Riding the bus

Since working in Seattle, I started riding the bus from Day 2.  It takes about an hour door to door, but honestly, it’s great.  It takes about 10 minutes to get to my transit center from my house, and then for about 45 minutes on the bus, I usually have wireless, and if I don’t I at least have a book I can read.  I can take care of all my emails and read the news while somebody else does all the driving for me. 
I’m not particularly someone that is extremely environmentally conscious, but I suppose it’s also good to know that I’m doing my part in reducing pollutants and not creating higher demand for imported oil.
It ends up that there are 3 different options from Federal Way to Seattle.  There is the 577 which is the Sound Transit express bus from the FW transit center that goes near Union Station.  There is the Light Rail that starts from Tukwila and goes right into Union Station.  There is the Metro 194 which is not an express, but goes from the FW Transit Center (or I can hit it on the onramp at the Star Lake Park and Ride, and goes right into Union Station.)
So far, I’ve only taken the 577.  I’ve had wireless about 80% of the time.  The other side benefit of taking the bus is that it keeps me on a fairly regular schedule.  I’m usually home by 6. 
It seems like a hip thing to be working in downtown Seattle, but I haven’t really gone exploring too much except for some lunch mostly in the international district.  Perhaps this new job will force me to finally get a little more familiar with downtown Seattle.  For now, it’s just where my cubicle is….

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Outsourced Birthday

It has been a long and rich tradition in our home that Caleb got a puppet show for his Birthday since his very first birthday…. until this year when he (to my dismay and relief) expressed his preference for a soccer party rather than another puppet show.  It’s hard to let go of traditions sometimes, but considering our hectic circumstances having just returned from China, spending a week at Lake Powell, switching jobs, moving to my mom’s home, preparing our home for renters – it was also an enormous relief.

So this year, we wrote a check to Arena Sports who did a fantastic job of entertaining a dozen 4-5 year olds, and making Caleb feel like a King for a day.  Hopefully, the outsourcing of parental duties is an exception and not a trend… but regardless, it worked out great for this year.

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Coach Marty runs the kids. 

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If there was any energy left, it must be completely burnt off running around the balloon toys.

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Traditional party fare, complete with soccer cake.  I thought Caleb was going to burn his chin blowing out the candles.

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Pull-string pinata – an interesting concept… It kinda eliminates the fun of beating something senseless… but I guess it also eliminates the injuries…

Klare shows off her loot.

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Happy birthday boy and happy parents…

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Mission accomplished

Caleb also proposed a “Science” party…  If you look at the Lake Powell pictures, there’s one where Caleb is reading an Encyclopedia of Science book while his other cousins are playing in the water…. He loves science, but hopefully it will be tempered with a love of other things as well – like sports, friends… girls….  and believe it or not, there are “scientists” that you can hire for birthdays…. If scientists are moonlighting at birthdays, the economy must be pretty rough…. Ended up that we couldn’t get the scientist because he was totally booked.  I proposed that I could get a lab coat and mix up some vinegar and baking soda, but that got a thumbs down….  I’m assuming the puppet show is off for next year, too…. so perhaps my best chance to get back into the act is to beef up my science acts… Anyone know where I can get some anti-matter?  fusion reactor?  String Theory for Dummies?

Camping in my mom’s living room

Two weeks ago, we moved into my mom’s basement – a life-long aspiration finally realized.  It was amazing that we were able to put everything we owned into a 26’ truck and somehow squish it into my mom’s house.  For a few weeks before the move, we had been triaging everything we owned into one of several piles  – keep, donate, sell, throw away.  After we moved in, we went through another round of triaging, except now we are going through my mom’s stuff…. Stuff that her and my dad had accumulated over 25 years.  My sister told me today that she knew that mom and dad were packrats, because she is finding that she has been turning into one… There is a lot of stuff…. I don’t know how many RCA cables one man needs, but after throwing away about 90% of them, I still have a bucket full.  I’ve had to make a LOT of runs to the dump.  I think I made my last run to the dump today… The lady that works there is probably starting to recognize me as one of her regulars coming in every weekend.  Maybe I can qualify for some frequent dumper program…

We had a few hiccups in the move-in plan, but it’s finally starting to feel like home… On the weekend that we moved in, a contractor was finishing up some work in my mother’s bathroom.  To test whether or not the shower was leaking, he kept the hot water on for 45 minutes.  I’m not necessarily saying that this is related to the next part of the story, but it does seem that there is a possibility that there could have been some correlation.  That afternoon, the water heater burst and flooded the entire basement (same basement that our family moved into with 26’ truck worth of boxes.  )  When I got this call, I was at the office.  Tenille was stunned, and most of the answers to my questions were “I don’t know.”  I don’t blame her.  There’s something about standing in your own house with water sloshing up your pants that slowly shuts down your brain.  I know, because this happened a week before we left for China earlier this year at our Bothell house.  And as I saw the water rush in from outside to inside the house, it wasn’t clear to me what we should do.  Similar to wife, my reaction was – call someone…   Someone else who hasn’t been brain-zapped by the kryptonite affects of flood water between my toes. 

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Just as in our Bothell home, when people who knew what they were doing finally got to my mom’s house, they were able to get things in a stable state pretty quickly.  They suctioned up as much water as they could.  They took off all the baseboards.  They piled all our boxes into the middle of the rooms.  They set up about 20 heaters/blowers throughout the basement.  By the time I got home, I told my wife that it didn’t seem so bad and everything looked like it was under control.  She almost gave me a black eye with her dirty look.

This was the state of our home for the next 7 days.  We got out Caleb’s kid tent and set it up in the middle of my Mom’s upstairs living room to make it seem like a fun thing for Caleb to be sleeping on the floor.  He loved it!  Andrew slept in a pack n play in the den.  Tenille and I got the couches.  I’m not sure if it was because I was dead tired from moving, but the couches weren’t so bad… It was slightly crowded, but again, not so bad… I think the worst part was just our own antsy-ness to get moved in once everything dried. 

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Last  week when all the dryers were finally moved out of the basement, we started the process of setting up our home.  Today, we hit a milestone – my mom can park in her garage again.  It’ll probably be another few weeks before we’re able to get Tenille’s van in the garage also.  That should be a big day…