Proper Nouns


Holly has been doing summer school with the boys at the dinner table each morning. all summer with some books she got.

P1050621Mark is doing the third grade book, Luke is doing the Kindergarten book, and John Caleb is doing a pre-school book. This morning Holly was teaching our Mark about proper nouns and how they should always be capitalized. “Proper nouns are things like the Grand Canyon, Haines, and names like Mark, or Luke.” And Luke cheerfully chimed in, “Or things like Fat Watermelon.”

I was making biscuits.

It was one of those days

Parenthood is a tough thing sometimes.

Today I was watching the boys while Holly went to her health screening. 

First I had to get rid of the source of a BAD MOLDY smell in the boys room—which I’d discovered by using a flashlight and checking under the bed—A cupcake that had outlived its usefulness.

Then I assembled a Lego Bionicle for Luke so he could play bionicles with Mark.

Then my folks called to chat and wish Mark a Happy 7th birthday.

When Holly came home, I was relaxed and talking to my folks on the phone lying on the big bed, so she assumed I’d done nothing because she discovered this in the kitchen:


Well.  Sometimes a picture is worth a dozen words, or is it 10?  I can’t decide.

She didn’t tell me she left a carton of eggs out on the counter.  Now she tells me that eggs work better in a recipe when they are at room temperature.  I guess this type of thing just happens with kids sometimes.

075I apologize for the quality of the photos in this post.  I only had a P&S camera at my disposal and the lighting was dim—I didn’t have my super-wide zoom, either.  Plus my subject was skittish.


After we got somewhat ready for dinner, Irene and Izak came over for chips-n-cheese, cake, ice-cream, and the opening of presents.  Izak is not going to be here for Mark’s birthday so they wanted to come by and have a mini celebration before the left.

Mark was pretty excited to get his present, because it’s his favorite type of toy right now: Lego Bionicle. 


By the way, he actually requested that he get an orange crown with glitter on it for his birthday.  When was the last time I actually requested a crown (in my favorite color) with glitter on it for my birthday, at least metaphorically. 

It’s great being a kid.

Heck.  It’s even great being the father of a healthy, beautiful little troop of boys.

Daddy, you’re bad!

Today was supposed to be a busy day because I was going to go fishing while Holly watched the boys and took them to church and organized the Sunday school classes for the pre-k and 1-3rd grade classes. 

She went early to get everything ready, since John Caleb was sick and had been sick all night, although he had no fever.  I stayed at home to watch the boys but was quickly distracted…

So, I started to update the files on my new photo computer (HDX18T), Luke Michael came up behind me and said, “Daddy, you’re bad!” and proceeded to spank me in his four year old way.

“ONE!” spank.

“Two!” spank.  Chuckle.

“THREE! spank. If you’ve spend much time around him, you know he can have a REALLY loud voice.

“FOUR!” spank.  Laughter…

“FIVE!” …

Etcetera.  I continued to work, a little baffled by the fact that I was working on my computer while being spanked by son number two, but not too concerned because at least he was having a good laugh, plus Mark’s birthday is coming up this week…

Finally, I heard a “TEN!” spank, then he laughed said, “Daddy, you’ve been bad.”

At this point, I was curious, because he was insisting that I’d been bad, so I asked him, “Luke Michael, what did I do that was so bad?”  I kept looking at the screen.

He smiled  and said, “Well, you fed a sick boy oatmeal, and then he threw up all over the floor!”

Startled, I turned around, and immediately saw three huge piles of it right in the middle of the floor, with John Caleb standing over the smallest one looking confused.


I guess I’m a great dad.


A new household cleaning tip from: Yours Truly.

One new and really exciting way to get the lint out of the corners in the kitchen is to use a propane torch.

The torch has several advantages:

1) I can tell where the lint is because it actually lights up as it burns

2) I can see which rooms have been “cleaned” because they are full of smoke.

3) It really gets everybody in the house excited and ready to pitch in so the rest of the house does not need to be “cleaned.”

4) After just a single time of cleaning with the torch, all I need to do is announce in a loud voice, “I’m about to “CLEAN” up the lint!” and I find that the rest of the household is ready and eager to pitch in.

Many hands make light work.

This is a great video.

Check this out!

What time is it, Mark?

Our oil tank which feeds oil to our one source of heat, the Toyo stove, is covered with snow and there is a huge snow cornice hanging out over it as well.  Delta Western, the local oil delivery company, called the other day and said they could not deliver us any more heating oil until the snow is cleared, as it looks dangerous.

I was going to shovel it this morning before I left for school, but I forgot.

On the way to school, as Mark and I walked away from the house, I remembered about the oil tank and looked back towards the house and contemplated running back to shovel it off really quickly.

Without thinking I said, “Mark, what time is it.”

