The Bathroom Sink fell off the wall…

While I was out of town in Anchorage for training, Holly called saying, “Matt, the sink in the bathroom fell off the wall and it smells really bad.  What should I do?”

I asked, “What?”

She said, “The bathroom sink fell off the wall and is lying on the floor.”

I queried, “What, the sink fell OFF the wall?  The bathroom sink?” How often does that happen? I thought.

“Yes, it fell off the wall and it smells really bad.  It’s sitting on the floor.  We’ve just been using the kitchen sink instead.  What should I do?” 

(Below is a picture I took of the bathroom when I got home from the trip.  You can clearly see the spot on the wall where the sink broke off and you can imagine the smell coming up from the septic system since the ‘P’ trap was not in place.  Perhaps you could also imagine how hard it was to keep John Caleb from playing with the water faucets, as they were still functional)IMG_0006

IMG_0007After a bit of discussion, and wondering who would want to fix the sink for us for free, we agreed that she should just pretend there had never been a sink in the bathroom for a couple days until I returned from Anchorage, Hopefully with a new sink. so I could install it myself.

At the right, is what I think may have happened to the sink.  Actually, I don’t think Elisabet sat on the sink.  But it’s a funny thought.

IMG_0009Jeremy, Jack and I went to Home Depot and I bought the smallest bathroom sink they had, that is, the one that sticks out the least from the wall and was the most narrow.  Our bathroom is small and I wanted a bit more room to squeeze between the door and the sink when bathroom is occupied.  I was able to share one of my three Alaska Airlines checkin bags with Jack and Jeremy and return from Anchorage with the sink ready to install with the base and a nice new faucet.

I wanted to get an even lower profile sink, say about 10-15″ as I’ve seen one in a magazine like that for really small spaces, but ended up just getting one that was convenient to purchase.

When I returned from the trip, I put in the new sink. Here’s what it looked like.  I think this sink will last for many, many years, as it has a pedestal base that supports nearly all th weight and is much smaller. 

I IMG_0014I also moved the sink over towards the toilet a few inches to get it away from the door.  With the old sink, there were just a few inches of clearance whereas now it’s JUST possible to squeeze through the opening when the door if open and pointing at the sink..  Here’s the new faucet, which I really like a lot.  The faucet spout is raised up a bunch from the base compared to the old one, which makes it easy for the boys to fill up the water glasses for dinner (we always drink water for dinner, as it’s the best beverage you can drink)..

Initially, when I installed the faucet, there was no room for the soap or the water cup, but I removed the set screws and re-set the handles at an angle to allow us to use the left-hand side for the soap and the right hand side for the water glass. 

It was nice having a DIY home maintenance book on the shelf to read before fixing the sink too.  Having very little actual experience fixing things around the home, I really like a good DIY book, like the ones sold at Home Depot.

Best Burgers in Anchorage: Tony’s Burger Stop

IMG_0452Does anyone CARE what I ate for lunch? 

Usually, I just eat the cheapest, healthiest meal I can find that will leave my blood-sugar level at an even keel. And usually, that’s two bean & cheese burritos that I buy by the package at $4.80 for 10 burritos. I love this meal, because it’s cheap, easy to fix, relatively healthy, and does not put my on the blood-sugar roller coaster.

But today, I was in Anchorage.  And I wanted to go to Red  Robin.  I told Jack to take us to the place in town with the best burgers and was expecting to be taken to some national chain restaurant with a clean floor, tons of space, a TV going in the background, and a few options. 

IMG_0454Instead, we went to a tiny little out of the way shop downtown.  The building was lousy, the seating was minimal, the ambiance had left much to be desired, but was better than having a TV going, and the refrigerator was WAY too loud.  But their burgers were Awesome.

The thing I liked about the burger is that it had a dark, almost burnt crisp exterior, but a nice juicy red interior.  I opted for the swiss mushroom burger, the curly fries, and about 14 oz of ketchup.  It was really good, juicy, and messy.  It was not crowded, but we weren’t there on a weekday.

