Sunday, July 31, 2016

Cut and Color

Sam got his haircut today, which turned out to be a bit complicated. He wanted to cut all of the green out, to avoid having green tips, but that would mean cutting it shorter than he wanted. So he had to get a $50 “cut and color”. He made a 3:00 appointment with Nelly and everything worked out pretty well. 

Later in the day, Pete drove Dad and Sam to Ledo for dinner, since Mom was at Katie’s house with Ryder. On the way home, they drove past a guy walking backwards and then Pete put gas in his car for the first time. Dad gave Pete an S+ grade for the impressive lengths to which he went to secure his PIN as he was entering it.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Gym Captured

Pete and Sam captured the local gym today for red team (Valor) at the playground near Chris Korrie’s house. This would be the first of many conquests at the local battlefield.

Friday, July 29, 2016


Pete went to see Dr. Yang this afternoon to get his second ingrown toenail repaired. Hopefully he can walk again for work on Monday. Pete took the 2009 KIA Spectra in to Virginia Tire and Auto for safety inspection, emissions inspection, and oil change. So it is in good shape. The only repairs were two light bulbs in the front and new wiper blades. Mom also bought a license plate bracket for the front, so that is now attached as well. The low-priority items left on the list are the scratched hubcaps, buffing out some scratches in the paint, and finishing up the registration and Loudoun decals. Pete has two PNC bank cards now – the orange one is his regular account with his work money and savings, and the silver one is his car account with some money from Nana and Poppy plus the money Dad is giving him for not going on the school trip to China.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Team Bagel

Last night was trivia night at Greene Turtle. Unfortunately, the guy on the phone was not correct that it started at 7pm, so round 1 had already ended when "Team Bagel" (aka yours truly) arrived. However, they made a miraculous comeback and ended up finishing in 2nd place, good enough for a $10 gift card. This included a perfect 36 points in the closing rounds 4-6, and a full wager of 15 points on the final question (answer: Microsoft and Intel). Sam sat in the front seat with Pete on the short trip home – Pete’s first driving experience in the rain at night. Later in the evening (after Mom had gone to bed), the crew walked down to Fultonham Circle in the pouring rain to look for a Squirtle that had been spotted nearby  (not found).

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Ducks Unlimited

Dad and Pete headed out at 7:45am for the DMV, to get the title transferred over and registration. Pete could not decide what license plate to get. He finally settled on “Ducks Unlimited”, but the clerk did not speak English and couldn’t find it so Pete agreed to the cardinal (aka “the one with the RED BIRD on it”). The good news is that the paperwork was in order (with Dad scrambling to fill in the last few items while Pete distracted the guy at the counter). Later in the morning, Pete saw Dr. Yang to get the first of his ingrown toenails repaired. Sam did not want pork chops or fries at dinner, so his food intake for the day was a donut, some whoppers, chocolate milk, and a chocolate muffin.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Philly Trip – Day 3

The final day of the Philly Trip began with Dad, Pete, Grandma, and Grandpa taking a 9am trip to PNC bank in Philly (Academy Road) to get the title to the Kia Spectra notarized. Everyone then headed over to IHOP in three cars. Grandma asked some Chinese people at the next table if they were Filipino. Dad talked to Grandpa about how to manage the data on his phone. Then it was time for goodbye hugs. 

Pete drove the Kia with Dad and Sam, and after a brief unplanned trip across the Ben Franklin Bridge into New Jersey they met Mom at the Safeparc garage back in Philly. On the walk to ESC Escape Room, they stopped at a cool gallery sponsored by which was tied to the DNC convention. Since the Escape Room was not ready yet, they walked over to the Liberty Bell. 

Dad was ironically denied entry due to his DNC bingo card, but he stashed it and got in for a brief view of the bell. The escape room was fun (other than the 15 minute delay in starting) and they escaped well within the hour without requesting any of the three hints they were allotted. It was called “Moving Madness” and the theme was that you are very security conscious and locked your keys away an hour before your house was scheduled to be demolished. 

