Day Six – The Finale

It is finished. And now it’s begun.

I’ll tell you this, today’s drive felt a heckuva lot longer than 4 1/2 hours.

Actually that’s not true. The first couple hours were great. It was amazing to see house after house after house that were all exactly what we’ve been looking for in a home. And it was really cool to see all these little towns that, up to now, we’d only ever heard of when browsing Zillow. Like…

“Oh, is that the awesome one in Chester with the chicken coop?!”
or
“Aww, the house in Brattleboro with the swingset sold…”

Those were awesome parts of today.

But then we got on I-91/Route 5 and…nothing but trees, man. Trees as far as the eye can see. Then trees and hills. Then trees and rocks and really steep hills…for an hour and a half. Then, suddenly, Canaan.

Which is not exactly a buzzing metropolis. I mean, it’s barely a town. But there’s a really nice little grocery store just over the state line in New Hampshire.

This river/bridge is the dividing line between VT and NH.

See that brown building there on the right? That’s Solomon’s (Grundy) Grocery. Nice little place. We’ve already been there twice to stock up the apartment.

Ah yes, the apartment. Disappointment, that one.

I mean, I suppose it’s about what you’d expect in an old Victorian house that’s standing on its own in the middle of frozen nowhere. The front door, foyer and staircase are quite nice, however the main entrance to our particular unit is via the back steps which what they lack in beauty, they make up for in dark, rickety, and general death trap-ness. We’re going to have to watch Daphne very carefully going up and down those things.

And the Internet was clearly not upgraded like the website said it was going to be back in March. (I’m currently pulling about 11mb down and 3 up, not even close to the 50mb down that was touted.) This will make working from here a challenge, though hopefully not impossible.

And the amalgamation of skunk weed bong rips that’s emanating from a neighbor’s apartment is mixing liberally with the insecticide smell on the back staircase to make an unsettling olfactory sensation everywhere in the apartment. We had the windows open all day and it helped a little…

Oh! And we just now found a drip in the pipe under the sink drain in the bathroom. We’ll have to call the landlord about that one tomorrow…

But enough about all that…let’s talk about the good things.

Well let’s see…

I mentioned the close proximity to Solomon’s already. And there’s something else that’s even closer…

Yes, there’s a full playground right across the street, which was a big reason why I chose this place…

And that’s about it, really. I’m not a fan of this little place. But I can say with the utmost confidence that living here will light a fire under us to find our new home without delay, so I suppose it’s doing its job.

Okay, I’m very tired now. I carried nearly everything in the car up those rickety steps today, then added 2 trips of groceries and a walk around the park. So I’m heading to bed now.

See you all soon, and hey, thanks for coming along with us on this trip.

Day Five

One more to go.

Let’s see, where did we leave you guys… Midnight in Winchester, surrounded by bed popcorn, right?

We had another late morning today, although a good percentage of that was spent waiting on the DoorDasher to bring us the breakfast we ordered from CVS.

Yes, we Dashed breakfast from CVS. It was a weird morning.

Turns out the selection in Winchester is rather limited. And you’d think, for as nice a hotel as The George Washington is, they’d have some kind of breakfast. I mean, fruit, cereal boxes, coffee, tree bark, anything. But no. Instead we were steered to a couple nearby sit-down diners and a “new donut shop up the street a ways”…and that was it.

So we DoorDashed some morning staples for Daphne which took nearly an hour to arrive. But totally worth it in the end, as she got down hard on some Cheerios and yogurt, and even tried several bites of my Frosted Flakes and seemed to like those as well.

“Daph, breakfast is over. Time to get dressed and head down to the car.”
“Old man… Do you not see me lying here comfortably watching Baby Bum?”
“Here’s what I think of that little plan… You get the Brother Finger.”
Bang.”
“Now run along. And let me know if that Dasher comes back with any more yogurt.”
*grumble* Must be outside his mind interrupting my programs…

Once we got her out of bed and dressed we were off on the longest day of the trip. And she was even better today than she’d been on the prior four days.

Nothing but smiles and giggles in the back seat, all day long. We couldn’t possibly have asked for a better traveling companion.

