Sherwood Family
March 2004

Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep
Click on images to expand.
The book fair moved from the library to the gym this year, and was its usual record setting success.

Both Gail and Kristi are working hard in this picture: can you find them?

Doug showing excellent form on a grounder to second base.

Brad showing excellent form on a runner called out at second base.

Keith and Doug ride to school one foggy March morning.

We went to have dinner with Papa and Grandma while they took care of the cousins.

JoAnn, Kristi, and Bob watch Brad catch in a game.

Doug and Keith (lower left) on a hike at Agua Caliente with the rest of the Sioux Tribe.

It wasn't so hot that the boys couldn't play a little desert football (Doug throwing).

Brad went to a birthday party that included go cart racing.

If February ended with Book Fair set up, then you know exactly how March began. Kristi and Gail Bigelow worked long hours and pulled off the largest, most successful Schoolastic Book Fair yet. Too cramped by the limited space in the media center, the book fair this year moved to the multi purpose room (what we used to call a gym when I was elementary school). Partitions were put up to cordon off a quarter of the room for the fair. Posters went up on the walls and partitions, decorations were festooned from the basket ball hoops, and the fair went on for 6 or 7 hours a day, sharing the room with multi other purposes like lunch, band, P.E., and after school enrichment programs. 
After 6 days, including one early open (Breakfast with Books) and one evening close to allow working parents to attend with their children (and buy books), the fair grossed $18,000. Other schools are now sending their book fair coordinators to our school to see how it's done.  Although there were plenty of parental volunteers, either or both of Kristi and Gail were nearly always there to monitor, coordinate, make executive decisions, and reorder depleted supplies.
The week to 10 days that it takes to set up, run, and tear down the fair is a time of distraction from everything else for Kristi.  As busy as she was, it was recognized that being involved up to her eyeballs really helped Kristi forget about (and therefore cope with) the remodel.  Kristi's distracted week is also one of the few times during the year that Keith is asked to really step up and take care of the boys in the manner to which Kristi has allowed them to become accustomed.  It's a good thing that the book fair happens only once a year: the boys can only stand so much frozen pizza and Jack in the Box drive through when Keith is in charge of cooking dinner.
The weekend following the Book Fair, we headed back up to Anaheim, this time to Disneyland.  Now I could paint it as a calculated reward to Kristi for surviving the Book Fair, or to the boys for surviving the sole care of their father, but that wouldn't be true.  The annual Southern Californian promotion that they run to get locals to come to the parks in the winter was a buy one get one free admission.  So after attending California Adventure last month, we had to attend Disneyland within 21 days to dollar cost average down.  Although I resisted the temptation last month, I did make a dedicated photo page of our trip this month, probably because the weather was better and the resulting pictures better.
Doug's basketball season wrapped up.  They were knocked out of the playoffs by a outside buzzer beater by the other team.  Just the type of game you dream of (if you are on the winning team).  Doug is noncommittal about playing more basketball.
But who can think about basketball when baseball games has begun for both boys. As one of only a couple 11 year olds on the team last year, Brad struggled last year “playing up” from the Minors to the Majors. He swears basketball is his new love and this will be his last year playing baseball. His parents are understanding but disappointed, as he has always shown such an aptitude for baseball and enjoyed it so much for the last 6 years.
This year, the team is all new, including the coach, and Brad is one of just two returning 12 year olds from last year's team. Brad and the other 12 year old (Win, our over-the-back-fence neighbor who was born the same day as Brad) are definitely looked to to lead the team. Brad responded by having a monster March, going 15 of 17 at the plate, Brad is reviewing his earlier pledge that this would be his last baseball season.
Doug was on a basketball team made up nearly entirely of boys from Deer Canyon Elementary school. The situation is reversed on the baseball team, where he is one of the few boys not from Adobe Bluffs. PJ Fabijanic is on the team, so he does have one built-in friend, and his parents have someone they know to sit with at the games. This is the first year with kids pitching to one another. Everybody on the team was asked to pitch a couple of innings this month, and Doug showed enough control on his throws that he will be asked to pitch again.  Unlike Brad, Doug still considers baseball his number one sport.
