Join me in a prayer for Sam: Father God, you are the creator of all of us. Thank you for giving Sam a good mind and a good attitude during his illness. We pray for his health and healing in Jesus' name. We pray for peace for his family, and wisdom for his doctors. Amen.
Monday, March 31, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
I tossed these ingredients into the bucket and added some water.
In order for the methane-producing bacteria to thrive, they need carbon as well as nitrogen. The carbon is provided by the food scraps, the nitrogen comes from leaves and those "wormy" pollen pods from my Red Oak trees. They're all over the place at the moment on account of it being Spring.
Now it goes in an air tight barrel. My homemade funnel didn't work very well, so I had to smoosh the stuff through the opening at the top. It made a mess big enough for me to be glad M talked me out of using sewage.
Next, we need to get a "culture" from the local sewer plant that contains the methane-producing bacteria. They go into the barrel and the lid closes it. As it sits in the sun, the bacteria eat the organic material and give off methane as a byproduct. One carbon atom from the food is joined with four hydrogen atoms from the water.
My hope is to learn "good recipes" for making methane in a third world environment. Methane can be used to cook, or even used as fuel in an electric generator. Anyone have any good recipes out there?
Monday, March 17, 2008
On the way home, I explained to him how snipes were not real, but rather a common joke played on new boy scouts. I was pleased to see that he found this funny, even though he and the other new guys were the butt of the joke. In fact, he is embracing it and learning to laugh at himself. I am impressed.
I find myself very involved with him and his scout activities. One of the reasons is I believe in the organization and want to see him grow in it. One of the reasons is it's a great excuse to spend time with (or near) him. And when I'm feeling introspective, I can't help but wonder if one of the reasons is to re-live, vicariously, a time of my life I would like to do over.
The fifth through seventh grade years were pretty hard for me, as they are for most people. When I look back on them I cringe. I would write more but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth...
Thursday, March 13, 2008
For the last two days we have been hard at work. We got the boys to help. There is now a mountain of garbage bags at the curb, and Goodwill has been completely restocked. We may finish tomorrow.
Turns out I own four cans of WD-40. Who knew? And you know here at Orangehouse, there's never a screwdriver when you need one? Well now I have a small bucket full. Apparently they've been hiding in the nooks and cranies of the garage. Ditto for extension cords.
This spring cleaning, this archeological excavation of the Orangehouse tell, this colon cleanse of our domestic life, has unearthed a few treasures. One of which is the above photograph. Buried deep in a picture frame, behind two or three newer pictures, was this gem from 12 years ago. Back then M was pregnant with D. I had a hip goatee, just like I do now, only with less grey. M thought that my whiskers would irritate the baby's skin, so I shaved it off before he was born. Just for fun, I cut it into this biker style before shaving it off completely. I think the tortoiseshell glasses go particularly well with it, don't you?
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Instructions to the coffee maker.
Bionicles, Legos, K'Nex, and Jenga blocks, all mixed together.
One kids size 13 Crock.
A map of Uganda.
Plenty of spilled cat litter.
Dozens, or maybe hundreds, of unidentifiable plastic thingies.
One box of outgrown Disney movies on VHS.
One bottle of Phillips' Milk of Magnesia.
Three empty CD cases, Caedmon's Call, Jars of Clay, and Tchaikovsky (which got stepped on and broken).
Monday, March 10, 2008
I am planning to take my family, except the cats, to Honduras for six or seven weeks this summer. I'm hoping one of my students can watch the house for me and take care of the cats. Arg. Sometimes when I think about all that has to be done, all that has to be prearranged and planned, I get overwhelmed. But it's funny, I do this every year. This year involves a bit more because of the duration and the fact that I'm taking the family, but about this time every year I start feeling this way. I feel like a swarm of gnats is buzzing around my head, each one is a detail that I must take care of between now and then.
Passports for the kids, buzz buzz. Order the generators, buzz buzz. Call the realtor in Honduras, buzz buzz. Clean the garage, buzz buzz. Loose weight, buzz buzz. Get in shape, buzz buzz.
I shall make a list. Making a list has the effect of capturing all these thoughts in my head and containing them within the bounds of the paper. It's as if I swatted the gnats with the paper, and their squashed bodies are now stains on my to-do list. That was gross. Over and out.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
With enthusiasm that I remember vividly from my own days as a preteen (as if I grew out of it) D told me of his plans to "line a bowl with aluminum foil and fill it with gasoline or cooking fuel or something" like a little incendiary Jacuzzi for his paper man. The aluminum foil was to protect the bowl, you see. It's safety first with that one. Then he wanted to throw a match on it and record the "fireball" with his video camera. Oh yes, and then upload it onto YouTube, presumably for the world of preteen boys to enjoy.
Now M and I have been married for 15 years. In that time she has learned to trust me about "boy things". Sometimes she looks at me and whispers under her breath "Is that normal?" in response to some play centered around guns or crashing cars or explosions. I think that young girls must seldom engage in such play, and therefore have no grid for it when they grow up and see their sons engage in behavior they consider pre-arsonist.
When I was about his age I made a very large Star Wars production and filmed it with a Super 8 film camera. My friend Bobby and I worked on it all summer. We had a script and props and special effects o' plenty. One of our best scenes centered around, get this, an X-wing fighter made of toilet paper tubes! We stuffed it full of Kleenex and firecrackers and sparklers. In the film, it crash landed on a jungle planet (Dad's backyard shrubs) and burst into flames. The firecrackers and sparklers went off perfectly and the scene was great. But Dad's shrubs suffered some fire damage and may have eventually died.
So you see, I couldn't exactly say no to D tonight when he wanted to burn and video his toilet paper man. I did veto the gasoline, however. We lit him in an empty flower pot full of dried leaves and he burned up swell. Unfortunately, the batteries in his camera went out and we lost the footage. But we're going to try again tomorrow night.
Monday, March 3, 2008
I was not used to seeing him around the older boys - high school boys with muscles and facial hair and motor vehicles of their own; boys that had acne and spat and used sarcasm effectively. It was a bit of a shock to my paternal systems to see how big and how grown up he might be in just a handful of years.
So I started giving him cigarettes to stunt his growth. It's not much of a plan, but it was born out of desperation.
OK, not really. In truth, most of me is quite delighted with his growing up. He is turning out to be a fine young man. I see his character growing commensurate with his size 11 feet.
Responsibility is one virtue that scouting really seems to encourage. I won't bemoan any forward progress in that area! The boys are responsible for the camp, often for cooking and cleaning, and the adults are encouraged to sit back and let them learn leadership and responsibility. I am going to have to learn how to sit on my hands and let them do it "wrong" a few times until they learn.
There's more to share, and I'll post pictures as they become available, but for now I've got to get back to smoking cigarettes, dancing naked, and reading Lord of the Flies.