Thursday, December 31, 2015

An epic year

I was recently reflecting on the past year, as people tend to do as the year draws to a close. One word best sums up my 2015: epic.

Here are the big events that happened in our household over the past twelve months (details to follow). To paraphrase Nigel Tufnel, this one goes to eleven:

  1. We bought a house
  2. Sofia returned from a year of service in Panama
  3. I got my CTE teaching certificate 
  4. Alex went to Boy Scout SeaBase in the Virgin Islands AND summer camp in Georgia. Bella went to girl scout camp.
  5. I taught three completely new classes
  6. Sofia started college
  7. Bella started middle school
  8. Alex started high school
  9. Alex's marching band won the state championship
  10. Cristina started her Jin Shin Jyutsu practice
  11. We adopted a dog

1. We bought a house. We found the house around new year's twelve months ago. Only six streets down from where we had been renting, the size was an upgrade, the price was great (it was a foreclosure), but our finances would not be in order until March. We feared it would not last that long. Our excellent Realtor Nancy Turbyfill helped us make an offer and worked with the seller and our lending agent to make the dates work. I'll spare you the boring details. The short of it is that Nancy and Sue are experts and nailed it. We closed in mid-March. Our rental lease was through July, so we had a few months of crossover where we could work on the new house while living at the rental.

My parents came down from North Carolina and helped out over Spring Break. Family helped out in many ways, from Cristina's brother Ramon digging a French drain, to mother-in-law Jarue plastering walls, to my dad helping tear out the old kitchen, to my mom making meals and tending to Bella, to sister-in-law Elena scraping up old linoleum and tearing out old carpet, to father-in-law Ramon installing new ceiling fans, to step-mother-in-law Mariela painting walls. We were also blessed with tons of generous help from our handywoman friend Stacy, whose elbow grease and expertise helped us get so much more done than we could have alone.

Cristina and I designed a new kitchen with IKEA's kitchen planner software, and installed the new kitchen ourselves. Our neighbor and friend (and excellent carpenter) Rich was a great help with the kitchen. He also made us curtain rod holders for every window in the house.

Those four months of March through June are a blur now. One big sweat-soaked, aching, expensive blur! But also exciting and gratifying.

Our landlord was able to find a new renter early, so we got out of our lease in mid-June. So grateful to be a homeowner again.

2. Sofia returned from a year of service in Panama. It wasn't too hard to have Sofia so far away for nine months, thanks to Skype and Facebook. But I'll admit, once we got to April, I was counting the days till her return. I love the maturity she gained from her year in Panama, as well as the Spanish, the friendships, and spiritual growth. It made the prospect of college feel so much easier, on so many levels.

3. I got my CTE teaching certificate. How to sum this up without taking too long. Perhaps like a play. The cast of characters:
Me - English and yearbook teacher at GHS
Tony - computer and video production teacher; I worked with Tony when I taught TV Production at GHS, and he kept me abreast of the program's evolution while I lived in Phoenix for six years
Carolyn - computer teacher, nearing retirement, shares building with Tony
David - principal of GHS
Egghead - Rick Scott, Governor of Florida

Act I begins in the parking lot behind Lucky's supermarket, during a bomb scare evacuation. Fall 2014.
Tony: You know, the only good thing Egghead has done is change the CTE (vocational) program to pay schools when kids earn industry certification. My kids earned $17,000 last year for my program.
Me: Whoa! I could train my students in Adobe InDesign, use it to make the yearbook, and earn money for my program by students passing the InDesign exam.
Tony: Yeah! But you'd have to get CTE certified.
Me: Hmm. Yeah. Not sure how to do that.
Tony: Carolyn has talked about retiring soon. Maybe you could take over her classes! Do it! Do it!

