Monday, December 18, 2006

New developments...

Saturday morning, I commenced to tear down the fence that had blown over during the windstorm on Thursday night, when I noticed something a little odd about one of our trees. Our family used to get live Christmas trees and transplant them in the yard after the holiday season was over. This one particular Christmas tree that we had around 10 years ago looked normal from the vantage point in which we normally see it, but a closer look revealed it was angled directly at our neighbor's house at a 30 degree angle! Needless to say, I spent the majority of the day working with my dad and the neighbor whose house was miraculously spared sawing off branches, cutting up the tree and by the end of the day I was able to dig out the stump. Here are some photos from this very productive weekend.



Later on that day, the Isenbergers hosted a rather spectacular Christmas party. Thank you Chad and Dana!

Sunday was the Faith Presbyterian Church Children's Christmas Program, and my nephew Patrick got to perform publicly for the first time. Here is the segment of the program where he is supposed to be a singing angel, although he didn't quite act like one.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Chaos in the state of Washington

As you might have heard in the news (or perhaps experienced yourself), the Northwest experienced perhaps the worst windstorm in over a decade with 100+ MPH winds on Thursday night. As I was driving to and from Seattle yesterday, I saw the beginnings of the storm and some of the worst traffic I had ever seen before. I was talking to my sister Diane online yesterday when the power cut out. The electric company shuts off electricity when there are severe winds due to trees falling over and branches striking power lines to prevent shorts and possible fires. Being as dependent on electricity as Americans are, it would seem the world stops rotating in such instances. With all traffic lights out, all intersections are basically four-way stops. Anyway, for those non-Washingtonians, the first critical skill for survival one most master in such an instance is brewing coffee, as I demonstrate in the photo to the left. If you don't have a gas stove, use your fireplace or maybe a bunch of candles. You boil water and pour it directly in the filter full of coffee grounds. Make sure you have a pot underneath to catch the water. Then be sure to thank me when this information one day saves your life.

Anyway, a good 18-foot section of the fence in the back yard was blown over in the storm. Looks like I'm going to have some more work around the house in the next few days. I'm not suprised the fence fell over, since it was built 14 years ago so most of the wood was rotting away, and an excess of dirt growing on our side of the fence due to annual compost and mulch spreads were enough to finally do it in. I guess I'll get started on that tomorrow; I couldn't do it today since I was scheduled to do some workin Gig Harbor today working for Mr. Bechtel, the organist at my church in Tacoma. My sister Sarah had part of her house's roof blown off and water leaking through into the upstairs bathroom. I'll be taking a look at that too tomorrow. Here are some photos I shot of the fence:



At the Bechtels' house, I helped clear away debris scattered by the wind. Their neighborhood looked as though a tornado had passed through the area. Fortunately for them, they have a bottomless compost pile, and they're actually allowed to burn debris on their property. I was pondering how much easier things would be if only you were permitted to burn yard waste in your backyard in Puyallup! Well, actually, I'm not quite sure about that, but probably not. Instead, we're restricted to an 80 gallon blue bin for organic debris which is emptied only every other week, and unless you own a truck and are able to take the debris to the dump yourself, there's really no way to prevent an obtrusive compost pile from building up. I also built a trench in order to lay some French drains.

Yesterday, I was watching Tucker Carlson's MSNBC commentaries, and Willie Geist introduced me to www.elfyourself.com, where you can Elfamorphize yourself. (Click on the photo to watch me make an elf of myself!) I had a long overdue half-hour laugh. You upload any photo of yourself, rotate it and resize it so your head fits in a face template, and watch yourself do the elf dance. You can also call a number, leave a voice recording, and have your elf speak!

Well, it's been a productive day, and I got a long day ahead of me tomorrow, so I better stop here and hit the sack. Good night!