Sunday, June 30, 2013


Danny's feeling better today; he has a little more appetite and is spending a little less time sound asleep. He's currently in his bed reading. Has a little trouble getting enough to drink without feeling a bit nauseated, but that situation, too, seems to be improving.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Unexpected Turn

Danny and I are in Rochester, after a visit to the doctor, the pharmacist, and the phlebotomist. Danny has Lyme Disease. It is, I'm relieved to say, not very serious in kids if treated promptly, which is what we are doing today.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Starting Summer With a Bang (Or At Least a Rumble)

Well, summer vacation is officially underway. The boys have started swimming lessons, we've begun out "At-Home Summer Camp" schedule (drawing this week), and the boys will have their daily writing, typing, and music practices to do when Karen's off at work. And, this being New Hampshire, we have had afternoon thunderstorms nearly ever day this summer so far.

It's not unusual, but it's sort of a surprise because this pattern hasn't been around for awhile. But I remember when we first got a house here, it was just part of the normal routine. Some of the afternoon showers would obliterate our satellite reception. That's not a problem now, since we have neither satellite not cable (we rely on the Internet, NetFlix,  and Hulu Plus for our entertainment, which seems to be more than enough and it's much cheaper).

But the thunderstorms can have some pretty spectacular effects. For example, our rehearsal Sunday night at the theater when the building sort of got struck by lightning. Okay, when I say "sort of," I'm not being equivocal. I don't think the building itself actually got struck by lightning, because there was no fire. Or at least the building itself did not catch on fire. But there was a very loud explosion, and then the fire alarm system went crazy. Which is because the circuit box for the fire alarm was the source of the loud explosion.

We evacuated, not in a panic because there wasn't any actual flame, and we wanted to see what we could do to protect our beloved theater before we left it. It was pouring rain outside and we all got thoroughly soaked. The building seems to be okay. I think that a wire adjacent to the alarm wire (that sends a signal to the fire department) got struck, and the alarm got fried by induction.

We can still rehearse, but the wiring is going to have to be checked out and the alarm system fixed before we can put on a show, which we are scheduled to do in 31 days. This is the kind of excitement I can do without. I'll know more, I think, when we get together Wednesday night for rehearsal.

The weather is also making a mess of Karen's build schedule for the trailer, though she does have mornings off for a few days coming up, and the mornings have been mostly dry.

And outside construction is also proceeding slowly. But perhaps this pattern will change (it usually does at some point, though not any particular, predictable point) and we'll have warm, dry days for outside activity once more.


The boys and I are learning drawing as our first "At-Home Summer Camp" this week. We're using two different approaches from two different books. Today's was Mark Kistler's Draw Squad. In just their first exercise I can already see that my two boys are way ahead of where many adults are when they start these lessons. This should be fun!

The drawing camp is only this week, but we'll continue drawing throughout the summer, and, I hope, far beyond.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Swim Lessons

Today was the start of swim lessons for both boys. I got lucky enough this year to have them both start at the same time of the morning.

Karen had the day off, so she got to come with us, and she even managed to spend some time in the water.

Friday, June 21, 2013


Yes, it's officially summer, not only by the Gregorian calendar, but by the school calendar. School let out at 1:00 this afternoon, and normally I would be expecting William and Daniel hope at any moment. But they are both being picked up by their respective friends, Daniel for an afternoon playdate, and William for an overnight stay.

So, in a way, my summer doesn't start until tomorrow.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


William had his promotion ceremony, his passage from the sixth grade to the seventh, from elementary school to middle school. His classmates all told of their favorite school memories, the sixth-grade band members played a couple of songs, all the sixth graders sang a couple of songs, and there was a slide show at the end. Oh, and everyone got a T-shirt.

In the fall, William will be catching the bus at the same time as the high school students, more than an hour earlier than he did this past year, than Danny will for the next two years. In fact, Danny and William won't be attending the same school now until William is a Junior in high school.

