out. This was not a problem Mr. Squirrel had anticipated.

Unbeknownst to him, his scouting mission wasn’t quite as stealthy as he had hoped. The Squirrel Nemesis had heard the delicate sound of squirrel toenails scampering across the wooden floor. The SN stealthily crept up the stairs, thankful that he had rebuilt the aged stair well and used glue on the steps to prevent them from squeaking. Outside the door to the room the SN donned a carefully located pair of leather gloves, placed there for just such an occasion. The door burst open, and there, Mr. Squirrel stood, face to ankles of the gigantic SN.

Mr. Squirrel saw light behind the SN and in a bold and daring move, rushed the SN in an attempt to dart out of the confines of the small room. The SN had anticipated such a move as the door finished slamming shut just as Mr. Squirrel’s head reached the doorway. Crash! Somewhat dizzied by the door encounter, Mr. Squirrel changed direction and launched back across the room towards the window. Freedom was but a leap away but an invisible force, no doubt engineered by the Squirrel Nemesis was preventing his escape. Double toothed three toed squirrel curses were screamed out as the Squirrel Nemesis closed in.

Mr. Squirrel, being somewhat clever now realized he had been fooled by the light and crossed that off his list of escape routes. With the SN closing in, a new plan of escape was needed. A small crack behind a sheet of drywall was spied and in a flash, Mr. Squirrel darted into the protected alcove. As he rested, contemplating his next move, the Squirrel Nemesis appeared, inches away! Feeling quite vulnerable, Mr. Squirrel darted down to the other end of the drywall and raced out of the hideout.

Apparently, the Squirrel Nemesis knew exactly where he was headed as he was rapidly closing in. Seeing no other way to escape the SN, the only path to safely was to abandon the search for freedom and retreat back to the attic. A quick dart across the room to the wall, up the wall, and into the rafters would put him back into the safety of his nest from were his next move could be plotted. Mr. Squirrel began his retreat in a mad dash across the room. The plan was a good one, but Mr. Squirrel made a minor calculation error.

Unlike the cats and other enemies he routinely escaped from, the Squirrel Nemesis had arms already at the height that would put him safely out of the reach of dogs, and several paces ahead of even the fastest cats. He darted across the room, and as he ran up the wall, a gigantic leather clad hand struck out and barely missed his body, pinning his tail to the wall! The upward progress of Mr. Squirrel came to an abrupt halt. Before he could turn and bite at the hand that was impeding him, the strategic consequences of Mr. Squirrels miscalculation came into full play. The Squirrel Nemesis had two hands!

The second hand came down immediately behind Mr. Squirrel’s head, grasping him firmly about the back of the neck. To Mr. Squirrel, this was a rather odd feeling. It was vaguely similar to how mommy squirrel used to grab him as she hauled him from the nest to teach him important squirrel lessons. It was every bit as debilitating but this time it seemed a little more like complete and utter surrender was more in order than simple submission. Having battled so valiantly up to this moment, Mr. Squirrel gave one last attempt to claw his way to freedom. In discovering just how firmly his body was trapped, Mr. Squirrel recognized defeat and ceased to struggle.

It was a strange feeling. The SN wasn’t hurting him in any way, but he certainly wasn’t providing him with any opportunity to find the much sought after freedom or escape that Mr. Squirrel was longing for. Mr. Squirrel found himself once again staring into the eyes of his nemesis. The adrenalin rush of the battle subsided and fear settled in.
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