Whidbey Weekend

We’ve enjoyed a fun weekend at Allison’s parents’ beach house on Whidbey Island.  My friend Derek (who was my mentor teacher two years ago) and his daughter, Evie, came for a day.  We went fishing on Randy’s boat (got skunked), played ping pong (Derek skunked me, 7-0… in games, not in points), and most importantly we played a game of Sorry!, which I won thanks to an incredible comeback.  Sorry Evie, maybe next time.  Below are some photos from the weekend.  Randy did catch a fish (a 26 lb King) the next day.  I’d tell you how long it was (I’ll say “very”) but when I suggested we measure it, Derek indicated that no real fisherman measures the fish.  I think this is so the fisherman can spread his arms really wide when he retells the glorious ending to the tale of the time he caught that huge fish.  Then each time he tells it, he spreads his arms a little more.  If he just said 42 inches, well, that wouldn’t be as fun.  


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Back to Blogging

The less busy I am, the more time I have to write about it.  On the other hand, when my life is interesting and I’m actually doing things, I don’t find time to write about it.  So usually you will get to read about the least interesting times. [Ha! As I type this Madeline just barfburped all over Allison’s shirt!]  However, today, instead of writing about the nothing that is going on (hence the blog update), I’ll write about what I can remember happening during the last couple months. 

I went to Adam Kenney’s art show and left feeling cultured but talentless.  I’m glad that Allison and I commissioned him to paint us a Clint Eastwood portrait before he made it big.

Madeline has fallen in love with sucking on her fingers.  She’s a smiley, happy, sleepy little pooper who is nearly three and a half months old.  Here are some recent statistics:

     Madeline sleeps 16 hours a day on average, including  a long stretch from about 9:30 pm to 7 am.  Allison wakes her up, feeds her, and puts her back to bed for another three hours or so.  We are very grateful.  She sleeps more than Allison and me combined.  I haven’t logged the cats sleep patterns in a while, so I’m not sure if she is outsleeping them as well, but it’s close.

     When she is awake, Madeline says really intelligent things like “Mmmehhnnnmm,” “ooooOOOOhhhmmmm,” and “mmmmmmm.”  She drools a lot too. 

     On fussy days, Madeline cries if she’s not being carried around the room and shushed.  I get home at five and think that it’s time to relax, but Allison sees me getting home and thinks it’s time for her to relax.  I’m finally done with work and responsibility for the day.  She’s finally done with responsibility for the day.  It’s me time.  It’s her time.  No, it’s Madeline time.  We trade off duties unless it’s a night where I’m grading piles of papers.

     Madeline’s poop turned green recently with the shift to formula.  It reminds me of the year the Sonics had Patrick Ewing, both in color and substance.

     Allison saw Adam’s paintings and decided to start painting again, which thrills me because she loves it and doesn’t do it often enough.  Plus it means we get to fill our walls with cool art.

     Madeline loves watching basketball, though she prefers March Madness to the NBA.  There was a time that she was feeding (her absolute favorite) and she couldn’t see the TV without turning her head away from her bottle.  But, seeing that the NCAA tournament was on, she ditched the bottle to watch the game.  Really, I’m not making this up.

     I’ve stopped waving to minivans.

     I know that’s not all that has happened, but I can’t think of anything else.  Maybe this blog hasn’t been so eventful afterall.  Sorry for misleading you above.


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Madeline Photos


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The Fecal Report

I was thinking of summarize five weeks of my daughter’s poop in a paragraph or two, but that’d be tough because there have been so many good craps.  To help with concision and in honor of the Academy Awards (which I am currently watching despite my strong dislike for award shows), I’m going to hand out the “Stoolies”:

The Stoolie for Best Color

In the early days of life, a baby’s poop takes on a variety of colors before settling for a while on mustard yellow (Gulden’s to be specific).  But the Stoolie for best poop color has to go to dark green.  When I opened that diaper it was just more fun and unexpected to see than any of the others. 

The Stoolie for Most Well-Timed Poop

There is a tie for this one.  This goes to all the poops that Madeline takes between 6 A.M. and 5 P.M. while I am at school, which means Allison has to change the diapers. 

The Stoolie for Biggest Blowout

Ask Allison.  The real winners always happen when I am at school.

The Stoolie for Best Overall Poop

Without a doubt, this award goes to Madeline’s second poop, less than a day after birth.  Oh man!  Baby’s begin life by ejecting marconium (fancy word for dung) which is a substance that strongly resembles tar in both color and viscosity.  I was very excited to change her diaper for the first time, but it might have been a bit preemptive.  She pooped, so I took off the diaper and cleaned everything up.  Then she oozed marconium.  I cleaned her butt with a baby wipe.  It oozed again.  I caught it with a baby wipe.  It oozed again.  I caught it with a baby wipe.  And so forth, seven times.  Every time I thought she was finished, more tar oozed out the little asterisk (since it really just looks like this: *).  To top it off, she was farting in the middle of one of these so it blew a bubble of tarry poo.  What a moment!

