I am sick. By sick I mean I have been stricken with pestilence. Probably an Ebola-Plague hybrid. I have talked about being sick in previous blogs, so I will spare you the long versions. Just suffice it to say that Eli, or as I like to call him, our Pale Rider, brought home sniffles in his poison snot and here I am. My wife has been sick for more than a week. That’s how it works. Eli and Charlie bring sniffles home and give them to their mom. They grow and mutate and then she gives them to me.
Anyway . . . I managed to somewhat catch up on my school work and thought I would remind you what that “Diaper” thing you followed on Facebook was all about. I admit that I haven’t been very good at keeping up the blog for the last several months. The irony is that I have written more in that period than I have ever written . . . ever. It’s not nearly as fun as hanging out with you guys. My writing lately has been all about Civil War Reconstruction and Teaching Reading in Content Area and how Congress works. It’s good to be writing like this again.
As you can probably figure out, school has dominated my life for the last for or five months. I graduate this spring. Finally. The 12-year-plan finally reaches its end game. I am hoping to be a teacher in the next few years and I have been learning a lot. Some of the things I have learned have nothing to do with academics specifically. Like I learned that at my school, you have to apply to graduate. Seriously, its like a real thing with a form and everything. And a $50 application fee of course. I found out by accident on February 13 and the deadline is February 15. Well, its not really a deadline as much as the point where instead of $50 you get to pay $80. Its that kind of deadline.
The Christmas season was very good here. It always is. With the possible exception of Manhattan, there is probably no more of a Christmasy place anywhere than in Alaska. My wife’s aunt visited at Christmas as did my oldest son Parker. He and his wife came up and we had lots fun hanging out with him, his wife and her family. It is still weird to write or say ” . . . and his wife . . .” I can’t help it. Its like last week he couldn’t have a gerbil because I knew he would starve it and now he has a wife.
The dynamic changed because my sister-in-law and her husband didn’t come up this year. We missed them, but they were busy taking care of my niece. They get a pass. My mother-in-law got back here for Christmas. After my niece was born she went to New York to help out. She ended up staying for a few months waiting for space in a daycare to open and generally spending immense amounts of grandma time with her newest grandbaby.
That meant we got to watch her dog for a few months. Not that it is big deal. We love Band Aid. That’s his name . . . Band Aid. His name is Band Aid because when she adopted him his name was Banjo and she thought Banjo was a dumb name. She increased his perceived intelligence by naming him Band Aid. She’s a nurse. Get it? Dog named Band Aid and his owner is a nurse? I would have suggested Bed Pan or Catheter if I thought I wouldn’t have had something thrown at me.
So Christmas was good, as usual. After Christmas we took our annual trek eastward. We try to get out of Alaska after Christmas because . . . well . . . its Alaska after Christmas. Once all the jolliness and Ho Ho Ho is over it’s just cold and dark. So we go east. One of the drawbacks to going east is that we have to fly. Like being sick, I have chronicled plane trips in this blog before. Just say it hasn’t gotten any less interesting.
I know there is more of me than there used to be. I understand that. But we don’t tend to gain weight in our shoulders, so I don’t know why every beverage cart between here and Orlando has to be bounced off my shoulder. Whenever I say the seat has gotten smaller, I get that polite nod and hand pat. You know the one. It’s like “of course the seat is smaller”.
There are usually four or five of us flying these days. On the planes we fly seats come in multiples of three. That means one or two of us have sit across the aisle. Normally that means Charlie and whoever is flying with us sit across the aisle. My wife and I sit with Eli so we can stifle his screams and physically restrain him. Not really. Well kinda. He is getting much better about not pulling the fuzzy gray stuff sticking up over the seat in front of him and finding out it is attached to the scalp of an elderly woman who was sleeping. We’ve paid for several drinks.
My wife sits in the middle seat because Eli likes the window and he likes his mom more than he likes me. I get it . . . I like her more than I like me too. That means that she needs room to work and I get all the airplane refuse like plastic cups and empty kid snack packs and food trash. The problem is I am already trying to skooch together as to avoid the next hi-speed beverage cart. So I end up with my elbows tucked in trying to fit my ironically rather short arms into a confined space. The result is me trying to reach things down the length of my forearm that are literally inches away. Think T-Rex eating pasta with a fork in a phone booth.
Regardless of the problems with flying it beats the heck out of walking. We flew into Baltimore with my wife’s aunt then made stops in Ocean City and Williamsburg, Virginia before heading south to Florida. We actually skipped the Disney Parks this year. We decided that vacation should probably involve some level of actual vacation. The parks get kind of intense. We told the boys that we weren’t going to the parks and would be spending extra time at the beach. They were fine with that until it occurred to them that we weren’t going to the parks. When it dawned on Eli that were weren’t going he acted like I just told him that Santa Claus choked to death on a serving of Easter Bunny. He can be very judgmental.
We got back to Fairbanks in time for some old school cold weather. We had more than a week of -35 to -45 degrees. In case you are wondering that is every bit as cold as it sounds. All-in-all it has been a pretty good season. It got better February 13 when my oldest niece brought an 8 pound 1 ounce baby girl into the world. My little brother beat me to grandpa. I might be a little jealous.
So that’s where we are on This Side of the Diaper. I have kind of a handle on my studies and I plan to be a little better about writing. I don’t have a panic attack planned until the middle of April. Thanks for reading and your continued following of This Side of the Diaper.