Month: May 2011

Threats to our Freedom

Today is Memorial Day, the day we remember the people who died serving in our military. Those people deserve the honor. Unfortunately, it’s become co-opted  to say these people died “protecting our freedom”. It sounds patriotic and respectful, but it’s not true. Soldiers are protecting the country, but our freedoms are protected by our Constitution. Our Constitution is threatened and defended every day, but not by any military.

Abraham Lincoln: “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

The people who protect our freedom every day are lawyers, including politicians and judges, who fight to uphold the Constitution. It’s protected by journalists, who inform and educate the world about threats to the Constitution. People have died doing those jobs too but no one memorializes them as having “protected our freedom”.

I’m grateful that there are people who are willing to risk their lives serving in our military, and I’m equally grateful to the people who spent decades studying the Constitution and the Law and get up and go to work every day fighting threats to our freedoms. When the ACLU sues someone who infringes on someone else’s civil rights, they are protecting your freedom from those who would like to take your rights away. When a lawyer sues a corporation in what people call “a frivolous lawsuit”, they are protecting your freedom to have your voice heard (and having it heard peacefully). When an “activist judge” makes a decision you don’t agree with, they are protecting your freedom from those who disagree with you. When a newspaper publishes a story you don’t want to have heard, they are protecting your freedom to publish a story you want to have heard.

Memorial Day is supposed to commemorate those who died serving in the military. Let’s keep it that way. However, if Memorial Day is going to be changed to be the holiday we honor those who died protecting our freedom, it should include dead lawyers, politicians and journalists.


Another Hudson injury

We went into Seattle to go to University Village. Hudson still prefers not to use the toilet unless it’s on the ferry, which he’s learned will allow him to go out on the deck of the ferry to see the water after he’s done going potty. Today was no exception. I took him and Havana up to the bathroom and, while Hudson was waiting for Havana to finish, he was holding onto the bathroom stall wall while I was helping Havana when an idiot walked into the nextdoor stall and closed the door and locked it, squishing Hudson’s finger in the door.

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Stone Brewing Co dinner @ Volunteer Park Cafe

While Gay went to Costco to buy the hot tub, I stayed at the house to start installing the ladder rack in the basement. Jon and Megan came over at 6 to see the house and Gay got back soon after. We gave them a tour of the house and then went to Volunteer Park Cafe for the Stone Brewing Co. beer dinner, an event I have been looking forward to since we had to cancel our reservation for last year’s event. Dinner was excellent but the beers were mostly standard Stone beers (Levitation Ale, Pale Ale, IPA) and the only Stone beer I hadn’t had before was their Highway 78 Scotch Ale, which unfortunately, is not available in Washington State — I really liked that . Their Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale was the stand-out for me, certainly the best Black IPA/Cascadian Dark Ale I’ve had since it’s a style I’m not fond of.

Hot tub and house update

We’re working on the plans for the house’s backyard, so it’s time to order the hot tub. We went over to Bellevue to Rich’s to see Clearwater Spas and then to Aqua-Quip to see Sundance Spas. We were essentially decided on a Clearwater Spas hot tub but wanted to see them all in-person and select the exact model and check out the color options before committing. We didn’t like the Sundance Spas, so we stuck with Clearwater. They’ve all got Memorial Day sales (it’s not just for mattresses anymore, I guess) right now but it turns out that Clearwater Spas, a local company, is at Costco this week selling them directly. Rich’s would sell it for about $2,000 off their normal price, but we saved an additional $3000 off Rich’s price. $5,000 will buy lots of beer — I love you, Costco!


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House update

I hadn’t been to the house since last week so I wanted to go check on progress. We also got all our Lutron outlets, switches and dimmers so we had to deliver those to the house so the electrician can start installing them next week or the week after. We stopped at The Beer Junction to get some Friday beers for the guys at the house and, with no traffic at all, were at the house 15 minutes later, all the way from West Seattle. Incidentally, today was Seattle’s first 70° day of 2011, the second-longest span in history, short of the record by 3 days.

Powder Room Vanity

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Eva at 5 months

Eva is 5 months old today. Her temperament is still very good and she’s sleeping for long stretches at night more and more often. She is much more active when put in one of her play circle things, spinning around on her own and playing with the toys. She’s not as ticklish as she was a month ago, it’s hard to get her to giggle anymore when we tickle her tummy or neck. She’s started eating solids on occasion and has been very good at it, not spitting it most of it up like the other kids did. She is more responsive when you call her name and turns to look at you.

Eva at 5 months

Eva at 4 months, 3 months, 2 months and 1 month.

Happy Mother’s Day, Gay

Nothing makes me appreciate my kids’ mother than having to take care of them all day by myself.

Gay, I don’t know how you do it, especially with a 4-month baby too and managing the house renovation, I can barely manage it with your help. You’re on top of everything, from meals to clothes to school to activities for the kids. Having a nanny during the week helps, but you do everything the other 128 hours a week. That they’re great kids proves that I have very little to do with it. I’m glad they have you and since they always call for for mommy, not daddy, I know they are glad they have you too.

An Early, Long and Chilly Day at the house

The second big doors were getting installed today and they were using a crane to do it, which I thought Hudson would love to see, so we got up early at 5:30a and packed everyone into the car and took the 7:55a ferry. Hudson woke up asking to see the crane lift the doors (“I want to see the big crane lift the doors”), so my talk about it last night worked.


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Time to sell the Vashon House

Movers came this morning and moved a bunch of stuff out of the house that we’ve (mostly Gay) been packing up the last few weeks. Our listing agent, Bob Bennion, recommended them and, as expected, did a professional job. The mover is Bekins, which we’ve learned is still a family-owned business dating back to 1891 — our agent’s name is Paul Bekins, from a long list of Bekins’ involved in the family business. You don’t see that very often.


Then, Megan and Lori, who work for Bob, came over to get the details on the house and for us to sign the paperwork. They also brought a photographer, Buck (drives a Mini), to take photos of the house for the listing. It should go on the market next Wednesday.

We’re pricing it almost 10% below where all the agents suggested we list it at to get it to sell quickly. Coincidentally, it’s the exact price the house was listed at 10 years ago when we bought it! And that was in a buyer’s market and well before the real estate bubble. So someone is going to get all the improvements we’ve done to it for a 2001-level price.