If you read this post and were grossed out or offended, I accept no blame.  The title of the post is “The Fecal Report” so I feel like that’s kind of your own fault for reading on.  Just be thankful I didn’t post pictures.


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New Niece

Allison, Madeline, and I drove our new minivan to Tacoma the other day to meet our new niece.  I waved at fellow minivans on the road (it’s just something you do when you’re in the club) while Allison ducked in shame.  We made a brief Pita Pitstop (which brought back memories of our college days) before arriving at Emily’s house.  I walked up to the little bundle of baby and said, “Hi, I’m your Uncle Henry.”  She didn’t respond for a couple of reasons.  First, she can’t yet talk (this is fairly normal; my daughter is the same way and she’s three weeks older).  And second, she has no name.  Emily and Brian just haven’t picked one yet.  I’m not sure why not.  But I do appreciate that they are putting some thought into the decision rather than randomly throwing together some syllables and calling her “Lafawnda” or something (if your name is Lafawnda, I do not feel the need to apologize).  So, in place of a name, everyone has been calling her by various nicknames:

     Baby Cooper
     The Baby With No Name (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly reference)
     She Who Must Not Be Named (or Voldemorta)
     Jane Doe Cooper
     Mini Cooper
     and, my favorite, “Cousin It”

Here is a gallery of photos from our day.

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Ode to the Red Bullet

Oh wretched disaster!
Oh horrid concussion of bumpers!
Oh pale, uninsured Honda, like a Spanish bull,
How thee saw crimson and struck–aiming
For the rear assemblage of my noble carriage–
But through the impact struck
My heart.

“Too much damage.”
Oh oil-faced grease hound,
Say ’tis not so!  Turn that key and
Give feathers to my Sable’s
Broken wings!

“Not worth repair.”
What is that you say?
How dare thee place mere
Coin above this metallic beast
Of the road!  This is the Red Bullet;
That collected dings in the doors
Like flies on the windshield; that
Unlike others in its class, needed
No left taillight cover
(Finding clear red tape just
as agreeable) to journey over
Mountains, bridges, and speed bumps;
That lost its passenger side mirror,
Under circumstances that remain a
Mystery to this day,
Without complaint; That ran out of
Gas parked facing uphill, but found the strength
(due in part to its master pushing
with his feet against a concrete wall)
To will itself into a downhill position
(at which point master dashed deliriously to catch up)
Causing it to swallow the
Last drops of fuel,
Like a sweet elixer of life,
And triumph in the igniting of its soul.

For this defeated creature, its
Merciless death, and the indifference
With which its revival was attempted,
I weep.

What’s that you say?  No uninsured
Motorist shall injure my property
Without retribution?  Twenty-eight
Hundred dollars!

Oh glorious collision!
Oh grand and noble sacrifice!
Oh brave and aged Sable,
How in thy infinite wisdom (which
was likely acquired by the mile)
Thou hast found the choicest
Way to thy demise and met it with
Courage!  Thy contribution to my purse (which
ends up being more than thy initial expense)
Maketh only a dent (an art in which well-versed
is thee) in the cost of thy replacement.
But what a timely and unexpected dent
It is!  Rather than going to thy grave
With insistence upon expensive burial,
Thou hast offered thy body as food for the

As with all great martyrs,
Thy name shall live on
With the one whose inception
Owes all to thy death:

The Silver Bullet

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Rear-Ended by a Jehovah’s Witness

Being a teacher, I get mid-winter break and I figured there was no better way to begin my break than by doing a little shopping at Target (new basketball, new toilet plunger, new cat toy) and heading home for a relaxing week of hanging out with the wife and daughter.  But as I drove south through Issaquah I was rear-ended by a white Honda Prelude.  I had just come to a stop, since that seemed to be the trend of all the vehicles in front of me.  Mr. White Honda Prelude, non-conformist that he is, tried doing something different.  He continued driving about 35 miles per hour (I’m guessing based on… well, based on nothing.  It’s a guess.) into my rear bumper.  My head flew forward, but luckily I remembered to wear my neck that day which kept it from hitting the windshield.  Some of you may be wondering, “Where were the airbags?”  I don’t know.  I just now thought of that too. 

A small device (wouldn’t want to self-incriminate with insurance decisions pending) flew from my hand and landed who knows where.  I held my foot firmly on the breaks and just barely avoided hitting the car in front of me.  Even though my head didn’t hit anything I was pretty dazed and I think my priorities were a little out of whack.  First I stepped out and checked to see if the guy was alright.  He was picking up his bumper and other pieces of his crappy car from the middle of the road.  My crappy car remained in one piece.  Meanwhile nice cars were probably laughing as they drove by, entertained the same way that rich kids get a kick out of bum fights.  Number two on my list was to get my car pushed to the side of the road so traffic could go by without too much hassle.  So I popped my ’97 Mercury Sable into neutral and pushed it aside so that the nice cars wouldn’t have as much time to laugh as they passed.