Pete did a good job driving home from Philly on I-95 and the beltway – his first major highway experience. Despite the stop at Wawa, his “knees were burning up”, so they stopped in Reston for dinner near Dad's office.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Philly Trip – Day 2

Grandpa made some French toast and then the gang headed out at 9:30am for Six Flags Great Adventure. There were a lot of Pokestops there, which helped Sam forget about the heat index being in the 100s. They went on the following rides (in order):

·        El Toro (twice)
·        Bizarro (twice)
·        Runaway Mine Train – Dad disappointed with the theming
·        Skyway
·        Fender Benders
·        Nitro (twice)
·        Safari Tours (twice) – slow enough for Pokemon egg incubation!
·        Batman: The Ride
·        The Dark Knight Coaster
·        Harley Quinn Crazy Train
·        The Joker
·        Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom
·        Kingda Ka
·        Green Lantern

·        Superman: Ultimate Flight

After the storms shut down the rides, they headed home and got back in time to have dinner with Grandma and Grandpa at Sarappo’s. At dinner, Dad was trying to do a trivia quiz of Sam vs. Grandma, but Grandpa kept interrupting with True/False questions that were either excuses to tell stories or things that he subsequently realized that he did not know the answer to.

They went back to home base and moved everything around so they could pull out the bed.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Philly Trip – Day 1

Today was day 1 of the brief Philly trip. On the way up, the family stopped at Fort McHenry for lunch. Dad entertained everyone with some Fort McHenry trivia. He almost never made it to the second question, since the answer to the first question was “star”, which led to a long side discussion about whether that is the same as a decahedron. Then after discussion of the Treaty of Ghent, there was further debate about whether Belgium is a “significant” country in Europe. 

After arriving in Philly, they went with Grandma and Grandpa to “Five and Below”, followed by dinner at La Vera pizzeria in Feasterville. Sam and Pete each got $10 to spend at Five Below. Sam got headphones and candy. Pete got a t-shirt and candy. They should really call that store “candy and iPhone cases”. After hitting Rita’s on the way home, they marveled at the size of Grandpa’s wallet and then did a jigsaw puzzle while watching some of the Democratic Convention (from Wells Fargo center in nearby Philly) and Pete and Sam went down to the moldy basement for bed.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Super Powers

Sam randomly asked Pete and Dad “You know what would be a great super power? If you could fill anything”. This led to an amusing discussion about all of the things you could fill with this power. Like filling someone’s car with pennies. 

Another super power idea was the ability to just make socks. There were many other ideas that ensued, but don't worry; here we are just listing the "good" ones.

Friday, July 22, 2016


Dad is working on his “Chiptopia” rewards from Chipotle. Pete and Sam have been planning who they are going to invite to the big party when they win $200 of free catering for 20. All they have left to do is go to Chipotle 33 times in July, August, and September.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Please No

Pete and Sam came upstairs around 11:30pm and joined Dad for the last few minutes of Trump’s speech accepting the 2016 Republican nomination. It was just after the part when he said he is going to “completely rebuild the military” and “renegotiate all of our trade agreements”. This was the rare case where everyone is hoping (if he somehow gets elected) that the President won't be able to do what he promises.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Microwave Tips

Tonight’s dinner was burgers, hot dogs, chips, and broccoli. Pete asked for some warm barbecue sauce, so Dad put the container in the microwave. The bottle emerged from the microwave in a different shape than it entered, to some moderate amusement of everyone except Dad. Then Pete discovered that he could eat the ends of the watermelon like a platter. He also instructed Dad to search on the internet for watermelon juice.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Kingpinz Family Outing

Nana and Poppy were in town for 3 days, with tonight being the final one. Everyone met them at KingPinz for a fun farewell outing. Afterward, Mom went home to meet up with the neighbors while Dad, Pete, and Sam walked around the Village at Leesburg for about an hour to catch some Pokemon.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Appropriate Path

