Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Hunkered Down

The cold weather has continued in New Hampshire. We haven't had a lot of snow, especially not compared with our neighbors to the south, but we haven't had much in the way of thawing since the last oddball warm spell. It's played havoc on the heating bill, and caused the cancellation of some of the boys' outside activities.

Of course being something of a shut-in has been good for me; I've gotten a fair amount of writing done, and I'm about the record my sixth song since October first. A little behind where I expected to be, but I'm close to catching up with two more songs in the pipeline.

It's a little hard on the video production side, but I'm still writing things that I can shoot when the weather warms up.

Which will start to happen soon. "Warm" is a relative term, of course; nothing starts to get what anyone in Southern California would consider warm until well into April around here. But the next week or so will actually see a few days where it's above freezing.

And that's enough to pull us out of our shell. For awhile, anyway.

Late Start

William and Daniel had delayed openings for school so their teachers could get extra training. This happens two or three times every school year, and it makes for a hectic morning, especially on days when Karen leaves right between the two boys. Like this morning.

Normally weekday mornings are a continuous flow of getting everyone on their way. William gets up at 5:30 to get ready for school. I get up about twenty minutes later to get myself put together so that I can wait for the bus with him. As soon as he is on the bus, it is time for Daniel to get up and get ready, which takes a bit longer and requires more pushing from me.

Karen's schedule varies, although right now she's working most days from 10:00 to 7:00, so I help her get everything together for the day soon after Danny gets on the bus.

Thomas takes care of himself, of course, and normally without anyone interfering because he tends to work afternoons and evenings.

But on these days when the boys catch the bus two and a half hours later than normal, everybody is up before anybody starts to get ready. And no one is keeping track of time.

Except me. That's my job.

It also makes for a late start on my day, and so it's time for me to get moving.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Not So Cold

Today was actually not horribly cold. The high temperature was near freezing. Crazy for a native Californian to say such a thing, especially considering what the temperature in my old stomping grounds has been like (jealous, me? Yes!), but everything is relative.

Today was a day for doing things in the house. The boys made monkey bread with Karen, and William is making a new scratching post for his cat, with a little power-tool help from me.

We were going out to see a movie this weekend, but a quick look at the offerings in the local theaters convinced us that there was nothing worth spending the money, or even the time, to see.

But we'll find something fun to do tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Pinewood Derby Prep Starts

It wasn't the only thing that happened today, but the rest of the day was pretty normal—writing, cleaning house, working on video stuff. But the deadline for the Pinewood Derby looms larger than any of those.

Today we cut the body of the car, which is always the part I dread because, since the only woodwork I do it related to building a house, with my very limited carpentry skills, and so I lack even the proper saw to cut a shape out of a small block of wood.

In the past we have struggled with various options, and the results have been less than stellar. They were also, all of them, very time-consuming. This year we compromised with a wedge-shaped car, since I could cut the wedge out with my chop saw. Kind of. I had to drill a hole in the waste portion and attach the car body to scrap wood to make the cut. The chop saw couldn't make the entire cut, so there's a V-shape at the top of the car. Danny thought it looked cool, so he sanded it until it was smooth and kept it in the design. He'd done most of the sanding.

Tomorrow, we add a fin at the top and move on to painting. Now that the cutting is done, the rest is a walk in the park.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Lazy Day. Not Really.

Karen's last day off before six on. We were going to try to get one of her trailer walls in to cut a door for it, but the rain made it impractical, as did the fact that we couldn't find her notebook with the plans in it. Which lead to a day of searching for the book, which lead to a day of tidying things up.

It wasn't exactly what we planned but it did have its satisfactions. And it wasn't the entire day; we picked up Danny from school and took the boys swimming.

Busy day for Danny. In addition to the swimming, he participated in Winter Sports day at school, snowshoeing in the the rain (no, that is not a mistake; they were really snowshoeing in the rain), and he had a Scout Den meeting in the evening, during which he got his Pinewood Derby car, the last one he'll ever make.

Unfortunately, because of several missed meetings, he's getting a late start on his car. The race is this Saturday.

So the next three nights are also going to be very busy for Danny.

And me.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Checking My Calendar

Having a little trouble believing that Winter is still with us. Today I was out wearing a hoodie with no coat, and I felt perfectly comfortable. And, no, I am not back in California.

