Adventure Update # 056:  Hey – Does He Get Fries with That?

So the return to school has been a little rough.  Just a few days into school, Dominick had an upset stomach.  No fever – just an upset stomach.  We followed protocol and kept him home from school the next day.  We then found out that he was required to see a doctor before he could return to school.  The doctor / nurse practitioner said that their protocol in these instances was to test for the coronavirus.  Oh – and that they couldn’t do it right there – but rather we had to go to a different facility.  So Melani took him the following day. She was shocked that it was a drive-thru and that they didn’t even have to get out of the car for the test! Apparently it was just like going to a fast food restaurant – except they didn’t even offer Dominick fries with his coronavirus test! Had I been the one to take him – I certainly would have expected fries and asked for them if they were not offered!

Driveway – Finally!

It’s been a busy decade or so for us! Yeah, I get it – it has been for everyone. For us, it has been 4 kids, a major house renovation, 1 business transition, office building purchase & renovation – and just life in general!

When we did the house renovation about 12 years ago we also had the driveway dug up to bury the power lines. Sad to say, the driveway was in bad shape – so it was actually an improvement in it’s appearance.

Then I spent a couple (ok – maybe 3/4) years burying, by hand, some drainage and conduit under the driveway and around the one side of the house. Why by hand you ask??? – because I like doing that physical kind of work – since I sit at a desk all day – and the physical work helps me stay thin and in shape.

So now, 12 years later – and we finally get around to getting the driveway! I was very pleased with the contractor – McKnight Custom Concrete, who did the work. I actually started talking to the owner Tim over 3 years ago – but only finally pulled the trigger on the project this year.

Gracie had a lot of fun documenting the chronological progress of the work with a combination of video and pictures – some of which is drone footage. See the video below for her montage. We enjoyed getting to know the workers – and since the kids hadn’t yet started school when most of the work was being done – they spoiled Tim McKnight’s team with homemade cookies, ice cream and drinks! They are a really hard-working & conscientious crew – so we welcomed the opportunity to show them a little appreciation.

Finally – Our new driveway!

Back to School!

Yes, the kids are back at school – and everyone is trying to get adjusted to the new realities of life. Our morning routine is pretty much the same – but I no longer get to take the kids into the school to see them off – which I have always enjoyed. Rather, now I walk them up to the front of the school – they get the foreheads scanned for their temperature, and I give them a peck on the head with my mask…..

Trash to Cash

We have really been fighting the clutter “debt” lately. I call it clutter debt – because much like financial debt accumulates if you don’t work hard to pay it off – clutter builds up too – and then you have to work extra hard to get out from under it – just like debt!

Sophie is going to be the last little Williamson – so it is time to start moving some of the little kid stuff out as she finishes using it. Kind of sad – but, it is what it is! So we are trying to clear out the basement and make way for a crafting area and a YouTube studio for the kids.

I was very frustrated last fall after taking a minivan load of baby stuff over to the Salvation Army. After unloading almost all of it – a cranky old woman come out to the drop-off shed and chastised me. After the initial “assault” she calmed down a little and explained that they don’t take any baby stuff anymore – because of potential liability- and that I had to load it all back up again and take it with me! I was flabbergasted….

It really bothered me that this baby stuff – which was still perfectly usable, was going to just find it’s way to the local landfill. Seems silly that we worry about measly plastic straws – when the amount of plastic in a child’s car seat is probably 1,000 times greater than that of a straw – yet it all just gets chucked into the landfills.

My brother kept telling me to try to sell the stuff on Facebook Marketplace. So I listed a few things last week – and I was shocked to have sold it so easily! I can’t seem to give away a perfectly good crib to the Salvation Army – but someone will buy it from me and come to my house to pick it up!

It was really a win-win-win scenario. The crib is no longer in my basement taking up space and I made a few bucks (Win for me). Someone else gets a really good deal on a very usable baby crib (Win for the young man buying it from me), and it doesn’t end up in the landfill (Win for Mother Earth!).

So that got me thinking – that I might just be able to use this Facebook Marketplace thingy to help reduce the clutter in our house while recruiting the kids and wife to help me! My idea is that we will set a goal for a big trip and try to fund the entire trip with the proceeds from our Trash to Cash campaign.

You can track our progress here: Kids’ Accomplishments.

Helping each other out!

3D Printing

Gracie continues to grow in her interest and skills as a 3D printer. She printed the giraffe you see above the other day for Sophie – because giraffes are one of Sophie’s favorite animals. (She didn’t design this giraffe – rather we downloaded it from Thingiverse here: Giraffe Toy.)

This was sort of a milestone, albeit a humble one, in that it is the first time we successfully 3D printed something that has moving parts as a single print. Yes – we did need to work the model a little after printing it to be able to get the legs to move – but that was still an improvement over the failure we have experienced with other models.

We do need to try this again – and maybe with changing some of the retraction settings we will be able to eliminate most, if not all, of the post-printing cleaning necessary to get the legs moving.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T – Find out what it means to me….

We are trying to teach the kids a little about respect lately. One of the YouTube channels we like about parenting (see our list here: Best YouTube Parenting Channels) is The Parenting Junkie. I really like a video Avital made on the subject of teaching children about respect – and we all watched it the other night. Good stuff! I especially liked her point that you can’t expect your children to act respectfully towards you if you don’t treat yourself and your own time with respect! Children simply do what is modeled to them…..

The second video we watched was just fun and had a catchy tune – while reinforcing some basics about treating others with respect.

Social Media: The Social Dilemma (NetFlix)

Sometimes I watch and/or read things – not for entertainment – but rather because I think I need to do so. The other day I watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix. I felt that as the father of 4 young children – I need to know more about the effects social media can have on my children and society as a whole.

This was a cross between a documentary and a drama – I guess they call that a docudrama? It was basically a documentary with interspersed scenes dramatizing points and issues covered in the documentary.

I think at some level we are all aware of some of the negative impact that social media can have on our lives, and the lives of our children. But to hear this from many of the very people involved in building & developing these social media platforms, and their almost universal ban of its use by their own children was, I felt, very powerful.

It made me realize that, as parents, Melani and I are going to need to determine the role that we will allow social media to have in our children’s early lives and a strategy to allow us to effective limit, police and enforce that plan.

You can probably count on that being the topic of a future blog post – once I do a little more research and formulate such plan and strategy! So stay tuned!

There is a website devoted to the movie and its mission of making technology more humane. If you are interested in learning more – you can find the website here: The Social Dilemma.

Gigi @ 99 Years Young!

My grandmother recently turned 99 years old. We haven’t been able to see her for a few months because of the coronavirus. Last night we got to finally see her – as as you can tell from the “action” shot – the kids were having a wonderful time with her! They were laughing and moving so much I couldn’t even get a good clear picture!

Even at 99 grandma is still has a sense of humor and is able to entertain and make the kids laugh!


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Blessed father of 4 wonderful children & trophy husband to 1 lovely wife. Part-time blogger, full-time nerd & aspiring Renaissance man!

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