Shock & Awe

Last night, I was in the big black chair reading in my new book, Guitar All-In-One for Dummies, when Holly said with a little bit of alarm, “Matt, I think I just saw a mouse. Is that possible?” Hmmm.

Knowing Holly like I do, I figured if she’d really just seen a mouse, that question would have been come out differently, so I said, “It’s probably not a mouse,” and kept on reading.

The Dummies series of books has a number of guitar tittles in it: Guitar (an introduction to guitar), Rock Guitar, Blues Guitar, Classical Guitar, Guitar Exercises, Songwriting, Music Composition, and Music Theory.  Individually these books cost about $16 a piece and are about 300-400 pages each, but this book I got cost $23.80 and includes the non repetitive stuff from the others weighing in at a regrettable 666 pages (I am NOT kidding!)

A few minutes later I hear a high pitched very loud squeal from the kitchen.  Not really a scream, not blood curdling actually, just a very energetic yet disbelieving squeal. I close my book.

“It just ran behind the fridge. It’s back there.” Running into the kitchen, I’m looking all around at the floor.  Holly is perched on one of the dining room chairs pointing.

Another squeal. “It ran over to the cabinets.”

I’ve seen it too.  It’s fat and pretty fast. It’s definitely not a vole.  It’s a genuine mouse.

Judging the size of it, it’s been here a while and had plenty to eat.

I walked quickly to my coat to get my gloves.  I figured I’d catch it, but I didn’t want to get some weird infection from a bite.

That’s a bad sign. It probably went in the door where the trash can is.

After getting my gloves, I’m in the kitchen scoping out the floor and the kickboard.  Sure enough the under-the-sink door to the trashcan is ajar.

I open the door. It’s dark under there. I close the door and run to get a flashlight. My favorite flashlight these days is the little red plastic LED Weather Ready by Energizer which uses four AA batteries. I can’t find it so I grab my 18V Ryobi light. I turn it on, it’s charged and bright.

I open the door. Take out the trashcan. It’s almost empty. nothing. I move the box of trashbags from costco. Mouse poop. I take out the Draino. No mouse. Luke is there by my side eagerly looking on.

After removing everything, the mouse has definitely gone under the cabinets, perhaps into the crawl space.

More Mouse poop though. Actually, now that I’m seeing it, there is mouse poop all around, now that I’m looking for it. I get a brush and dust pan, and start to clean up the mouse poop.  Then I think again.

Then I stop cleaning.

This mouse just made a big mistake.

I put away the dustpan and whisk broom.

This mouse should not have come out during the daylight hours.

It’s days are numbered.

 

Davis 023After mentally debating the various approaches: poison, borrowing some cats, traps, a late-night vigil, I decide on a multi pronged approach. The Lumber stores were closed, as it was 5:45 PM, but a quick call to Olerud’s confirms that they have mouse traps. Holly confirms that we have some non-drippy Skippy Peanut Butter in the cupboards, so all we need is poison and traps.

Mark is tired and sound asleep on the couch, so Luke and I head out to get the main tool, pictured at left. Turns out they didn’t have any poison, just traps. Looking at the traps at the store, they’re the smaller type for mice and voles.  Not the big monster kills anything traps, so I buy six of them.

My first thought was to put a bunch of traps in the crawl space and put poison all around the perimeter, but then after thinking about all that poop centralized under the sink and how I don’t want a dead mouse under the cabinets stinking up the house, I decide with to concentrate on the under-the-sink cabinet.

After testing each one and fine tuning the sensitivity so they’re just hair trigger ready to fire off, and explaining the whole process to Luke who’s mentally taking notes and asking a ton of questions I go with the following setup.

Davis 024

Back where the insulation is crammed in the corner there is a hole that leads under the cabinets, so I centered my response there.This mouse is definitely in the wrong house.  Don’t you think? Also, where there is one mouse, there is often another, or more of them anyway, so I thought it best to make it tough on the guy.

Then I put everything back in as it was.

This is the first time I’ve gone with the “Shock & Awe” approach, using overwhelming firepower to virtually guarantee success and focus all resources at a single point.

I’ll keep you informed on the progress.

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Put on your warm boots…

This morning we were going through our new morning routine which includes all of the family walking 1.25 miles with me to school and leaving at 7:30 AM so that we can arrive 5-10 minutes early when I had an interesting exchange with the two year old, John Caleb.

Of course there are a number of difficulties with a routine like this: prime among them is getting all the boys out of bed, dressed, fed, into their snowsuits, boots, gloves, and hats along with the occasional diaper change.  Keep in mind that the boys are ages 7, 4, and 2. It is dark and cold this time of year.

This morning there was a rash of boys wanting to wear their lightweight summer boots instead of their heavy warm winter boots. John Caleb, the two year old, in particular wanted to wear his smaller boots and was wearing them in the foyer waiting for the door to be opened so he could begin the journey to school

I said to him, “John Caleb, you need to put on your other boots.”

“No.”

I started walking towards him, “John Caleb, those boots are too cold for winter.”

He said, “No.  I want these boots,” and started backing away from me, avoiding eye contact.

He was not far away so I reached him in a couple steps. I picked him up by the midsection and started pulling off his boots.

Rather intensely, he said, “No. No. No. I want THOSE boots!” and pointed to them as I held them together and dropped them to the floor. I set him down facing me and put his winter boots in the proper donning position with the right and left boots aligned so that the feet can slide in properly.

He stood there and looked at me.  I was at eye level with him. He pointed over at the uninsulated boots.  “No. I want those boots.” He stomped on the ground and frowned at me.

I put my hands on his shoulders to stabilize him so he could balance on his left foot to insert his right foot.  He looked down at the boots, grabbed my arms, lifted up his left foot, and leaned to the right.