Act II: March 2015.
Word on the street confirms that Carolyn is indeed retiring at the end of the 14-15 school year. Wayne sends an email to Principal David, expressing interest in the position.
David: You'd have to have a CTE certificate, and to be honest with you, there are a few others who have expressed interest.
Me: :(

Act III: May 2015, the last week of the school year. Work on the new house has been all-consuming and the conundrum of how to get a completely new certificate has slipped to the bottom of the priority list. One afternoon, David calls out while Wayne passes by David's office.
David: You still interested in teaching Carolyn's classes?
Me: Yes sir!
David: Get certified. Soon. And I'll give you those classes.
Wayne scurries off to a computer, contacts the district certification specialist, and schedules the certification exam for June 18. He downloads the study guide off the internet, where it gets ignored for the next two weeks while moving from rental to new house commences.

Act IV: We have to be completely out of the rental house by June 20.Wayne pays someone to help Cristina clean the rental all day on June 17 while he studies at the library. Wayne passes the test on June 18. Pays Tallahassee fee for CTE (business education, to be exact) certificate.


(End of Scene)

4. Alex went to Boy Scout SeaBase in the Virgin Islands AND summer camp in Georgia. Bella went to girl scout camp. After two summers of not going to any summer camps (because of our cross-country road trip in 2013 and our European trip in 2014) Alex made up for it by not only going to summer camp at Camp Woodruff in Georgia, but also sailing on a yacht with the Scouts in the Virgin Islands. He sailed, he snorkled, he got chased by a barricuda. Memories of a lifetime! Through lots of hard work, he advanced several ranks over the course of 2015.

Bella earned a scholarship to summer camp from selling cookies. Though she is still working on getting over separation anxiety, she toughed it out and spent a week at Kamp Kateri. And had a good time.

5. I taught three completely new classes. As if moving houses wasn't enough, I also moved classrooms. Only fellow teachers will understand the daunting task of moving classrooms, especially after teaching for 19 years. In August, in addition to two classes of Yearbook (60 yearbook kids! I'd never had more than 25 before) I had two Digital Design classes (teaching Adobe software) and CCC (computing for college and career). Before Labor Day, I was asked to pick up a 6th period of English. So not only was I teaching lots of new things, but I no longer had a planning period. The extra money is useful, though, with all the debts from the new house.

6. Sofia started college. She got accepted to New College of Florida in Sarasota before she graduated high school, and they were willing to defer her registration for a year while she served in Panama. Cristina and I drove her down, helped her get moved in, met her roomates, and she was off to the races. After successfully finishing her first semester at New, she loves it!

7. Bella started middle school. Middle school. That's huge. In fact, all three kids started new schools this year. Bella got into the gifted/technology magnet program at Howard Bishop (where Cristina went for 8th grade). Thanks to playing the flute for two years at Expressions, she got into concert band (instead of beginning band). She got some flute training at Bishop's band camp from Ms. Sickon, who is the assistant band director at GHS. They formed a nice connection. We hope that Mary Ann will not retire before Bella gets to GHS.

8. Alex started high school. For the second time, I drove to the first day of work with one of my children. I consider it a nice perk to be at the same school as my kids, not because I want to spy on their high school lives, but because I like spending time with them in the car, and at lunch. Even if it's just a quick hello while they're grabbing their lunch from the fridge. Not only is Alex familiar with GHS from four years of his sister attending, but he's been around this campus since he was born. In fact, now that I'm back in the bulding with Tony, who has the classroom I taught TV Production in, there's even more of a history. One day I reminded Alex that once, when he was little, he was running on top of the tables in (now) Tony's room, fell off, and hit his head on the floor. We spent about 6 hours in the ER for that. Yep, lots of history.

Of course, also like Sofia, Alex started the school year with a group of friends already in place, having attended both band camps during the summer. Which leads us to the next big thing:

9. Alex's marching band won the state championship. The season went well, to say the least. The show looked like a winner from the beginning, and each competition revealed the strength of their show. Still, given the competition at State, we weren't expecting to win first place. It was an amazing night. Even if Alex doesn't win State again the rest of his high school career, he will always have that feeling, that memory, as Sofia does.

