New kitchenette flooring

Continuing our streak of plumbing disasters, the morning after we returned from Seattle, Ben found a large puddle/mini floor in the basement.

We couldn’t see an obvious source for the water. We always suspected there was a drain in the floor, so I started slashing away the carpet. Nothing. Just ancient vinyl and a concrete floor. I slashed farther, trying to find the dry borders. Not the walls, not the fridge, not the boiler-room…we had no idea where it came from. We set up fans to dry the room and puzzled on the source.

Later I showed the kids the problem and noticed a slightly raised portion after it had dried out. I dug into the spot and lo, a drain! Huzzah! The concrete had been blended into some kind of subfloor, maybe gypsum board, to make a level surface over the drain.

We had a plumber snake the drain, as well as the main line leaving the house. We decided to repair the floors ourselves. It took a long time, devoting an afternoon here, a morning there, to each step of the repairs.

I’m very happy to have the project done, 7 1/2 weeks after the flood. We’re happy to have the drain uncovered and waterproof flooring around it. Curses to the previous homeowners who thought covering a drain is a good idea!! Idiots!

SLC with the Walkers

Last weekend we went to Salt Lake City to have a fun day with our friends, Nate and Miranda. No other reason, just that I missed them and asked for us all to get together for a short trip.

SLC is such a cute city. We went from cafe to shop to restaurant all day. Lots of catching up and laughter with good friends. I had a great time. Only it made me miss the days when we could hang out casually all the time.

The kids did very well taking care of themselves and the cats while we were gone for 48 hours. Amanda kindly stopped by to check on their health and safety, before taking them to throw axes and eat donuts. What a good aunt!

7th Grade Cello Concert

Tonight I attended Jack’s winter concert. This was his first concert playing the cello. He did excellent! No surprise, given that he was recently awarded the first chair position. I took videos, sorry if they are blurry from the low lights.

We emerged from the school into our own snowy woods, with fat wet flakes falling fast. At home, Jack enjoyed a Blizzard ice cream that Ben brought him to celebrate the concert.

Official and Unofficial Science Projects

Jack has been working hard on his science fair project for the last month. He had a difficult time coordinating with the school schedule to get data from fellow orchestra students, but in the end he put together a really great project. He measured the decibel levels of the orchestra stringed instruments to see which was the loudest.

Recently Sam’s class had another Makey-Makey STEM unit. They built talking boards. He immediately came home to make his own. He noted how great it was that I had cardstock and even metal brads in our office supplies, and Scratch Jr coding already on his home chromebook – it helps to have a crafty mother and nerdy father.

He demoed the board to Ben, and then he lost the data on his computer before I could see it. Poor guy was disheartened. Kids these days rely on auto-save too much! Meanwhile, I had been 3d printing cases for the classroom Makey-Makey sets. When I got a new printer bed (it had cracked), I made a case for Sam’s Makey-Makey out of special glow-in-the-dark PLA filament.

That gave him the motivated he needed to rebuild the code. Once complete again I had him give me a full tour of his project:

My birthday

I turned 41 this year, woot!

I had a fun day with lots of love from family and friends. The kids made a birthday banner and cards, and together with Ben they showered me with presents. I met Amanda and Becca for lunch and we had a nice, long visit. I quickly frosted my cake, checked on the 3D prints, and went to Boulder for my usual class. The instructor took my playlist requests, so I got to do my favorite dances. I ate tots and nuggets from Birdcall on the drive home, where I ended the cake with cake and a chorus of smiles from my boys. A great day! (I wore the crown to lunch and to the dance studio. It came off after the warm-up song so I could shake freely!) The best part was that r throughout the day I got texts and calls from loved ones 🥰 Birthdays are great.

Sam’s Mermonkey

Sam bought a sewing kit in Seattle for one of his souvenirs. He was so excited to start making it when we got home. He did and amazing job for a first sewing project!

He learned so many of the fundamental skills with this kit. I upgraded some of the supplies and gave him some tips that weren’t in the instructions. He was doing most of it by himself by the end of the project. Look how great it turned out!

Jack the Fisherman & Saturdaying

Jack went on an overnight winter camping trip with the deacons from church. He wasn’t keen to go, but I encouraged him to try it at least once, and to be a good example as the group’s youth president. He ultimately decided to go, and it was definitely a learning experience.

The camping part was cold and uncomfortable for him. He texted me that night “Never been able to understand Bilbo’s misery in the Hobbit more.”

He said the fishing part was fun. They went ice fishing at Pine Valley, near Conifer. He was the first to catch a fish, and the only kid to catch two fish! Here he is with his first trout:

And here’s his other catch, where he was more hands on:

It was a rough night that I’m sure “built character.” The adult leaders said he was a great kid, he set a mature example, and he was helpful and fun.

He’s back at home this morning. After getting clean and starting laundry, I’m letting him enjoy the comforts of home. I think he’s been playing Hogwarts Legacy nonstop – his latest game obsession.