Should make life interesting.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day

I have spent most of this day dedicated to fathers (probably by a greeting card company, but no matter) without my wife and my two younger sons. But they are on their way home from camping in Vermont, and we are going out to dinner before I head off to rehearsal.

I've missed them, but I'm glad they had a good time. Karen took at least some pictures (I know because she actually sent me three from her phone, a rare treat), so those will be showing up on the site over the coming week.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Bachelors For the Weekend

Karen and the boys are off camping tonight through Sunday, so Thomas and I are temporarily bachelors. So it's party, party, party! Well, actually, it's work, work, work. Thomas has illustrations to finish, I have writing to do, modifications to the new Web site for our books (and the family site, too), and work on Karen's trailer, and we both have a lot of cleaning to catch up on.

Ah, the bachelor life!

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Karen is taking the boys camping this weekend in Vermont, and we've spent a good deal of the day checking out tents, figuring out how to attach two kayaks to the top of Karen's car, and making sure everything she needs is packed.

I'm not going; tent camping is not my best thing anyway, and I have rehearsal on Sunday night, for which I would like to have had a decent night's sleep. I'll miss them an awful lot, though.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Another Busy Day

Karen's car had an appointment for an oil change today, and we wanted the mechanic to have a look to see if he saw any obvious inspection issues. We took advantage of the trip to Rochester to get some shopping done, especially preparations for an upcoming camping trip. That ended up taking most of the afternoon.

When we got home, we whisked Daniel away fro a quick pizza dinner, after which we got to watch his and the other fourth-graders perform music in the gym. Daniel played the recorder with the other kids who didn't join the band this year, and the the band members played. They did pretty well!

Then I went off to rehearsal. This show, being a farce, has a lot of difficult logistics. But the cast, Village Players veterans all, is working very hard, and the show is coming together. It's going to have people in tears with laughter. I think with laughter. Tears for certain. We'll see.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Date

Actually got to go out on a date with Karen. Dinner and a movie at a place that does both at the same time, Smitty's in Sanford, ME.

Saw "Now You See Me," which had great acting and a cool concept, but a lot of annoyances for someone with both a film background and an interest in stage magic.

But the food was surprisingly good, and the company was perfect.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sim City

William participated in his school's annual "Sim City" event, where students set up shops and offer merchandise, services, and games to other students in exchange for scrip issued at the door of each classroom.

William did a game of chance, carnival-style. The prizes were duct tape wallets and roses that he made with a little help from Karen. Each wallet came with a fake dollar that had instructions on the back for making an origami heart from a real dollar bill (well, the fakes would work too, even if they are a bit on the small side).

William did quite well, and there's still two days to go. He might consider selling duct tape wallets in the future for real money. We'll let everyone know.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Blue and Gold

Just finished the annual banquet for the Cub Scouts. Danny got his Weblos badge by the skin of his teeth, and there was a lot of food. But not a lot of Scouts; our Pack is pretty thin at the moment, and I don't know if, once the Weblos boys head off to be Boy Scouts this time next year, they will have enough boys on board to continue.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

I'm (Sort Of) Famous!

Along with the publication of the first three stories of "Thomas and Walter" as a short Kindle book, I set up an author's page on It makes me feel very official, like a real author.

Now I just need to get some sales.

Friday, June 07, 2013


Rain, the leading edge of our little piece of Tropical Storm Andrea, is holding back my work on the trailer. I did get all of the bolts in place, with washers and nuts, but two of the nuts are not fully tightened because I have almost no room to get a wrench on them. I came up with a solution, but it's time-consuming, and I don't intend to sit in the rain while I make it work.

