A Long Goodbye

For weeks, all anybody in Seattle has been talking about is Viadoom, the anticipated gridlock to follow the permanent closure of the elevated portion of Highway 99, otherwise known as the Viaduct.

As Ruby and I departed the Henrybuilt holiday party on Friday night (Henry and Kristine had left earlier), I remembered the Viaduct was scheduled to close – forever – at 10pm. It was 9:45. We could get to the Viaduct in 5 minutes. I asked Ruby if she was up for an adventure. Silly question.

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Will ride for donuts

In a spontaneous attempt to get the kids to take a bike ride, I promised them donuts if they rode to Fairhaven with me. It worked. We probably consumed more calories at Rocket Donuts than we burned on the four-mile ride there. All in a day’s work at the Fry Lodge parenting lab.

Beer Relations 

I spent three days in San Antonio, TX this week at the National Rural Economic Developers Association conference. While there, I took a great tour of the old Pearl Brewery, which became Pabst Brewing Company (PBC) for the last 15 years of operation, until it closed in 2001. This is where they brewed PBR, Pearl, Old English 800, Olympia Beer. You know, quality American beers. Kristine’s cousin Aaron lives in Austin, so he drove down to meet me for dinner before my flight home to Seattle. We decided to meet at the old Pearl Brewery, now known as The Pearl District. 

When Aaron arrived, he told me something I never knew: he used to be the chief microbiologist for PBC in the 1990s. He proceeded to give me my 2nd tour of the old brewery in two days. I learned more about the brewing process in a few hours with Aaron than I’ve learned after decades of beer drinking. Part of the old brewery has been converted into the very cool Hotel Emma, which has a reading library for guests. On a shelf on the 2nd floor of that library are the old, handwritten brewer’s journals where Aaron, in pen, would record the tests of every batch of beer that came out of the brewery between 1993 and 1997. He taught me about the acceptable levels of  bacteria and what his  “TMTC”  notations meant (Too Many To Count).  It is likely that Aaron tested almost every can of PBR I consumed as a young man. If I knew then what I know now…

Aaron, former PBC Chief Microbiologist, reviewing his handwritten notes from nearly 25 years ago. 

Sad 

“All Bellingham schools are closed for Tuesday, Dec. 13 due to the weather. While roads in some areas are clear, other parts of the district remain too icy, even with buses on snow routes.”

Those are the first two sentences of the first email I read when I woke up this morning. For the second day in a row, school is canceled due to weather, which means Henry and Ruby will be home. For. The. Entire. Day.

I refuse to accept this reality, and I question the credibility and legitimacy of a school district that cancels school due to weather, when I personally have found no evidence of hazardous conditions. Granted, I haven’t left my house in two days, but still. What makes the Bellingham School District more qualified than me to determine what is and isn’t safe for my children? The fact that they’ve been trained to do this and I haven’t? The fact that they are consistently rated one of the best school districts in Washington State? The fact that they are responsible for the safety of more than ten thousand students? C’mon.

The school district’s claim that road conditions are unsafe for school does not align with my personal agenda today, and I find their conclusion ridiculous and untrue. This is the same school district that, when the weather was still beautiful in August, decided it was time to start the school year. Sad.

Longest Bedtime Story While Child Sleeps

Grandma and Grandpa Eiting gave Henry the 2016 Guinness Book of World Records for his birthday. Tonight at bedtime Henry asked if I’d read out loud from that book instead of Percy Jackson. No problem. I became totally engrossed in this fascinating book, amazed by some of these crazy records. The longest bicycle wheelie in one hour is 15.04 miles, by the way. I was so into the book, I didn’t notice that Henry fell asleep almost immediately. I was reading out loud, to myself, for at least 20 minutes.

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