Monday, December 29, 2008

We're Here

It's been an incredibly long two days.

Dad is physically doing ok. I had him checked by his doctor today, and we had a chest x-ray done because of all the smoke he breathed in. He has some burns on his cheeks, forehead and nose, although the nose burns are the worst. His eyebrows and eyelashes were singed off, and his eyes slightly injured so he has eye drops to help them heal. His right knee is swollen, and his shoulder and wrist hurt from where he fell trying to get out of the house.

Emotionally, I'm not sure. We're both a mess. He has a cell phone again, but we're really busy right now trying to put things back together. We got an emergency check from the insurance company so he has some money. His wallet was destroyed, so we're working on getting his driver's license and credit cards replaced. We put an application in on an condo in town that is fully furnished and move in ready. Our insurance agent found it for us, and we should be able to move him in tomorrow.

Thank you for the prayers, and keep them coming. It looks even worse than the pictures depict. The house caught fire a second time and is now totally gone. There isn't so much as a wall standing. Everything we thought was important is gone.

Our home is gone.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bad Bad Bad Bad Bad Things

I'll go backwards to make sure and get the important stuff first:
* George (Karen's Dad) is uninjured, and only had some minor smoke inhalation problems
* We weren't there at the time, and had been staying in St. Louis
* Marilyn had departed a few hours earlier afer an overnight stay
* They're coping as best as can be expected

* George's house burned to the ground this morning (Sun, 12/28)
* Most of his and Karen's treasured keepsakes and family heirlooms are gone 

Tomorrow will begin the process of figuring out what needs to be done and taking care of the immediate necessities (medicine, accounts, insurance, sanity). I know they will both appreciate your thoughts and warm wishes, emails, etc. I suspect it will take them a few days to return phone calls and emails, and we'll probably update more as we can. 

- Dan

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snopocolypse 2008, part 2

If you have any doubts about how bad the roads are right now, check out this article in today's Seattle PI (especially the pictures)!

I was about 4 blocks from where this happened this afternoon. The road in front of our house has been closed because of ice. We watched cars slide up, down and sideways all day, so we're glad it's closed. It's crazy out there, and we have no intention of leaving the house for the next few days.

Snopocolypse 2008

Seattle is not the midwest. It doesn't snow here. It doesn't drop below freezing. It's a nice temperate climate.

So what in the world is going on? We got 4" of snow dumped on us yesterday, and the temperature is in the teens. It's insane. Schools have been closed since Wednesday in preparation for the storm, and they are predicting more cold, more snow and some ice for this weekend. Skiing seems to be the best way to get around.

Seattle doesn't have many snowplows, and no salt to put on roads. Bus routes (the lifeline for many people here) have been cut by half. Of those that are running several have jack-knifed on slick streets. Since the buses are electric and run on a set cable system, if one bus jack-knifes on a route, no other buses can get by it.

Businesses are closed and police are asking everyone to stay home and off the streets. The downtown area looks like a bad game of car pong - cars slid off the road and left at the strange angle they landed in. Commutes for the brave (or foolish) who attempted to make them ran 3+ hours to go just a few miles.

Yesterday at Costco there was a run on milk, eggs and sleds. :) Yes, we put chains on my car and ventured out - mostly just to see if we could. We made it there and mostly back with no problem. I got stuck on the street leading to our house and had to back out and try a different road. Once home I left my car on the street. Our driveway will be a sheet of ice before long.

We're surviving, and spent a pleasant afternoon yesterday with our neighbors. They have a year old girl who loves Kendra, and Kendra finds her just as interesting. In fact, yesterday Kendra rolled over for the first time ever at their house! She was bound and determined to get one of Audrey's toys, and rolled completely over to reach it. Unfortunately we haven't been able to duplicate her feat at home.

We have no plans this weekend that can't be changed if the weather is too bad. Here's hoping it clears up before we have to fly!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Mother's Patience

Here's a recap of my (Dan's) evening:
7:00 Get home
7:02 Marvel at the beautiful sleeping child and her marvelous sick sniffling mother.
7:06 Do a few chores+food
7:50 Grab the now awake infant and hope for some father-daughter bonding time
7:55 Screaming child
8:00 Hand child back to the marvelous sick sniffling mother and stare with confusion as she seems much more calm
8:03 Retrieve child with hopes of consoling her. Many things attempted: exersaucer, milk bottle, hugging, flying, bouncing, placing onto random pillows and furniture, staring into her very very loud face while cycling between confused, frustrated, and hopeful expressions (on my face).
9:25 Change crying infant for bed
9:35 Hold crying infant against shoulder while bouncing her and making that look to her marvelous sick sniffling mother that says "shoot me"
9:45 Infant decides to stop crying for no discernible reason
9:47 Return to sofa and attempt to feed her while she decides to sleep instead
9:55 Stop staring at the baby, and when the ringing in the ears stops place her into her bed
11:15 Be introspective

So here it is: I am amazed at the patient energy Karen has for our amazing little child. She (Kendra) is so full of wonderous amazement and boundless potential, but when she decides things aren't right, none of that matters. She becomes loud and uncooperative to the degrees of which I have never fathomed. Watching her scream at me with little provocation or warning is among the most emotionally and mentally draining things I've ever had to deal with. There's almost always a reason, but some times that reason just really isn't easy to figure out if at all. Which leads me back to Karen. It's really amazing that she is able to handle our spirited demanding little china doll as she does. That she's able to connect with Kendra in such a direct and sincere way even in the face of such directed negativity is so very inspiring, and on days like to day even a little humbling.