Brad began umpiring games as well. He started off in the Minors, with 10 and 11 year old players, working in tandem with an experienced umpire. The other ump was behind the plate calling strikes and he "played" in the field, calling the bases. As he gains experience, he will go behind the plate, as well as umpire the Rookies (9 year olds like Doug) alone. Along with the invaluable experience of realizing umpiring is hard work, it doesn’t hurt that this is the first job he’s getting paid for: $10 for the field, $15 for behind the plate or umping solo.
By school rules, as a third grader Doug has the option of riding his bike to school, a privilege denied younger students.  For some combined reason of parental over protection and lack of desire on his part, it took him until two thirds of the way through the school year to get around to actually doing it.
Great Aunt Betty, although well looked after by caregiver Linda, has never really regained her strength and stamina from the December falls. She spends more time in her wheelchair than walker. She does have physical therapy twice a week. Perhaps more troubling, however, is her confusion and delusions this month. She believes she is on a ship at sea, and she is quite concerned that she doesn’t know where it started or where it’s going. A fascinating metaphor for life, really, but still somewhat troubling for Betty’s observers who believe we are grounded in reality.
Bob and Joann Rafferty came out from Illinois to  take care of the boys' cousins Quinn and Kelsy while Jeff and Chrysanne visited South Africa.  Isn't that always the way it goes: you get one grandparent to come out to take care of your kids while you go to another country, and then your brother in law gets two grandparents to watch his kids while he goes to another continent. While they of course stayed at Jeff and Chrysanne's house in La Mesa, we did get together several times, including dinner both out and at their house.  Also, the grandparents did make a point of catching a baseball game for each boy.
The last weekend in March we experienced a phenomenon that will undoubtedly become more common as the boys grow older: the family went its separate ways.  Bradley went with the Church Youth Group to a one night, one day camp; Kristi went with Gail to their annual post book fair spa day, and Keith and Doug went camping with Y Guides in the desert.
As some sort of replacement for the birthday party he never got back in December/January, Brad got his parents to pay for a night and a day at Camp Surf, a county YMCA camp right on the beach. One of the Youth Group leaders at church is also a counselor at the camp, so he found a weekend with some open attendance spots and arranged for our youth to attend.  Brad was not enamored with his first (or was it second by this time) attempts at surfing.  Too little action for too much work, he thinks.    
This was the second year Kristi and Gail worked together on the Book Fair, and the second year they treated themselves for the job well done by going to a spa for the day and getting facials, wraps, and massages. 
With gusty winds driving desert sand storms, Agua Caliente was perhaps the only place in the county less hospitable than our own house under construction. Still, that's where Keith and Doug ended up.  But after a very windy first night, we had calm, hot days and clear cold nights.   Doug inexplicably threw up the first night, and Keith learned there were indeed more difficult situations than living in a house undergoing remodeling.  Like trying to clean vomit from a tent and sleeping back in the middle of the night.  After the episode, Doug was just fine, so we threw the soiled sleeping bag out of the tent, turned the remaining bag into a comforter we both could sleep under, and made it through the rest of the night, and weekend, without further incident.   

The Remodel:
The remodel got messy this month, really messy.  Messy to the point where we questioned our decision to inhabit the house during construction. 

On the positive side, the addition was weather proofed and doors and windows were installed, so the old walls in the family room (first floor) and bedroom (second floor) could come down, truly adding the addition to the house.  This was a great psychological gain, as we saw the vision coming to fruition.  On the negative side, after that there was no more outside the existing house work, so they moved inside with a vengeance.  They jackhammered existing foundation in our family room and moved walls in both the family room and bedroom.  Very, very dusty and dirty.

The biggest blow of all, however, was the demo of the kitchen.  The refrigerator moved to the family room.  The microwave and coffee maker first moved to a card table in the family room but were eventually displaced to the workbench in the garage.  Gone was any delusion we had maintained thus far of normal meals amidst the carnage; now we either ate out or had some meal on paper plates that could be microwaved.

Links Mentioned on this Page:
You may have missed these links within the text above.
A Day at Disneyland
This month's remodel progress
<February Top of Page     

Pictures and text copyright 2004 by Keith Sherwood
He may be contacted at Keith followed by