After a few hours, we made our first stop in Wilkes-Barre, PA. We’d originally planned on hitting the Chick-fil-A there but, man…you thought those lines were bad in Houston?

Good Lord… These people must LOVE their chicken.

A double drive-thru and there was still a line of cars that stretched around the casa del nuggets…twice.

Oh hell no...” was our mutual reaction to such chicky madness, and we sped right by. Unfortunately this is Pennsylvania and, for the benefit of our Texan friends back home, they don’t design roads the same way up here as they do down there.

You know, with logic.

Here there are restaurants with no visible entrance to their parking lots, freeway exits that spin you in concentric circles just for funsies before allowing you to escape, and, in the case of this particular street, NO way to turn around and go back the way you came when you find a chicken house that’s too packed to peck.

So we were somehow funneled right back up onto I-81 because reasons, which forced us back to our original route to try the whole thing again. I don’t know how anyone ever existed up here without a GPS.

Anyway, after that nonsense we gave up on trying to order directly from a restaurant, since the entire process appeared to be just too complicated, and instead went straight to Coal Street Park where we’d originally intended to sit down with our lunch. Daph played for a bit in what was a decidedly mediocre playground (although most would look mediocre after yesterday’s evening at Franklin Park) while I DoorDashed sandwiches, pasta salad, and a potato salad from some place called “PrimoHoagies” that turned out to be really quite good. In fact, their pasta salad was so good Daphne ate all of the rotini out of it… Now that’s saying something.

The issue with lunch was not the food itself, but with the Penguins.

Yes, you read that right.

It seems Coal Street Park shares a parking lot with the practice arena for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton American Hockey League team, the Penguins. And this practice arena was wide open when we first arrived and happened to be searching for a bathroom to change Daphne in.

Jen went inside with Daphne first, found a couple of “NO PUBLIC RESTROOMS” signs leaning against a wall and, being the conscientious person she is, politely turned and left.

I am, most assuredly, not that kinda person.

So I strolled straight in through the automatic doors, past the empty ticket table, and searched around until I found the restroom. Once located, I headed back out to bring Jen and Daph in, but they’d already taken off for the playground instead.

I shrugged and set about ordering lunch and, when it arrived, we went back outside the practice arena to use their picnic tables.

And in the time we’d been gone they’d not only locked the front automatic doors, they’d also placed this in the window:

Subtle.

What’s more, right after we’d finished lunch some spindly woman in knee-high boots came out and made a lady who’d been sitting on a blanket too near their entrance get up and leave. She also glared at us as we drove out for daring to use a picnic table outside their precious facility.

And it is thus how an enemy for life is made.

The Yankees.
The Titans.
Australian sailors.
And the Wilkes-Barre Penguins.

Anyway, we left Wilkes-Barre and began the second leg of the trip which consisted of a whole lot of New York tollway. I’ve no idea how much it cost us to traverse the state (they have this weird toll by text system) but, because we’re talking about New York, I imagine it might be wise to simply ditch the car and buy a new one when they come to collect.

We got into Massachusetts just about sundown, and a golden hue was cast on Jen’s first little New England stone wall of the trip…something she’d been waiting almost a year to see again in person.

We arrived at our hotel right about 8pm, tired and ready to be out of the car. Unfortunately the lobby/office at the little hotel was completely dark and locked up.

Confused, I read the little slip on the door that stated the office was closed after 5pm and that we should call if we had a problem. Or we could simply go to the pub next door and ask them for help. Despite my better judgment, I called first and got a voicemail to which I received no reply.

So I traversed an adorable little wooden bridge that led from the hotel, over a babbling stream, to the aforementioned pub…

And, I gotta tell you, once I walked through the door it was all I could do to stop myself from sitting down at the bar, ordering a pint of whatever local brew happened to be on tap, and to just be still for a while.

But, Jen and Daph were waiting, so I did indeed ask for help. They called the owner of the hotel who drove back and explained that Booking.com has been flaky with their reservations lately, and that they had originally booked us for a room tomorrow night.

She had the vacancy, though (in fact, I think we’re the only people in the hotel) and I did score a free beer out of the deal…

A “Hoosac Tunnel” amber ale…fantastic.

And now, Daphne is striding around the hotel room as if she were rehearsing for an off-Broadway production of “Stomp.”

