September 5, 2011

Eek, I haven't written anything since May!! I was thinking I'd written since we got back from vacation, but not. So... here we go with many months of happenings.


June was all about finishing school and getting ready for vacation. We had graduations for both kids, with associated fanfare and parties. I also had a root canal - what fun. The big fun was finally getting the kids bicycles. We were starting to stress out that our kids didnt' know how to ride bikes, so I got them a couple of used bikes from CraigsList, and Kathie used what she had seen in a video online to teach them how to ride. They really love it! Not much flat space at my house, and getting the bikes back and forth is a problem, so mostly they're at Kathie's. Gotta figure that one out.

I did my yearly trip to Palm Springs for the Desire conference. What a great escape for the weekend, although hot as usual.

Haley was able to do one week of summer camp, a Drama Camp through SSF Parks & Rec. She had a blast, and is thinking of doing drama in middle school. You can see pictures of their final performance (which many of us attended) here.

I attended a retirement planning class with Kathie on June 13th. Hoping she'll retire soon to make all of the running around easier!

As part of the planning for vacation we dropped off the reptile collection at the Vivarium in Berkeley, for boarding for a month. Expensive, but we know they're well taken care of.

In parallel with all of this we had extensive planning meetings with our various contractors to plan the kitchen remodel. We spent a lot of time packing things up, and arranging a storage unit. More on the project later...

Val and I attended the Lesbian & Gay Film Festival on June 18th.

In June we also had various visits:

We left on vacation on Tuesday, June 27th. Read the travelogue here. We also took 2800 pictures, so it's taking some time to cull and organize. Stay tuned and be patient.


The beginning of July was about vacation. We got back on July 11th, having missed SF Pride (first time the kids ever missed it) and July 4th at Glynis & Susan's, but it was an amazing adventure so it was worth it. We jumped right back into kitchen planning, planning for the rest of the summer, and anticipating my new job.

I started at Guidewire on July 18th, as their User Experience Architect. I love it! The work is fun and challenging, the people are great, the commute is wonderful, and it's a much more laid back environment than other places I've worked. The first week was the 10-year company celebration, and that Saturday the whole family attended the company picnic, a pirate-themed affair at Coyote Point. We got a few pictures of us in pirate gear, here.

Our kitchen (and other stuff) remodel was scheduled to start July 25th. Turns out the contractor had made a tactical error. He assumed that he woul djust need rough drawings in order to pull the permit. But he found out he needed full drawings, and his drawing guy wasn't available until August 1, after which it would be 2 weeks before we would get the drawings. So they started on the other projects, mostly finishing the attic and installing stairs. The electrician did work up there, as well as installing lighting in the living room and part of the family room. Some of the walls we're moving or altering got started. But then we got a "cease and desist" order from the City, telling us to stop work until the permits were granted. We are still waiting, although it should happen this week. Meanwhile we've packed up the majorit of the kitchen and the house is in a state of disarray. I'm trying to remain calm. It's a good thing Val is being the liaison with the contractor or I would have bitten off someone's head by this time. And so we wait...

While all of this was going on Val was dealing with the sale of her dad's house. It hadn't sold, and it was stressing everyone out. It finally did sell, and was in escrow in July. It closed mid-August. Yay!

I had an amazing time with a reunion performance of the Fat Lip Reader's Theater on July 24th. Video coming soon.

The kids spent most of the week of July 18th at Grandma's. Then they spent a week at Glynis & Susan's from July 25-30. You can see some pictures from their adventures here.

In July we also had various visits:


The kids started August by going off to Camp Newman. You can see their pictures here. As usual they had a great time. Katelyn had to come back a day early, though, because original information about the date of the 9th grade orientation was incorrect; it was a day earlier. So Val drove up to the camp, near Santa Rosa, and brought her home. She had her orientation on the 10th, and started at Mills High School on the 16th.

Later than week Val and I attended our yearly trip to Saratoga Springs (near Clear Lake) for Leather Levi Weekend. The following week Haley visited my sister Susan and her husband Joel in Morro Bay. They had a lot of fun, including kayaking on the bay. Haley got her first cell phone before leaving so she could easily call us and we could call her, but of course it was off a lot. She also had an adventure coming home, when she got to ride the train on her own as an "unaccompanied minor".

On August 27th a whole gang of us went to the California Academy of Sciences, specifically to see the Snakes and Lizards exhibit: me, Val, Kids, Glynis, Susan, and Judy. It was a blast! You can see pictures here.

Haley finished out the month with a cough, and was diagnosed with a mild case of walking pneumonia on 9/3. She's taking antibiotics and should be fine for school starting on 9/6.

In August we also had various visits: