Monday, October 27, 2008

Politics, mostly

I think the hardest thing about being a step-parent is being reminded at times that you're an add-on member of the family. 99% of the time things are great, everybody gets along beautifully, then the kids get home after 4 days with dad and I'm a stranger again for a few hours. It passes, usually within the space of an evening, but for awhile I don't belong in my own home. It's a weird feeling.

In other news, the political landscape looks great for next week. The polls are all out there to be perused at will, but if things go the way they are now next Tuesday will be a happy day in American history. It's kind of funny to once again be in the spotlight of the entire nation...in 2006 CD-7 was the #1 race to watch in the country and we won that one, under intense national curiosity. This year Colorado is one of the states being watched carefully, since we may flip from our 2004 voting errors. The sign at Forward Colorado reads "To win the White House, we have to win the West. To win the West, we have to win Colorado. To win Colorado, we have to win Jefferson County." Sure there are lots of other races to watch and lots of other places where things need to fall in line, but my beautiful state definitely matters. (They mentioned on the news Saturday that we had all 4 candidates in the state campaigning in the space of 7 days.)

Of course Colorado has preferences. The Obama event in Denver Sunday had an estimated turnout of 100,000, then he went straight to Fort Collins, where 50,000 more waited for him (this in a city with a population of 130,000-ish). A McCain appearance a few days earlier had a whopping 4000 people show up. Palin's visit to the Springs (Home of the Fighting Fearmongers) whipped 11,000 into a frenzy. So if the rallies are any indication, Obama will win here in a landslide, just like the rest of the country. Of course all that matters is the final vote total. I finally got out last Sunday to canvass a bit and Steph's going to phone bank w/ me next Sunday. It's not as much as 2006 certainly, but then I have a somewhat hectic life now. I can't wait to see what happens Tuesday!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Homeownin'

Since moving in here, I have changed out 3 light fixtures, installed a swing-arm-enabled mirror, reattached numerous wiggly fixtures to walls, repaired a fence, repaired a toilet, and learned how to maintain a hot tub. In addition I have taken apart and reassembled an electric air filter attached to the furnace, 2 garage door remotes (remarkably simple contraptions), and most of the previously mentioned random fixtures. I'm glad I owned some basic tools before we moved in, thanks to my dad's insistence for several years in a row that Santa brought tools to grown children. I even found a use for the industrial-strength plastic clamps that I've moved 5 times from apartment to apartment. (Particle board destruction + wood glue + clamps = fixed filing cabinet!)

It's a little thing, but there's a nice sense of accomplishment after a day of tangibly fixing things that you just don't get from cleaning. When you clean, and especially when you do laundry, stuff just gets messed up again. But if you install/repair/replace part of your house, that sticks. That doesn't mean I couldn't do more to help with cleaning though. There's always more to do.

Monday, October 6, 2008

NYC #2

So Saturday, 9/20 in NYC was my sister's wedding. My brother's semi-official anniversary is 8/13, mine is 10/20, my sister's is now 9/20. Easy enough, eh?

We arrived at the venue about 2 hours before the wedding was set to start. This was designated Picture Time, but the bride's wedding dress was notably absent so that didn't happen so much. Instead we took some of our own pics.

The wedding was at the Palm House at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Nice place, nice ceremony, everybody was happy. The DJ apparently had some commitment issues and showed up a couple hours late, but it all worked out. Dancing was done, with the Grand March, the Flying Dutchman, and the Chicken Dance thrown in as a nod to our Western Kansas roots. The kids took advantage of the dancin' as well:
After the reception it was off to Coney Island. We rode the subway in all our wedding gear, which created quite a scene. Also it took forever. We had dinner at Nathan's, where the Coney Dog originated. The hot dogs were tasty as advertised. Then it was off down the boardwalk to the WonderWheel, where the happy couple was engaged. We rode in a "swinging" car, after being promised it wasn't *too* scary. It was fun, and the kids' screams of "WE'RE GOING TO DIE!!!!" were full of laughter. Here are the newlyweds on the Wheel:
No account of the trip would be complete without mentioning Rhiannon. She's a girl my sister knew and spent a ton of time with in San Jose, and she flew all the way to NYC to be a part of the festivities. She and Mr. K bonded in the way that kids in a crowd of adults will, and he developed quite the little 6-year-old crush on her. It was cute, and we can only hope he's able to move on since losing her to the ending of the weekend.Saturday was a laaaate night, with the longest subway ride ever back to Manhattan with an exhausted family, wife, and kids. But we made it eventually and crashed hard. Sunday morning was the final event of the weekend, a brunch hosted by Matt's mom. Steph and the kids stayed behind at the hotel for some much-needed relaxation prior to the return trip. The Bean was much much better on the trip home, and we made it back to bed in Denver without incident.

All in all it was a great trip, if a bit exhausting. My new family has now met the remainder of my original family and it all went well. It sounds like we'll all be together again for at least part of the holidays and I can look forward to that now.

Thursday, October 2, 2008