Sherwood Family
April 2004

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Casual Easter family portrait in Jeff's backyard.

People come to visit and this is the hospitality we have to offer: breakfast is microwaved Danish on paper plates in the cleanest, least cluttered room in the house, the garage.

Grandpa Art playing catch with Doug in the cul de sac.

Easter lunch in Jeff and Chrysanne's backyard.

Brad cracks a blown, painted Easter egg on Keith's head to extract the money within.

Doug's third grade teacher Mrs. Castro reads a fairy tale he wrote to the class while Doug does his best Bill Clinton impression.

Doug's birthday party under the Keith's watchful camcorder's gaze.

While waiting for his next shot at the batting cages at his birthday party, Doug plays air hockey without fear of taking a puck to the head.

The kids who came to Doug's 9th Birthday party. (Note: the young lady is Sam Neher's older sister who is Brad's age.)

We did a lot of fun stuff in April.  So much, in fact, that there are five sub pages this month dealing with the pictures and stories from some of that fun.  But you must understand that the entire month takes place against the back drop of the remodel.  Our house is not our own, it is in habited by men in masks and spray guns that come at all hours of the day, in the evening and on Saturdays.  If we had fun outside the home this month, it was because nobody wanted to go home.
Keith's dad Art came out to visit us and Aunt Betty the first weekend in April. He spent a couple nights with us and a couple nights up at Betty's. While he was with us he was able to watch each boy play a baseball game, and enjoy first hand the experience of living in a house under construction.  I'm sure the experience helped him appreciate going to the relative serenity at Betty's house.  Although once there, he did experience first hand some of the frustrations of Betty's situation. One care giver left before the next arrived, leaving Art in charge. Betty convinced Art to take her to church.  While they were gone the next caregiver arrived to a locked and empty house.  So she left. When Betty and Art returned from church, they got a snippy call from the caregiver agency.  Would they go pick up the next caregiver, who no longer had a ride?  Art, who wasn't too comfortable navigating the backroads of a town he's not familiar with, declined.  Eventually a ride was arranged and the caregiver arrived, again.
There is some definite irony in the fact that Keith's family, who visit rarely when compared to Kristi's family, have all showed up in the last six months in the middle of the remodel.
Kristi had some outpatient surgery this month.  She's fine.  It's only worth mentioning to further demonstrate the fact that life will continue to provide you with your usual share of stresses and challenges, oblivious to, and giving you no credit for, the stresses and challenges you deliberately choose to take on.  Like remodeling.
The sport of the month is of course baseball.  Pictures have been farmed out to their own dedicated page. Dad’s proudest moment: when either of his boys come up to bat and the opposing manager moves his outfielders back, yelling for all to hear, “This kid can hit!”  (In the Majors, where the coaches are serious about scouting and most everyone has been around for 6 years and is a known commodity, they’ll even use Brad’s name.)
Bradley has let it be known that he will no longer answer to Bradley and only wishes to be addressed as Brad.  That’s all fine and good, and he’s certainly within his rights to define his own appellation.  But he has not seen fit grant a grace period, or be particularly gracious with transgressors.  We’ve spent 12 years calling him either, and now it seems we’re expected to change over night.  Mom and Dad don’t mind calling him Brad, but the manner in which he corrects us seems a bit harsh.  The bright side is that Mom and Dad will now be able to immediately convey displeasure by using Bradley instead of Brad.
Bradley -- I mean Brad -- went to sixth grade camp the week before spring break. Sixth grade camp is a San Diego program through the schools to take city kids and put them into a wilderness camp experience that they might never have had before.  Well, Brad is a suburban kid who does car camping and church summer camping, so the idea of leaving home for a week of cabin camping was no big deal to him.  What was a big deal was where the camp was: Brad was part of the very first group back to Camp Cuyamaca as it reopened after the fires of last October.  The Camp is in Cuyamaca State Park, site of earlier camping trips and so recently devastated by the wildfires.  Brad has his own page of pictures and descriptions of his 5 day school field trip to the mountains.
That kids were returning to Camp Cuyamaca for 6th grade camp was well covered in the local media as part of their continuing coverage of the fire and fire recovery.  These stories may still be up on the web: TV, newspaper.
Not to be out done, Doug had his own *really cool* field trip this month, too. There are a couple of traditional field trips in third grade: Museum of Natural History in Balboa Park (not particularly unique), but then a string of really cool field trips that the third, fourth and fifth graders traditionally take every year, year after year.  It starts in third grade with The Floating Lab.  The Floating Lab is taking a boat out onto San Diego Bay and doing oceanography experiments.  Kristi went with Brad three years ago, and let Keith knew he would really enjoy it if he went with Doug this year.  The story of Doug's day is here.
Easter was a little different this year.  Of course it included Easter services at Church, but instead of meeting the extended San Diego family at a park for picnic as we had done the last several years, we all went to Jeff and Chrysanne's house for a barbecue lunch in their back yard.  There wasn't enough room ot fly kites as we normally do, but the food was hot and the parking and crowds weren't a problem!
As usual, national Take Your Child to Work day falls right before Doug's birthday. Last year, he wasn't quite old enough, so this year was his first, while it was Brad's second.  Intuit had two tracks, one for older kids that Brad was just old enough for, and one for younger kids.  So the brothers weren't stuck with each other all day long, which was good for them, good for Dad, and good for Intuit.  Intuit did another fantastic job this year with a fun program for the kids for the day, detailed here.
Doug had his ninth birthday on the 23rd.  The party took place at an indoor batting cage facility nearby called the Batter's Box.  Everybody got to try their hand at pitching for speed and accuracy against a radar gun, and of course take multiple turns inside the batting cages.  We had pizza and cake in their party room (which featured video tapes of baseball playoff games), and spent lots of quarters in the arcade.
With all this going on, it's really no wonder that we looked at the calendar one day only to discover that the Y Guides event for the month was the Pinewood Derby, it was only a week away, and we hadn't even begun working on the kit yet.  And with the garage in a shambles with appliances and things from the house, there was really no place to even work on the kit.  But we did the best we could every evening for a week, and used a resource for tools even better than Uncle Jeff: our contractor.  The complete story is here.

