Monday, January 31, 2011

Can you go home again?

My family moved to Twin Falls, Idaho in August, 1964, and we moved into a house on Falls Avenue East. We were one of six brick houses, and, in those days, we were pretty isolated...surrounded by farmers, fields, and nothing between our back yard and the Snake River Canyon.

We left that house in the Winter of 1969 when my parents divorced, so I lived there from three years old until I was eight years old. I have some great memories of the place but also some unpleasant ones as the deterioriation of my parents' marriage is inextricably entwined with that home.

The other day, about 41 years after I last set foot in the place, my mother arranged for me to visit the house. I did so out of curiosity, and it was surreal.

Of course, it was MUCH smaller than I remembered. Even now looking at old faded photos taken in the house, it seems bigger than it did when I walked in last weekend. The other thing that struck me is how much had NOT changed.

When I buy a house, I have always wanted to change it. The owners of our old house seem to enjoy the early 1960's decor because, with the exception of some new kitchen counter laminate, NOTHING has changed at all other than a couple of wall colors.

The major change, other than the view out the back windows which no longer overlook an expanse of fields and sage brush to the canyon but rather huge houses and fences, is that I felt suddenly sad yet happy at the same time.

Certainly, there are great memories:

My brother Dan running from the front door when we arrived that hot August day in 1964. He scooped me up in his arms and ran into the back yard where we picked a carrot out of the garden.

Playing in the sand box made from a tractor tire.

Watching my brothers' band practice on the patio.

But, the other memories of the final Christmas when my dad drove away make that house a place of pain for me.

When I drove back to 2109 11th Avenue East where I moved on February 28, 1970, when my mom married my step-father Karl, I walked in, hugged Karl, and said, "Karl. That place means nothing to me. THIS will always be my childhood home." Proof that home is where a kid feels secure.

Thanks Karl.....

Thursday, January 27, 2011

6 years ago today....

At 7:55 a.m., on January 27, 2005, our son Ethan Stanford Dunham was born. He was born yelling, crying, and peeing!

We didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl, but his mother not-so-secretly just assumed "critter" (as we called the unborn hiccuper) would be a girl. After all, Heather is "#5" in a group of 7 sisters.

When Ethan first emerged, the doctor said, "It's a boy!" Heather retorted in a rather plaintive voice, "A boy? Are you sure? It was supposed to be a girl."

I was more worried about 10 fingers and 10 toes to worry about that other appendage!

Ethan would have weighed 9 pounds had he not decided to pee upon his birth. When we woke him this morning by signing "Happy Birthday, he jumped up yelling "Red Alert! Red Alert!" which is his usual urgent announcement that he has to go to the bathroom. There was no such warning 6 years ago this morning.

After he was born, I cut the cord, and marvelled at that little tiny being. He was whisked away to NICU for a bit, and I followed behind beginning my first "helicopter parent" action. Once he was secured, I was told I could leave to be with Heather in recovery.

"Recovery" was relative because it took longer than normal for the doctor and his staff to handle Heather's C-Section.

As a result, I sat outside her operating/delivery room by myself for almost an hour. Sitting quietly on a little bench in a dark and cold hallway, I thought about Heather and our new son upstairs taking his first breaths.

What would he be like? Where were his eye lashes? Would he have blue eyes? Why is his hair black? What the hell am I going to do now? Who should I call now because no one knew we were having him today? I've only changed one diaper in my life, and now look where I am!

Millions of thoughts rushed through my mind it seemed.

But I was overwhelmed with love for my son and for Heather.

I felt the same this morning six years later.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Time Away....

I've spent too much time away from my blog, and I feared that would happen with the advent of Facebook. Our son turns 6 this week, and we've been busy with him during this first year of school. Kindergarten has been OK, but he misses preschool! "I got to do a lot more fun stuff there. Now they just make us work." Since my last posting in September, here are some random "Ethanisims" from recent Facebook postings as well as references to the burglary at our house in early December:


January 23, 2011: Our son Ethan's 6th Birthday Party is today. He just told me that he's on his way to 7.

January 17, 2011: A particularly sappy Celine Dion song blasted from the car radio yesterday when I turned on the ignition causing our soon to be 6 year old son to yell "Oh COME on Dad. Turn that off and put on some real music!" I am so proud.


December 31, 2010: Ethan wanted a Mohawk for New Years Eve. Stylin'

December 25, 2010: ‎2:48 on Christmas Day. Our son is exhausted and napping after saying "Daddy! This is the BESTEST Christmas ever!" He's had so many....

December 22, 2010: The losers who broke into our house are in custody and we joined other victims at what the police call a victims garage sale where we retrieved much of what they stole from us though some is lost forever....my sense of disgust is intact and we hope they enjoy the holidays behind bars...for years to come.

December 22, 2010: The Mall to see Santa followed by a trip to "Planet Kid" certainly equals two of Dantes' nine levels of Hell.


December 21, 2010: ‎1st in line for Santa. 2 page list. "Santa doesn't need money because his elves make everything."

December 16, 2010: Happy 10th wedding anniversary today to my incredible wife Heather! I'm a very lucky guy.

December 15, 2010: The Boise Police have arrested the 2 women who burglarized our house along with about 9 others. We will recover some of our stolen goods but some things aren't recoverable -- nor replaceable. Even more creepy now that we've seen the faces of the freaks who rummaged through our stuff.

December 8, 2010: So...our house in a great neighborhood was robbed today: 2 laptops, jewelry, camera, flat screen TV & and a 5 year old's sense of security. Somethings can be replaced.

December 1, 2010: Boise Schools Closed for Snowday on December 2, 2010. Ethan asks "Why doesn't Daddy get a snowday so we can play in the snow?" Great question.

November 11, 2010: Our son woke up early today because he dreamed that "Devasators are taking over the world." If he thinks Kindergarten is tough, wait till first grade....

November 1, 2010: On Saturday, October 30, 2010, Ethan (the red-masked Ninja) and some friends enjoyed trick or treating with Governor and Mrs. Otter at the state capitol. Fun time!

October 23, 2010: My oldest brother turns 60 today. Wow...he's old.

October 17, 2010: Before promising a 5 year old a trip to a Halloween corn maze, make sure they are open on Sunday.


October 8, 2010: Grandma climbed into Ethan's treehouse despite his sign saying "No Grown Ups Allowed." A 78 year kid....

October 7, 2010: Our 5 year old declined to show his 78 year old grandmother how to play Wii by saying "No, it wouldn't be any fun cuz I'll beat you every time."

September 25, 2010: Headed to find a bar near the White House to watch the BSU game. The Obamas didn't invite me to their tailgate.

September 7, 2010: Ethan responded to my discussion about chores such as taking out garbage & emptying the dishwasher with "My allowance will be $10 a day."

September 4, 2010: Labor Day weekend. Absolutely no plans. Perfect.