• Home,  Outdoors

    Clematis Arch

    All three of the clematis vines on the arch are blooming this week. I relocated three clematis vines from other parts of the yard to this arch. They don’t always bloom at the same time, but this spring they did.

  • Family,  Home

    Turning 50

    My 50th birthday is coming up in November 2021, so I’m already in my 50th year of life. I’ve been thinking about how to celebrate this milestone for a while now. Pre-COVID we were planning a trip to the UK to explore some family roots and the English countryside. That’ll happen eventually, but not this year. I started 2021 without any real concrete goals or plans for this milestone. By late February, two had emerged as top contenders, achievable (with effort) and generally positive for my well-being. They are: Shed 50 pounds by Thanksgiving Run in 50K of organized trail and road races by December 31st Starting March 1st, I…

  • Conservation,  Home

    Should I Get a Tankless Water Heater?

    The Short Answer: Tanks all day. We needed to replace our aging hot water tank in 2020, so I discussed the tankless option with several plumbing professionals and homeowners. Over the last few years, I have experienced the transition from tank to tankless at my in-laws home. We confidently decided the tank was better. Functional Tankless solves a problem we don’t have (unlimited hot water) and creates two new problems: 1) Slightly longer delay in getting hot water at the taps, esp. remote taps. This is annoying, but further it’s a waste of clean water. On some small scale it increases your water cost because you’re just running it down…

  • Cleveland,  Family,  Home,  Politics,  Society

    Settling In

    COVID took my writing here in a weird direction. I wrote a series of methodical-yet-irregular diary posts about the details of what I was feeling and what was happening in our lives, but after a couple of months the importance of that writing fell away. I think I was using it as a tool to process my feelings about the world, and eventually moved to other approaches. So, an update. Everyone’s healthy and fine. Our girls have started the school year from home, and we’re having beautiful late-summer / early-fall weather in Cleveland. We’re all settling in to a schedule and a new set of expectations. Susan and I are…

  • Home

    COVID-19 Journal – 6

    Wednesday, July 1: Two of 50 US states are showing decreases in COVID cases. The rest are steady or, increasingly, numbers are rising. The open-America chickens are coming home to roost. The southern states which opened early – FL, TX, AZ are showing significant case increases and are putting the brakes on reopening plans. Houston TX hospitals reached 100% capacity yesterday, and are starting to send patients to outlying counties. Locally, our bars and restaurants are full. Young party people are living the bulletproof life, for now. That behavior will only change when someone they know gets really sick, or the state returns to lockdown measures. Thursday, July 2: No…

  • Family,  Home

    COVID-19 Journal – 6

    Monday April 20 (Day 36): More 3D printing and processing orders for ear savers, at the expense of normal daily work. Tuesday April 21 (Day 37): Again, ear savers and some normal daily work. After the kids are in bed I process and bag ear savers while watching Tiger King and eating snacks. This is 100% OK. Wednesday April 22 (Day 38): Normal work stuff and 3D printing, which is settling into a normal routine. Susan’s birthday is tomorrow. The kids and I decorated their room because they are having a slumber party with mom tonight. Thursday April 23 (Day 39): Susan’s birthday. I cooked tri-tip steak with roasted potatoes.…

  • Family,  Home

    COVID-19 Journal – 5

    Thursday April 16 (Day 32): I’m not feeling the journaling this week. What was strange and scary is the new normal. We have routines, and they mostly work. The biggest challenges arise from failing to meet expectations, and setting realistic ones. My mother joined Susan’s family call this week, and it was lovely to have her as part of the group. The Tokar family reunion in Toledo, an important and long-running gathering for my wife’s family, is canceled this year. Many people report more time for connection with people by phone, mail, and video conference. We’re still connecting and building relationships, just mostly not in person. Friday April 17 (Day…

  • Family,  Home

    COVID-19 Journal – 4

    Monday April 6 (Day 22): Unlike last week, I had a strong desire to make sure the kids completed their assigned schoolwork today, and it resulted in a lot of tension between Amelie and I. She feels the workload is too high, and the days are too structured and she is clearly very frustrated. That impacts her desire to do the assignments that seem hard or uninteresting. So I end up giving her “well, if you don’t do X then you can’t have Y” consequences, which makes things worse instead of motivating her. I think it is also difficult because Camille has less or easier schoolwork assigned, and seems to…

  • Family,  Home

    COVID-19 Journal – 3

    Monday March 30 (Day 15): First day of “for real” school for the kids. Week 1 was a warmup, Week 2 was spring break (officially), this is Week 3 in which We Try To Get Real Work Done. It was also Susan’s first day back at work after ~1 week of mostly not working. She is stressed. There’s a whiteboard schedule in the dining room that Susan updates every morning. Thanks to this, we have a clear and agreed schedule for everybody, and we know who is on duty for helping the kids at various times. It’s a good system and it feels fair. Amelie lobbied for more unstructured free…