Last night Sam “babysat” himself for the first time at night while Ben and I saw Ant-Man Quantumania at the Alamo with friends. Meh movie, but nice to get out for a change, and always good to see friends. Sam did great on his own.

Today I’m trying to get some 3D prints to work after not printing anything for a year or two. It’s a project request for Sam’s class from the teacher. I’m semi-successful so far.

I also dashed off to Boulder for a hip hop class. Today’s piece was set to a classic anthem by DJ Khalid:

Tonight we’re getting Indian take-out for dinner, and maybe Ben and will I start a Chinese drama series.

I finished Sam’s sweater this week. Now I need to decide whether to finish a pair of socks next, start a new pair of socks with my Seattle yarn, or start Jack’s sweater. I should do Jack’s sweater, but I have to do maaaaath the start. Ugh. At least I have Sam’s sweater measurements to base it on.

Seattle Trip

For Ben’s birthday he wanted to visit Seattle with the family. We had plans to go over his birthday weekend, but our airline had a meltdown of dysfunction, so we rebooked tickets for later. The time had come!

We had an easy and comfortable flight over via Delta. We took a car to the airport and settled into the hotel. The kids really enjoyed the breakfast buffet included in our stay.

Friday morning we went to Fremont to explore their weird sculptures and meet up with Ben’s old friend, Ant. He works nearby, so he took a short day and toured the area with us.

The kids and their friends enjoy a game that Ant helped to create, Astroneers. We saw their office displays and took home some freebies with download codes. It was a very cold morning with misty rain. We marveled at the street art and poked in a few shops (not much was open though).

Back in the main part of Seattle, Ben got chowder at Ivar’s on the waterfront (not pictured). Sam developed cold symptoms during the morning and was slow and chilly. I got him a souvenir hoodie to layer up, and we fueled him with french fries. Slightly energized, Sam was ready for us all to do an underground tour “Beneath the Streets.” It had some interesting facts about the city and its history. We certainly learned a lot, but it was a tad underwhelming and not as “cool” as we thought it might be. A solid “meh.” We went to a nearby cafe to warm up.

Next we went shopping. There was a cool toy store nearby where Sam got a folding cube (sounds lame but it’s a sweet fidgety thing). Then Ant drove us to the International district to browse Kinokuniya bookstore and Uwajimaya grocery store. I ate an amaaaaaazing taiyaki. When she passed it to me she said “Be sure to give your fish a name before you bite off its head.” You were delicious, Marissa.

That’s about it for the night. Sam was out of steam and we were all pretty chilly. We said see ya soon to Ant, and went back to the hotel to rest. The kids got boring Subway sandwiches, while Ben and I had some delicious dumplings from Dough Zone Dumpling House. We also gave Sam a covid test (negative).

Saturday was a social day. After hotel breakfast, we took a car down to the Fauntleroy ferry dock. Sam, feeling better but still sick, loooooved the ferry.

Ant and his family live on Vashon island. His wife and I have always hit it off well, and our kids our the same age and similarly well-matched. We were enchanted by the mossy, dense woods of Vashon. The kids were stoked to spend the day playing video games with other kids. I didn’t take many pictures. We had yummy teriyaki chicken for lunch, and they cooked up Japanese curry for our dinner. Then we took a chilly ferry ride back to the mainland.

One extra stop – I wanted to get vegan ice cream from Salt and Straw. Despite the cold rain, it was delicious.

Sunday was our touristy day. Our first destination was the Museum of Pop Culture. We thought it would be a brief visit, but there was so much to see!

Outside the museum was a climbing playground. Sam wanted to play a long time, we had to drag him away because the rest of us were cold and hungry. We also took some quick pics with the Space Needle. Lunch was in the Armory where a live band was playing in the food court.

We rode the monorail across town to meet our friends at Pike’s Place. Lots of fun shops to browse, lots of treats to fill our bellies, and a disgusting Gum Wall where Ben, Jack, and Sam all contributed to the public art installation.

Our bellies filled, we walked to the aquarium. It was on the pier and had a great mix of indoor and outdoor exhibits.

I made everyone visit the kitschy pier shops with me. I bought a Christmas ornament and the kids road the carousel next to a creepy animatronic shooting gallery.

Finally we went back to the International District for dinner. Ant showed us how to use the lightrail, and we passed the Seattle Art Museum (photo-op). Jack wanted ramen in town, so they brought us to Samurai Noodles. It was a hole-in-the-wall place that we never would have tried on our own, so we gladly took our friend’s direction. Jack said it was really really good. I was stuffed and ordered vegan gyoza to be polite, but ate it all because it was so good. We squeezed in last call at the Beanfish taiyaki stall. Finally it was time to say farewell.

We took our time getting to the airport and still had plenty of time to kill. Jack got a hoodie, after not finding any souvenirs prior in the trip. Ben had a final meal of fish and chowder. Our flight home was crowded but smooth. It was an easy end to a fun trip! Ben had a fantastic time soaking up the Seattle vibes and seeing his good friend again. I survived the chill and hardly ate for three days after because we had so much good food. Sam was feeling pretty healthy by the time we got home. Overall we had a great vacation!

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