Actually, there’s a post-script to this video. Turns out she had to poop. And she did so in that far corner over there. So that might’ve been the source of some of the agitation…

Feeling better now, thank you.

And that’s about everything that went down today.

Tomorrow should be a short trip, and one that will take place almost entirely within Vermont. Canaan is roughly 4 1/2 hours from here and the weather report says the high tomorrow there will be 70. Lovely.

We’re almost there…

Day Four

Clear!

Another day northward in the books, and yet another fantastic effort by the little girl in the back seat. Seriously, not a single fussy outburst from Daph, and were in the car for almost 8 hours. I mean, I whined way more than she did today.

The day started better than any other so far on the trip. I wandered over from the guest cottage at around 8 for some real coffee (not the angry hotel room kind) and to borrow the washing machine for a quick load of road clothes. Later, we had a fantastic breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon with blueberry pancakes and then Daph got to play in the backyard with her Great Uncles.

“‘Finished?’ Oh no he’s not, Mom…”
Come with me. We’ve not yet begun to jump and swing.
“See? plenty more swinging to be done!”

While we weren’t at all ready to leave, we had to get the day’s driving started at about 11:30. And it was a good thing we did, since today saw several rounds of utterly inexplicable traffic along I-81. There were a feww warnings of mythical “shoulder construction” zones that never quite seemed to materialize. However this didn’t stop everyone else from slamming on their brakes and looking around…just in case a nefarious and camouflaged construction crew leapt out from beneath an overpass or something and started constructing a shoulder right in front of them.

Unfortunately, all that trafficky nonsense added an extra 45 minutes to the total trip length today. But, as I mentioned, Daph took it all in stride, singing with Scout in the back seat and/or playing with her fidgets.

We rolled into Winchester, VA at about 7:30pm and found our hotel, The George Washington, in the middle of town. After getting our luggage up to our room, we went down to their indoor pool to make good on a promise made over a month ago…

Jackpot.

Mom and Daph swam and bounced in the pool for about an hour while Dad took pictures and caught up on the day’s work email. Then, after a strangely reluctant bath, The Great Popcorning began.

I figured that Daphne and I would share a bag of microwaved popcorn as a snack before bed. That is, until she totally snatched it from me and proceeded to eat the entire bag by herself. So, I made another one for me.

She ate half of that one too.

So I made another one.

She ate that entire bag, and then another one after it. Then Jen finished her shower and had a bag as well.

All told we nuked 5 bags of popcorn, of which the little girl put away 3 1/2. And then she promptly passed out in the bed, which is where we all are right now. And so I don’t risk waking her up with the screen light and incessant keyboard tapping, I’m going to call it a night here.

Tomorrow is that long day I mentioned in the first post I made outlining our trip, and should see us officially cross the Mason-Dixon line early in the morning’s drive. Later we’ll try a pit stop in Wilkes-Barre for lunch and a swing-stretch session, and the day should wrap up at the last hotel we have booked…in Williamstown, MA, which is juuuuust south of Vermont’s border.

See you there.

Day Three

Third one done.

And pay no attention to the map above, we actually did decide to take the faster route that’s at the bottom of the image and run through Atlanta. Although “run” is not a verb I’d use for what happened there. “Crawl at a maddening pace (at 2pm on a Tuesday) while sociopathic drivers gleefully cut each other off at every opportunity” is more appropriate to our experience on the ATL freeways this afternoon.

But once again I’m getting ahead of myself. Set the Wayback Machine to Gadsden, Alabama, earlier today.

Daphne woke up at about 4:45 am for the second day in a row, and proceeded to take what is fast becoming her usual morning routine: stompy laps around the hotel room. Now, conventional wisdom would suggest that we all just get up and start our day with her, since we were all already awake…
But, I mean, tired.
So when Daph did eventually crawl back into bed and fall asleep at about 7am, we followed suit and ended up sleeping in until almost 9. Which put us quite a bit behind at the outset of the day.

But we made pretty decent time, and there was infinitely better scenery today.

I think this is Lake Hartwell? It’s just over the border in South Carolina.

Eventually we hit the mountain road that I mentioned yesterday, which is an always entertaining drive. Here, why don’t you ride along with us for a couple minutes?

