Birthday Weekend

Our oldest had her 4th birthday this weekend. This is where it starts turning into “normal” birthday parties where they want specific people over, they remember things and they have (lord help us) preferences

Saturday she wanted to go to the zoo. Nevermind that it was 45F and overcast with the threat of rain. So we went, like good parents who do what their kids ask of them. About 20 minutes into the trip, though, birthday-girl stole my camera and started taking photos herself. I mean, most of them were blurry and poorly-framed, but hey who am I to get in the way of her dreams?

 

However, when we were planning her birthday party, she wanted to weigh in and rearrange the schedule. She wanted us to open presents first, but when we told her we were doing dinner first, then presents, she got pretty upset and shouted “stop ruining my plans!” at us. So that was hilarious.

The party was smaller this year, and we had a lot fewer kids. The last time we had a shindig we sort of invited everyone-ish and our house was pretty overwhelmed. This time we were merely whelmed. I still didn’t get a chance to eat until well after the party, but kiddo said she had a really nice time and sort of refuses to take off her new roller skates.

I’d call it a win.

Distant Ringing

Withered memory,
when all asunder is tossed
and gold tastes bitter

This Poem Sucks

I made myself write this story
apparently creativity is on-demand
but Seth, now creatively-poor,
he wrestled creation hand-to-hand.

Next to some, I’ve done much more
but with others, I very-much lack
a fairly comparable score;
but down that road’s a megalomaniac

While we all struggle with our selfdom,
those fearsome symptoms of self-opinion,
I’m still a wisdom victim with a rhythm
of chasing my shortcomings

Do Your Maintenance

Fun fact, this garage is in the house my Grandparents built, so I grew up playing in the same garage I now do car work in.

Last year we finally grew up and bought a car with four-doors. We didn’t buy a van, though. I’m not that mature yet.

The car we bought had over 200,000 miles on it (for reference, see this website). I’ve had incredibly good luck with picking solid, reliable cars in my past, so I knew it was a good decision. As it turns out, despite my best efforts, we ended up with an incredibly good car. However, the mileage simply meant that the car needed some maintenance.

The brakes started squealing a few months ago. I kept thinking “eh, I’ll get to it.”

Well, not too long ago, the brakes stopped squealing and started sounding like someone was dragging a rake over a chain link fence. “Eh, it’s a Toyota” I thought. So we let it go for a few more days, probably hoping it was just a loose piece of sandpaper stuck in our wheel well or something. It was not that.

I finally bought the parts needed for a brake job and got to work. Most of the brake pads had less than 10% of their material left, but one in particular was…well…take a look:

Guess which one was the old one.

See how the material toward the back of that pad was just gone? Yeah, it was metal-on-metal action going on. DON’T BE LIKE ME, KIDS. I mean, I was probably going to have to replace the rotors anyway, but this oversight sealed the deal and a $75 job went up to $300.

This whole thing has got me wondering though, in my previous car-lationships, was I the bad guy the whole time? 

I have some thinking to do.

I Dun Goofed

A year or two ago I signed up with code.org to be a volunteer. This basically meant that I was offering my services to go give talks/classes about my job as a developer. So far I’ve only been contacted twice to do this.

The first time, I was asked to come out to an elementary school and talk to fourth-graders about what I do for a living and assist with a coding activity on their laptops. I had a blast. My wife says I’m actually just a fourth-grader in a 30-year-old’s body so of course I enjoyed it. I told her to get out of my fort.

I was contacted again back in December by a girl who organizes events for a nearby public library. They were going to be giving an intro-to-coding class of some sort and wanted someone to kind of head-it-up. I agreed and we set a date for the event; March 6th.

Now, my mom’s birthday is March 6th, so we set up a dinner date with her for the weekend so we could still celebrate even though I was unavailable on her actual birthday. No big deal.

However, at some point this weekend, the event shifted to “Tuesday” in my brain. Even though I knew perfectly well that Monday was the 6th.

Nonetheless, my brain shifted the “I’m busy” night this week to Tuesday for some reason.

So, at 4pm on Monday I was not only NOT at the library, I was just at work having a meeting. At 4:04 I got an email from the coordinator asking if I was still going to be there, but for some reason my phone didn’t notify me of the email until 4:25 or so. By this time, she’d cancelled the event.

I still feel terrible. Like, really really bad.

It’s probably the worst goof I’ve made in years. 

Courtesy Jan Erik Waider via Unsplash

The Great House-Hunt of 2017

Courtesy Jan Erik Waider via Unsplash

Now that I have grey hair it’s obviously time to buy a house.

When Naomi and I became espoused, we lived in a cute little old house near Friends University, but since the school owned the house we actually used part of our tuition to cover housing, which was super convenient and also one of the things that makes me want to go back in time and falcon-punch myself in the throat.

After a while we moved into a second-story condo near the airport. I actually super-liked this place because it was elevated (which I’ve always loved, for some reason), over some garages (which kept neighbor-noise at bay), and was surprisingly well laid out, if a bit small. After a while though, that place was changing ownership so we had to bail.

We found this cool old house in Riverside and moved in. We’ve been there ever since. It’s great, got a cool layout, has a few bedrooms upstairs (rad), and has a full unfinished basement. But it’s not ours. Every time I’ve asked our landlord if we can paint, he’s ignored my text, and our backyard isn’t really a backyard so much as a communal playground/spray paint-booth.

Courtesy Katie Barrett via Unsplash

So Naomi and I have been itching for our own space. Something we can improve, make our own, and also hang out in our own back yard and let the kids go run around without having to watch over them constantly.

We started looking at houses in January, not so much to find one, but rather to figure out what we liked and what we wanted in a place. 

So, here’s out list of house-things we want to have, in rough-order of importance:

  1. Basement (lol tornadoes)
  2. Back yard, fenced in if possible (lol toddlers)
  3. Garage or car-port (lol hail)
  4. 3 bedrooms
  5. A roof
  6. Piano included in purchase
  7. Either in the city or outside of it, non-negotiable

And, believe it or not, we actually found that our price-point is full of homes that match many of these criteria. 

Next steps

A wise man once (probably) imparted these words. The meaning is mostly lost to time, but I think it can be construed to apply to our situation with trying to buy a house this year.

“Well, money is a thing, and that thing…is a thing that is important.”
– Perd Hapley

Good words. Despite the fact that we’re getting a tax refund soon, and the fact that we’re itching to own a place, we’ve elected to be smart about this. We’re actually going to take most of our return and pay off a few lingering small debts and then put the remainder in a standalone account we can contribute to. Hopefully we’ll be able to put together a decent deposit by May. 

And then we can buy this house:

Courtesy Nathan Walker via Unsplash

…lol right.

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