10. Cristina started her Jin Shin Jyutsu practice. I consider myself a very supportive husband. But sometimes we need a different kind of support to finally urge us to do something new and daring. Cristina found a friend and mentor, Adrienne, who gave her not only the encouragement she needed, but the business expertise and support to make her practice a reality. Our new house has a bonus room that we intended on making into a practice room for Cristina's business, but when the school year got into full swing, the unpacking/decluttering/rehab on that room got delayed. A great deal on a practice space at a local massage office came open, and she took it. I helped her make business cards and gift certificates, some friends have given her some business to get going, and because she's smart, she picks up substitute teaching jobs to make sure she can pay the rent on the practice space. She just started in November, but I'm so happy she's gotten it going. Big step.

11. We adopted a dog. It's been almost three years since Vivi died. We definitely weren't ready for a new dog for a while. Well, Bella was ready, but the rest of us weren't. We needed to get out of the rental. That finally happened. We needed to get settled in the new place. That has more or less happened. Cristina needed to get her practice started. Done. So here we are. After hearing about Paws on Parole, a program where shelter dogs are trained by prison inmates before being adopted, we knew we wanted to go that route for our next dog. Bella and I attended the Paws on Parole academies starting in summer, but it wasn't till December that Cristina and Alex were willing to get on board. Maz, an Anatolian Shepherd mix, is almost done with her training and we bring her home on January 8, after she graduated from the academy. We're all looking forward to this new addition to the family!

This has been a long post, but it's packed with so much that in some ways it feels very brief and rushed. And it is woefully devoid of photos. I have not been a good blogger. But this year has been so big, too big for a facebook status. I knew I had to blog. In about 45 minutes, it will be 2016. I look forward to seeing what big things will make up our lives during the next 12 months.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Fireplace Revamp

Only one place in the new house had old, cheap paneling: the fireplace (not including the bonus room, which we'll get to later).

I prefer drywall.

Also, we plan to mount our TV over the fireplace, so I wanted to reinforce the structure so that I'd know my TV mount would be secure.

Terrazzo Restoration Part 1

We love terrazzo floors. They're cool in the summer. They're easy to maintain. It's such a shame that so many people cover their original terrazzo with nasty old carpet or linoleum. When we first discovered that our new house had terrazzo floors, we knew we wanted to restore them. The research began early, but the hard work began last week.

If you're not familiar with terrazzo, it is a composite material, poured in place or precast, which is used for floor and wall treatments. It consists of marble, quartz, granite, glass, or other suitable chips, sprinkled and poured with a binder that is cementitious, usually Portland cement. Terrazzo is cured and then ground and polished to a smooth surface or otherwise finished to produce a uniformly textured surface. They were very popular in the Southeast and Southwest in the 50's and 60's.

To be continued...

Kitchen Makeover Part 1

The kitchen is the heart of our home. We cook a lot at home, so we spend a lot of time in this part of the house. It was logical that this would be the first place we focus our attention on to make it as close to our "dream kitchen" as we can afford.

The existing kitchen seemed to be the original kitchen. 1968. 46 years old. While it was certainly usable and adequate, we took the plunge and tore it out the day after getting the keys.

The biggest visual change will be the removal of the cabinets over the peninsula. We'll have a ceiling-mounted range hood, but the lack of cabinets and soffit there will really open up the space and make it more connected to the family room. So I can watch college football while making the chicken wings!

French Drain

Popularized by Henry Flagg French (1813–1885) of Concord, Massachusetts, a lawyer and Assistant US Treasury Secretary, in his 1859 book Farm Drainage, a French drain is a trench filled with gravel or rock containing a perforated pipe that redirects surface water and groundwater away from an area.

The new house has drainage issues in the back which have contributed to damage to the bonus room door and floor. So one of the first things we did was install a French drain along the back of the house. We'll eventually install gutters, but a French drain was a cheap fix.

Porch Demolition

The underwriters for our loan gave us a list of things we had to do before they would approve the loan. One item was to remove the rickety porch from the back of the house. So that was the first thing we did in early March.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Old little time capsules

"I've… seen things you people wouldn't believe… Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those… moments… will be lost in time, like tears… in… rain."