Yes, that’s Daphne’s toy “Scout” singing in the back seat… Yes, it does that for hours. Yes, I’m tired of hearing “Twinkle Twinkle.” No, I’m not going to take it from her.

We eventually made it up the hill to Brevard to see our family here, and almost instantly whisked Daph off to Franklin Park for a serious bout of swinging and playing…a treat she’d absolutely earned for being so wonderful in the car again today.

Alas, Daph’s poor little bowels gave up the good fight after we’d been here for about an hour, and she hid behind the mural of Mount Poopsuvius there and did her thing, which signaled time for an exit and an uncomfortable walk back home.

We got her cleaned up and were then treated to some fantastic homemade fried chicken and potato salad for dinner (much better than Pearl’s in my estimation…) along with slices of chocolate cake. All of which was a more than welcome respite from previous days of DoorDashing and/or car snacking.

Now it’s gotten late, and we’re all lying right here in this bed together…

Daphne is snoring softly, Jen is catching up on her Instagram feed, and I’m about ready to call it a night and see if we can’t actually manage an earlier start tomorrow so we can spend some more time with our family before we have to head out again.

Speaking of which, tomorrow’s leg is a 7-hour one that will see us heading all the way up to Winchester in northern Virginia, so it’d probably be a good idea to get some rest now.

See you up there tomorrow.

Day Two

Another one down.

Today saw a sizeable amount of open-field running as it was our first “full day” of driving. And I won’t bury the lead, Daphne absolutely rocked her part.

She sang happily in the backset for hours while Dad explained the importance of listening to at least one Bruce Hornsby and the Range song on a car trip to North Carolina. (And just the one will do, thank you.) She played with fidgets, read her “speak aloud” animal book, nibbled on Goldfish, and was as generally pleasant and giggly a traveling companion as you could possibly ask for.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves… First, we had to leave Baton Rouge.

So we all slept in rather late this morning, which may or may not have had something to do with a certain little girl waking up and running laps around the hotel room from 5-7 am before going back to sleep.

And so we missed out on the hotel breakfast which, honestly, did not really sadden me.

I’m still working on my Reentry Plan after being on COVID lockdown for the past year, and sharing scrambled quasi-eggs with a bunch of unmasked travelers is not something I’m ready for here in stage 1. In fact, just riding in the elevator and seeing other people’s fingerprints on the stainless steel was enough to give me the jibblies…

So, we get no breakfast.

Fortunately, there was an angsty little single-serving coffee maker in the hotel room, so I at least got a bit of caffeine and some mild terror to help me start the day.

The halfway mark for the day was in Laurel, Mississippi, where I’m told they film a reality television show of some kind.

We stopped for lunch at Pearl’s Diner, which came very highly recommended despite both my wife and my daughter acting like I’m the iPhone paparazzi and they didn’t want to be seen at such an establishment.

Although I suppose that wasn’t far off the mark, as the eponymous “Pearl” apparently showed up as I was taking this shot, and I happened to snap a picture of her too.

I really have no idea who this person is other than the owner of a diner with some pretty damn good fried chicken. (Jen was a huge fan of their Red Beans, Rice & Sausage with a side of Okra Goulash and jalapeño cornbread.) But all those people on the street shouted excitedly when she drove up and clamored to take lots of pictures with her, so I guess she’s part of the television show.

Anyway, lunch was very good. You should check it out if you ever happen to be in Laurel.

Our next stop was to pick up some yogurt for Daph to have for lunch (Okra and fried chicken aren’t her thing), and then head over to the aptly named, Daphne Park there in Laurel.

A quick 30 minute swing/lunch session later, and Dad had to be the bad guy and get us all back on the road.

But even then Daphne was exceptional. I kneeled down and explained to her that we had to get back into the car, and that swinging was over for now. She pulled away for a moment and pointed back at the swing and looked up at me, wide-eyed… So I had to be the cruel, horrible, father that I am and say “no, I’m really sorry, sweetie…but we have to get back in the car now. We have to go.

She just stood there for a moment, looking at the swings wistfully, then she hung her head and took my hand and we trudged back to the car.

I know she’s my kid and all, which implies some bias, but seriously…she’s a truly wonderful little person.