Dad and Pete headed out at 7:15am for work this week in Reston. Pete is teaching inline skating this week. Unfortunately there are no Pokestops this week near the camp location. Last week, Pete was able to go by the stop a few times each day by "volunteering" to take the campers to the bathroom, and taking the appropriate path toward the facility.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Harrisburg Trip – Day 3

Dad managed to wake Sam up in time to throw some clothes on for the group pictures. Pete finally got to play one game of pinball and then it was time to check out of the house. The Bermans, Merrimans, and Brian/Patti swung by Culhane’s Steak House for lunch. The Escape Room in Harrisburg was all booked up, so they headed home.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Harrisburg Trip – Day 2

Day 2 of the Harrisburg trip (at Canna Country Inn) began with a 10am wake up for the first Monopoly game. Sam won the game, despite Dad taking over for Charlie near the end. The afternoon included Cornhole, Kan Jam, Brian’s Escape Room, Spike Ball, a walk to look for some Pokemon at the playground, Kabul, the Variety Show (in which Pete and Dad performed “Blackbird” - pictured above), some of the 5 watermelons, a cookout, more s’mores, and capped off by a midnight game of  Monopoly (this time won by Eric). Sam fell asleep in a chair.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Harrisburg Trip – Day 1

Pete came home from work, took a shower, everyone scarfed down some Chick-Fil-A, and hit the road for the annual trip to Pennsylvania. Day 1 included a walk down to the “Cove” and “Creek”, pizza, s’mores, and Eric’s crazy board game called “Betrayal at House on the Hill”. The boys all crammed into one room and (presumably at some point) went to bed.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Road Adventures

Mom rode along every day with Pete this week to the camp he was working at Cub Run in Chantilly. Dad was occupied with some customer training classes, so he missed out on this week's road adventures.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Chandler Wings

In addition to being free Slurpee day, tonight was 50 cent wing night at the V. The family went and asked for a table in Chandler’s section. By the way, if you go out to get 50 cent wings the total bill somehow comes out to $43.80. They were pretty good wings, though.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

McFlurrys Tell No Tales

Mom and Dad went to see a concert in Leesburg. Of course, Pete and Sam were not interested in joining. Upon arriving home, Mom noticed a McDonald’s McFlurry lid on the kitchen table that had not been there before. The secret was out – which was that Pete and Sam had made an illicit trip to McDonald’s. (Pete is not allowed to drive by himself for another few months.)

Saturday, July 09, 2016

License Part II

Mom and Pete went to the DMV at 8am to get a replacement copy for the license that disappeared with his wallet at Red Robin. They bravely took on the line for a few hours, but emerged with the paperwork that Pete needed to commence his driving lessons at 11:30am with Saby from SA Driving School.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Pokemon Go Danger Walk

Pokemon Go came out this week. Pete and Sam got off to a quick start, while Dad discovered that sadly the app is not supported yet on the Galaxy S3. So he has been using Mom’s phone. This evening, Pete, Sam, and Dad went out at 11pm to walk around the Cheltenham lake in the dark.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Blanket Solution

Now that school and camp are over, and Sam is home during the day, he has been having some glare issues on his computer screen. Today he rigged up the “blanket solution”, which had the unfortunate combination of being ill-conceived and poorly executed. Anyhow, if you see a hovering blanket moving around in your peripheral vision, it is not a ghost.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Wacky Wednesday Trivia

After dinner, Pete went off to Wacky Wednesday trivia night with his friends at Kingpinz. Sam suggested a game of Scrabble for those who remained at home. At the end of the game, Dad make the mistake of showing Sam the 8-letter word he was going to make with his remaining tiles. Of course, Sam promptly made a word in the spot he was planning to use.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Anniversary Dinner

Mom and Dad went to Purcellville for their anniversary dinner, so Sam joined Pete and his friends for viewing the local fireworks, which of course in Ashburn Village are on July 5th. Sam was home for a few minutes after that, and then headed back over to Jennifer’s house for some “sparklers”, which apparently takes a few hours since he was not seen again until about 11:30pm.