For whatever reason, my first reaction was to feel bad for the poor sap who just hit me, and thus have enough pity to not call the cops.  I guess it’s because I have rear-ended people twice before (once going about eight miles per hour and once sliding on a wet road… neither one as serious as this one).  But both times I felt like an idiot, so I assumed that he would feel the same way.  He did, but through conversation I discovered that he really was an idiot, a real nincompoop.  Here were my top five clues with additional commentary because I can’t help myself:

1. “Man, this is a borrowed car too. [Pause] And I’ll be honest.  I don’t have insurance.”

And he has a Minnesota driver’s license with an old address, is unemployed, and doesn’t know the address of the place he’s staying.  Insert profane language here. 
2. “Well, if it’s any consolation, I am a Jehovah’s Witness.   You know what that means?  That means I’m a good guy and you’re not going to get screwed over in this whole thing.”

I think this is where I decided in my heart that retribution must be had for years of invasive front door visits.  On top of that there’s his snide assumption that religion makes a person moral.  In attempting to flaunt his trustworthiness, he left me thinking that he’s nuts.  But to his credit, through the whole ordeal, he did not ask me to join. 
3. Him: “Let’s see if someone will let us park our cars in their yard.”
Me: “Well, mine doesn’t run, so it needs to get towed.  Plus I think yours is leaking quite a bit of fluid.”
Him: “Yes.  You’re right.  You know what that is?  That’s antifreeze.” 

It looked an awful lot more like gasoline with its rainbow coloration, but what do I know about cars?  Nothing.  Except that people don’t like wrecked ones parked in their yards.

4. Pointing at a nearby house with no lights on but with two cars parked out front, he said,”Looks like nobody’s home there, and it looks like they don’t come around very often.” 

This Jehovah guy is sounding more and more shady every minute.

5. “Well, it’d be great for me if you didn’t call the cops on this one.  This couldn’t have come at a worse time for me.  If the cops come, I’m really up a creek.  We could set up a payment plan.”

Smile.  Nod.  Wait until he walks away, and dial 911. 

It’s not just a damaged rear bumper that I’m dealing with.  The car doesn’t start, the trunk is bent, and the right taillight is broken (the left one already was).  It’s probably totalled.  The odds that this guy can cover the damages within one year?  50-1?

My only hesitation in calling the police was that I was having trouble finding my current insurance card.  I found old ones in my glove box, but the new one was nowhere to be found.  I found my cell phone (not to be confused with that mystery device that flew out of my hand during the crash) underneath the seat and called Allison.  She had no clue where the insurance card would be, but said she would look around briefly before coming to pick me up.  Then this is when I called 911.  “Is the other motorist still there?” asked the operator.  “Yes, he’s parking his car in someone’s lawn right now.” 

And then I waited.  Jehovah stopped by a couple of times to share bright ideas on how to leave cars behind and meet up over the weekend to discuss payment plans.  Little did he know, I had betrayed him.  As dumb as it sounds, that’s how I felt at the time.  He trusted that I wasn’t going to call the police and then I did.  That’s betrayal.  But it doesn’t necessarily make it a bad thing.  My wife trusts me too.  She trusts that I won’t be a dumbass and that I will call the police if my car is totalled by someone with no insurance, no job, and no reliability beyond membership in a group that believes we have been living in end times since 1914 and that “heaven” has a limited capacity of 144,000. 

About twenty minutes later a cop showed up.  As he approached my window I noticed he was followed by a short Asian teenager in a black and purple hooded sweatshirt.  He turned and told the teen to step onto the sidewalk to avoid getting hit by the passing cars.  I was confused.  He asked the normal questions and quickly came to asking for my license, registration, and proof of insurance.  I turned to gather the license and registration, and was about to try to explain not having my insurance when the Asian teen opened my passenger side door and handed me my insurance card.  “Why did this Asian teenager just hand me my insurance card?”  I turned and handed all three of the requested items to the officer and he asked if she had been in the car with me during the accident.  I said no and turned to look more closely at the Asian teenager.  Now she was white instead of Asian and 24 instead of a teenager.  It was Allison, my wife.  I know this is strange.  But that is where my head was at the time.

After Allison’s impeccable timing, the cop ticketed Jehovah, filed a report, I called a tow truck and my insurance company and blah blah blah.  I’m covered for being hit by an uninsured driver, so aside from the hassle everything will be taken care of.  Now I have something to bug me for the next week.  Perhaps my car will be totalled and we can dip into our savings to buy my dream car, a minivan.

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