Anyway, we got back on the road and went straight through to Gadsden, Alabama, and there was nary a tear or fussiness from the back seat. Just a lot of singing and playing and giggling.

We Door Dashed some Wendy’s, Daph had her bath, and now she and mommy are lying in bed having a Goodnight Moon session while I’m here typing all of this up.

Tomorrow we head up the hill to Brevard, which should be a shorter overall day than this one, however much more vertically oriented than today’s path.

See you there.

Day One

Day One: Complete.

We’ve arrived safely at our hotel in Baton Rouge.

The trip today was pretty uneventful, which is exactly how we’d hoped it would go. Especially considering that, for all my bravado last week, we broke our 3-hour rule straight out of the gate and did a shot from Pearland to Baton Rouge…a 4 hour trek.

But Daphne did exceptionally well, spending the entire time playing with the parade of fidgets, books, and toys that our family was kind enough to ensure the car was stocked with, while I filled up the rest with the barest essentials of life.

Like Cloudspire with all the expansions, a coffee urn, my Birks, and McGnabb the Yard Gnome.

Speaking of the car, it did fantastically well today too. (Despite riding low from all the above detritus being jammed into its trunk/backseat.) Naturally the gas mileage took a slight hit from the extra weight but, hey, an extra gallon of gas or two could never get between a man and his gnomish life partner.

We traversed the strange and unsettling “Freeway on Stilts” that spans the Atchafalaya Basin, and avoided being attacked by alligators, swamp people, and/or the denizens of Vidor, TX, all to arrive safely in Baton Rouge.

Shortly after checking in we Door Dashed some dinner from Red Robin (at which Daphne promptly turned up her nose and demanded microwaved popcorn instead), and we are now all lying in bed together, generally decompressing from today’s car trip.

One of us has a mouthful of microwaved popcorn and the other just looks like he’s been microwaved.

Entertaining parental post-script to the above picture? A good percentage of that popcorn in her mouth somehow escaped and ended up as a kernel-y paste that has since been mashed into the sheets. So now the hotel room smells like a dollar movie theater and we’ve got 20-grit, exfoliating bed linens.

Tomorrow the plan is to take a morning dip in the pool and then bug out of here after a quick chlorine rinse off. We’ve already marked out our first “midpoint” rest stop, and I’ll do my best to get more pictures. (A difficult feat to accomplish while driving.)

See you then.

T-minus Five

Houston, we are five days from launch.

I’d like to say things have been super busy here in preparation for the trip but, if I’m being totally honest, I pretty much pencil sketched this whole thing into place a month or so ago. So right now it’s a lot of just waiting around and/or working.

Not necessarily in that order.

While drawing it up, I spent some time attempting to calculate how long we could drive each day and still maintain a happy Daphne, which has been estimated at roughly 7 hours, with an hour break in between for lunch/park playing. I also searched out hotels with indoor pools through the entirety of the trip, with the exception of one night when we’re staying with family. So hopefully this whole thing will end up being a good time for Daph.

Just in case you’d like to play Indiana Jones with us, here you go:

And there you have it.

Okay technically Day 5 does exceed my 7-hour limit, but hopefully we’ll have worked up the stamina for that leg by then. Just in case, though, we’ll be sure to have an extra long lunch in a park somewhere in the vicinity of Mt. Cobb.

After that there’s just a short hop from there up to Canaan where, at the time of this writing, it is a beautiful and clear 30° evening.

That’s not to say the next several days here in town are going to be easy ones, mind you. They’ll be filled with lots of last minute wrap-ups, puzzling out a Tetris block of luggage in the rear cargo area of the Outback, and, of course, some difficult goodbyes.

As truly wonderful as everyone has been with allowing us to camp out during the unexpectedly long waiting period between the sale of our house and our eventual egress, I think we’re all ready to move on and start this new chapter of our lives, whatever that may bring.

I know I am.

See you in a few.

Freeze Tagged

As many of you have no doubt seen, Texas had a bit of a cold snap a couple weeks ago.

And, if I’m being entirely on the level with you, these pictures were taken while that house in the background there was still quite toasty warm inside.