Pete has been getting some practice driving to Vienna this week. He is working full days there at the Community Center.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Final Friendly's Visit?

It seemed a reasonable way to celebrate a rainy 4th of July with a trip to Friendly’s. Little did they know that it would be one of their last meals at this restaurant, before its unexpected closure weeks later. Pete and Sam had not been there in quite a while. The portions have gotten smaller, especially on the $5.55 specials. The group played with Dad’s new “GuessUp Emoji” app for a bit. 

In the evening, Pete headed out with his friends again, presumably to see another fireworks show.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Shoulder Biking

Pete waved to Mom and Dad today from Jennifer’s car as he saw them biking on the shoulder of Ashburn Village Boulevard. Dad was glad that Pete was not driving, since he has a known tendency to drift to the right when distracted by something on the side of the road.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

The End of Dinner

Today Pete went to see some fireworks with his friends. Mom and Dad had dinner at the Jakubowski’s house, which lasted for a while until Sam texted that he was ready for someone to come home.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Plan of Exit

Tonight the family celebrated Mom’s birthday by going to Exit Plan in Leesburg with Brian, Patti, and Katie Schneider. The woman working the desk there was Chris Rochon’s sister, and Sam also knew one of the kids in the introductory video (on Jack’s baseball team). The group successfully escaped from the room in 43 minutes, which apparently was close to the record time. Then they all walked over to La Villa Roma for dinner. It was a fun night. 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Photoshop Tutorial

Mom was tutoring today for Katie and Michael, so Dad went with Sam to the Summer in the Arts “Explosion”. After picking up Sam’s flip book in the cafeteria from Animation class, they went to the piano room. Sam was up first and played “Tiger Chase” (see video). 

Then Maggie (formerly known as Meggy) played "Spring Time" and finally Helen played “The Caisson Song”. 

There wasn’t much going on in the room for Sam’s Photoshopped and Digital Sketchbook classes, so after listening to a little bit of a poorly made “Melee” podcast (picture above) Sam and Dad went down to Room 406 and Sam spent about an hour teaching Dad how to use Photoshop. They took a picture of Ashe, and replaced her bow with one from a picture of Varus. It came out pretty nice. They called it “Varushe”. 

They skipped the stage performances and headed home after grabbing some lunch. Sam played his song a second time at home in the afternoon so Dad could get the hand positioning on the video, from a better angle.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Guessing Games

Dad and Sam were having lunch at Deli Italiano. First  they looked at a map to learn some of the local counties around Fairfax and Loudoun -  Prince William, Fauquier, Clarke, Stafford, etc. They were playing a few games. Dad asked Sam to guess whether a word was a county in Virginia, a football player, or both. Then Sam said he would name either a medical condition or a League or Legends character, and Dad had to guess. The first one Sam asked was: “Rheumatoid Arthritis”.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Shovel

Pete was waiting to make a u-turn somewhere in Tyson’s Corner after lunch, when Dad noticed this rather sad looking shovel on the truck next to them at the light. They began wondering how long it might take to fill up the dump truck with that rather shallow shovel. Also, what force of nature is preventing it from sliding out into traffic?

Monday, June 27, 2016


Pete got some practice driving in Tyson’s Corner today when he went with Dad to Smashburger for lunch. They got an Oreo shake that was 860 calories. Of course, the name of the place reminded them of Sam. There was also a cool Walmart with parking and a cart return on the second level. There was an escalator with a track in the center that brings your cart up to the top. They will need to go back there sometime just to try that out.

Pete returned to SmashBurger a few weeks later with Mom.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Driving School

Pete is going to be taking 14 mandatory hours of driving school. Dad gave him a pep talk to help prepare him. “They’re going to tell you a bunch of garbage about stopping for yellow lights and waiting until it is completely clear to merge. Just do whatever they tell you, and then after you get your license you can resume driving like the rest of us maniacs.”

