Monday, February 23, 2009

"Smart Brain" and snow balls

Over the weekend, we spent a couple restful days at a cabin outside of Baker City, Oregon. Ethan was so excited to head to the mountains where he was focused on riding "snowmobilers." Last week, as he was trying to get to sleep, he said to his mom "Can I talk about the snowmobilers for just 10 more minutes? Please!" He took a couple rides on the snow machines, the four-wheeler, and the "Mule." The weather was cold but awesome, and the creek through the property was iced over but beginning to melt. We made snow balls to throw into the creek which broke the ice. Ethan used a snow ball maker, and when I said that was a great idea, he nonchalantly tapped his forehead, and said, "Yeah. I know. I've got a smart brain."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

"I have absolutely no idea."

I'm in Idaho Falls this week for work, and I called the house this afternoon to check in. Ethan answered the phone, and we had quite a conversation. I'm still not accustomed to him answering the phone, and, when we have adult-like conversations, I have to remind myself that he's no longer a baby. He told me that he was "just hanging out" today, and that "Mom is doing something weird." When I asked what she was doing, he replied, "I have absolutely no idea." He then informed me that the walkie-talkies we purchased were working but that the light on the charger was still red. "That is so funny," he exclaimed. When I get back to Boise tomorrow, we are immediately headed to the mountains outside Baker City, Oregon to spend the weekend at his aunt and uncle's cabin. He is very excited to "ride the snowmobilers" and play in the snow. I asked if he was going to gymnastics later today, and he replied "Yeah, yeah, yeah" afterwhich he told me it was a "beautiful day out Dad!" By the end of this conversation he said, "I'm gonna go now." I tried to interrupt that I wanted to talk to Mom, but he hung up. Someday I will take phone conversations with my son for granted, but, for now, I relish them and marvel that he's no longer the little baby who sat on my lap.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Super Squirrel Wars on Agate Court

I have come full circle on squirrels. At one point, I installed a squirrel feeder outside a window so I could watch the cute critters. I was somewhat reluctant to install a new fence because the squirrels loved to run along the top of our old wooden fence. I come by this affinity toward squirrels honestly: my parents actually tame squirrels in their backyard and have found they enjoy peanuts and Pepsi. Seriously. Through the years, however, I've become less enamored of these "tree rats," took down the feeder, and have almost declared war of them. My version of war is nothing compared to Heather "Patton" Dunham's quest to rid our attic of the squirrels who invaded the addition to our home. A few months ago, we heard noises in the attic and determined squirrels were somehow getting inside. Heather found a squirrel dude in the phone book (who knew?) who promptly came out and found a spot where the siding on the new addition wasn't sealed properly. He sealed it shut and assured Heather the offending rodents were outside.

"How do you know they are outside?" she asked.

He replied, "Well, I saw two of them in the tree near the house so I knew they were out."

Heather said something to the effect of "Dude! We have hundreds of squirrels everywhere!"

For quite some time, it seemed as if the squirrel war was over, but the battle had just begun. Recently, we heard the noises again, and out came the squirrel man again. He found yet another hole only this time in the new attic fan. He sealed that one and hoped the critters were outside. His reassurance was that it is winter so if they were inside, they wouldn't smell....

The sound started again, and he came back out to meet Heather again. Turns out, a mother squirrel had literally chewed through the metal trying to get to her babies. Heather being a loving mother completely understood this maternal instinct. She told the guy to "kill it."

He seemed startled and said he could trap her and drop her across the river. Heather said, "No. With our luck, she's one of those homing squirrels who will figure out how to get back home. Kill it. I used to kill gophers. Just kill it."

The guy asked if we realized the babies were likely in our attic, and Heather said "Kill it." He set a trap and asked if she minded if he took the rodent home to eat because, being from Tennessee, he likes to eat squirrel. "Just kill it."

The past two days, we have diligently checked the trap on the roof to no avail. However, this morning, in another part of the house, we heard a scratching in a closed fireplace flue. The squirrel, evidently intimidated by the imposing trap (hey, even a tree rat with a brain the size of an acorn would be wary of the concoction on our roof by this point), so she chewed through the fireplace cap evidently seeking an alternate route into her home. Like an unfortunate Santa Clause, she got trapped. Out came the squirrel guy again, and he took out a gun -- in our living room -- and "killed it."

I wonder how roast squirrel tasted for a Valentine's Day dinner?

Monday, February 9, 2009

"V" is for....

Today at Ethan's class at the BSU Children's Center, the group was discussing the week's letter which is "V." The kids had the opportunity to pretend to be veterinarians while the teachers explained animal doctors. They used stuffed animals as part of the discussion. On the way home, Ethan was explaining this to Heather who asked him if they listened to the animals' hearts, and an exasperated Ethan exclaimed, "Mom! They don't have hearts. They have stuffin!"

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Throwing up and toys...

For the first time really since I met Heather (going on 10 years!), she was literally down for the count with some sort of intestinal "thing." 6 teachers in Ethan's school were out last week with the same illness, and I happened to be in California when it hit Heather. When she was too sick to pick me up at the airport, I knew she was really sick: Heather LOVES airports...and, now, so does Ethan. When I got home, Ethan was asleep, and she was trying to sleep. Heather indicated Ethan was a good little doctor...showing concern for her, getting her water, etc. He asked her at one point if she wanted some "mecidine," and when she said she would, he replied, "Well, you'll have to get it." Because it was on a top shelf!

For the next day or so, she stayed in bed trying to recover, and I played "Mr. Mom" which was kinda fun despite the reason. I took Ethan to school, picked him up, etc. I know. I know. Every dad should do all of that, and I do my share. But, I got to see firsthand how busy Heather is with him. On Saturday, Ethan and I spent about 1.5 hours in Fred Meyer browsing, looking at toys, shopping for food, etc. I remarked that his mom sure was sick, and he said, "Yeah! Really sick. I sure hope she doesn't throw up on my toys." When I laughed, he seemed embarrassed, and admonished me in a terse whisper "DAD! Don't tell her I said that!"

All is well again now. She's feeling much better, Ethan got to enjoy a playdate with our former neighbors this afternoon, and no one has thrown up on his toys!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Superbowls and birthdays

Years ago, a buddy chastised his friends about not checking sports' schedules when scheduling life events such as marriages or births. Yesterday, we scheduled Ethan's 4th birthday party at Chuck E Cheese on Superbowl Sunday, and invited this buddy and his 4 year old. Prior to this, he had been proud never to have set foot in the place. But life goals sometimes give way to kids' expectations, so they arrived and had a pretty good time. In fact, we left before they did, went home, put Ethan down for a nap, and then headed to this same buddy's annual Super Bowl party where he had to admit that he and his son had dawdled at the dreaded Chuck E Cheese for at least a half an hour after we left. By the Super Bowl, the kids were excited, filled with energy and sugar, and ignorant of the game as they ran and ran. It was a great day but the end of a long weekend starting with the Governor's Ball on Friday night and another 4 year old's birthday party on Saturday. The Dunham's dropped into bed exhausted last night.