Holiday Road: Day 4

Monday, December 24

Woke up to a beautiful Southern California morning and drove into an even more beautiful afternoon in Scottsdale, AZ. When we arrived at Tina’s sister, Michelle’s house, Grandpa Tom fell into the pool while playing ball with cousin Xander, but luckily the had the best solar pool heater so the water wasn’t even cold. We spent the next several days with Michelle, her husband Ric and their boys, Xander and Wil. Thomas and Graham loved the time with their cousins and it was good to see Michelle, Ric, Tom and Jan again. We had a wonderful Christmas together and our boys experienced their first-ever Christmas morning gift opening. I got my dad a saw for Christmas. And he loves it. Here are some sliding mitre saw reviews in case you want to buy your dad or yourself one.

Jan and Tom left after a couple of days so that we parents could have a wild night of wine, music and debauchery. We also reveled in the High Definition TV and Uncle Ric gave an impressive demonstration of their excellent home theater system.

Nothing can do me wrong

I burned MP3 CDs for Graham and Thomas shortly after Christmas so they both could have some new music. For some reason, Graham has latched onto a song called “Helmet” by a capella band The Bobs. He listens to it over and over and has committed the words to memory. A couple of weeks ago he started basketball practice and is playing in his first game today. His skills were raw to start, but Tina has been practicing dribbling and passing with him everyday and he’s getting much better.

Thomas has been engrossed with finishing The Legend of Zelda on Wii. They’re not allowed to play Wii during the week, so he’s been playing Runescape, a massively-multiplayer online role-playing (MMOR) game, after finishing his homework every day. He listens to cello music in bed at night while he’s reading. Sometimes he listens to science podcasts while he’s trying to get to sleep.

When Jan and Tom were here over the holidays, Tom mounted our dishwasher to the counter to keep it from tipping forward when the door is open. While working on it, he found what he described as mouse droppings under the dishwasher. Since we had never seen mice or any sign of mice in our house, we didn’t really believe it. Then last week came into the family room asking who had been eating his two pound Hershey Bar. We took a look and it had a very small tear in it and a perfect semi-circle eaten out of one corner. With tiny little teeth marks.

That night we bought a bunch of cheap mouse traps (Does Victor have a patent on that design? They look exactly the same as the ones we used 30 years ago.) and one “live” trap because Thomas asked. One went off the first night but had no mouse. Today as I was making eggs for myself I glanced over at the one on the counter and found that it had a tiny little mouse in it. Graham initially volunteered to be “in charge” of emptying the traps but when faced with an actual dead mouse, he begged off. Our success led us to check the four other traps and found a larger mouse under the dishwasher.

When I was a kid, I was “in charge” of emptying the traps in our house. I was the only boy in the house at the time, so I suppose that’s why I drew the duty. I really disliked it especially when the trap on the heat register caught one. By the time I would find it in the morning, it was half-cooked and pretty disgusting. I don’t know where I was supposed to put the mice, but I always dropped them into the two-foot space between the house and back porch. I remember always trying to open the traps without touching the mice.

Vital Statistics

Two more gift certificates arrived after my birthday. Here’s the rest of the stuff I bought:

Thanks a bunch to Tom & Jan and Tina, Graham & Thomas. As I mentioned earlier has become my favorite semi-annual ritual.

Bike odometer: 220 miles
Weight lost: 32 lbs.
Hours of sleep last night: 7.2
Current reading: I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe, The Prince by Machiavelli
Recent listening: Portrait: The Music of Dan Fogelberg by Dan Fogelberg, DrugMusic, Humpy’s Soul Show, It’s The Jump Off
Recent viewing: Without A Trace, Mystery of the Megavolcano, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report
Recent playing: Zuma
Recently accomplished: Installed memory in Graham’s computer
Imperative To Do: Finish old blog entries, rake, install new hard drive for Thomas, clean garage, return stuff to hardware store
Cool Link: Kittens: Pictures taken by a man in Taiwan who rescues street cats before the government collects and “disposes” of them.