It turns out that Pete's driving instructor actually told him some pretty good stuff.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Accidental Convergence

Dad and Pete accidentally ended up at the same place yesterday without knowing it. They were both at the “Leesburg Acoustic on the Green” concert. Dad arrived at 6:45 and got a nice spot right in the middle. Pete swung by the concert with Jennifer around 8:00 for about 20-30 minutes. This was only discovered when Dad and Pete were discussing it the next day at lunch. (Sam was at the mall that evening, seeing a movie and having dinner with his friends.)

Friday, June 24, 2016

Falling Slowly

Pete has been playing a lot of piano these past few weeks. Some of it has been from his new book “The Giant Pop & Rock Piano Sheet Music Collection: Piano/Vocal/Guitar”. He is getting pretty good. Tonight he was briefly heard playing “Falling Slowly”, which was humorous to Dad and Sam, due to its appearance on some recent episodes of “Last Man on Earth”.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Mental Preparation

Sam took a shower this morning before camp. After the shower, he sits in the pictured position for about 5 minutes before he is ready to get dressed and take on the day. Pretty soon he will outgrow his custom hoodie towel that mom made for him. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Driving Practice

Pete is getting a lot of good driving practice this week, driving back and forth with Mom or Dad to Manassas for his job at the Freedom Center. Here is an action shot of Pete driving on Route 28 in the rain:

Dad is also enjoying having a human to eat lunch with, after picking Pete up. Then on the way home they stop off at Dominion Trail to pick up Sam from the bus home from Summer in the Arts.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

45 Percent

Dad asked the boys to play a new game called “guess the battery level”. Sam’s phone was surprisingly at 100%, even though not plugged in, Dad’s was 93% and Pete’s was 85%. Now it was time to guess Mom’s. Dad guessed 44%, followed by Sam guessing 45%. After hearing this, Pete guessed 46% which had Sam very annoyed, having essentially lost the game at that point. He tried to get Dad to change his guess to 47%, but Dad did not feel very honorable about doing that to Pete. Finally, the moment of truth arrived and they asked Mom to check her phone. She called out “forty five percent”. Sam and Dad went berserk. Sam had miraculously won after all. Mom must have been wondering what all the fuss was about.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Work / Camp Begins

Sam had fun at his first day of Summer in the Arts camp, once he realize the issue with the incorrect schedule card that was provided to him. He knew a few people on his bus, including Moksh, Sarah, and Aubrey. As per tradition, he came home and complained about not having the proper version of Photoshop. 

Pete also had a good first day of work in Manassas.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

"Family" Bike Ride

For Father’s Day, Dad wanted to take a family bike ride on the W&OD trail to Andolini’s for lunch. Pete and Sam did not care to participate in this, so it was just Mom and Dad. Later Dad selected Arby’s for his birthday dinner. Everyone agreed to join him for this. It was not very crowded there at 8:30pm on a Sunday evening. Dad handed out a matrix where everyone could vote on what they want to do during the family week off in late July. The winner was pretty close between “Ropes Course” and “Do Nothing / Stay at Home”. Sam and Dad ended up doing a Ropes Course with Boy Scouts, so the winning activity was changed to Escape Room (on the way home from the Philly trip). More details on this later.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Crawfish Ukelele

Today was the big Crawfish Boil on the street. Sam emerged in the late afternoon, and was hanging out with the growing crew of kids in the evening. At one point, he brought out his ukulele. He was in the middle of a circle of about 20 people near Mason’s driveway. (Sorry, no picture.)

Fortunately, Sam did not feel the need to keep any of the crawfish as pets this year.

Friday, June 17, 2016


Sam decided not to go to the pool today; perhaps to give his sunburn a chance to heal. Also maybe he is recovering from last night’s end-of-school party at Taylor’s house. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

No Pizza?