Alas, that was not to last…

Later, on the very same afternoon these were taken, our power went out and, suddenly, all this weather became less beautiful, and a lot less entertaining.

But we waited for a while. And then for a bit longer. And then waited some more. And then…
Nothing happened.
The power just didn’t come back on.
And that nice warm house got cooler…and cooler…and colder…and colder…

Until, when it was time for bed that night, it had dropped to the mid-40’s in the house.

Seriously, Texas?

And then, well, nothing happened some more.

The temperature continued to fall, and it eventually dropped to about 5° outside, and 40° inside, which prompted the saddest Bumble Blanket Ninja you’ve ever seen…

My aqueous humors are not finding this humorous.

Later the next afternoon, the power did return…sorta.

We were provided just enough juice to gently illuminate the lights in the house, as if every lamp had a dimmer switch that’d been set to about 30%.
But! It was enough to run the central heat for a short while.

And thus began the cycle of brownouts. We’d have power for about 90 minutes, the heater would churn along and get the inside temperature up to about 50ish, and then the power would go back out for 45 minutes. Rinse. Rime. Repeat.

This went on for the rest of the day, with each subsequent brownout becoming shorter than the one before, until, eventually, the power came on and just stayed on. Roughly 36 hours after it had originally gone out.

Unfortunately, Jen and Daph were not quite so lucky.

The electricity in Sugar Land had gone out long before ours, and it had remained out the rest of that night. The following day, after roughly 48-hours sans power, they got a quick reprieve from the local blackout and sent me the following text…

“H-h-hii D-d–da-d-d-dyyy

And Jen explained to me that it was about 37° in their house, and had been for the past day.

Oh. Hell. No.
My wife and little girl are freezing.

So I bolted from my work computer, grabbed a jacket and an extra blanket, borrowed my grandmother’s car, and was out the door in about 20 minutes with a plan to cross the frozen tundra, a.k.a. I-10 East, from Seguin to Sugar Land.

Now this trip takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes under optimal conditions. This time it took me 3 & 1/2 hours. And I’ll tell you, it looked utterly apocalyptic out there.

I lost count of how many large Texas trucks were sitting in ditches along the side of the road. (Funny thing happens on ice when there’s no weight over those back tires, guys…but I suppose you really had no way of knowing that prior to all this.)

But for me, all those nights spent slaloming down Parley’s Canyon in my Mitsubishi Toboggan Eclipse paid off, and I arrived safely both to and from Sugar Land, bringing Jen and Daph out to Seguin where a warm house awaited.

“Let’s not do that again, Daddy.”

A few days later I drove them both back to Sugar Land (they’d only brought emergency clothes with them) then tried to beat my best lap time back to Seguin on the following day.

And that, dear Bumble Readers, is how we rode out the Great Texas Winter Storm of 2021.

Now, all this being said, I understand that this weather was but a precursor to the winters that await us when we make our trek northward here in about 4 weeks. But at least there the infrastructure is prepared for such eventualities. I know I certainly will be.

And, just between us, you can be damn sure I’m not letting either of those girls out of my sight during that kind of storm ever again…

Oh, Hi.

So, it’s been almost 2 years. But, honestly, it’s not like a whole lot has really happened in that time.

Okay, just looking at those pictures of Daphne’s 4th birthday party down there, of being in a public water park, with…
**shudder**
other people.

Ugh, it’s givin’ me a case of the skeevy virus jibblies somethin’ fierce. Although it’s possible I’ve just been living in COVIDIA for too long.

So, um, hi!
How are you? How’s things?
Good, good…
Us?
Well, I’d love to tell you that things with us are status quo, that our little lives are virtually identical to when I left you all, back in the heady, innocent days of the spring of 2019. That our family is the bedrock upon which you may all anchor your sense of normalcy… But that wouldn’t be true. (And if you’re looking to me as a tether to reality, God help you.)

No. We’re in some serious flux right now. Deep flux. Things are pretty fluxxed up. Might even say we’ve nearly hit our capacity for flux.

