July 2013

Let’s start off this month’s wrap-up with some paranoia, shall we? I’ve been looking into non-lethal home defense stuff for a couple of weeks now. Actually, the first time I started looking into this was about a year ago, and it was because of a Bill Burr bit. Now my interests have been re-stoked after watching, sure enough, Bill Burr’s latest appearance on Conan. Anyhow, basically what I’m looking for is “how can I incapacitate a gunman without owning a gun myself?” The short answer: good luck. Regardless of mine or anyone else’s stance on guns, keeping a loaded gun in the closet is simply not an option with kids around. And keeping around an unloaded gun (or a disassembled shotgun, a loaded gun in a gun safe, whatever) does almost nothing to protect you in a home invasion. Most of my ideas go back to trickery: buy a 12 gauge shotgun with no ammunition and just scare people off by cocking it (like that would actually work). Load up a junked truck with NRA stickers and put it in the driveway… just something to make the bad guys go “I’ll pass.” Obviously those aren’t solutions. :) The real solutions are more like a high-powered CO2 bb gun with a billion rounds or a giant can of pepper spray that hikers carry when they are in grizzly country. So anyway, I’ve been searching around and it has led me to some pretty weird websites. Lots of camouflage.

Stephen has reached the perfect age. The age I have been waiting for. We play a pretty elaborate imaginary “restaurant” game where he is the server/owner/chef/bus boy and I am the patron. He cuts up his fake plastic food, puts it on a plate, and gets me a drink. He’s extra polite while he does this and awaits my order with his hands folded behind his back. He talks about how cool his restaurant is because “we use books as plates and we have robot menus.” He’s referring to his robot sticker book that he uses as his menu.

We toured a preschool and signed Stephen up. He’ll be going six hours a week from September through June.

We’ve started the long process of transitioning Henry into a bed from which he can escape. I took every single thing out of his room. I mean everything — dresser, shelves, pictures off the walls, stuff out of the closet, the closet doors themselves, everything. Then I converted his crib into a bed and pretty much locked him in his room at bed time. Last night was the first try. Seems like he ran around happily and acted crazy from 7:30-8:30 and was awake until 9:30. Then he slept all night on the floor with no pillow or blanket. Silly child. But today he napped in the bed using both his blanket and his pillow.

The 4th of July in this neighborhood is simply awesome. I don’t know what the local ordinances are regarding fireworks, but the people in my neighborhood are surely breaking the law. The guy directly behind us must have set off $1500 worth of fireworks that night. Big booming explosions towering over the trees for more than an hour. I knew they were done when I heard them get out the leaf blower to clean up the debris in the cul-de-sac. The next two years are the prime days for July 4th (Friday and Saturday, respectively) and we plan to have a big party at least one of those years. It’s like standing directly beneath a small city’s fireworks show with no crowd to deal with.

My birthday trip was the last weekend in July and it was fantastic. We stayed in a stand-alone house at the bed and breakfast that used to be the owner’s art studio. A tiny two-floor thing with a king bed and a nice bathroom (with Jacuzzi) upstairs. Downstairs had an easel, paper, and some art supplies. Unfortunately some dummy had written “Caroline hearts Ben” with pastels on every single page. I didn’t know fourteen year olds could get their own room at a bed and breakfast. Outside was a patio that looked out onto the small pond made by the spring. Someone dammed up the flow from the spring a while back and it makes a nice waterfall right outside of the house. So close to the house, it could be a mill (in fact I think our room was called “the mill by the spring” or something like that).

Not only was the place nice, but the surrounding area was really cool. Hadn’t been to Winchester (Est. 1752) in a while, and never for leisure. Nice place with an old-timey feel. Also it’s orchard country, so everywhere we went, we had to drive past and through orchards. And we were only an hour from home. So many nice things within an hour of here in all directions. We are an hour or less from rural Maryland, West Virginia, Winchester, the Shenandoah Valley, and Washington DC. This trip got me thinking that we should try to buy some land here, maybe ten or more acres. In my opinion you need at least five acres for privacy. My wife brought up the obvious flaw in this plan: we would have to pay for it. Oh yeah. Even still, I’m looking for some land around here before it all gets swallowed up. It would be so nice to have a totally private, treed-in lot while still being in the same amazing school district and all of that. We shall see.

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