Busy day

Today was one of the busiest days I’ve had in a while.  To start things off, the photography class shot the pictures for grades 6-11 on the second day of picture day.  Since the 8th graders had PE, we shot them first starting at 8:45 AM.  The order of shooting went Grades: 8,7,6, 11,10, & 9.  Overall, the pictures went really well and the photo class did a great job collecting pre-paid flyers, selecting the proper background, posing the students, and getting the kids to smile.  What remains to be done is the cropping, sizing, proofing online, re-shooting, and ordering.  This picture of Hannah is a nice shot, but it needs to be cropped properly, as you can see.  I initially was going to do all the cropping myself, but now I want to show the class how to do it and let them try it first.

IMG_0238Then I had to clean up the bits that needed to be put away that nig ht and write out what sub-plans I could for whoever would be my sub and pack up the things I needed to go on the trip to Anchorage was scheduled to leave at 5 PM.  I walked over to the Library at 4 PM and said bye to Holly and picked up the Subaru Legacy.  It turns out that cars are really heavy.  I needed to get the car back to Holly so she could have it, plus I needed to say Happy Birthday to Mark Daniel before I left.  I called ahead to Margaret so that Bob could get ready to take me to the Airport for my flight on Wings (of Alaska), Margaret told me how Mark had just been up in the tree and she wished she had a camera.  I told her I’d be there in 1.5 minutes and I’d have a camera ready to go.

IMG_0256 Mark scampered up the tree, lickedy split, smiled big and then raced back down to  give me a hug.  I hate leaving town on a big day like a birthday.  He’d been looking forward to it and counting down the days, like kids do, and it was just really lame to have to leave.  He’s grown up so much in the last year and experienced so much, and yet he’s still learning and growing so much. 

The flight to Juneau was, by far, the best flight I’ve ever taken to Juneau.  The weather was perfect for flying, clear cool skies with almost no clouds in sight.  TIMG_0304he pilot said we were going down the eastern shoreline, so grabbed a seat on the left-hand side of the plane and kept my camera with me.  we headed straight for Point Sherman and then flew up over the ice fields and then skirted the tops of the mountains until we got to the Mendenhall Glacier and then flew into the valley via the glacier.  It was beautiful.  Absolutely stunningly beautiful.

At Juneau, after flight 67 arrived from Sitka I called Jack on is cell phone and confirmed that we were going to be on the same flight.  He was way in the back of where my seat was but since the plane was less than half full, the stewardess let me moved back to sit by him and catch up on things.

Getting the car at 11 PM was a fiasco.  The rental company we booked with was called Budget, but it wasn’t Budget Rent-a-car, the national chain.  Instead it was a little family owned business that made up their own policies as they went along.  The worst part of the rental was they required insurance with full coverage for each driver, on the driver’s own auto insurance even with Alaska Airlines Credit Card payments.  The rate for the economy car was $27 per day for three days, and the insurance they insisted they get was for $29 per day.  Needless to say, I canceled the rental on the spot.  Instead of getting out own car, Jeremy and I just bummed rides from my brother Jack.

The potatoes turned out GREAT

Holly says…

I think it would be best to use a straight concentration of ACV to soak them in, to get them a bit more zing.  They dried out overnight and curled up as dry as can be.  I think they’d be great for dipping just about anything into, but they don’t really have that salty addictive taste that I’d like in a chip, as I had to add too much water to the ACV.


Today we shot the Mosquito Lake School shots, then I shot the Cross country Team, then shot the community photos, and then some volleyball.  It was a really busy day.

A new diet: RAW food

Margaret took the boys over to her garden to pick potatoes and carrots with them and give Holly a much deserved break.  Then she brought us a nice little box full of them.  The boys had a great time picking them.