Dad and Sam have been eating leftover pizza for lunch all week, from the pizza that Pete somehow brought home from the last-day-of-school bonfire. (Pete has been going out with his friends every day for lunch.) So goes the first week of summer. Today Dad asked Sam if he wanted a slice of leftover pizza for lunch and Sam said “not really”. So mark it down – the day that Sam turned down pizza for a meal.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


The first family game night in quite some time featured two card games. The first was called Kabul. Pete explained the various rules and then everyone played a few practice games. Mom did really well in the practice games, but then Dad won the regular game. Sam would have won if Dad hadn’t received one especially timely bit of help from Pete. This was the first of many Kabul games over the next few weeks.

The second game was called “BS”. This game was a lot simpler, and pretty fun too. Dad did not like it as much, since it involved some “bluffing” when you didn’t have the necessary card. Dad is not a fan of bluffing.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Yearbook Candids

Sam and Pete received their school yearbooks last week. Sam’s official picture was in the 6th grade section of the book. They also have the candid shots of various people in and about school. Among the amusing things was that this section of the book featured more pictures of Dad (1) than Sam (0). The picture of Dad was in the background of a shot at the “Donuts with Dad” event.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Hole in the Wall

Dad went to Sam’s Troop meeting tonight, now that he is officially an Assistant Scoutmaster. He noticed that Sam was rough-housing with a few other scouts just prior to Kevin notifying Scoutmaster Roll (his Dad) that there was a hole in the wall. Apparently, Kevin’s elbow had made contact with an un-reinforced section of the wall. Stuart said to Dad, “I always knew the day would come when we damaged this place, I just didn’t think it would be my own son.”

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Zero Pilots

Today was the day that Sam was supposed to go to the 21 Pilots concert with Sarah. But Sarah went silent about 1-2 weeks ago, so nobody knows what happened. It seems most likely that she decided to go to the concert with one of her boyfriends instead. Sam made the best of it by going to the pool with Colin. Pete worked on his original song about Lord of the Flies that he wrote for his final project. After returning home from the Broad Run graduation at George Mason, he was heard playing the guitar late into the night.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Creeped Out

After Pete’s haircut, Dad rode along with him to his American Inline training class. After class, Pete drove with Mom and Dad through some back roads up to a party at Jennifer’s new house in Waterford. Mom and Dad went to an outdoor concert in Leesburg and then went to Windy City Red Hots and brought home Wendy’s for Sam around 9:30pm. Sam had been reading some creepy original fiction on Reddit, so he texted Mom and Dad a few times asking how soon they would be home.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Just Hanging Around

Pete did not need to go to Math class today, since they were taking a test that he could skip due to having an A already for the semester. And he didn’t particularly want to go to Theater class either. So Dad wrote him a tardy note that he would be arriving at school at 12:10. Pete was at school, but not at school at the same time. He spent some time with Christopher in Study Hall and then sat out in the courtyard for a while. He took advantage of the time – finishing his English paper, as well as the first Economics / Personal Finance module for his summer class.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Tick Check

Sometimes Pete disappears for a while with Jennifer. Above is a video that Dad found that could explain some of it. Hopefully Pete did a good tick check when he got home.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Song Pop 2

Dad came to the realization yesterday that, despite only being 15, Pete is already beating him about half the time in Song Pop 2. This includes regularly beating Dad in categories such as 80s and 90s music. Soon Dad may have to resort to choosing 50s and 60s music to get an advantage. (Or Amy Winehouse.)