He said, ‘Daddy, I don’t have a clock.’

Then he said, “And, I don’t know how to tell time.”

Upon further reflection he said, “And, when it was time to leave the house I didn’t look at the clock because I was thinking of other things.  So I have no idea what time it is.”

I thought that was a pretty good bit of logic for a kindergartener.

Dinner with the Horns…

On Sunday night, we were expecting to have our weekly dinner with the Greens at our house.  Holly and Shannon are both on the RAW food band-wagon whenever they can be and so Holly wanted to make a nice RAW food meal for Shannon with home made raw chips, salsa, beans, guacamole sauce, etc.  She also was going to put out the normal taco salad meal for the rest of us (with chips instead of salad).

She worked for a number of hours on Saturday and then also Sunday morning and made a huge mess.  She and I cleaned up most of it Sunday after the ball games.

And it was all working out fine for her until the Greens called in sick and canceled so Holly called up Margaret and asked if she’d started dinner yet.  They eat early often and were already underway so Margaret suggested she invite Ron and Jacquelyn Horn–which is a great couple for us to have over because Ron and I have cameras and computers in common and Holly and Jacque both love the benefits of RAW food.

The meal was great.  Holly did a wonderful job.  But I should also warn you that making RAW food is really messy compared to opening up a package of dried pasta and boiling it along with opening a can of tomato sauce and a few packages of greens.

While we were enjoying a post meal chat session.  Mark and Luke went off to play.  At one point, I went by the Utility room to get some water and noticed them in there quietly doing something, but didn’t bother to investigate because they seemed to be getting along fine.

After about ten minutes of quietude, Mark came into the living room with a big fist full of hair in one hand, tiny pair of scissors in the other hand and a big smile on his face.  Luke was trailing close behind with a big grin on his face.  Mark said, “I cut Luke’s hair, ” and stepped to the side so we could get a good look at Luke.

Luke smiled and waited for a response.  He looked like he’d got run over by a lawn mower that could only cut hair.

Needless to say, We were all quite shocked.

I was a bit sad, “Luke, your curls were so cute!”

Luke was not put off or repentant, “But daddy, I wanted to look like Kyle Fossman.” Kyle, the best basketball player the town has seen in many years recently shaved all the hair off his head and Luke just got back from the ball games this weekend.

I said, “But Luke, your curls were just starting to get real long and curly again after the summer trim.”

Luke was adamant, “But I don’t like it when the hair gets down in my face when I’m taking a bath.”

I said, ” But Luke, when people see you, what they often say is, ‘Look at those curls!’ They really think the curls are cute.”

He smiled, tilted his head to the side and said, “Besides, I wanted to look like Daddy too.”  We all laughed.

Well, what can I say to that. I mean really:  If my own son wants to propose that he wants to look like his daddy, I suppose I can accept that argument.

Swimming at the Haines Pool

Yesterday, Holly took the boys swimming by herself because I was at the Fire Department’s annual dinner.

Mark and Luke elected to go to the men’s bathroom by themselves instead of going through the women’s room with their mother, as they often did in the past.  It was a point of pride that they could manage by themselves, and from what I can gather they cooperated quite well and got along well too.

They did everything they were supposed to all by themselves, they did their clothes, used the locker, used the shower, then headed out to the pool to wait for Holly and John Caleb to come out of the women’s changing room. 

The lifeguard saw them standing by the yellow steps shivering patiently while waiting for their mother to get into the water and whispered to them what must have seemed fairly obvious to him, “Boys, you forgot your swimsuits.”

Two bare bottoms hurried quickly into the changing room and returned in short order with their swim trunks on.

Some stories are best with no pictures.

Guess who won the "Battle of the Beards!"

So, we shaved off our beards in the science room over sheets of white paper, and weighed them.  More precisely, after trimming with an electric beard trimmer so that the trimmings fell on white paper. we measured the mass of each beard.  The big shave off was on Friday after school in the Science room, with perhaps a crowd of 30 onlookers, much posturing, and plenty of good cheer.  The picture below made front page of the Chilkat Valley News.




Mark Fontenot: 604mg

Carson Buck: 360mg

Kyle Fossman: 0540mg

Matt Juneau: 0689mg

We were on teams with Mark and Carson on one team and Kyle and I on the other team so we won, 964mg to 1.229mg.  .

IMG_0131But I must admit that I did tap some hairs out of the trimmer head that were clearly not mine, as they were fluffy and red. One interesting thing you can see in the picture above, is that the only mirror we had to assist in the trimming was the shinny side of Kyle Rush’s cell phone.  Ostensibly, we won a free steak dinner, but now Mr. Fontenot is gone to Mexico for a week or so

Somehow, with him and his family in Mexico and my family here in Haines, it doesn’t quite feel like I won…






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.