IMG_8879Since Holly is on a RAW food diet, she needed to have them prepared for eating tomorrow, which is not the easiest task, since she doesn’t like potatoes. So I sliced them up in the Cuisinart Special Edition  Metal 14 cup processor…


IMG_8880Then soaked them in ACV, Apple Cider Vinegar (vinegar that has the ‘mother’ in it, but smells just as bad a vinegar), garlic, salt, and onions.  Then I put them in the 12 drawer Excalibur variable temperature dehydrator at 135 degrees.

It’ll be interesting to see if they turned out okay in the morning.  Initially, I only put in four drawers worth, but I’m going to go back and put the rest of the sliced ones in then hit the sack.

GoDaddy dot com

I saw this video today from, the company that I host my domain at, and really thought it was funny.  It requires a bit of bandwidth. To be honest, it’s a bit out on the edge, as far as parodies go.  It’s making fun of the 3rd circuit court’s decision to nix the fine CBS got for the Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction a few years back.  Perhaps I should not leave it up.

Let me know if you think it’s funny, or just inappropriate.  If you want you can skip along to about half way through the video and save some time.

Here’s a link, incase the video does not imbed.


I thought it was pretty funny.

Here’s an interesting shot!

My dad has a younger brother and had an older sister.  Here’s a shot of my dad with is older sister Betty Jo.  What strikes me about the photo is the resemblance Luke Michael has to both of them.  Dad is the one in the wagon, and Betty Jo is the other one leaning on it.

John & Betty Jo

Here’s a cropped close-up of their faces.  Luke doesn’t have the exact same face, but there is definitely a family resemblance with dad’s nose and Luke’s, plus there’s the curly blond hair.  This shot was uploaded by My dad’s younger brother, my Uncle Ted.  One interesting thing about the pictures from back then is they were just about all taken in direct noon-day sun, or similar lighting.  So the facial features are more pronounced in those photos than in the photos of today due to the this lighting.  Of course, back then, they did not have the higher ISO film that we have today, so they did what they needed to to get the shot, as we still do today.

John & Betty Jo cropped

Here’s another interesting shot of a class my dad was in way back in the day… He’s the first person in the front row, the one with the light tan shorts.

John's Class

John's Class croppedAnd here’s a close-up of the same photo centered on my dad’s face.  I suppose there are people who would say there is a resemblance here too with my boys.  it’s all quite fascinating.

Teaching Bike Riding

I have a son that knows how to ride a bike, but how did he learn to ride a bike?  Well, first he started with training wheels. 

Before learning to ride the bike, he had to learn to pedal in a smooth motion that would keep him going.  Then we got him a bike.

We were fortunate, I suppose in our initial bike purchase because the first bike we got for him had really nice spring loaded training wheels that flex quite a bit. When he’d lean over onto a training wheel, the spring loaded part of it would flex a bit and cause him to lean over further than a stiff set of training wheels.

He used that bike with the training wheels for about a summer and a half (we live in Alaska and it’s not really practical to ride the bike in the winter).  Then one week his uncle (who is about 25) came home from Norway and we decided to enlist his aid in helping Mark learn to ride the bike sans training wheels.  Off came the wheels. 

Immediately, we found that the bike was not really meant for riding without the wheels. The rake was too short. In other words, it turned too sharply and fell too quickly to ride easily for a beginner.  The problem was, he was trying to pedal like he runs, with his arms pumping opposite too his legs, in a typical bi-pedal ambulatory motion: whenever he pedalled hard, he’d pull too hard with his opposite hand and would crash and he’d fall in the opposite direction of the hand that just pulled too hard..  So the grandparents went and found another larger bike for him to use that did not steer so sharply.

Then he was easily able to go right up and down the street.  The odd thing was, then, that he still had to learn to turn and slow down start pedaling and stop, along with a host of other skills.

I’ll see if I can get uncle John to write a description of the stuff he did with Mark and then post it as well.