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Sax Progress

Today Sam showed Dad that he had learned to play The Pink Panther on the saxophone. Dad called grandpa and asked him to guess the song. Grandpa was at the checkout line at WalMart (wiring some money) and had to go, but he emailed Dad later that he heard Sam play it and knew that it was The Pink Panther.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Musical Chairs

As you can see in the picture, Sam made a big change today. He replaced his chair at the kitchen computer with one of the stools from the bar. Dad asked him about it, and it seemed to be primarily an ergonometric decision. This is a pretty significant move, since it is where he spends most of his time. More on this in a future post.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

An Hour

Sam asked Mom if he could go to the pool “for an hour” with Colin before his Scout meeting. Mom thought this meant “I will go to the pool and after exactly an hour I will text Mom that I am ready to be picked up and then wait outside for her to pull up so I can quickly get in the car and be home in plenty of time to eat dinner before my Troop meeting.” As you may have gathered by now, that is not exactly what Sam means when he asks if he can go to the pool for about an hour.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Graduation Parties

Today Sam enjoyed a quiet day at home, since Pete was off at another graduation party (for Marietta) and Dad was downtown at his crossword puzzle tournament.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Kia Spectra

Pictured is Grandma’s Kia that she is not driving anymore. She was going to give it to her neighbor, but Dad convinced her to sell it to Pete instead. Soon it will be time for a family road trip up to Philly, driving up in one car and returning in two. There should be plenty of opportunities coming up, as Grandpa is continuing his cancer treatments, which are starting to get more aggressive.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Items Du Jour

It’s interesting how trends come and go. They usually involve a small investment, a frenzy of activity, and then are not seen much again. Pete bought 3 NES controllers during the "Kaizo Super Mario" craze, but now two of them sit unopened in their container by the chair in the family room. Pete bought a special Rubiks cube that he used a lot for a week or two. The most recent purchase was a $20 book of rock songs for the piano. Pete has been playing a lot of piano over the last 2-3 weeks. It is nice to have music heard throughout the house. This too will pass. Sam goes through his phases too. At the moment, he wants a $100 Gamecube controller for playing Super Smash Bros. Meanwhile, a cache of Tech Decks and Flick Trix gathers dust in a case in the playroom, near the nerf guns and spy gear.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Secret Word

Sam and Dad have a deal that if someone kills Dad and tries to impersonate him, Sam will ask the "Dad" what his favorite word is. If he does not come up with the word, then Sam will know it is an imposter. By the way, the word comes from a French word.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


The boys have been happy to see more of Mom and Dad recently, now that hopefully Mom’s kidney stones are mostly behind her. And Dad will be happy now that May is over, hoping that June brings fewer visits to CVS.

Monday, May 30, 2016


Sam enjoyed the Memorial Day weekend with two of the three days at the pool with his friends. He is old enough this year (12) to go to the pool by himself. Unfortunately, he did not do as well today with the sunscreen as he did yesterday, so he was spotted applying the soothing blue aloe lotion several times in the evening. Surprisingly, the worst of the burn may have been the tops of his feet. Nana and Poppy came over for a nice dinner of steak and potatoes.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Shadow's Bone

Sam finally got to give Shadow her Christmas present when she came to visit at the end of May. She seemed to like it a lot, as she was chewing on it and guarding it from everyone.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Accidental Acknowledgement

Pete drove to Jennifer’s graduation party at the Loudoun Valley Community Center in Purcellville. Dad helped him navigate. Sam went to the Ashburn Farm Summer Kickoff Festival with his friends. Jack threw up after one of the rides and had to leave early, but Sam stayed all the way from 4pm to the fireworks show at 9:30. Mom and Dad rode their bikes over there also to hang out for a bit and get some food from one of the trucks. Sam  had to be careful when walking by Mom and Dad to make sure he did not accidentally acknowledge their existence.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Melee Restriction

Sam has a hand injury, possibly due to excessive Melee practice. So he has asked Mom and Dad to restrict him from playing video games for the next two weeks. The world is turned upside-down at the moment.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Band Banquet

Mom went with Pete to tonight’s Band Banquet, as Dad was at his meeting for Assistant Scoutmasters in Sam’s Boy Scout Troop. 

Sam stayed home, of course. Sam also found out today that he passed both of his SOL tests – 585 in Math and 598 in Reading (out of 600). If you get a 600, they put your picture on the wall in the cafeteria. Maybe next year.