October 2002

Austin and Doug in the balloon relay at the Induction Picnic.
Brad can't quite get to this ball, but his geometry is flawless as the shot goes wide
New pony and old war horse.  Beemer doesn't belong to us.
Brad, Betty and Charlie.
Qualcomm stadium before the Charger game.
Slater, Brad, and Kolby.   Brad and Kolby are same jersey colors, different divisions.
Doug is pretty fearless, a good trait for a goalie
Brad and Keith on the road trip in Fresno.
Brad, Kristi and Doug carve pumpkins in the garage
Douglas Hendrix and obnoxious tourist Brad.
After a game, Doug just likes to relax on the ride back home

Kristi’s big fall project comes to fruition every year in October: the school directory gets published.  She has been doing the Deer Canyon Elementary School Directory for 4 years now.  Its 34 pages of staff and class listings, student names and phone numbers, calendars and schedules, and PTA slogans allow her to exercise her product layout and production skills learned in 10 years at Academic Press.  An excellent example of someone in retirement applying their career skills to volunteerism.  The staff of the school district graphics reproduction department is always quite taken aback by someone who knows as much/more than they do about producing a piece.  It's a resource that every parent can use all school year long.
Doug and Keith's second year in Indian Guides began with the Induction Picnic, a get together of the entire nation to introduce new recruits and play games.  Russ Bird, our tribe chief last year, became nation chief this year.  Keith took over as tribe chief (not so much by stepping forward, but by standing still while everyone else took a step backwards!).
The Mustang did something to break Keith on Sunday, October 6.  Maybe it was dump antifreeze on the garage floor. Maybe it take another quart of oil after just 500 miles.  Maybe it was that the car would be 15 on Thursday (he bought it the day before his 24th birthday).  Or maybe it was the realization that another round of good money after bad was upon him, with registration, smog check, and insurance all due that week.  Whatever it was, Keith switched that afternoon from the position he had been holding for years ("The Mustang is a sound, reliable car that has its warts but is paid for") to the position Kristi had been espousing for as many years ("Stop putting money into that old thing and get a new car").  Three days later, Keith had a new Mustang convertible.  Kristi wryly observed that when she decided it was time to replace the Windstar, it took us 4 months, but when Keith decided it was time to replace his car, it took 4 days.
So two days prior to his 39th birthday, Keith bought a new Mustang.  But please don't call it a midlife crisis vehicle.  It replaced a 15 year old car.  Yes, it's a convertible, but Keith's proven over the last 15 years he knows how to use it, commuting to work with the top down over 90% of the time.  He did not get a GT model again: he wanted to prove he was older and wiser than when bought the first car, and with Bradley driving in just 5 years, he wanted to remove the horsepower from the garage.
It was ironic the very weekend after the new Mustang was bought, Uncle Charlie came for a west coast visit, and he and Aunt Betty came to dinner.  Ironic because 15 years and three months ago a younger Keith was having dinner with Aunt Betty and Uncle Charlie and reviewing his vehicle dilemma with them: practical, or daring-do impractical, for instance a Mustang GT convertible.  While Betty is a great fan of convertibles, she was of course urging a practical subcompact; Charlie was silent.  When Betty retired to the ladies' room, Charlie leaned across the table and stated firmly, "Get the Mustang."
An Ode to the Mustang.

