May 28, 2005 – Keeping Austin Weird

We’re off to Austin, Texas (that’s pronounced Ahh-sten, Tex-is) for a few days. Linda is speaking at a conference themed “A Whole New Rodeo: International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence.

As for me, I think I’ll be roaming the streets of Austin, but that’s ok since there’s a strong sentiment to Keep Austin Weird. One of the particularly engrossing pages on the site is a menu from an overly snooty restaurant (I particularly like the entrees, you’ll need to scroll down the page a bit).

I’ll try to keep updated from Austin if I can find internet access.

May 26, 2005 – 200,000

It has been a tradition of sorts to name all of our vehicles. When the kids were younger, the names were simple, like “Golden Car” for the gold Taurus. Our current fleet includes Snowball, a 1994 Geo Prizm.

Our minivan, a larger white version of Snowball is called Blizzard. The truck is called Deezy in honor of the Dee-Zee accessories adorning it and my late uncle who had initials of D.Z.

All that aside, today Snowball turned over 200,000 miles on the way to work today. I pulled over marked the occasion with this photo.
Snowball still has about 3,000 more miles to go before it breaks the Barnequist family vehicle record held by “Old Truck” a 1984 Mazda pickup (and winner of the 2000 Mid-Iowa Fair Ugly Truck Contest!)

May 25, 2005 – Playground

This is one of those well-meaning projects that drags on and on. Last year we thought it would be great to get Martin a playground with a swing, slide, tower, and monkey bars. So last June 30, he got the playground in a box – a stretch for a 2 year old to make the jump from the box of hardware and lumber to a playground. Picking up the lumber was the most weight the truck ever hauled – I was worried something would break the whole way home. We got some of the pieces together fairly quickly – it was the landing pad that took forever – it was neither fun nor ever a top priority to dig out a 20×30 area six inches deep to place the wood chips (I’ve come to learn to make things at ground level, rather than build up).

At any rate, it was about 3/4 dug out by the time the ground froze last winter and this spring is a big gardening and planting time, but I want to have it up by his birthday THIS YEAR. So a burst of digging this weekend and the better part of a day today got the landscape fabric spread, wooden border put in, and wood chips spread. We built most of the tower today.

We were in a bit of a quandary trying to tip the tower up with only dad and Martin. We gambled and won that we could pull it up with the tractor and a chain (the possibilities were the tower would just drag on the ground and not lift up, the tower would lift up and promptly keep going to tip back the other way). The good outcome happened, it lifted and did not tip toward us from the momentum of tipping up. Martin spent most of the day with me, fetching screws, talking non-stop, and asking for the slide to be put up. He seems genuinely excited and must sense it is finally coming together.

May 24, 2005 – #2ey Day

After I got home from work, it turned into a #2 day for Claire and Emma. First, Blue found a fresh cow pie to his liking and was pretty much covered on one side of his body. His patches of white were greasy grey-brown. Since Emma is the lead caretaker, she had the privilege of washing him.

Claire was putting the chickens away and had one that did not want to go home. So she caught it and the universe sensed that it was time to even the sibling score and the chicken did a #2 all over her hand, shirt and legs. She wailed riotously at the injustice of it all to the point that we thought she had been attacked by wild canines.