So, maybe I’m not the best Father…

The other day, I came home from school and the boys were just going at each other and wouldn’t stop.  Mark kept climbing on Luke, or taking his stuff, Luke kept wanting Mark’s stuff, and John kept wanting to be held, the house was a mess, Holly was trying to make supper and Elisabet was helping her with something.  After about the fifth time of telling Mark to leave Luke alone, or sending him to his room for a few minutes of time-out, I had a long talk with him.

He didn’t seem to be getting it.  So I explained how lame it is to be squished and have his toy taken out of his hand by showing him what it felt like, not in a mean way, but just using enough weight and strength as needed.

He agreed he didn’t like it at all and that he didn’t need to keep doing that to Luke all the time if he really did like his younger brother.

By then, the pasta was done and John Caleb was still crying out loud all the time, as I hadn’t been holding him, so I asked Holly to switch seats with me so I could feed him:

IMG_0022She often feeds him at a slower rate than I do when she’s feeding him with a spoon,  waiting until he signals with a long, loud series of wails, that he needs some more food, and I was in no mood to listen to all that through the meal.  Since  he needs a different meal than pasta, I grabbed some of his home-made split pea soup from the fridge.  Holly offered to heat it up on the stove, but by then I was ready to sit down and have some peace and quiet.

So I took the cold split pea soup for John Caleb and a nice hot plate of pasta for myself and a small spoon with an empty plate for John Caleb and sat down at my place to eat in the chair that is right next to the high chair.

  I served him up a spoonful but he didn’t seem to like it really well, and just barely choked it down.  The rest of the meal was going pretty well, so by the time he was ready for another bite, I was there with another spoonful of cold split pea soup.  He just looked at me questioningly and kind of half heartedly opened his mouth part-way, so I inserted what I could before he turned away then I ate some more spaghetti.  He swallowed what he could then looked back at me with an imploring look.  Holly said, “I think he’s trying to tell you something.  See that look on his face?”

Being a confident male in no need of further direction on how to feed a baby, I ignored her.

This time, when I went to feed him, he frowned and turned away.  So, being the larger one, I put my hand on the top of his head, turned it toward me, and pushed his lower jaw down with the spoon and inserted the food.  Holly piped up right away, “I think he was trying to say he’s not really hungry for cold soup.”

IMG_0002 Then he banged his hands around until he his plate was on the way to the floor, then he banged around with his hands until the spoons were on the floor too.  So, seeing that he was more interested in throwing things on the floor than eating, I picked up the things for him throw on the floor again and ate some more pasta.  The next time, the stuff went off the high chair on Luke’s side so he squirted down onto the floor to pick them up. John Caleb did not look happy.

This went on for a good 15 minutes or so, during which time, I tried to pretend all was well, and Holly tried to pretend that it was all pretty normal too.  Finally, after about 20 minutes of the loud racket and clamor of plates and spoons hitting the floor: CLANG, BANG,CRASH, CLATTTER!

He was getting pretty good at getting them of his tray on the first attempt, and I was just about at my wits end.  I asked Elisabet, “Do the babies do this in Spain too?”  she laughed softly and said, “Yes.  Sort of.”

Holly said, “I think he didn’t like the cold soup.”

I had to agree, so I picked him up out of his chair and put him on my lap.  To my utter surprise, he did not immediately grab at the plate or the spaghetti, or the fork or the drink or anything.  He just sat there on my lap waiting to get some nice warm pasta.  So, I took my fork and minced up some pasta, sauce, and Parmesan Cheese and fed him a bite. 

He liked it a lot. He sat there quietly and calmly and did nothing to make a noise or cause a problem.  Then turned his head around, looked up at me and smiled, asking for another bite.

Holly said, “I guess he wanted some of the good stuff too.”

I guess I can learn too.

Are you liberal or Conservative?

Here’s an interesting site to help you determine if you are a liberal.