January was cold. I mean cold with bold and italics. It’s shaping up to be the winter we were promised. We went out as a family maybe three times? It takes a lot of effort at the moment. When we first got back from the hospital I was feeling guilty for having to be generally more permissive with the boys; by now I am used to it. I am sort of dreading getting Henry back “on the wagon” (limited touch screen time and time watching videos). We are settling into a pretty good routine. Jaime takes Stephen to school a lot of the time, when school is open.
That was another theme of January: no school. After the MLK holiday, schools were closed for two weeks, more or less, sometimes for as little as .75 inches of snow. It seems we spent the month huddled by the fire. I got a better handle on the fireplace this month, I think. It takes a while to get used to the fact that there is a 45-60 minute delay when you make the fire bigger/smaller. Shamefully, it took me a couple of months to tone down the size of the fire when necessary so that everyone’s not sweating. This month got down pretty cold for this area (negative temperatures) and we were burning a lot of logs every day.
The boys have a night light that turns green at 6:30 when they are allowed to get up. It already has solved a lot of problems and should be even more helpful later in the year as the sun starts to come up earlier and earlier. My new favorite time of day is 6:30am when I go into the boys’ room and snuggle Henry on the bottom bunk. His biggest blanket barely covers me, and it has recently been cold in the morning. Half the time Stephen comes down and snuggles with us which is helpful for warmth.
My parents and grandparents came for a great visit near the end of the month. My grandparents stayed down the street at a hotel with a pool, and different combinations of us would visit in the morning for hotel breakfast and swimming. Charlotte was five weeks old and I’m not sure Jaime had been away from her for a second. Jaime got some pumping in so we could leave the baby home with my mom while we went swimming. I think it was a much-needed break for Jaime to go to the pool with her boys at that point. Then different combinations of people would come back to our house to spend time together by the fire. Watching playoff football. Taking turns holding the baby. Family stuff.
As I mentioned in last month’s update, my good friend and bandmate Steve passed away in December. The memorial was on the 18th of this month. It’s a strange and difficult thing to deal with. You say all of the cliché phrases you’ve heard all of your life, like It still doesn’t seem real or I still think he’s going to call me and say what’s up. The reason people say these things is because these are all the very weird things you think when someone close to you dies. I keep finding stuff that I want to show Steve, only to realize a second later that I can’t. During his memorial service I got a very painful pit in my stomach. It actually felt like a peach pit was on fire in my stomach. It hurt badly until well after I got home. I guess that’s what it’s like to have an ulcer? I don’t know and I don’t want any more experience with that. That evening was a musical tribute to Steve at Jay’s house. I played a few songs first and then played one song with the rest of the musicians who were there. It was an excellent evening – one that I’d like to re-create every six months or so.
A growing compendium of Steve’s songs/recordings/music can be found here: soundcloud.com/stevefromearth. I recorded a lot of this stuff at my house and I am still going through everything. More to come, more to come. Here are some of his cover songs he did, both alone and with other people: