How to Use a toilet

Everyday we walk past the boy’s bathroom and recoil from either the sight the smells, or both. We clean it everyday and within 12 hours it returns to the state of a campground pit toilet after a long summer weekend. It’s horrific and today I decided something must be done.

I announced that everyone using the bathroom would have to watch a mandatory educational video on proper toilet use – once the mandatory video had been watched a short knowledge test will be administered. I’m also implementing a new multi-step bathroom policy: 1) Everyone must sign up to use the bathroom. 2) Before anyone uses the bathroom it would be inspected, and 3) a deposit will be required. 4) Once an admin conducts an after-action inspection of the bathroom, the deposit will be released.

I think this is all reasonable and straightforward. I’m starting to film the video now….here is my initial clip.

Mothers day at the Thyme Garden

Despite the 12.97 year-old being deep down the teen funk well we headed out to the Thyme Garden in Alsea for an early Mother’s Day celebration. It was a gorgeous day! Kaety picked out plants for tomorrow’s gardening extravaganza. We’ve been there many times and have never spotted the moss covered truck in the woods. Noble found all the stinging nettles that were growing nearby while I photographed the truck.

A well-fed snail

Kaety found a snail in her weeding frenzy. We were all outside working in the yard to celebrate mothers day. Some serious yard kicking butt was planned but she paused to place the snail on the fence rail for the boys to examine. They were totally fascinated and a bit intimidated as the antenna came out and the snail started moving. “Go get some lettuce out of the fridge and let’s feed it” she suggested. They were all over it. Both boxes of ‘premium spring organic salad mix’ were ripped open and big handfuls of salad mix were piled in front of the completely terrified snail.

The snail ate, and to the great appreciation of the audience, the snail pooped.

I watched my beautiful amazing wife spend time shepherding the boys, and the snail, and thought about what kind of parent I’ve been able to be with her. She and I talk about this – the love and regard we have for each other contributes directly into our ability to be better parents.

The snail was reallocated to a flower bed to wreak future havoc on our plants – set up with a giant pile of organic greens to ensure its survival.

Later in the evening after a dinner of ‘summer’ we made a fire and sat in the backyard in the slowly cooling evening drinking wine and watching the kids run around the yard gathering sticks to throw in the fire. I felt Kaety grab my hand and slip over to sit in my lap. She looked into my eyes – a look that stoped time. She smiled at me and said, “This is a good life”

“Yes darling it is…”

Happy Mother’s Day!



Motorcycle Riding with Miles

Riding up the trail behind Miles…well, I should say behind Miles’ dust, I found myself thinking about all the bikes, all the trail side tears, and all the glorious accomplishments we’ve shared. He’s become a phenomenal rider.

He recently purchased a 300 GasGas which is a bike with a lot of capacity. When he rides through the staging areas he turns all heads. For off-road riders the GasGas is not just the prettiest princess at the ball but is like the prettiest princess carrying an even prettier princess on her head. He was the center of attention at every stop.

It was nice to see all the social connections he’s made. He knew the majority of the people in both staging areas and stopped to talk to all them. I had to smile when I saw this – as a kid it used to bug him that I’d talk to everyone along the way when we were riding. He’d say, “It’s weird and annoying and you don’t even know them!”. I see he’s figured out 🙂

We had a great day! It felt good to be back on the bikes and in the woods.



We had a sitter with the kids last night while we were at Community Days. I got a text from her dad this morning wondering if we had found her orthodontic retainers somewhere in the house. I looked all over and couldn’t find anything. I was only assuming I knew what I was looking for. He narrowed my search by texting, “They look like pyrosomes”.

I thinks it’s awesome to be part of a community that uses drifting colonial tunicates as a reference.

I looked again and couldn’t find them. It’s hard to miss a pyrosome laying around the house.

I gave up and started doing dishes. I heard the boys playing ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ in the living room. The team of adventures had discovered two sad worms…

I went in and took a look at the sad worms.

Retainers found!


Crying in Cars

I caught a glimpse of her head-on for just a moment before her car moved on and out of sight in the opposite flow of traffic. She was crying in open mouth agony. My heart followed her even after I lost sight of her Jeep Cherokee in my side-view mirror.

My light changed and I drove on wondering what she was crying about. As I wandered around with all my thoughts about her I realized that people spend a lot of time crying in cars…and how interesting that is. We perceive our cars as safe, private places, that are ironically in full view of everyone driving around us.

As I drove I spent some time wondering what she was crying about, then came to the simple conclusion that she was crying what we all cry about – Hurt and loss. Was it sadder that she was crying alone in her car while she drove? No – hurt and loss are part of our everyday lives. That we cry keeps us healthy. Sometimes we need to cry alone and sometimes we need to cry in the arms of others. Maybe the public/private space of a car is a hybrid of the two. I wasn’t able to reach out and comfort the driving woman with my arms, but my heart followed her and spent a little time sharing her pain.

“Come on momma- pull it together, your baby wants you.”

The little girl we are fostering loves the bath. Every evening after dinner she toddles into the bathroom. I get her all set up and while she splashes around I sit on the floor near the tub and read.

Tonight I had a handful of Easter egg candies I was eating while reading. At some point I felt a warm little hand touch the side of my face and ask, “num-num?”.

She’s a smart little girl. It’s not always the case, but we’ve been rooting for her birth mom to get it together. It’s evident that she’d spent a lot of time with her – at less than two years old she knows all her colors, body parts, names of common things and asks for what she wants.

I bit one of the chocolate eggs in half and stuck the other half in her mouth. Her eyes got wide and she splashed and squealed. A minute later the little hand came back with, “num-num?”.

“No more baby girl, is it time to get out?”

She plopped abruptly back down in water and shook her head very seriously, “No!…Momma? Momma?”

She asks for her momma a lot. Bath time always brings up the topic of her missing parent. She has not let Kaety take the momma role. It’s usually Kaety who is the primary safe harbor for our little fosters. For a lot of these kids men are source violence and fear – so I’m used to being viewed with suspicion and held at a distance. In this case though I am the bomb! She is all daddy all the time.

She reached out again and patted my face. I grabbed her hand, kissed it and pulled the towel down off the rack, “Time to get out!” She laughed at the kisses and hung on to me as I wrapped her up in the towel. She looked at me again and asked, “Momma?”.

I carried her in to get jammies on and answered her, “Momma’s not here right now baby”.

I wrestled her into her jammies and laid her down in the crib. She patted the side of her face – her way of asking that I rub her head. I turned off the light and rubbed her head while she settled down.

I whispered “goodnight” as I closed the door and thought, “Come on momma- pull it together, your baby wants you.”