Pandemic in Pictures: A Little Harmless Chaos

Before we get to the chaos part, a little parenting vignette.

We had Benji scheduled to do a phone interview with a guy who’s doing a podcast of interviews with kids talking about their experience of coronavirus. My Uncle Gerard suggested it, and I think it’s a cool project. So we were doing it. (I’ll post more about it when Benji’s episode goes live on the podcast. Edit to add: See the post about the podcast here.)

Five minutes before the interviewer called, Benji decided he really, really didn’t want to do it. He started melting down into his spiral of resistant complaints, excuses, whining, and arguing. I didn’t have time to deal with all that crap — by then we were at T-minus three minutes and counting — so I went full scorched-earth bribery: “If you cooperate with this, you can have an ice cream sandwich for breakfast.” Continue Reading >>

Pandemic in Pictures: Alpha-Bakery Children’s Cookbook

When I was a little girl, we obtained — I don’t know how — a children’s cookbook. Produced by a flour company, it contained the requisite references to “Gold Medal All Purpose Flour” in each recipe, but nevertheless also contained 26 recipes perfectly suited for teaching kids the basics of baking. During our enforced stay-at-home time, Benji and I have started baking through every recipe. It being Benji, of course we’re doing them in alphabetical order, with perfect rigor. Continue Reading >>

Through the Fan

Well, that was a heck of a 48 hours, even by the standards of a stay-at-home, COVID-19 world. Let’s see, it went down like this…


Speaker chaos. Realized we need a plan for where to stay for 24 hours while the stinky gases from our crawl space insulation dissipate. Quickly made a reservation at the Residence Inn Mariott in Bothell. We decided to pay for Thursday night so we could go there first thing Friday morning, and then Benji said he wanted to sleep there Thursday night.


Normal-ish day, except at the end Ian and Benji moved in to the Residence Inn for the night. I went back home, packed my stuff, fixed a flat tire on my bike (of course), and started setting up my new Kickr. Oh, and I arranged with my boss that I’d take Friday off, which proved to be a very good idea. Continue Reading >>

When It All Hits the Fan

Over the last couple weeks, we’ve been in the process of having our crawl space de-ratted, cleaned, and sealed against future rat incursions. The crawl space was, I have to say, utterly vile. It may’ve been the nastiest stank I’ve ever smelled, and since I’ve changed poopy diapers, that’s saying something. Whenever we had the misfortune to open the crawl space hatch, this miasma of rat-piss would rise up and nigh choke the hatch-opening victim.

In short: Vile.

I finally got my act together and called the exterminators, who proposed a monthlong program of cleaning and insulation removal, sealing up, inspecting, trapping, and re-insulating. Friday we finish the last step, re-insulating. Continue Reading >>

Pandemic in Pictures: Park Perambulation

Okay, I admit, I couldn’t resist alliteration in the title, even though it’s a bit absurd. All that to say, with playgrounds closed…

Pandemic: Closed Playground
Although it looks like a purposeful stride, he didn’t continue on to the playground.

…we’re getting more creative with what to do outside. Fortunately, we live in a place with lots of good woodsy parks. Woods are God’s playground, and kids have played in the woods forever. Although I wish Benji could play with other kids his age, rather than a couple tired old adults who already spent the day and their energy on lame work, still we attempt to play in the woods. On Monday, Ian took Benji to a woodlands near our house, and they had a great time. Continue Reading >>

Pandemic in Pictures: Learning Continues

Angry coronavirus.

With schools closed for the duration, we’re creatively thinking about how to keep Benji learning and occupied during the day. At the moment, I’ve arranged standing daily classes or chats with three people, each of whom is teaching Benji something they specialize in. Thus, he’ll be learning some about history, writing, and French from my uncle; art, storytelling, music, and some script writing from my mom; and Pokemon from my sister. Just kidding–although they probably will talk Pokemon a lot, Colleen and Benji will be working on writing to answer specific questions, too. TBD. Continue Reading >>

Chalk-Colored Fence

I admit, chalk-colored fence doesn’t have quite the same ring as stained-glass window; and it doesn’t have the gravity and weight of a real stained-glass window…

2010-12-26 France Vacation 18

…but masking tape, chalk, and an open section of fence can combine into a pretty fun and, in places, attractive work of art.

First I masking-taped the fence. It took a long time. If I were to do it again, I’d probably try to make a picture of something, rather than just random shapes.

Then Benji and I started coloring it in. Continue Reading >>