Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘family

Celebration Dinner

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It was a small gathering last night, in terms of usual for a birthday event celebrated by Cyndie’s family. Our two kids and Cyndie’s parents met downtown in Minneapolis for a royal feast at the Melting Pot restaurant for Julian’s birthday dinner.

The fact that it was also Cyndie’s and my 38th wedding anniversary helped to bolster the celebration a couple of notches.

The multiple courses of fondue made for a long meal. I didn’t get around to snapping photos until we were working on dessert because I had been so focused on cooking my own food.

Fred had the best line of the night when he said to the waiter, “My compliments to the chef!”

There were so many flavors being mixed and mingled it was dizzying. Most of the time, I didn’t know what I was eating, but it all tasted mighty good. My entree was a combination of meats that included shrimp, pork, chicken, and beef with a variety of spices. Add in six versions of dipping sauces and the two different flavored cooking oils and I had a good excuse for struggling to identify each bite.

It felt wonderfully celebratory!

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Sports Binge

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I went on a day-long TV spectator sports binge yesterday, in large part because, well… I could. At home, the only television signal we have is our antenna for free broadcasts from the Twin Cities. At Cyndie’s parents’ house, there were satellite channels for more sports than I could count.

This allowed me to catch the Golden Gophers college football game and the men’s US Open tennis final that wouldn’t have been available to me at home. Luckily, Fred was wise enough to record the Gopher game, as they were playing at Fresno State on the west coast and the game didn’t start until late Saturday night.

That meant we didn’t watch it until yesterday morning. I had peeked at the result already, so I knew the game was worth seeing. What a fantastic finish with the highlight-reel catch in the deepest possible corner of the endzone on 4th and 13 to tie the game with less than a minute left, and then the surprising interception in the second overtime to claim the win.

We followed that excitement with the NFL Vikings strong win over the Falcons in the opening game of the season. I’ll take it.

Next, there was a quick check of the MLB Twins to find they were trailing Cleveland. That game was usurped by the championship tennis match on ESPN.

Rafael Nadal outlasted a strong challenge from Daniil Medvedev in an epic four-hour-fifty-one-minute 5-set match. Those guys battled for almost five hours, one on one, no substitutions. No wonder Rafa collapsed after the final point.

I was ready to collapse. By the end of the day, I had watched so many athletes exhaust themselves, it wore me out.

Bingeing (I had to check that spelling) is not as easy as one might assume.

It will be good for me to get back home later today after work and return to my (almost) usual routine. This week will be another one spent without Cyndie at home. She is flying to Florida this morning to spend time with Dunia, who will be visiting from Guatemala.

I’ll go back to reading about sports outcomes in the paper, a day after they happen, for my fix of athletic adventures.

It’s kind of a “slow binge” on spectator sports, don’tcha know.

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Written by johnwhays

September 9, 2019 at 6:00 am

Picture Stories

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How much of the story can a picture convey? That depends on many things, but in this case, I have to say this image fails to depict all of the pertinent details.

I expect it is obvious that some painting occurred here. The deck of Cyndie’s parents’ house was redone recently and as a finishing touch (which wasn’t in the job plan) the contractor added a new baseboard. The guy made a run to a lumber retailer to purchase the wood, installed it, and left the task of painting it to the homeowners.

Cyndie and I are spending the weekend here so Cyndie could accompany her mom to an outpatient appointment, and then battle mightily to persuade Marie to convalesce long enough for an incision to heal. There was no sign of any slowing down upon their arrival home yesterday. Her mom was lifting things and bending over to reach into low cupboards as if nothing was out of the ordinary.

For my part, and relating more to the image above, I was able to contribute by tending to this minor nuisance of unfinished wood. I learned about the project at breakfast, when Fred checked on my availability and announced he had masking tape and the spray paint at the ready.

I’m not really a spray paint guy, but how hard can it be? I ruffled through the bag of meager clothing I’d packed for the weekend to find a shirt I wouldn’t mind getting paint on and opted for shorts and bare feet to tackle the job. Unfortunately, I failed to consider that the composite boards would get as hot as beach sand in the beating sun while I was out there.

I thought it would be a nice “present” for Marie if the job happened while she was unaware, so I started as soon as possible after they departed for her appointment and strove to push my pace in hopes of making quick work of the job. Despite the occasional breeze. While keeping one eye on the day-job email account. Stopping to take a call from the pest control guy who was searching for our window well back home.

After I gave out a credit card number authorizing the plan to trap a suspected woodchuck in Beldenville, it was time to commit myself to my own entrapment on the deck. The new baseboard ran beneath the sliding door to the house, so when I applied tape and paper across that opening, I was stuck until the paint was applied.

About that point, my back muscles started to twinge. Then, my feet and knees started to burn. Then, the spray paint started to drip around the nozzle. I’d not prepared properly for dripping from the can. All I had available was some of the used newspaper to try wiping up.

I didn’t think about what accumulating paint around the nozzle would do when following the instructions to continually shake the can throughout the painting.

I didn’t know it would be hot enough that I would start dripping sweat.

Alas, I survived, everything was cleaned up before Marie and Cyndie arrived home, and the deck looks appropriately finished.

There are pertinent details which that image above definitely does not convey.

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Written by johnwhays

September 7, 2019 at 8:14 am

Making Plans

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We are not going to the lake this weekend, but we do have Anna coming to stay at our house to take care of Delilah, Pequenita, and the chickens for a few days. Our plans are more along the lines of the stay-cation in the cities with family and friends variety. That involved a fair amount of pre-planning for my little brain last night.