Well said, Roy Batty. But when you save old emails, some of those moments are preserved!

Continuing my curating of old Juno emails, here are some between Cristina and me, from summer of 2001. I had taken 5-year-old Sofia to Costa Rica for two weeks while Cristina stayed home in Gainesville with 10-month-old Alex.

The cool thing about old emails is that they include little slices of everyday life. Details that can easily be tears in rain.

These may be boring to most casual readers, but they're fun for the principal participants. Enjoy, Sofia! By the way, the video referenced in several emails is a video that Sofia and I made for Alex for him to watch while we were gone. It was just a recording of us saying hi to Alex and talking to him, telling him we'll be home soon and we love him. So he wouldn't forget us. I think it worked. :) I wonder if I still have that video somewhere. Probably...

From: Cristina C Eury
Date: Fri, 8 Jun 2001 22:00:33 -0400
Subject: Friday for Sofia and Papi


I hope everything went well!  I hope you will be resting or have rested very soon.  I know come Saturday morning the wonderful adventure begins!

I was calling (writing) to report on Alex and my day.  Alex woke me up around 9 am. We got dressed, folded diapers and ate breakfast.  During breakfast I got a call from Grandmother in Chicago.   We both had cereal and bananas.  Soon Alex was ready for a nap.  I made some phone calls, like Granddaddy about lunch, Wita, etc.  Alex started to wake up so I went to nurse him and fell asleep. 

Fortunately, someone (Kim from Tallahassee) called at 11:08 and woke me up!  She says she might come to visit either this Wednesday night or the next.  I got up and changed Alex's diaper and ran out the door.  We went to go have lunch with Granddaddy and Ms. Margaret.  Alex was bouncing all over the place!  He would not sit still.  I think he was missing Sofia. He kept looking around the whole time!  We had a nice lunch and Alex wanted to eat all of Mommy's food!  He would get mad if I tried to eat any!  I finally had to put him on the floor to play with some toys to eat some food. 

We left there and went to the Reitz Union to pick out the ring stuff for Sara and Carmel.  On the way there he actually fell quietly asleep!  We left the R.U. around 3 and came home.  He cried all the way home.  We got home and he wanted a nap.  So I laid down on the bed and watched "Autumn in New York."  It was sad at the end, but I liked it.  It was fun to watch a new movie!

Aunt Mary called to say they were finally leaving the apartment at 4:30 pm.  She wanted me to call Aunt Lynn, so she wouldn't worry about her. So I got to talk to her for a little while and that was nice.

Alex slept until almost 5.  We got up and made some dinner, frozen veggies, rice and chicken.  I talked to Mary next door and she told me that Katy had died in April.  I was surprised!  I also talked to Mrs. Wendy next door, and she said they will be moving sometime in July.  A widowed mom and her 10 year old daughter are moving in.

After dinner, Alex and I went for a walk in the stroller.  He kept looking around for his big sister.  He kept turning around to me, like he was saying "where is the action?"  We got home and got showered.  (It got sweaty on our walk.)

Alex then nursed and played a little, then nursed and fell asleep.  Wita called and said she would come over and watch Alex, so I could go to my massage at noon.  I washed dishes, ate a snack of French poppy seed bread and half an avocado.  The avocado had a slightly metallic taste, which was weird.  Well, I'm still hungry and thirsty.  I think I'm going to try and put away all the clean clothes and finish putting the photos in the album.

Well we tried to keep busy, but we both missed both of you a whole lot!

I hope all is well or soon getting there.

I love you both very, very much.  It is very lonely here without you two.

Absence has quickly made this heart grow fonder.

Love, mommy

From: Cristina C Eury
Date: Sat, 9 Jun 2001 23:06:44 -0400
Subject: saturday

Hello, hugs and kisses to you both!

