Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It's like looking 27 years in the past

Last night, I was musing about how much Jacob and Reed are like me. Two things last night made me think of this: climbing and peanut butter.

While memory is a fickle thing, I recall snacking on pure peanut butter - directly from the jar - with Matt many years ago (possibly shortly after we moved to Minnesota?). Last night, the boys wanted an alternate dinner, so Andrea told them they could make their own PB&J sandwiches if they wanted. I retrieved and opened the two jars for them, but I left the whole process to them so they could learn. While they did make a mess, it was extremely entertaining for me to watch the two of them. They were so happy to be going through the process of making a sandwich.

Jacob made his dinner first, and when it was Reed's turn, he had a "dirty" knife, which he had to lick clean. Then he dipped the knife into the peanut butter and spread it on the bread haphazardly. Then the knife was dirty again, so of course he had to lick it clean. Lather, rinse, repeat.

This was one of my transcendent moments of parenthood.

The second topic is climbing. Andrea took a wonderful video of the boys climbing the kitchen doorway a few days ago. They've grown accustomed to climbing it, which is usually amusing for us but can occasionally become frustrating when we're trying to get something done in the kitchen. One day after Andrea told Jacob to stop climbing, he replied, "But Mom, I need to climb!"

So this weekend, while my parents visited, Dad and I built a very simple 2x4 frame structure that will be used for as much climbing as the boys can reasonably get. At some point, I'll add monkey bars, a cargo net, and all sorts of other goodies. For now, it's just a simple frame that they can climb up, and last night, I drilled a small hole on one side and put one of my old static climbing ropes through it. I then tied a few knots in it and showed the boys how to climb a knotted rope. They did quite well, and we then got a video of them trying it out:

All of this got me thinking about how much I perceive that my boys are similar to how I was. There's the whole topic of nature versus nurture, and it seems to me that with every new research paper I read on the topic, I tend to believe more long-term behavioral traits tend toward nature.

Of course, loving peanut butter and an inherent need to climb things also seem to be typical of young boys, so these similarities may very well be due to the fact that I was a young boy once that liked to climb on stuff and eat dollops of peanut butter at a time. Nonetheless, I really enjoy watching my sons doing things that I enjoy so thoroughly.

Monday, October 15, 2012

That was a lot of rain

Today was my first commute in the Seattle rain. Amazing.

I had this nice, surprisingly warm, only mildly misty ride in this morning starting just after 6:00am, and I stuck around work until 6:30 or so, took a few pictures of the drizzly awesomeness that is Seattle, then called it a day.

For those that find the rain gloomy, this is mitigated somewhat by the fact that our floor has a kegerator with an amber ale, though the carbonation is all hosed up:

After a while I went out and left the office and biked back to the house in the rain. (See what I did there?)

I learned - firsthand - a few rather valuable lessons on my seven mile commute home this evening:

  • The Novara rain jacket I picked up at REI is great for keeping my upper body dry, but it's awesome at making me crazy visible.
  • Even with the basically waterproof pants (also courtesy of REI) I had, without a fender on my bike, my lower half was completely, ridiculously, amusingly drenched. As were my shoes, which will probably suck tomorrow since I'm sure they won't dry out tonight.
  • A nice Kelty day pack (also REI), while great for hiking, is no good for biking in the rain.
  • Some sort of eyewear to keep me from squinting at night is probably a good idea.
  • Seattle is a pretty awesome city for bicyclists.
And most importantly, with the exception of those transcendent moments with my kids, I think biking in the rain is satisfying in so many ways that I am perhaps at my peak happiness. This is approximately equal to, by the way, the experiences I've had hiking in the BWCA with Luke, et al, and climbing Mailbox Peak recently (which, unfortunately, I neglected to post about).

For as long as I can remember, my dad has worked at a desk day in and day out, and when he gets home, he enjoys nothing more than working with his hands. He's quite adept at woodworking, but he also does a lot of mechanical repair, metalworking, cutting and chopping wood, and a plethora of other things. I spend much of my time in front of the computer -- both because I'm a software engineer by day and because I am a coder for fun by night. Over the last few years, though, I've discovered that my solitude in biking, hiking, climbing, and so on, are where I am extremely happy.

Life is good.