Thursday, September 26, 2013

Dear you,

From a recent letter I sent to a friend who still does snail mail:

The summer is almost over and while it was fun I’m enjoying the cooler evenings and the shorter days.  It’s a lot easier to get that kid to bed when it’s not sunny outside.  We were busy all summer with everything, and nothing monumental, just life, a happy little life.

We invested in our tiny yard and built a raised garden bed along the back fence and extended the retention wall along the right side of the house.  We gained some much needed extra footage for our bocce tournaments.  Actually, due to the need for good drainage, the field, while nicely sized, is sloped in such a way that there is an unfortunate dip at one end.  If only we didn’t care about the foundation of our house so much…   

The raised flower bed is the perfect size for the amount of effort I want to put into gardening.  I love it, but don’t have the time or patience to get out there every night and weed, prune, dead head and all those wonderfully “relaxing” tasks that a garden is supposed to yield.   We planted some fun perennials, some of which got much larger than the expert at Molbaks said they would, and some annuals for color.  The gerberas (those remind me of you too) did remarkably well and I am happy to invite them back for next year too.  Sadly, the yard is too minute for fruit trees, so you’ll have to harvest from your orchard and know that I am envious.

We took time off in August and went to Denver.  Visiting family is not really the kind of vacation that I prefer, but dragging a 2 year old to Spain is probably not wise.  Plus, she doesn’t have a passport yet and it would be horrific if we couldn’t get her back into the country.  I think the grandparents would revolt.

While in Colorado, we took advantage of the grandparents and Jason and I escaped to Vail for a few days.  We dined in real restaurants, slept in past 6:30 am, and hiked on the mountain.  It was a mini-vacation within a vacation. 

Looking ahead we’ll probably go on an extended camping trip next year and save our pennies for a lengthy trip in 2015.  We’re thinking about a couple weeks in Hawaii.   I get a 4 week sabbatical in my 5th year of employment, and I want to do something memorable.  I’d love to pack it up and go to Europe for three weeks, but we’ll see what finances, the kid and family stuff does to that dream.  Part of the allure of Hawaii is the ability to invite the grandparents to come for a week.  I will return to Italy, but I don’t want to pass up opportunities for grandparent/Lucy events.  If we were younger it would be a different story, but I think it’s safe and polite to say that they might not be up for, or fun on trips forever.   

Work is going well.  I’m far more engaged than I was a year ago and while I’m still working at home I’m more productive and feel like I’m really contributing.  For a while there I was very distracted.  I do miss the office thing from time to time.  Yesterday I took the bus into Seattle for an all-day meeting, and it really was fun to be “in it”.  However, I hated how early we all had to get up and how rushed our morning was, so I’m acutely aware of how lucky I am to work at home.  Lucy and I have time to cuddle and play in the morning and I’m still “at work” before many of the folks in San Jose.

As for Lucy, she’s so great.  What a crazy ride this parenting thing is.  It’s amazing and frustrating and exhausting and fun all in the same day, sometimes within minutes. 
I love her school, and can tell that they really are teaching her things.  Last night we were reading a book before bed and usually she tells me who the characters are “that’s a teacher mama” but last night, she points to the teacher and says “that’s a zebra mommy”.   We’ve been to the zoo a few times, but they recently spent a week talking about animals and it just sunk in.   I’m not saying she’s a genius or anything, she seems to be of average kid brightness, but it is fun to see her world expand.   My mom thinks she’s the smartest kid on earth, but I think every kid knows how to work grandma for treats – Lucy just knows her audience.

She’s quite the chatterbox too.  I am the most fluent in Lucyese, but there are times when things just simply don’t compute.  When we’re at home I can ask her to show me what she’s talking about, but when we’re in the car visual references can be gone in a flash.  She’s got some kid words that I love, but I know they’ll be gone before too long.  We already lost “lala” for Banana and “I You You“ for “I love you” and “milp” for milk.   Yesterday, Jason corrected her on “pee-pop” for lollipop and I asked him to let it be.  It’s not like she’s not going to get into kindergarten or Yale because she doesn’t know how to ask for a lollipop correctly.  I think pee-pop is CUTE, and we can have it for another month or more.
I am sad to report that my child is a nudist.  She was naked in the back yard from May until the rain started just recently.  I’m thankful that we have a good fence and that the Lee’s next door don’t allow their children outside.  No one needs to see that much bum.  Even with religious sunscreen application, combining back yard nudity and swim lessons Lucy changed ethnicity sometime in July.   Come October, she’ll fade back to pasty and rejoin the rest of us vitamin D deficient north westerners.

In the world of Renton, SMLC is undergoing big change.  Kirby was elected Bishop for the ELCA and has left St. Matts.  We’re on the hunt for a new head and associate pastor.  Pastor Maynard signed on for a 2 year stint to get us through it and I was relieved to see him.  As much as some of the more conservative congregations are worried that Kirby is going to race in and breathe ‘grace, love and acceptance’ all over them, I’m equally worried that we’re going to end up with one of those “Christians are better than everyone, especially gays, democrats and women” type pastors.  Not that I really think that guy would get past the committee, but there’s still fear of change.   If they are looking for that guy, I did go to high school with him and he is a Lutheran pastor.  I don’t get his point of view on many (most) things.

So, what else… in other worlds, my parents are good.  Not perfect, but their bouts of getting along seem to be more frequent than the times when they are in their separate corners.  They put their house up for sale after investing in some needed maintenance.  They put on a new roof, painted and put new flooring in the entire house.  It’s a TINY house, but cute.   If they sell, they will move to a townhouse with two bathrooms which I hear is a must when living with a grumpy grandpa.

You can find the house on Zillow.  The only really sad thing is that in the last picture by the barn you can see the burned chicken coup, site of the 2012 Inferno where eight of the best chickens lost their lives to a faulty heat lamp.  “Gee, it’s getting kind of hot in here.”  “Oooh, does someone smell bbq?”

I hope they are able to sell. The yard and adjacent property are a bit too much for them to handle.   Plus, all those chicken ghosts can be really noisy at night.

Jason and I just celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary.  It was a no gifts year, so I of course violated the agreement and bought us tickets to see Michael Buble’ in November.   He bought me 2 gift cards to el Gaucho and we’re going tomorrow to dine on some MEAT.  Happy continued love, but now that the gays can marry in Washington, I’m worried about our family.  I’m not sure how long we’ll be able to hold out.  So far, we’re hunkered down and watching shows like the Walking Dead to learn how to protect ourselves should the hordes of gay people decide to come around to hurt our marriage.  Actually, I’m pretty ticked that my one close set of gay friends haven’t set a date.  I mean, come on, they’ve been together for 15 years, I need a wedding.  Wait… not about me.  That’s right, I keep forgetting.

I hope you both are happy, busy and good.  I hope your mom is in good health and spending time with her friends.   Call and let us know when you’re in town next, we’d love to see you and catch up.  I know it’s hard because you want to see everyone and we’re saddled with this small person who is no fun at a pub, but I do miss you.

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