We woke up around 8 and got dressed.  While we were getting dressed, Alex watched your video.  He liked the peek-a-boo parts and really laughed at the get-cha parts!  We went into the guest room and unloaded, sorted two more boxes.  We ate breakfast around 9 and I decided I really wanted fried eggs, so I made some.  Alex ate bananas and cereal while I did all of that.  After breakfast, we sat down on the carpet.  We decided Coco needed a brushing, so we brushed for at least 30 minutes, and I kept getting lots of hair!  It's like he is shedding, but he loves the brushing!  Alex went down for a nap around 10:15 and I fell asleep with him. 

Wita came charging in around 11, thinking that was when my appointment was.  My massage appt. wasn't until noon.  So she left saying she had some things to do and returned at 11:50.  He had woken up about 10 minutes after she left, so we unloaded the dishwasher.  I left some food, veggies, avocado, etc. for him.  She had him out in the stroller looking at the pink mimosa tree flowers near the mailbox and swinging in the back yard when I got home.

He seemed happy to see me, but he didn't cry.  Soon Grandmother called to check on us and tell me it's been in the 60s as the high until just this week!  Today it was in the mid-70s.  We will need to bring pants when we go up!  Wita left and Alex went down for another nap.  I got the milk boiling to make yogurt and eat some lunch (it was now 2).  He woke up early, so I put him in the bounce seat on the counter underneath the toaster oven.  He found the knob that opens up the bottom tray of the toaster oven and preceded to open it with one hand!!  Crumbs went everywhere!  I still haven't cleaned it all up!  I finished getting the yogurt made and washed some pots. 

I kept trying to nurse him so he would go back to sleep, but he wouldn't it.  It had started to rain with thunder, so we couldn't go outside.   It was almost 5, so I put him in the baby trekker and started vacuuming the computer room, the guest room, the hall, and some of our bedroom.  By that time I knew it was getting close to time to pick up granddaddy to go to Wita's house for dinner.  Alex liked having Paw-paw sit next to him, but he kept looking for me.

As we finished preparing for the meal, Alex played on the carpet between the kitchen and dining room table.  Alex ate rice and beans and a lot of cooked carrots, but he would not look at Wita during the meal.  He would only look at me, even though he would open his mouth for her as she was feeding him.  Interesting, huh?

Wita gave him a bath there, but I forgot to bring his PJs.  The only thing that I brought was too small for him to wear.  It had started raining again and Paw-paw was worried that Alex might get sick, so we had to cover him up.  It had gotten down to 72*.  He was pretty tired by then, so Alex and I headed straight home.  He started to fuss and I was patting his chest and he fell asleep again, right at the entrance of the neighborhood.  I got him to the bed still asleep and got in the shower to wash my hair.  He slept the whole while.  I didn't get the clothes put up, so I'm doing that now.  Alex woke up and nursed back to sleep around 10, but I was stuck for almost an hour!  So I'm a little behind, but I'm going to try to get in bed by midnight so I don't get too tired.

Well, I think that's all for now.  We love you both!

From: "Wayne Eury"
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001 14:21:37
Subject: We miss you!

Hi Mommy,

I love you Mommy. Papi loves you too. We hope Alex and you are feeling good and feed Coco every day but you can't forget about it and we had fun last night. I love you! Bye!

Love, Sofia

Hi Honey,

It sounds like you're keeping super busy. I remember when I spent those 2 weeks alone, the first few days were hard, because you're really eking out a new routine. Then, you kind of get into the groove and you almost get used to it, but at some point towards the end, you start severely missing those that aren't there and you start counting down the hours. It's a little different for you, since you've got Alex (I didn't even have Coco--just Princess) so it will be interesting to see how the whole thing flows for you.

Well, your birthday is coming up, and Sofia and I have hidden a few little gifts around the house. We'll tell you where to look, so don't go tearing the house apart! Today's gift clues are as follows: They said it was too funky, and it's really kind of clunky, but it gives us pretty good light, even if it's a tacky sight. Under it there is a belly, made of plaster jelly, and under that there are 2 drawers, the bottom one holds a bit more.