My hat is off to every parent as they deal with that same thing, but especially to my lovely wife for the amazing job she does. She is truly an amazingly patient and calming presence in our lives.

My ears still hurt.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

It doesn't snow much here, but today was the exception. The wet white flurries started coming down last night, and brought with them an arctic blast of cold. It's currently 21 here - and the average low is normally in the upper 30s. It's freezing!!

Between the snow, rain and icey cold we've been listening to people slide around the curve by our house all day. More than a few have lost control and slammed into the curb. One did a complete 360 until he kicked in the 4 wheel drive.

Naturally, we stayed home. We ventured out long enough to say we played in the snow and get a picture, but it was just too cold. Mickey and Otis seemed to enjoy it. Turtle kept her tail between her legs, Kendra fussed and Dan and I had frozen hands. Made for a very good day to enjoy hot chocolate on the couch under a blanket.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Happy Birthday, Karen!

Yup. It's her day. Help me make it a GREAT one!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I have been meaning to post this for a while now, and it totally slipped my mind until tonight.

Around the time Kendra was born, we received a new car seat via UPS. Unfortunately it didn't come with any kind of paperwork to indicate who it was from. I was hoping someone would question whether or not we received it when they didn't get a thank you note, but no one has.

Does anyone know who sent it? (And if you sent it, my extreme apologies for being so lax about figuring it out and sending you a thank you note.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Kendra Meets Santa

We headed to Bellevue Square Mall tonight to have Kendra's picture taken with Santa. She was cute, as always, but not all that impressed by Santa. She gave him a big grin, then proceeded to look around at the lights, the people, the elves - everything. Hopefully the picture turned out cute. We pick them up on Monday.

Dan snapped this picture outside the mall on "Snowflake Lane." This was the trial run of her Christmas outfit, and it seemed to work very well (except the arms are way to long. Poor child has her mother's short arms!)

Kendra was fascinated by the mall. She turned every which way to try to see everything. She is a curious child - I'll give her that. She spent a chunk of this evening trying to grasp toys we set just out of reach. We were trying to encourage her to roll over. She's soooooo close. That one arm keeps getting in her way, then we'd end up with a baby yelling in frustration. I give her another week and she'll have it.

We also did a photo shoot here at the house last week. Kendra tried her hand at out-cute-ing our Christmas stuffed animals. I think she did a pretty good job!

Then she decided the photo shoot was over and it was snack time. Yummm...tasty bear.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Just Hangin' Out

Don't ask me because I have no idea. She managed to squirm into position with her feet against my stomach, then progressively pushed herself backwards off the boppy. She laid happily like this for quite some time. (I had a hold of her pants to keep her from toppling headfirst onto the floor.)

I also finished my first attempt at sewing something wearable! It has definite room for improvement, but I'm pretty proud of it for a first attempt. It's a bit big, but it should fit her for a while, and I'm already working on making her a second one. Kai was an immeasurable help to me, and has given me the confidence to try to solo it this time. She is still going to come over, but we are moving on to making a jacket (with a hood!). I'm actually enjoying learning this. It's pretty cool!

I also had my first ever meeting for my new book club. We read "The Sealed Letter" by Emma Donoghue. It was a very interesting book, and I'm glad we chose it. We're going to pick a book that has a discussion guide for next time, since none of us has ever belonged to a bookclub. We muddled through this time, but would like a more guided approach for next time.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Begins!

We've been busy getting into the Christmas spirit. I'm bound and determined to drag my bah-humbug family into the Christmas season by whatever means necessary. This week, that meant going to the Garden d'Lights at the Bellevue Botanical Gardens. We wandered through an amazing display of plant and animal life made 100% from lights. Dan and Kendra were both suitably impressed.

On Friday we headed downtown to watch the Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Contest. It's a fundraiser for the Pike Place Senior Center, Preschool and Medical Clinic. Thousands of people clog the closed off streets to listen to dozens of groups caroling. Some were amazing singers, some were average, one group played a recording of Christmas music and tap danced to it, another looked like a couple of drunken frat boys decided at the last minute to sing - but they all looked like they were having fun. We'll definitely go again next year to check it out - with a better plan for parking! (We hadn't considered the fact that THOUSANDS of people would be there and streets would be closed.) The whole city decks itself out for the holidays, and this event helps kick off the spirit of the season.

After the caroling we headed to a co-worker of Dan's for his annual drunken bash aka Christmas Party. Since Kendra was with us we knew we wouldn't be staying long. However, she was in fine form - smiling and charming everyone she could see. She once again was the hit of the party. We stayed longer than we anticipated and all three of us thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.