Stand by me

Since last weekend, Henry and I had planned to go kayaking today. So, after lunch, I loaded the big yellow tandem kayak on our big red truck, and we took windy Chuckanut Drive down to Larrabee State Park, where we dragged our craft through a hundred yards of low tide mud into the Salish Sea. Henry kept saying that he intended to nap while I paddled. Even if he wanted to, it would have been impossible, given how rough the water was. Waves crashed over the bow of the kayak as we hugged the shoreline, where the seals sat and watched us struggle.

By the time we decided to beach it, we were both soaked and sitting in 3 inches of water. We read our books for an hour on the rocky beach to dry off under the hot sun. Neither of us said a word for an hour, until Henry finally put his book down and said, “let’s paddle back, Dad.”

The salty sea air gave us the idea to have a seafood dinner, so after we wrestled the kayak back on top of the truck, we continued south on Chuckanut Drive to Taylor Shellfish Farm, where we loaded up on Dungeness crab, mussels and oysters.

Taylor is right on the water. You have to cross the railroad tracks on foot to get there. As we walked along those tracks, I told Henry, who is twelve, how it reminded me of the movie Stand by Me. He immediately said he wanted to watch it with me.

After our seafood feast with Kristine and Ruby, Henry and I snuck off to watch Stand by Me. He usually falls asleep in the first 20 minutes of any movie we watch together, but he watched the whole thing. He loved it, but said he couldn’t believe that 12-year-olds would smoke cigarettes. I decided not to tell him about all the things I did as a twelve-year-old that he also wouldn’t believe.

After a full day with Henry, the last lines of the movie brought me to tears. “I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was 12. Jesus, does anyone?”

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Just Another Fry Lodge Father’s Day

I know the sound well. The tinny sound of spokes hitting rock, tires skidding through gravel, the thud of handlebars slamming against the ground. The muted pre-cry grunt of a boy who’s just gone over the handle bars. I knew what had happened before I looked back up the trail to see Henry in the dirt. I reached him at the same time as the nice family who had seen the crash and was already pulling gauze, Bandaids and wipes out of their pockets. Of course, I had nothing.

After surveying the damage and sponging off Henry’s bloody knees, hands and elbows, I called the Fry Lodge EMT (Kristine) to pick us up. Thankfully, we hadn’t ventured far into Arroyo Park, so it wasn’t too long of a hike out of the ravine to the road where Kristine pulled up in the truck. I hadn’t carried Henry in a few years. Thank God he only weighs 65 pounds.

Kristine dropped the bikes and me off at Fry Lodge, where Ruby was anxiously awaiting news about her brother. She then took Henry to the minor emergency clinic for x-rays, where they spent several hours. The verdict is still out on his elbow, but Henry’s wrist and knee appear to only be badly bruised and scraped.

We still had time for a Father’s Day steak dinner when Kristine and Henry returned from the hospital. And, sweet Henry hobbled out of his room with his Father’s Day present for me – a compact tent, water boiler and freeze dried meals so the two of us can go bike camping this summer. Thank you, Henry. I’m so sorry about your wipeout. I can’t wait to go camping with you after you recover.

Fry Lodge Returns to ‘Normal’

After two months of what seemed like constant moving, we switched up the tempo at Fry Lodge this weekend.

Ruby participated in her second Jr. Ski to Sea with her relay team, The Pug People – complete with Arlo as mascot. Ruby ran the hula hoop leg.

The kids and I took several bike rides. Some donuts may have been consumed along the way.

We are approaching a state of total unpack. In between bike rides and donuts, we did some sorting. Kristine arranged the spices.

I alphabetized the albums.

Next weekend, we rest.

Birthday Karaoke in the Mall

Kristine and I had just left Target, which is attached to the mall, to buy her birthday present together – a FitBit that I’d later wrap with the kids and Kristine would pretend was a surprise. This is what our birthdays have become. Last weekend, I’d had pre-knowledge of my birthday gift, too. As Kristine and I walked through the mall, pondering this clinical approach to celebration, we passed the karaoke booth. I was nostalgically thinking about all our visits to Ozzie’s over the years when Kristine said, “Hey, do you want to sing karaoke with me for my birthday?” I said yes.

Happy birthday, Kristine. Heaven is being locked in a mall karaoke booth with you for eternity.

Spring break Fry Lodge Style

Because we don’t have enough happening at Fry Lodge, we decided to change everything all at once. Again. Within a period of a week, we made an offer on a new house, put our house up for sale, Marie Kondo’d the hell out of Fry Lodge, took a trip to the Oregon Coast to celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary and frolic in the 50-degree Pacific Ocean, regrouped for a day in Seattle, and then went our separate ways again – Kristine and the kids back to Bellingham and me to New York. Stay tuned for more details on Fry Lodge Bellingham II.

Just another week at Fry Lodge

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.

Best Christmas Ever

The Fry Family Quartet just wrapped up a week in Grafton, Vermont, with the family with whom we’ve made the most memories over the years. Brian, Jesse, JoJo and Becca were amazing hosts, tour guides and playmates. We went hiking, skiing, swimming, and made snow forts. We made cookies, tenderloin, ham and ginger bread houses. We watched James Bond, Harry Potter, Rudolph and Elf. We shopped, played board games and lit fires. We told stories, laughed and cried. And, despite my speeding ticket in Felchville, we all agreed it was the best Christmas vacation on record. We love you BE, Jess, JoJo and Becca. Can’t wait to do it all again in Bellingham.