Ollie + lake

Kids love water. Kids also love rocks and throwing things. So it stands to reason that kids love throwing rocks into water.

We put it to the test today by taking Ollie down to Yellow Bay and letting him play on the shore of Flathead Lake. He absolutely loved it.

Even though it’s May, the water temperature these days is hovering around 45 to 50 degrees. Still, you get used to it pretty quickly. He didn’t mind having his legs in the water while he picked up handfuls of rocks and threw them.

Naturally we decided to take him out on the jet skis, so we bundled him into a life jacket that was literally as big as he is. He seemed excited about riding with his Aunt Kyra.

They cruised around the bay for a while, but after maybe ten minutes of it, the little guy was literally falling asleep.

Kyra said he was sort of nodding off. I wonder if maybe he wanted to go fast, so this slow cruising just wasn’t exciting enough.

In any case, when he returned to the shore he was thrilled to throw some more rocks. Life was good. Heading home, he showed us what he thought of a day on the lake:

5:35 no more

Today was our last day of seminary for the school year, which means I can finally turn off that pesky alarm that chimes at 5:35 in the morning:

As is tradition, we had some food and just chatted for our final class. Strangely enough, a number of the kids insisted that pizza would be a good option for food. Not cold breakfast pizza, like some people enjoy, but hot fresh-baked pizza right out of the oven in the church kitchen. So we obliged, and made three big homemade pizzas last night. The kids wolfed them down– nearly everyone grabbed a slice or two.

Afterward we decided to snap a class photo. Although I’m happy to avoid 5:35, I’ll miss these yahoos each morning.


The cherry blossoms are in full force! Our trees are covered in thousands of them. I hope this means there will be a good crop this summer…

While I was outside snapping this photo, I noticed some pretty flowers in the forest:

And the larch needles are a soft, beautiful green:

Now that it’s late May, it’s finally seeming like spring is here!

Finally mounted

For two and a half years, we’ve been using our “it’s only temporary” setup with a TV sitting on a piece of plywood which in turn sits atop two big Yamaha speakers. It works, but it looks ghetto and the TV is way off-center for everyone on the couch except the one Sweet Spot. I finally decided to do something about it.

First, I imagined what it might look like if the TV was mounted on the wall with in-wall speakers for left, right, and center channels.

It’s tricky with the fireplace, of course, because you shouldn’t mount a TV– or any nice, expensive, meltable thing– right above a fireplace. After some discussion, though, we agreed we never really use the fireplace anyway, so it’ll be fine. I called a drywall guy to see if he could patch up the holes I’ll inevitably make, and then re-texture the wall to match the rest of it. To my astonishment, he said he could do the work three days later. I’m used to having contractors tell me their schedule is booked months in advance. This meant I had to really get cracking.

After a deep breath, I took a drill and a compass saw and went to work dissecting the drywall. I had no idea what to expect back there; with the fireplace and some closets on the back side of the wall, it was anyone’s guess. Sure enough, the studs were kind of a hodgepodge.

I minimized the drywall I removed, because this was mainly a voyage of exploration. As it turned out, the placement of the studs dictated where the speakers could go. On the left, there’s only one space wide enough. On the right, there’s a big horizontal support just above my cut, pushing both speakers down a bit. And sadly there’s not a space for a center channel, because there are three studs alongside the fireplace and they shouldn’t be cut.

My favorite part was removing the three-way switches that control our ceiling fan, and being reminded of the Switch That Does Nothing. Thom and I discovered it a few years ago when meddling with the electrical stuff. You can see how it has a single line wire coming in, but nothing coming out. (The brass is the ground, of course.) I have no idea why you’d wire something like this. It does, however, explain the roughly half-dozen other switches scattered through the house that I can’t figure out… they probably also go nowhere.

With the switches rewired and my rough speaker holes cut out, it was time for the drywall guy to get to work. He did a great job patching the hole and re-texturing everything to match.

This morning I added a coat of paint, cut the final speaker holes, and installed them. Oh, and I found a cool little tube that can route cables through a wall between rooms. That’s important because the stereo equipment actually sits in the closet on the other side of the wall.

After some shenanigans with the TV mounting hardware, we had it securely attached to the wall and it was time to give it a whirl.

Mission accomplished! Another house project checked off my list, only two and a half years after I conceived of it…

Return of the Yellow Menace

Apparently today is the day the dandelions bloom. Yesterday I didn’t see any of them in our yard, and today as we were driving past the orchard for lunch, I saw this horror:

They seemed to come from nowhere! Pepper thinks the flowers spread out in the sunlight, and then when the sun fades, they sort of quiet down and hide. It’s probably true, because the courtyard looked like it had two dozen dandies but when I went out to pick them a few hours later, there were only four or five. And once the flowers have closed, it’s hard to spot them.

So, I guess I have some work ahead of me. Ugh.