Seaside Vacation 2019

This week we’ve enjoyed our annual trip to Seaside, Oregon. As Benji has gotten older, we’ve been able to do more and more fun activities, including things that involve staying up late.

Beach fire and s’mores: It doesn’t get much better than this.
Benji is apparently impervious to icy water straight from Alaska.
Benji also flew a kite for the first time. The hardest part was not letting go.
On vacation we eat ice cream every day. Benji always orders something chocolate.
At Oswald West, Ian and I built a dam that kind of worked. Benji sat in the freezing water and played with wet sand.

I don’t want to give the impression that every day was glorious weather — in fact, on Wednesday, it rained steadily all day. We spent most of the day inside, but did take an excursion to the Tillamook Creamery, where (surprise!) we had more ice cream. On Wednesday we also played hide and seek, which is WAY more fun in the large and complicated Seaside house. It has a zillion nooks to hide in, perfect for hide and seek. Continue Reading >>

Benji’s 7th Birthday Party

This year, we went to a number of birthday parties for kids in Benji’s class. They all followed pretty much the same formula: The parents had rented time at Pump It Up, Arena Sports, or Elevated Sports. A large number of kids showed up — usually >20, accompanied by a least one parent, for a total of 40 to 50 people. The kids were let loose in the bouncy house/play zone for an hour, followed by an hour of eating pizza, veggie tray veggies, chips, candy, and cake in an almost perfectly featureless “party room” decorated by the parents with lots of plastic banners and such. As a party favor, each kid got a plastic bag full of Pump It Up (or whatever)-brand Oriental Trading Company-quality junk that broke almost instantly and that we then had to secretly make “go away” at some point not long thereafter. Continue Reading >>

Benji Is 7

Seven years ago today, Benji entered our lives.

Benji a few months old.

I can honestly say that nothing has been the same since then.

He’s grown into a curious, silly, imaginative, friendly, caring boy who loves reading, making lists, watching videos with Ian, anything Pokemon, and playing made-up games. Sometimes he wants to be a chemist when he grows up.

I look forward to seeing where we go from here.

EIAE Update

A while ago I wrote extensively about the arterial disease in my leg, EIAE. This is an update on how it’s going and what I’m doing about it.

In my original post, I said that I was going to try to live with the disease as best I could, changing my thinking and expectations accordingly. At the same time, I continued to train for the Whistler Gran Fondo, my big event of the season, since I’m still able to ride somewhat.

Now I’m reconsidering my total opposition to surgery. Not only is the surgery becoming more common as more athletes are diagnosed, but for myself, I find it nearly impossible to imagine the rest of my life without some kind of vigorous athletic activity in it — and EIAE, in my leg at least, stops me from running as well as biking. That eliminates nearly all sports that include a running component… Which is nearly all sports. Continue Reading >>

Sartorially Speaking

We have 10 people in my department at work, including our intern and one person in our Raleigh office. Yesterday, five of us wore striped shirts. I insisted we take a commemorative picture, because what are the odds?!
We blend right in with the herd.

Wahoo Replacement Resolution

A week ago I mentioned that my Wahoo ELEMNT battery was dying, and I didn’t find any of the new options very compelling. As part of my due diligence, I contacted Wahoo, on the off-chance that they might offer a discount on a new one for returning customers. They did better than that: Wahoo ELEMNT has a replaceable battery! It has to be the last modern device that allows the user (or anyone, for that matter) to replace the battery, and when I found that out, I can’t express the joy I felt. I want to fix my things, not replace them, whenever possible. It took some (rather slow) back and forth, but over the course of a few days I confirmed I wanted a replacement, sent them my address, and paid for it plus extra for two-day shipping. They also sent me a detailed document describing how to replace the battery and, although I think I could have written it better, I appreciated that they had it at all. The new battery arrived on Thursday. Ian and I promptly unscrewed the approximately zillion screws to remind the back of the case, taking care not to lose any of the microscopic washers associated with each one. Then we just carefully popped off the old leads and popped in the new ones — I let Ian do that; might as well amortize the engineering degree a bit! — followed by screwing a zillion screws back in. The moment of truth proceed a relief: The device turned back on! It retained all my data! On Saturday I gave the new battery a real workout with a seven-hour total time ride up Mt. St. Helens. It held up beautifully, with charge to spare. So I am delighted.

Deck Improvement Woes

For Christmas this year, I bought Ian a wood-burning fire pit. We have this handy cement pad, and it’s perfect for a fire pit now that Benji’s old enough not to fall into it (probably).

The first s’mores on the new fire pit!

What this highlighted, however, was that we could really use some better seating and, better yet, a roof around that area so we could use it in inclement weather.

I started talking in January with the contractor who did such a glorious job on our fireplace, to start adding seating and maybe a cover to the deck. After a brief break, we sat down in May and made a plan. Continue Reading >>