Monday, July 26, 2010


I woke up this morning at 7, ready to start another mathematical week with 40 energetic freshmen. One shower, two pieces of toast, a mug of coffee, and a lovely packed lunch later, the phone rang.

"The power is still out all along 29," Mr. Daniels voice cheerfully related. "Traffic is terrible - we're canceling for the day."

Jenny is giving me a question-mark look. "No school!" I say. We're not sure what to do with ourselves.

And then it hits us: Evan doesn't have to leave for Hillwood for another hour. What should three logical people do with an early-morning hour? Play Dominion. Done.

Summer is an interesting thing - three summers ago I was sailing on Hayden lake. Two summers ago I was eating goat-ass rice in Mongolia. Last summer I was directing clinics in Ethiopia. And this summer I saw a crazy-as tornado.

It's safe to say I was scared $*&!less. David just laughed. But then again, I'm not afraid of daddy-long-legs.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bras, Babies, and Toys R’ Us…

Yesterday evening, those of us living at the Howe’s house had a conversation about the different generational meanings of derogatory words such as “jerk” and “tool.” It wasn’t difficult to arrive at an accepted definition of a jerk, but tool proved a little more difficult. We thought maybe it meant that someone was “purposely annoying” or simply rather “useless.” I would like to submit my actions in the following story as a possible definition…

Like many amusing actions, I don’t recall exactly why we chose to do this, but we did. After a group conversation about sending large amounts of spam to a certain teacher, Cody and I decided that “Spam 2.0” would be a good idea. After an initial failed attempt… we settled on signing Alban up for some mail. We started with some nice companies like Chadwick’s, Toys R’ Us, Baby Gap, but we quickly matured into the old high school standby, Victoria's Secret.

It was pretty amusing when magazines and emails began to arrive for “Mr. Alban Howe” that displayed everything from breakthroughs in “under wire technology” to the latest in middle-aged women’s fashion. However the real treat was listening to Alban try to explain why he had been singled out. “It’s probably because my name is on the bills…” Phil helpfully suggested that it might be because Alban had a Safeway card. Cody and I smiled and agreed… “yeah, that’s probably it.”

We had planned to tell him about our questionable actions but then we got greedy. We decided to just let it go. Then later in the school year, his spam problem was featured on the Backside of the Collegian.

The funny part wasn’t so much the actual spam as much as it was having a secret. They say that secrets don’t make friends, let’s just hope they don’t unmake them…

At this point “Spam 2.0” had become too big to end it by simply giving ourselves up. Cody and I tried to think of a way to end the experiment and never could quite think of a satisfactory course of action.

I suppose this is just about as good a way as any…

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Taylor Swift

Random Radio DJ: "If you're a tween or a teen, that was Taylor Swift and we've gotta concert comin' up..."

Since the assumption among radio DJs is that Taylor Swift fans are either tweens or teens, David can officially be ridiculed for his devotion to said artist.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The time Alban had something burning in his room!

Ear candles are strange (potentially dangerous, cultish, not doctor recommended, silly, etc.) things that people like Tommy use. And when I say people like Tommy, I mean people with excessive ear wax. Supposedly when you burn these candles in your ears, it softens the wax (in your ears, but also the candle wax too) and draws it out. Tommy pulled this stunt once before (four years ago), but decided to try it again. I think it was because he was getting as hard of hearing as Phil.

While working on something important in the back of the house, David and I smelled birthday candles. Venturing into the front of the house, we found Tommy frantically clutching a smoking candle to his ear. I instantly realized he was having one of his "episodes" and decided to get my camera.

As you can see from the picture, Tommy apparently collapsed between the living room and the entryway. We decided to move him to Alban's room where we closed all the windows and shut the door while Tommy continued to stick his burning candle in his ear.

After forty-five minutes or so, we decided Alban's room had seen enough (we determined this by waiting until we couldn't stand upright in the room and instead had to lie on the floor to breath). A little while later Tommy regained coherence and abandoned the ear candle idea.

When Alban came home a little while later, he walked whistling to his room.

In the aftermath, it seemed strange to me that Alban never checked for something burning in his room. His bedding could have spontaneously combusted or something. But then, I would have probably instantly assumed it was David's fault too.