It sounds like your Saturday went well. That is interesting about Alex not looking at anyone but you. I wonder what's going on in his mind. I'm glad he watched the video.

Have you asked Don about jacking up the van? We have some support things in our garage, which look like little tripods. We just need to jack the van up high enough to get one of those under it. Then when I get home, I can take off the tire and go get a new one.

Don't forget to check Coco's water, since he's got a little bottle now. I'm glad you brushed him a lot. All that hair that we get in the brush would normally wind up on our floor and bed and furniture, so that's good. His litter boxes should be fine, but you should rake them when you think about it. When they get too full, that's when he goes to find other places to do it.

Well, that's about all I can think of. Oh, Elena told me Autumn in New York was kind of sad. Sorry bout that. I just knew you had wanted to rent it. But hey, it's a chick flick. Chick flicks are supposed to be a little sad. It's a rule!

Papi wants me to fax my journals to Jarue. That seems like kind of a pain. What do you suggest? Should I fax them, or can you print them and take them to her, or check your mail over there and let her read them? What do you think would be best? Hope things are smoothing out between you two. Lane and I are OK. There was one little time yesterday when I was telling Sofia to stop doing something, and Elena barked at her too, and I told Lane "She doesn't need two people telling her." and that was it. So we're doing OK. I've told Elena her assignment for these 2 weeks is to learn the art of IGNORING. She needs to ignore the annoying things Sofia does instead of letting them get under her skin to the point where she explodes. So she's agreed to work on it. And I've noticed a few times when Lane was about to blow and she calms herself down and says quietly to herself "I'm not going to get into this." One thing Lane does that she needs to break is when you or I tell Sofia to stop doing something, or to do something, and Sofia doesn't immediately do what we say, Elena sees this and, I guess, feels outraged that Sofia is not doing it, or thinks Sofia didn't hear us, and so she repeats the order, but much louder and angrier. And then Sofia's attention is taken away from her parents and she gets upset that Elena is telling her what to do and everything just gets worse. So if I can just keep Lane out of the parenting role and she can learn to be an innocent bystander aunt, things will be smooth as silk. It's funny that Lane is so vehemently against having kids, yet she tries to discipline Sofia like she's a mother. I give Lane till she's 28 to have a kid.

Sofia's knee boo-boo's are fine. Oh, that reminds me: on the plane, we were talking about her boo-boo's, and then she asked a question, but she still had boo-boo's on the brain because she said "when we get to boo-boo's apartment, can we..." We all laughed hard about that, and it's been the running joke since to call your dad boo-boo. He thought it was funny too.

Well, Sofia is dying for me to get off the computer so she can do a CD-ROM, so I guess I will. I need to get my morning shower anyway. I miss you bunches. Last night after Sofia went to bed I made several trips to the potty for that traveler's friend die-gorilla. As I lay in bed, trying to feel better, I wanted to be home. Going to the beach, day trips to San Jose, all that seemed like so much work. I just wanted to be at home, comfortable, with you and Alex. Also, when I was showing the pictures of you and Alex to the Fallases, I really longed to be with you. Sometimes I think this trip is a really great experience to be doing it alone, but then other times I think to myself "I never want to travel without Cris again, because she's my best friend and I want to share all the experience with her." I'm looking forward to next summer when we can all be here together! And the Chicago trip is sounding more and more inviting, because we'll all be together, the way I like it. I want to hold my boy! I want to kiss his stinky-cheese neck and hear his deep throaty baby laugh. I want to see his huge, perpetual smile and nibble his sweaty feet.

OK, Sofia's getting slap-happy, talking about burps and parts. I'll talk to you later. Keep writing! I love you.

Love, "Eury"

From: Cristina C Eury
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001 01:53:16 -0400
Subject: Re: We miss you!

Today Alex and I woke around 9ish and got dressed to your video.  We ate breakfast and decided to go for a walk, but instead of our usual route, we went towards the front of the neighborhood.  We saw a dog and talked to its owner for a little.  Then as we were three houses from home, we saw Spencer and John.  We talked to them for a little and then headed home.  Alex just doesn't enjoy his walks as much without you two there. He keeps turning to me and wanting to be picked up.  We got home around 10:45 and went down for a nap.  I fell asleep too. 

