At about 10:30 tonight, as I was sitting at the laptop watching an episode of Game of Thrones, Julia came out of her bedroom. “Daddy, I can’t sleep!”
“What’s wrong, honey? You can’t sleep?”
“No, I can’t! Everyone keeps moving everything up and down.”
“What?” Then, quickly, realizing she was sleepwalking: “Honey, I think you’re asleep. Come sit with me in the chair.”
She climbed onto my lap. “Okay, but you’re talking too fast.”
She was scorching hot, totally overheated. “Honey, I think you got too hot. We must not have turned your fan on.”
“No, my fan is on, but everyone in the bed is moving the sheets up and down. They won’t stop, and I can’t sleep!”
We sat for a few minutes, then got a drink of cold water and went to lie down on her bed. I sorta nodded off, then woke up when she rolled over and remembered, perfectly but fleetingly, a dream I’d just had in which I’d invented a digitally-controlled salt & pepper shaker – some sort of gadget that would float in the air just above your plate and shake out the seasoning when you sent it a tweet.
Once she got settled, I fell back asleep and woke up at 11:15 to write this up.
Here are nine reasons that I love this nine-year-old kid:
1. She is ridiculously smart, and I can tell she’s going to use her brain to great effect over the next nine years – and beyond.
2. She loves to read. If she has her nose in a book, good luck getting her attention. And she will stop to read at any time: while she’s making her bed, while she’s toweling off after a bath, while she’s setting the table, while she’s watching TV…
3. She is a far more patient sister than anyone has any right to expect – least of all her demanding little sister.
4. She loves writing almost as much as reading, and does a wonderful job of combining the books she already knows and loves with her own amazing imagination.
5. She has lately discovered pop music, in the form of the British boy band One Direction, which I’m surprised to discover is not terrible.
6. She really enjoys doing stuff in the kitchen, whether it’s helping her mom make a cake or making a peanut butter sandwich for my lunch (a daily routine). She’s awfully good at cooking scrambled eggs, and loves to make pancakes – especially the flipping part.
7. She is wonderfully, amazingly kindhearted. Her first impulses are to share, to take turns, to ask another’s opinion. It’s wonderful.
8. She has a wonderful head of hair. So thick and beautiful. I’ll cry a Nile of tears if she ever shaves her head in a fit of collegiate self-discovery. Then it will grow back.
9. She’s got a great smile! I mean, check the picture!
Finally – video of the girls’ dance at the elementary school talent show! This was shot by my friend Todd, the father of the other two girls here. They’re all good dancers! You can tell they practiced a lot – and that Shannon and Todd’s wife put a *lot* of thought into the choreography. Well done, everybody!
The 2013 Almanzo 100 was as fantastic a day on the bike as could have been imagined. I’ll recount the race in more detail in another post, but one of the best moments of the event came around mile 45 or so, when we had to ford a shallow but cold little creek. The water felt great, and everyone seemed to handle the obstacle with aplomb.
Last week I fully joined the standing-desk trend. I had bought a tall “cafe table” for my office a couple years ago, and intermittently used it as a desk, but last Tuesday I finally moved my computer to that table.
A week into the experiment, I’m ready to say that it’s been a great arrangement. About the only problem so far is that my table doesn’t have enough surface area for much besides the computer and my iPad, which I use as a second screen. I can’t, for instance, easily put a printout or a magazine on the tabletop to consult while I work.
On the other hand, standing has already had several benefits. I’ve found that I’m much more likely to move around more, whether walking across the suite to get a glass of water or just to pop out of my office to chat with someone else. Even when I’m at the desk, I’m hardly stationary: I’m constantly shifting my weight and position. Being upright seems to help a little bit with my ability to focus on my work, too, but that might be due to the fact as that I’m closer to the screen than I had been while seated at my desk.
The biggest payoff, though, is that I am far less sore and achy at the end of the day than I had been after a day of sitting. Even on days when I go to the gym, my legs and back feel good – warm, loose, energized – when I pack up to head home. That’s a pretty nice surprise.
Musing about possible April Fool’s pranks, Julia asked me how hard it would be to rig a bucket of water to fall on someone’s head. Thankfully, she and Vivi went in another, tamer, drier direction. (The dress color and the last line in the description are the jokes.)
Friday morning, I was finishing up some work before heading to Julia’s field trip in the next town when Shannon texted me:
Washer just stopped itself with a load of clothes and water in it and there is a burning smell!
I had a few minutes of before I needed to be at the field trip, so I raced home to investigate. The laundry room reeked with a smoky smell and a load of damp laundry was sitting in the tub. Shannon said that the machine had started again on its own after she texted, but she’d stopped the cycle, worried that the machine would catch on fire. (Having had popcorn burst into flame in our microwave a few weeks ago, she had some reason to be worried.) Without much time to spare, I just unplugged the machine and said we’d have to look at it more later.
That evening – after Julia’s field trip and after she started throwing up with what turned out to be a 24-hour flu bug – I used some YouTube videos to figure out how to open the washing machine cabinet, hoping that I would be able to tell if anything was obviously wrong. Though the process was fairly straightforward (if laborious), ultimately I couldn’t tell what, if anything, was wrong. My first and only hypothesis – that a belt was failing – was eliminated when I found that the washing machine was a “direct drive” model, meaning it had no belt.
Disassembled Washing Machine
So I cleaned the hideously dirty interior of the cabinet, swept and mopped the floor, and reassembled the machine (scraping all the knuckles on my right hand in the process). The next day, Shannon put the machine in heavy use, doing all the usual laundry plus the laundry created by Julia’s sickness. We expected the worst, but nothing has happened so far. It’s a zombie washer.
When I was racing the other weekend, Shannon set the girls up with a dish-soap painting project. Here are two of the paintings they made, each with a mysterious title. When I asked them about the titles, they said almost in unison that I’d told them that artists sometimes gave their works strange names, so they were following suit. Well done, girls!