This week: Chicken pox!

Things are going to be a bit quiet on the blog front this week. Young Anna has come down with chicken pox, and that’s having some… interesting effects on our schedule. We expect the other two to start sprouting spots sometime soon. (There’s your alliteration for the week.)

Back soon!

Wayback Machine: March 2009

We don’t have any plans yet for spring break, but after the briefest of winter thaws this weekend, to be followed by a week of rain and slush, I thought it might be nice to have a look back at our time in Florida last March:




Stay warm this week, northern friends!

Girls’ room update

When last we left our intrepid renovators, they were making long holes in the wall that everyone agreed looked just like vines. The next order of business was to cover up those opened-up cracks with fiberglass mesh tape:


Then came the goo – spackle, to be precise, in a beautiful shade of pink:


That pink color is to let you know where it’s wet… as it dries, it turns white:



It was also finally time to dismantle the girls’ bed and finish the long process of unloading their room:



We didn’t assemble it originally – the furniture delivery guys did – and I didn’t take any notes as I disassembled the thing. Hope I remember how to put it back together when it’s time.

I’ve also embarked on something a little scary with this project. I’m drilling holes in our hardwood floor, in order to screw loose boards down to the joists underneath. This is the squeak elimination part of the project:


We haven’t done anything to our original hardwood floors before, so it took a lot of Internet research and a stiff drink before I could sit down and start drilling into finished floorboards. Actually, the first part was walking around the room with heavy footfalls to find all of the squeaky boards. The kids thought I was crazy. Now Chelsea thinks I’m crazy because the floor is full of holes and screws.

It will look beautiful when it’s done! I think.

Kind of blue

I mentioned the other day that our kid bath days are coming to an end – Nick and Maria are shower-only people these days, and Anna goes back and forth between showers and baths. Well, she decided to take a bath the other night. She also decided to use Tub Tints, these little Alka-Seltzer dye tablets, to change the color of the water:


It’s a pretty unnatural blue to find in a bathtub… it reminded me of the water features you see at a mini golf course.

Tomorrow: Girls’ room renovation update!

The mighty snowblower

If you were a snowdrift, you might quake in fear at the sight of this monster:


Oh, sure, it doesn’t look like much. But I tell you that this machine is a stone cold snow assassin. It tosses powder and slush with equal aplomb. See how it makes quick work of a certain household’s long driveway, which my dad and I used to shovel manually:



What’s that, you say? You park your car on the street? No problem:



The credit really goes to my dad, who had the foresight to go out and buy this thing a couple winters back, when nary a snowflake was falling, and Lowe’s was selling the beautiful machines at a deep discount. This winter, they can probably command any price they want.

Anyway, we’re finding with the mighty snowblower that it’s easy to be generous. With each snowstorm, we end up digging out more and more of the neighbors at each place where we work – my house, my folks’ house, and the grandfolks’ place. They say we might get two more historic snowstorms before this amazing winter is done with us. If that happens, we’ll probably just arrange a contract with the township to clear out everybody.

Be careful what you wish for

All right, so we wanted some snow this winter, and boy, did we get it. Here’s how the house is looking these days:


We actually haven’t been out sledding in a few days – need to get back to that – but we got out last weekend after the first of the two storms that came through. It was a beautiful day:


My sister Kate joined us that day:



After two epic storms, the snow was nice and deep:


There’s nothing quite like the brilliant blue of a clear winter sky:


Tomorrow: All hail the mighty snowblower.

Let’s pause and appreciate…

…how extraordinary a winter we’re having in Philadelphia.

As I write this, we have the remnants of our weekend snowstorm still on the ground. That storm was the second-largest on record at the Philadelphia airport, surpassed only by the epic 36″ (90cm) monster in January 1996.

Tonight and all day tomorrow, we’re supposed to get another monster storm, with accumulations of 12″-18″ (30cm-45cm) expected across our area.

In the process, we will almost surely break the record for snowfall in one winter.

You know how you usually buy a sled or snowblower, and it doesn’t snow all season? The kids and I are feeling like geniuses for buying that toboggan for Chelsea this year:


All indications are that the conditions that have brought us this amazing winter are set to persist for at least a few more weeks. (Visit the Eastern US WX guys if you want all the gory details.) So it might be March or (shudder) April before we finally close the book on this incredible season. I’m hoping that for once we get to see a bright and warm spring as a reward for our winter adventures. Meantime, I finished off a bag of ice melt this weekend and have to buy another – probably the first time in five or six years that’s been the case.

If you’re local and want to go sledding on Thursday, drop me a note.

Treading water on technical troubles

Gentle readers, I’ve had some trouble in the last week or two with photo file transfers from my camera to my computer. I have a wealth of photos to share, especially from the weekend’s snow adventures, but it may be a few more days before I can show you fresh images.

For now, here’s a look back at last summer. When our sidewalks are covered over with a thick crust of snow and ice, it’s fun to think that we’re actually not that far away from warm days and carousel rides:

Kodak C180 Summer 2009 144

We have another big snowstorm in the forecast for tomorrow night and Wednesday. Where are we going to put all this snow?