We woke up around 1:15.  We changed a diaper and went to sit on the carpet, to brush Coco and eat some lunch.  I have a new problem that if I want to eat something Alex wants it too!  While we were on the carpet, and I was sitting on the stool, Alex turned around and dove towards me, hitting his cheek right below his left eye on one of the corners.  I immediately put traumeel on it.  He would open his eye and it looked fine, so I didn't worry.  He nursed and fell asleep for another 30 mins while I watched some of Anne of Green Gables.  We need to read those to Fia.  They are wonderful!

When he woke, I put him in the trekker on my back but looking over my shoulder.  He seemed to like that better.  Yesterday he fussed more while he was facing out on my back.  WE finished vacuuming the hall, guest bath, living rooms, kitchen and dining room areas.  Then we went and cleared all the boxes off the guest bed.  By that time we were running late to go to Wita's for dinner.  I had called Ms. Margarat to invite her along, so she brought Granddaddy there.  I printed out the letters.  We were supposed to be there around 5, we arrived 35 mins late.  We had dinner, but Alex wasn't too interested in the food, like he was the night before.  He wanted to play on the floor instead.  After Granddaddy and Margarat left, Wita bathed Alex and we read your letters.  It was almost 8 and Alex was tired, so we headed home.

When we got home I went looking for my present.  I found it and opened it.  How cool!  A whole box of double stuff just for me!  Thanks you two!

Shannon called at 8:45 to say she was approaching on I-75.  She arrived 30 mins later.  I tried putting Alex on the bed, but he kept waking up. We got her bed made and the supplies for tomorrow out.  She brought the light box and won't charge me.  (That was really nice!)  Finally they went to bed around 1.  I got a shower and came to write.

Mom said I can just print out the letters and bring them whenever I come.  I talked to Wendy about the van but didn't get a chance to get Don to do the jack.  I need to find it first.  The plans sound exciting, Mom and I are jealous.  She's never stayed in Cahuita.  I hope both your digestive systems are getting back to normal.  I glad Elena is working on ignoring and being successful.  Tell her, her room looks great!  I don't remember the last time I saw that floor!  Well, I'm not quite as weepy, but I miss you both bunches.  It's almost 2, so I need to get to bed!  I love you!


From: "Wayne Eury"
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001 13:52:05
Subject: Happy Gnome-Making

Just a quick note to wish your gnome-making party a success. Tell Alex we'll join him on his walks soon enough. Glad the video is becoming a routine. I'm determined he won't forget us! I may have "forgotten" my parents, but we also didn't have camcorders then!

I hadn't realized Katy had died so long ago. I remember seeing her sick in the garage when I was borrowing ladders but I don't remember when that was. Poor thing. Well, at least she's not hurting anymore.

Tell Shannon I said hi and I hope she has a good time in Gainesville. I know she'll find a great job in no time. Talented people always do! Maybe you three could go for a little trip to a local natural attraction (San Felasco, Biven's Arm, etc.). I know Shannon likes those. Maybe have a picnic.

Well, it sounds like Aunt Gay won't be going to the beach with us. We will ride the bus together to Cahuita and then she'll go on to Panama. We invited her to stay at the beach with us, but Hank says he's not into that. I guess he would have come up to join us if Gay was going to join us, but alas no. At least we'll get to be with Benjamin's Grandmommy on the bus for 3-4 hours. And she's staying tomorrow night in Grecia, I think at the Fallas house. We pick her up from the airport tomorrow afternoon.

I guess that's all for now. We're going to San Jose today. Love you! Your next present hint will come, oh, I guess Wednesday before we leave for the beach.

Love, Tag

From: Cristina C Eury
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2001 10:02:07 -0400
Subject: alex's ears

Last night was slightly rougher.  This morning he woke with gunk in both eyes.  I think he’s started another ear infection.  I'll start the ear oil and Echinacea.  I'll call Janet Rucker the homeopath and maybe Swanger.