We…

I…

No, there is too much, Let me sum up… In the past 30 days we’ve:

  • Sold our house
  • Sold both our cars
  • Sent most of our worldly belongings rattling across the country in the back of a large tractor trailer
  • Moved in temporarily with our respective parents
  • Purchased a Subaru Outback that appears to be on automotive Paxil, and only starts when it feels up to it,
  • Jen has left her job
  • We short-term rented an AirBnB in occupied Canada Canaan, VT for 3 months, beginning in April
  • We’ve had our first round of COVID shots
  • And are in the process of finding a small amount of New England acreage upon which to begin a new homestead-y existence.

Yeah, I know. You should go back and read all that again. It’s been a busy 2021 for us so far.

“I’m pretty sure there used to be a couch right about here,”

Anyway, as a result of just how fluxxing weird things have gotten of late, it made sense to try and to keep this thing updated a little more. In case some of you might like to hear about what we’re doing, where we’re going (we’re not even sure of that yet), and generally follow along in what will undoubtedly be a cornucopia of comedic errors that would make Voltaire roll his eyes.

I can’t promise how often I’m going to be able to post just yet. But I am going to make a good faith effort to, at the very least, document a little of these adventures for posterity.

So let’s get back to Bumblin’.

j.s.

Dear Daphne – 4 Years

We celebrated your fourth birthday on Saturday.

Technically, your birthday was on Sunday, but we decided to rent a couple cabanas at Schlitterbahn, a water park down in Galveston, and it was easier if we did so on Saturday.

Daddy took a little siesta in the hammock…

While you swam for hours…

You rode bravely down a couple waterslides, and then played a rousing game of “Just How Much Sand Can I Fit into My Swim Diaper?”

We took a lap around the Lazy River too.

And your poor father is still feeling the effects of all that sun radiating down atop his defenseless melon.

Everyone had a really fantastic time, and I think you had the best time of all.

Which is a sign of a birthday party working as intended.

Another entirely different development that’s happened of late is that I have, on rare occasions, had to become “The Bad Guy.”

Take, for example, last night. During dinner.

You decided that you were done with your food, signed “finished!” and summarily left the table. All these things were fine.
However, you still had a mouthful of chicken nugget when you did them.

Your mother and I tried to calmly explain that you simply cannot go play with a wad of processed chicken in your mouth, yet you refused to listen to our sage advice. Instead, you careened around the living room, wielding your new sit n’ bounce ball like a morning star versus a vile and evil ice dragon Jib.

And so, playtime had to be interrupted, and Dad had to come over to remind you that Daphne does not run Bartertown.

At this point, anything that might’ve been recognizable as “food” had dissolved into an slurry that you’d tucked into your lower lip like a wad of orange chewing tobacco.

And yet, you refused to relinquish this, your chicken chaw.

And so..Dad had to go get it.

It took several attempts, because you were being rather unhelpful throughout the process. Eventually I had to pin your hands and hold your face still while I scooped it out with my finger, a process that you and I both found equally disquieting.

Your response to this was to simply cry, and cry some more, and then cry even louder… But then, you reached your tiny arms around my neck, and hugged me in an effort to get me to stop.

And that little maneuver shattered your daddy’s heart into a million pieces.

Maybe we can work on a Bartertown triumvirate…

You’ve started full days at school this week, and it’s actually worked out pretty well so far. (Granted, it’s only day 3…but we’re hopeful.)

It gives your teachers more time to work on that whole potty training thing, gives you some extra time to play (you’re really enjoying a little thing called “recess”), and it gives mommy enough time to be able to leave work and pick you up from school.

And you’ve been doing fantastically well during these longer days, earning nearly all “+”s on your daily progress reports. (Except for puzzles; you hate doing puzzles.) Your mommy and I are very proud of what a smart and kindly little girl you are, and your teachers absolutely adore you. Hopefully you’ll always love going to school in the years ahead.

Years.

Four years…

It’s hard to believe that this is only our fourth ride around the sun since D-Day. Time is indeed a strange, wibbly-wobbly thing.

The lives that we lived before you became our little girl seem foreign, very far away, and strangely quiet (despite how “busy” and “stressed” we thought we were back then). And yet, it was not nearly long enough ago that you fit so perfectly into the crook of my arm.

I’m trying everything I can think of to be mindful during every amazingly lucky day that I get to be your daddy, and yet you’re still growing up way too fast.

I love you more than you’ll ever know, my little girl.

-Daddy-