“Okay.” He said, then he put pointed his toe and put his foot into the boot.

Then he added, “But next time, I’m goin’ to be angry.”

Christmas 2009

Here are some cool Northern Lights we saw yesterday in the early morning looking off to the north.

Christmas 2009 005

Christmas 2009 019I’m kidding.  This was 2.5 second exposure taken handheld at ISO 3200, wide open of Mark Daniel swinging his glow in the dark wrist bands around energetically to the beat of a Boy Named Sue.

It snowed about 14-18 inches on Christmas Eve, so we had a mess to dig out of in the morning before we could go and get Bob and Margaret for the Christmas morning festivities.  The boys all chipped in and dug with their new shovels and Holly seemed to enjoy doing an Alaskan Woman thing as well.

Christmas 2009 139

Holly’s Birthday party was on Christmas evening and we had a nice visit with the family and Bob & Margaret with Margaret’s home made lemon cake with real whipping cream.

Christmas 2009 022Holly’s big gift for her Birthday was an Aero Garden from Amazon which is assembled and percolating away in the living room with herbs (Parsley, Mint, Italian Basil, Dill, Purple Basil, Chives, and Thyme)  hopefully sprouting this week.

Christmas 2009 141 Also, I got a large griddle (10”x20”) for cooking pancakes for $44 at the Canadian SuperStore.  It works fine, it turns out, but is a little bit of a pain to clean if you don’t rinse it right away—which is, I suppose, the same as any other cooking or preparation devices. It’s also a bit of a pain to store, as there are no holes in the handles to hang the thing from. I’d always thought these would be great for cooking pancakes or french toast, and just bought one on the spur of the moment. 

Christmas 2009 127

Christmas 2009 138One of Holly’s ideas for the Holidays was to spread the gifts out over 12 days, since we’re not planning any big trips.  This morning, the boys got their Nerf guns with a brief safety demonstration and strict instructions on where they could be aimed (not at mommy, not at a face). 

 

But later one of the boys shot the other one in the eye from 3” and lost his gun privileges and got a few swats. Thankfully, no harm was done to John Caleb’s eye.  Although I do feel a bit bad about the spankings. They seem to always do more harm than good.

Trip to Whitehorse

This is an odd numbered year, so  we stayed in Haines this year for the Holidays with Holly’s folks.  We did take a little trip up to Whitehorse, which was pretty fun.  I neglected to make any reservations at any of the hotels, but it turns out that Whitehorse is not very crowded around Christmas time, at –21 degrees F, go figure.

We decided it would be best to drive during the daylight hours to reduce the amount of boredom and fidgetiness along the way. As you can see from the clip below, sometimes this doesn’t not ensure an interesting drive.

 

 

On the way home, we did see three elk and two moose. Here are the two moose.

 

 

Christmas 2009 068When we travel, especially, Holly likes to dress the boys in matching clothes.  This is getting harder to do ever since Mark passed the size 5 rack.  Often boys clothes of a certain type can be found from size 1 up to 5 that vary only in size, so it used to be really easy to get matching clothes for them.

The main attraction at Whitehorse is the Games Center: CLICK HERE!! We like mostly for the pool and the playground area, but what we mostly saw the locals using it for was hockey.  There seemed to be an endless stream of skaters coming and going until late at night carrying all their skating gear and pads in large rolling bags.  Better them than me.

My favorite area is the family swimming area.  There’s a three story waterslide, a huge family wading pool, a 20 person hot tub, a steam room, and a sauna.  The swimming area is about 1/3 of the size of H2Oasis, I’d say. One of our favorite new features is the Subway food stand which is right outside the swimming area.

Christmas 2009 084

Christmas Letter 2009

Here’s a link to our Christmas Letter (pdf) this year, which is actually pretty cool, if I may say so.  We had it done, printed, folded, stamped and put into envelopes (but not licked) before Thanksgiving Day.

Merry Christmas

Windows Live Skydrive: CLICK HERE

Google Docs: Christmas letter 2009

If you want a printable size document to hang on the fridge, that’s too bad, because this one is only large enough to view on the screen.

Actually, send me an email, and I’ll pop you one, if I know you, duh.  Then put us on your list and send us one too.  BAM

This was the first time I used Publisher to produce a document and did not use a template.  I recommend a book to you: The non-designer’s Design book by Robin Williams CLICK HERE!!

Mark (7) sings Silent Night

I was lying in bed this morning reading up on MS Home Server when I heard what you’re about to hear (and see) coming in from the living room.

 

This year in 1st grade, Mark learned the ukulele from Mr. K and Linda Moyer for 15 minutes a day in school: C, G7, F Music is pretty cool.  He’s also learning to find the songs and follow along in the songbook when we sing in church. Thanks Mr. K & Ms. Moyer, Ms. Kitayama, and Mrs. Davis.

Luke Michael starts Preschool

The other day, Luke started preschool at the Chilkat Valley Preschool.  When he came home he was very excited and had obviously had a wonderful day.  He said to Holly, “Mama, there was a new boy in school today.”

Holly said, “Oh, really?” Holly was very surprised to hear that there was a new boy, because she knows all the younger kids in town and things like this rarely get past her. “Who was it?”

Luke smiled, “The new boy was me!”

The next week, we were sitting ‘round the dinner table relaying our daily stories and I asked Luke, “Luke, what did you learn in school today?”

He frowned and looked at me, “What?” he said.

I took the more direct route, “Luke, what are the first three letters?”

Without a moment’s hesitation, he said, “L-U-K!” and smiled really big.

I was surprised and about to correct him, as everyone knows the first three letters are A-B-C, when Holly interjected quickly with her normal demeanor, “That’s exactly right, Luke, those are the first three letters of your name.

Kids are cute.

BAM.