The Remodel:
As has been hinted at above, this was a particularly difficult month to live through the remodel.  They say that the drywalling (last month) is bad and messy.  And it is.  But for my money, painting is the worst.  Like dust from drywalling, the paint particals prevade the entire house, alighting on every surface no matter how far away from the source.  Unlike drywalling, the oil based paint put out fumes so bad we couldn't return to the house for hours.  We also expanded the painting a little to include areas we had wanted to paint for years but hadn't gotten around to yet (e.g. stairwell, living room).  So we also got pretty much what we asked for.  On the brighter side, the kitchen started taking shape as the cabinets were put in and pleased us very much.  Outside, stucco was applied and the second and final concrete pour occured, cementing the walkway on one side of the addition and the new patio on the other.  As hard as the month was, the end is now in sight.

Links Mentioned on this Page:
You may have missed these links within the text above.
The Boys' Baseball Adventures
Brad at Sixth Grade Camp
TV Web Story on Sixth Grade Camp (external)
Newspaper Story on Sixth Grade Camp (external)
Doug on Floating Lab Field Trip
The Boys at Intuit on Take Your Child to Work Day
Doug and Dad Build a Pinewood Derby
This month's remodel progress

They Said It:
Doug, describing the lunch he wanted from the Little League snack bar: I want a Neapolitan Sausage. Parents: Huh? Doug: A polo hot dog! Parents: Huh?  Doug: A polish sausage!  Parents: ah ha!
The family was discussing acronyms, as well as what names Kristi’s brother Jeff used to call her when they were children.   Doug combined the two discussions into one: “I’m going to call Brad SOB!”  Parents: What!  Doug: “Show Off Brad!”
Doug, mad at his parents in church, opens his offering envelop up and declares, “I want my money back!"
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Pictures and text copyright 2004 by Keith Sherwood
He may be contacted at Keith followed by @virtualsherwoods.com