From: Cristina C Eury
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2001 02:44:17 -0400
Subject: monday

Today we woke up around 8 am, got dressed while watching the video and ate breakfast.  After breakfast, we decided to go for a short walk just around the block.  Alex was not exactly entertained; 2/3rds of the way home, he wanted to be held.  As we approached the house, we noticed Gracie and Wendy had arrived early, before 10.  So we all went inside and started getting things set up, cutting up the muslin, spraying the glue on the paper, sticking the cloth to the paper, and then finally tracing. We were finally tracing around 11:30.  All the light boxes came in handy.

Alex was excited to have so many people there, he wouldn't take his nap until a little after 11.  He slept for almost 1.5 hours!  It was great! I got a lot of tracing done.  Wendy brought stuffed shells and Italian bread and chocolate cake.  It was all good!  We ate lunch around 1.  Both Shannon and Wendy had started coloring their gnomes.  We kept working to get one all finished for both of them.  I think Gracie missed not being able to play with Sofia.  She stuck to her mother like glue, except while she watched Lion King.  I realized I know a lot about sewing from having watched my mom all these years.  Wendy had trouble sewing up the arms, because it is such tight curves, but I knew a trick of mom's that Shannon's came out all right.  Wendy decided she needed to leave around 3:30, so they scooted on home.  Because I was trying to stay one step ahead of them to make sure we had everything ready, and in between dealing with Alex. I didn't get anything done on mine.  But all of the stuff is now out and ready to go, so when I have 15 mins. I can go and work on some piece of it.

After they left around 4:30, Shannon decided she needed a nap.  Alex didn't want to cooperate with that for another hour.  I finally laid down and we got a little sleep.  Mom called around 6:30 to say she was finally leaving the health dept. and we could meet her at home.  We didn't get there until 7.  We had leftovers, but it was nice.  Mom talked with Shannon a lot.  I bathed Alex, by myself.  We left around 9:30.  We got home and decided to watch a movie, Pay it Forward.  We really like it! Shannon colored her other gnome during the movie.  We will finish it tomorrow before she leaves.  She has to leave Tuesday at dinner time because she has an interview Wednesday morning in Tampa.  We are playing it by ear, but we were thinking of going blueberry picking in the morning. We will see how we feel.

Well, I got showered and washed my hair.  It's now almost 3, so I needed to hit the sack.  Say some prayers for Alex and his ears- cold.  I love you and miss you both.  Alex really misses and loves you both.

Have a good day!


From: Cristina C Eury
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2001 21:54:20 -0400
Subject: Alex

He is not awful, but Swanger is only in on Monday and Wed.  I'm going to take him in to see if it looks bad in the ears or not.  I've started garlic oil and talked to Janet.  She thinks Pulsatilla might do better right now, so I went Ward's to get it.

I'll write more later.


From: "Wayne Eury"
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2001 03:36:46
Subject: Beach tomorrow

Hi Honey,

Sorry to hear about Alex's ears. I wish I was there to help you (and here too--I want a clone!) I almost had a pukey 5-year old today (see journal) and I would trade that for an ear infection any day. Maybe our kids are psychically linked and felt bad on the same day, even though they are far apart. Hmm.
But Sofie seems to be better now. Whew. I am the family healer-in-training!

Did you know your dad has one of those ear thermometers? Pretty cool. I didn't tell him we heard they were unreliable. Why burst his bubble. I was just glad to have a thermometer.

OK, we're off to the beach tomorrow, so I won't have internet access until Friday night. We'll be back in Grecia around 9 PM.

Here's your next present: Near the TV there is a black box, that only gets used for movies that rock. It's wide and it's black and it has a cloth face, and behind it you'll find a gift in the space.

That was an easy one. Enjoy your second birthday present.

We love you bunches! Can't wait to be with you and Alex again soon. We'll say the healing prayer every night at the beach, for Alex.

Love, Tag