Bradley took Keith to a San Diego Chargers football game for his birthday. And what a game: the Chargers’ thrilling, last minute come from behind victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.  It was Keith’s second Charger game after 10 years, and Bradley’s first in 11.  The tickets were courtesy of Brad, who won them in a drawing at school.  After the Chargers’ Super Bowl appearance, the giddy city of San Diego foolishly added a “seat guarantee” clause to a contract extension with the Chargers for Qualcomm stadium.  For every seat under 55,000 that doesn’t get sold, the city essentially buys the ticket by providing a stadium rent rebate back to the Chargers, who are renting the stadium from the city.  Fascinatingly enough, this removed all motive for the Chargers to sell themselves, as they were guaranteed to be paid for 55,000 tickets, whether there were seats in the seats or not.  The city has taken a financial drubbing for the last couple of years while the Chargers were being drubbed on the field.  In an effort to salvage something from the deal, the city has demanded the tickets it bought and distributes them to schools for them to disperse as they see fit.  So thank you city taxpayers for sending us gratis to an exciting football game.      
Brad had his first baby sitting job.  He watched Slater and Kolby Bird while daddy Russ was out coaching big brother Bennett’s soccer game (and mommy Kim was out of town).  Brad loves little kids, especially toddlers.  He is actually on the nursery volunteer rotation at church.
Tradition was served by our annual autumnal trip to Bell Gardens.  The Sunday afternoon trip served multiple purposes: first family trip in the new convertible, casual car trip into the rural San Diego country back country, purchase our pumpkins close the source (as opposed to the grocery store or vacant lot pumpkin patch), and ride the biggest garden railway I know of.
With no room in our two car garage, it was time to dispose of the old Mustang. With the registration and insurance due, it had to be gone by the end of October.  The car had more sentimental value than the mere pittance it would have fetched if sold.  Keith remembered his Mustang conversations last month with Nick Nennis at Bergie's funeral, and further realized Nick was blessed with an Uncle and a Grandfather with mechanical inclinations who might enjoy a project car.  Keith offered the car to Nick, hoping the GT would thrill another young man as it did 15 years ago.  Nick did not look a gift Mustang in the mouth.  So arrangements were made to drive the Mustang up to Fresno (home base of said Uncle and Grandfather) and have Nick transport us back to San Diego.  The last weekend in October Brad and Keith took a last great father and son road trip in the Mustang.
We had the most successful, stress free Halloween in memory.  And it all revolved around Kristi coming up with costume ideas for the kids early.  Remembering an old frizzy wig in the Halloween box, she suggested a Hippy to Doug.  Doug doesn’t know what a hippy was, but he was game.  Starting with an obnoxious straw hat of Keith’s, she suggested a tacky tourist to Brad.  Both boys bought in.  After a couple of trips to Party City for 60’s tattoos, a peace pendant, and a tie die bandana, Doug looked like Jimi Hendrix.  Brad borrowed a shirt from his uncle Jeff, wore some of his own loud shorts, added a camera and colored socks and he looked great.  Both kids got in the spirit once dressed: Brad would strike obnoxious poses to take pictures, and Doug would make peace signs and say, “Trick or treat, man.”  This year did have one major difference, however: Brad is now no longer interested in trick or treating with his dad and brother.  He went with a group of 6 of his friends around the greater neighborhood area.
Relieved of all pre-Halloween stress, Keith even thought of an easy, topical costume: Corporate CEO, 2002 (dressed in suit; money stuffed in pockets, sleeves, and collar; wrists in hand cuffs).  It was the first time he dressed in years.  And of course he loves subtle costumes that people have to think about. 
In a move sure to gladden Hippy Doug's heart, we joined the 21st century equivalent of a food co-op: a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).  Keith heard about them on NPR (National Public Radio), then discovered his vegetarian boss had joined one. You buy a "share" of a varied crop from a local farm, cutting out the middle men of food distributors and grocery stores.  We get a nice variety of lettuce, corn, avocados, incredible tomatoes and oranges, plus the occasional wild card like chard or bok choy. The charm of participating doesn't lie in the fact that our particular CSA is organic, or that it saves us money (it doesn't), but in the fun of not knowing what you're going to get, and the thought that perhaps you're helping to perserve some local farm land from being subdivided into houses.

They Read It:
I simply can't keep up with this section any longer.  Doug reads 15 to 20 minutes a day for homework, and so goes through his chapter books quite quickly.  When he reads aloud his parents are amazed at his inflection.  Brad has been racing with his classmates to read 1475 pages and move his token on the classroom wall to the top of Mt. Whitney (at 14,494 ft the tallest point in California and continental US).  Smoked by some super-reader girl, his goal is now to be the first boy to the top.
Kristi: A Girl Named Zippy

They Said It:
Doug: watching a Coors light commercial featuring bikini clad women frolicking in the snow, “I don’t see why they think this makes me want to buy that.”

Text and Pictures Copyright © 2002 Keith Sherwood - All Rights Reserved