We will be staying at Cyndie’s parents’ house, which facilitates my heading there directly from work this afternoon and remaining there through Sunday night to go back to work again on Monday morning. That was a lot of days to think through in advance. Makes it feel a little more like a vacation, so that’s fun.

Too bad I don’t enjoy packing for vacations. Somehow, I find a way to get over it.

I’m feeling fussy over other plans we are concurrently trying to form, having to do with needed upkeep of the logs of our home, the consideration of quotes arriving for re-doing our deck, and now our need for some assistance with wild animal control services.

Early returns indicate the costs of each are running in the neighborhood of 2-3 times the price of our desired budget. One, or more, will likely have to wait, and logic tells me it won’t be the animal control.

I’m thinking I may end up honing my [lack of] carpentry abilities and replace the deck boards myself. The logs will likely wait until next year, and we could very well end up applying the recommended two coats of wood protection ourselves to avoid the huge expense quoted yesterday.

For a person who doesn’t like making plans or even decisions, for that matter, these issues coming up all at once are a dreary burden of responsibility. It makes me long to be 5 or 6 years old again.

Those were blissful days…

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Written by johnwhays

September 5, 2019 at 6:00 am

Packing Up

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Even though today is Labor Day holiday in the U.S., our group all headed home from the lake a day early yesterday afternoon. There is plenty to deal with at home for families kicking off the fall season, and driving yesterday served to avoid many of the camping and boat trailers that will be returning today. Traffic was hardly an issue on our route.

This being the end of summer activities at the lake, before leaving, we took the bittersweet step of packing up most of the inflatable water toys.

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We set up a station for cleaning and deflating, and each large floating toy was detached from its anchor and brought into shore. Many hands made for small work and we washed, dried, deflated, and rolled up the big trampolines for winter storage in the garage with impressive efficiency.

While we occupied ourselves with that project, Cyndie took the initiative to scour her family’s small cabin to pull off and bag bedding and remove foods and cleaning supplies.

Before hopping in their car, Julian and Allison deflated their small floaties.

Just like that, in a blink, summer is over once again. It happens every year, but each time seems to come faster and faster.

It also always seems too soon to be seeing trees turning from green to red/yellow/orange, but on our drive yesterday, there were multiple sightings.

I think I spent more time in long sleeves over the weekend than I did in short. I may not pack up my summer attire yet, but I will start bringing out my warmer clothes.

It’s the season of doubly crowded closets and dressers. Too soon to put away all the warm weather clothes, but too chilly to avoid pulling out the fall and winter gear, too.

I’m not complaining, though. It’s a small complication in the otherwise glorious advantage of enjoying the full range of 4-seasons weather we experience.

It develops strength and character, both physically and mentally.

This time of year is actually my favorite, so I am in my glory right now. Happy September everyone! (Does it show that I don’t live in a hurricane zone?)

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Written by johnwhays

September 2, 2019 at 6:00 am

Coolish Fun

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For a weekend at the lake, we are spending more time away from the water than in it. That hot summer sun is not so prominent and the temperature of the lake is a little chilly, inviting us to pursue alternative activities. Cyndie and I started with another exploratory trek through the forest across the road with Delilah.

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Julian brought up his Onewheel and provided Steve an introductory lesson on the basics of starting and stopping. No participants were injured in the exercise.

Julian and Allison also brought up custom-made cornhole boards that were a groomsman’s gift from a friend whose wedding Julian was in. With a fire in the firepit and pork chops on the grill, the bag toss game fit nicely as further entertainment up and out of the chilly lake.

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Written by johnwhays

September 1, 2019 at 8:45 am

Alternative Location

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I mowed the paddocks on Sunday. Knowing the kids were coming mid-morning, I headed out to the shop garage to move equipment around for access to the brush mower and watch for their arrival. I didn’t see Elysa’s car drive past, but looked up and noticed it parked by the house all of a sudden. A second later, I looked up to find Julian’s Jeep parked there, too. How they both got past me without my seeing them drive by is a complete mystery.

So much for that plan.

After chasing Julian around on his Onewheel, I left him to do more practice laps and hopped on the tractor. Elysa opened gates for me and stood on the lookout for wandering chickens.

I didn’t realize that Cyndie had reported a headcount of only seven hens located and I sent Elysa off to can pickles after I’d made a few passes around the perimeter. It seemed to me that I would be able to spot chickens if they showed up.

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When I got closer to the middle of the paddock, the grass was so tall and thick that it was impossible to see what I was mowing over. I looked up after navigating a tight circle around one of the high spots and I caught sight of one Golden Laced Wyandotte slowly and calmly walking away from the grass toward the paddock fence.

Had she been hiding in the tall grass, just as I feared possible? I wasn’t entirely sure, but the thought was unsettling.

The paddocks looked pretty good when I was finished. After six years of successful close maneuvering, I finally broke my first fence board when I miscalculated while backing up to turn around. Curses!

Cyndie took Delilah for a walk through the newly mowed grass and the dog sniffed out where the Wyandotte had been.

It looked like my tractor tire rolled over about ten eggs in the hen’s alternative to our nest boxes.

We are hoping the loss of cover will help convince the vagabond bird to return her laying habit to the coop.

Is it possible to teach old hens new tricks?

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Written by johnwhays

August 27, 2019 at 6:00 am