Friday, July 15, 2016

Special announcement

As many of you know, I wrote a book. 

And then rewrote it, and rewrote it.  I'm on around the fifth or sixth rewrite now with help from my friends over at Scribophile. 

I'm actually going to release it.  I hope to have it out by my birthday (November), so start saving now.  The list price will probably be in the $4 range. You can probably save that much between then and now. 

But that's old news.  The BIG NEW NEWS is this:

I had award-winning artist Russ Thornton create me a book cover and I think it came out fan-freaking-tastic.


OMG, how awesome is that.
I know, right?

So cool. 

Save your money, seriously.  You have to buy it. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Rainier day.

Mom leaves us tomorrow.


Can I get everyone out there to say, "Move up here with us mom!"?

Not today anyway. 

We have subjected her to enough construction and destruction. It was high time for a little pretty.  We woke up early, for us, and set our sights on Mt. Rainier. 

It started off as a beautiful day.

Kautz Creek viewpoint.

The mountain was out and everybody was happy.
The boys got to romp around on some rocks and we all enjoyed the pretty views.  It was a little crowded and one young-ish guy was throwing rocks down into the creek a little closer than I would have liked, but it was okay.

Yes, there were mushrooms.

Ah, zoom lens, I've missed you.
Then we drove on hoping to reach Paradise.

And we did.  Eventually.

First, traffic.

Lots of traffic.
They were working on the road and guiding groups of cars through with a pilot car. We sat for a little over half an hour.  But, hey... Rainier is snowed in during the winter. They have to work on the road sometime.  We finished the drive up to Paradise.  The first parking lot was full, so we drove on to the short term parking lot and it was full, so we drove past that and tried to find a spot alongside the road, but there weren't any for the first half mile or so.  But, we passed this pretty little waterfall, so we got out and took pictures.

Cute little road-side waterfall.

Yeah, this is happening.  BAM.  Long exposure.

Michael and Max found a snow field for some mid July play in the snow.

Then we rotated through the loop and tried again to find a parking spot within the same area code as the visitor's center.


After a full circle, we ended up two car-lengths farther away. I dropped everyone else off at the visitor's center and started the hike back up.


More cars and people who sometimes slow down passing pedestrians

Rainier was going into hiding

And there were more cars. 
I rejoined the family for a meal of low quality, high priced food and then shouldered our way past everyone else in the Pacific Northwest. This is Thursday. Yeah, it wasn't what I was hoping for.

Humanity was all over the place.

People and cars and... this isn't what I want when I go to the mountains.

Screw traffic, I want to go backpacking again.

If you look close, you can see the line of cars along the road.

If this had been my primary experience in mountain environments, I wouldn't want to go back. By the time we left Paradise, I was done. Just done. 

Sarah decided to drive.  She provided one more stop at Narada Falls because, waterfalls.

It was worth the trip.

Hey, wait! Is that water falling over a precipice? I love that!

Nana and the boys all smiles.

Oh yeah, you can feel it can't you?
Long exposure. Stone bridge, waterfall, rainbow.  I'm killing it over here!
It's amazing the difference a beautiful waterfall makes.  The sound alone will change my whole mood.

Happier, we made our way back to the car. The boys needed some hijinks to finish it off. 

Maxie hobbit.

Found some cauliflower fungus.

It was a great day. Tomorrow, we let mom escape home. We miss her already.

Hurry back mom, we'll have your house ready soon.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth

Come on get happy!

Yeah, I'm, stealing Pharrell Williams song.

I had a conversation with a co-worker who had read the blog.

"Man, I've been reading the blog. It sounds like you are having a terrible time."

I was stunned for just a second. Terrible time? Me? Couldn't be further from the truth.

I suppose, looking at it objectively, it could appear that way. I mean, we are finding mold and rot and decrepit crap everywhere. The amount of work required seems to grow the more work we do. It's like some perpetual problem creation machine.

Isn't that cool?

Lemme try to explain.

One of the great things about traveling, aside from gorgeous scenery and meeting cool people, is challenge. I mean, everything is new all the time. There is no regular grocery store, gas station, nothing. You can't go on auto pilot. You have to be engaged, in the moment, and figuring things out as you go, all the time. There are lots of moving parts. We had to deal with the RV, the kids, my schedule, planning trips, budgeting for trips, finding RV parks and all while taking care of the myriad number of things that go wrong in any given day.

Being a traveler means being immersed in your life. Very few, if any, things are done without purpose and thought. Your life isn't led by accident. Sure, beautiful Serendipity comes along and surprises you with something awesome from time to time (as does her cousin Chaos) but you recognize those moments more clearly, I think, because you are so engaged and in the moment of your day-to-day life.

Sarah and I looked at a few houses that were essentially finished. Take the keys, move in and get comfy.

No way.

This house, with all of its faults and projects, requires effort. It requires constant thought and engagement. I've learned so much in just the first what, three weeks, that it is amazing to me.  I always feel like I'm learning and growing more capable as a person. Just like traveling.

So, am I tired? Oh heck yeah? Is there stress? Definitely. But, I am not having a terrible time. Far from it.

I'm like a kid with a real life erector set and it's cool.

I know there will be days when all of this seems overwhelming and I will just want to set fire to the place and be done with it, but not now.  I'm not naive. So I'm squeezing every ounce of enjoyment and enthusiasm out of this I can. And when it gets rough, I'll pull out my ace.

All of this is for me and my family.

Instead of working hard to put money in someone else's pocket, what we do here is for us. It will be done our way, by us, because we thought about it and decided we wanted to.

How cool is that?

If I get any busier, I'll be like Sarah.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

We interrupt our regularly scheduled demolition

A brief interlude:

A problem was creeping up on us. 

We have a dog.  His name is Satchel and he is a wonderful pooch. 

Poor guy, look at his owner.

We have subjected him to this travel lifestyle for half his life.  Unfortunately, time is catching up to him.  The stairs leading up to the RV are pretty steep for an old dog. 

There has to be a better way dad!

He used to bound up and down like it was nothing, but alas, no more.  He was getting really reluctant.  He even fell once or twice trying to get up and something needed to be done.

So, I decided to take my newly discovered handyman confidence and put it to a real test. 

I calculated and measured and even drew lines!

This Old House is brought to you by Crocs. Crocs, the shoe choice of professional carpenters everywhere.

It is taking shape.

I did it. I have a weird shaped piece of wood.
There was some assembly required. And of course, another trip to the lumber yard. Math is hard. 

I didn't do the calculations to see how many steps I would need until after I already bought the first round of wood.  Oops.

Kids!  It's not a spaceship! OK, so it's kind of a cool spaceship.
I nailed everything together, then added a few wood screws just to keep things from backing out and then...

Holy cow.
I know, right!  Listen, I'm as surprised as anyone. Carpentry and whatnot has never been a strong point of mine. This was supposed to be an abject failure. This was all supposed to come crashing down.  Somehow it all went together and worked.

Oh yeah, Satchel won't use it.

There it is...there's that sweet, sweet, failure I'm looking for.

Yup, it terrifies him.  He stands at the top and shakes.  We even put non-skid strips on it to make the footing better but, he still won't use it.  We are going on about five hours now, since I put it up. I am hoping the fear of peeing in the house will outweigh the fear of the stairs and he will use them.

Sigh... I try so hard.

Oh yeah, I added a new door to the back bathroom. 

I had to demolish something.