I can make some headway on the taillights today, measuring to see how much more wire I'm going to need to add for the extensions we've built on and researching modifications to the Forester's electrical for hooking the whole thing up, without actually having to venture out, although I do have to go out in the rain for other errands.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Tinkering Around With Carpentry

Today's mission for the trailer was to get the frame and floor bolted to the Harbor Freight trailer. Easy, right? Well, maybe for some. I had to mark holes, drill for carriage bolts, cut countersinks, and figure out how to squeeze a wrench into some very tight places.

I also had to move a couple of screws in the frame that were right where one of the bolts is supposed to go. I had to use my neighbor's right-angle pneumatic drill, which meant firing up my noisy little compressor and trying not to get my finger smashed between the frame and one of the storage boxes.

But I accomplished that much of the mission and got all the holes and countersinks done. I also got two bolts in before I had to leave for rehearsal, so I've just got to put in the remaining six bolts. Easy, right?

We'll see.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

And Then There Was ...

Forget to mention that my day also included an afternoon out doing errands with my lovely lady, including lunch at a local steak house, and shopping for items for her trailer.

Go Take a Hike

I accompanied Daniel on a three-mile hike that was one of the requirements for earning his Webelos badge, which he needs to earn by Sunday unless he wants to wait a year for it. We hiked from the den leader's house, up a dirt—and occasionally mud—road, the a field with a lovely view of Mt. Washington, and a host of ticks.

Danny had three, and I had two. So Danny wins the tick contest.

And I think he hurts a whole lot less than I do.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Weather Coaster

After a horribly sticky hot day Saturday, we had a huge thunderstorm on Sunday. It didn't affect us much at our house, but I know of a house in Alton that got struck by lightning. I know of this because the house belongs to a neighbor of one of the other members of the cast of the play I'm in, and he was texting the director between stints going into the house to retrieve valuables and save them from the fire.

Today was much calmer. It rained, a bit, but it also cooled down, a lot. Tomorrow should bring more cool air, without the rain. Which is good, because the trailer is finally outside where we can start assembling the sides.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Making Plans

As I sit in my attic office, listening to the fans in the window with the certain knowledge that they are having almost no effect, I'm getting ready for the coming summer vacation. It's not summer yet, and the kids still have three weeks of school to go, but when the temperature outside passes the 90-degree mark in New Hampshire, thoughts turn to the coming season.

We have a lot of plans already, and I haven't even gotten started. I just recently ordered the proof copies of the print version of Danny's Kitten, and I wasn't satisfied. Not the printer's fault; the pictures weren't at a high enough resolution, and the text wasn't as readable over the pictures as I wanted it to be. So back tot he drawing board on that one. But I've been through it once, so it shouldn't take as long the second time.

This summer we will get William's book to press if I have to chain Thomas to a chair, only giving him food breaks between drawings. It's a wonderful book, with wonderful illustrations (the ones that are finished, anyway), and I am determined to get it done!

Thomas is also supposed to be working on a book of his own. We're creating a mini publishing empire, here! And that's more or less the point. We're taking off in a different direction which, we hope, will lead us to some of the old creative spark that we had in our previous life.

Meanwhile, there's lots of personal projects. I have to finish the front deck and build the back one this summer. There's lot of interior finish to do as I get money for materials. And, of course, there's Karen's camping trailer.

The boys and I also have some plans for learning over the summer. There's a couple of boring old school subjects that they need to sharpen—especially spelling—but there's also stuff like robotics (digging out my old Lego Mindstorms kits) and stop-motion animation. Mixed in with plenty of outdoor activities, including swimming, kayaking, hiking, and cycling.

Something tells me summer is going to seem very short this year.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Signs of Summer

Yikes, almost two weeks since I posted. Those two weeks were filled mostly with work, although we did manage to get some work done on Karen's camper.

But now my stint at Measured Progress is done, and I'm preparing for a summer of playing stay-at-home Dad, teacher, and camp counselor to William and Daniel.

And I mean that last part; we've got a lot of activities planned to make summer more fun, and at the same time more productive. You'll hear more about it here and on the main blog.

Without the two week gaps. I promise.