Home sweet (almost) home

Last week we headed up to Montana to check out our new house. We’re staying in Colorado for the rest of the summer, but we figured we should at least see our new place before moving up there in September.

Tara and her kids showed up a little after we did, and a few days later Thom, Katie, and Sefton stopped in as well. It was fun to have a big group there; the house is really good for hosting groups. Together we all explored the house and tried to figure out how things worked (so many light switches!). Katie even found a secret closet-within-a-closet. The utility room has a bewildering array of switches, control panels, and valves. It was definitely an adventure.

The house looks amazing when you first arrive:

Across the courtyard is the guest house, also known as The Party Room:

And yes, we have a turret. Everyone needs a turret.

Zaque actually slept in the attic, which is at the top of the turret above the spiral staircase. The carpet in there is deep purple (no kidding).

The cherry orchard was really cool. It’s harvest time, so Laralee and I picked a bunch of them for sharing. They were delicious.

As we wandered around figuring things out and thinking about where our furniture would go and sort of dreading the impending process of moving, I wondered if all this is crazy. We’re moving a thousand miles, away from a place and friends we know and love, to an area we know very little about, and trading our city life for a much more rural one. Is this a mid-life crisis? Maybe. But as I sat on the front porch and watched the sunset over the lake, I was reminded why we’re doing this.

It’s breathtakingly beautiful. Sure, it’ll be a different lifestyle, but we’ll figure it out and make friends and, most importantly, we’ll do it together.

Apple reborn

While we were visiting Missouri, Mom pulled out the old Apple IIe from my childhood. I think we bought that in the early 1980’s, and after plugging in a few parts, it actually booted up!

Thom and I fiddled with some of the disks (yes, the original 5 1/4″ floppies) and managed to bring up a few classic games like Black Magic (Thom’s favorite). Here he is playing Dig Dug:

One of my favorite games was Lode Runner:

Unfortunately we couldn’t get the game to start– we could only run the demo mode. It was strange, but I suppose after 35 years or so, it was more surprising that it even partially worked.

It’s a credit to Apple (and to Mom!) that after all these years, the computer still worked. Check out the sweet core memory chips, at 8kB apiece for a total of 64kB:

But– lucky us– we had an expansion card called the “80-column card” which doubled the ram to 128kB and allowed the system to display 80 columns of text instead of the default 40. That was really important when doing word processing, and of course for games.

I think Mom is going to give away the computer, or maybe sell it on eBay one of these days (yes, there’s still a market for 1980-era Apple IIe’s out there). It was fun to be reminded of all those hours spent on the computer when I was a teenager. That old Apple put me on the path to a successful software career a decade later!

Odd super powers

At dinner the other night, we were talking about super powers that would be kind of pointless to have. Zaque and Alex came up with a bunch that were hilarious. Some of the better examples:

  • The ability to fly, but only while naked
  • The ability to move things with your mind, but only if they’re within arm’s reach
  • The ability to make your socks wet
  • The ability to sneeze your favorite fountain drink
  • The ability to walk through walls, but only the drywall (not the studs)
  • The ability to be invisible, but only while screaming at the top of your lungs
  • The ability to move moles around your skin (not get rid of them, just move them)
  • The ability to de-carbonate soda
  • The ability to make bread soggy

Yeah, these are the sorts of things my boys do. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as they say.