It won't last, of course. Next week will bring more days of below-freezing temperatures, though nothing as bad as our most recent frigid spell. There might even be a bit more snow.

But for the next couple of days, anyway, it will be more like a New Hampshire spring than any time in January.

And I, for one, am planning to enjoy it.

Monday, January 06, 2014

It's Getting Ridiculous

So far, in 2014, William and Daniel have had exactly one half day of school, a sixth of what they should have had by now. It's all about the weather. But not always about the same kind of weather.

Last Thursday and Friday it was snow, which is was we usually expect, and which is why we call these days "snow days" and the work that the boys keep at home to avoid having an extra day tacked onto the end of the year "Blizzard Bags."

But today there was no blizzard. There was rain, and a high temperature right here at the house of 50 degrees. In the morning, when the busses run, this created icy conditions that lasted, in some parts of the district, until late in the morning, and so the Superintendent had to cancel school. There really was no choice.

But after a vacation that lasted twelve days, I was ready for the boys to go back to school so that I could get more writing done. And, well, half a day doesn't count.

I have higher hopes for tomorrow, because although it's going to get cold again and what's left of our snow will have turned to hard ice, the roads should be clear for the busses. And we're not expecting any precipitation again until, well, the next rain.

This has been one crazy winter, and it's barely begun.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

And Colder Still

The snow didn't delay the start of school, but it hastened its end, and the boys only had school for half a day. There was more snow than I expected, but it was lights and fluffy and my snowblower made easy work of it.

Unfortunately, the cold also make easy work of my hands, which were numb when I finished and in tremendous pain as they started to thaw. Shorter snow removal sessions tomorrow when the temperature is not expected to climb above seven degrees. As I write, it's bellow zero here.

The boys may not have school tomorrow, or maybe they'll get the delay they didn't get today. In any case, William's class will not have its usual hiking session tomorrow, with wind chills in the negative double-digits. Karen, unfortunately, will still be going to work early in the morning. But we'll be there to shovel her car out and get her on the road.

I just hope the town plows will do their part as well; I have not been very impressed with snow-removal efforts this year.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Happy New Year

2014 is off to a very cold start here in New Hampshire. The temperature never climbed about 20 today, and tomorrow is supposed to bring even lower numbers (and lots of numbing cold) and a fair bit of snow. But Spring is only about eleven weeks away. Eleven long, cold weeks. Sigh.

Tonight over dinner we all talked about goals for the coming year. We're trying to encourage the boys to focus on what they want to do, not what they want to have. And they did pretty well, although Danny decided he wanted to get a really expensive radio-controlled car. On the plus side, he said he wanted to earn the money by making jewelry and selling it on Fiverr, and more active and actually attainable goal.

This year William wants to learn how to write computer code. Fortunately, in addition to having a Dad that codes, William has access to tools I never dreamed of when I was first learning. There are several sites devoted to teaching basic programming skills to beginners, one of them by MIT.

Karen wants to get her trailer done in time for Spring camping, a challenge if the weather continues as it's been, but possible now that we have the trailer in a shed where we can work in spite of the weather. And we have a small camping heater we can use in the shed to keep from freezing our hands off.

Thomas wants to create an animated portfolio piece, with some help from his actor Dad and his animator Mom (and her friends) to guide him in the right direction. Not that he needs that much guidance; his animation in the past was always remarkably well-acted with a marvelous sense of timing.

My main goal is to complete my 52-Week Creative Challenge, and in doing so build a group of followers. And at the end of it all, on September 30th, I plan to start of crowd-funding project to produce the screenplay that I'm writing, and another to professionally record the songs I'll have written by then (at least, the ones that are any good).

There are other goals, of course: house construction goals, financial goals, organizing and clutter-reduction goals, and goals related to our health.

Which means, of course, that we have no excuse for being bored in 2014.

Man It's Cold!

We're getting another bitter cold snap, lasting until the weekend, and with snow. The bad part of this is that we can't really spend much time outside. Not to mention the uptick in propane usage.

On the other hand, there is another snow storm on the way, and then the temperature is this cold the snow is light and fluffy instead of wet and heavy, which means that it's very easy to remove from the cars, and friendly to my snow-thrower.

Of course, it also means that by the time I get it all cleaned up, I won't be able to feel my toes for awhile.

Back to the school routine in the early hours of the morning, if the snow comes as scheduled; if it comes much earlier, there could be a delay.