An anecdote from my childhood

My parents made a censored version of Raiders of the Lost Ark for me when I was young. Indiana Jones escapes from the tomb, blows up the plane, steals the ark back from the Nazis in the desert, gets on the ship with Marion, THE END. I was probably in my teens before I saw the whole version on television. I had never even questioned it.

Someone’s going to bring it up, so here’s another anecdote: When I was very young, my parents called the ice cream truck the “music truck” to keep me from screaming every time I heard it. I don’t know how long that one lasted, because I have no memory of it.

Uncle Wes's waffles

In case you’re wondering whether my propensity to being pleased by the appearance of puzzles and mathematics in everyday life is learned or genetic, I present you with the following story from my Uncle Wes:

I was mixing up a batch of waffles when I made a mistake. I thought the recipe was 1 cup of mix to 2/3 cup of water. After stirring in the water, the batter looked too thick. Sure enough, upon checking the recipe I saw that I was supposed to use 3/4 cup of water.

I briefly panicked. 3/4 minus 2/3?!! That’s not easy! Where was I going to find a measuring cup that was calibrated in 12ths?

You’ve probably already figured out what I did to fix the problem.

My grandpa

My grandfather was inventive; he built his own lawnmower using, in part, the transmission from a $50 junked car – and then sold the remainder of the car for a profit. He was a practical joker; he somehow once tricked my cousin into putting the seeded end of grass between her teeth, and then he yanked out the stalk. He was hard working; he built the house that my dad and his brothers grew up in, and even made his own cinder blocks for the job. He was handy; he built a car engine from two diesel-powered refrigerators, harvested a transmission from a pickup truck, and made a custom two-seater Maverick that, in his words, “could pull a Mack truck up a brick wall at 60mph”.

I can see a little of him in me, and he was everything I wish I was. He was independent and sometimes stubborn; and he fell off his roof last week, while fixing his TV antenna. At the age of 82. I’ll miss him.

Sea change

A few years ago, my dad was laid off from IBM, where he’d been working for more than 25 years. Two weeks ago, he quit his job at a local small-business tech-support place. Last week, my mom told IBM she was retiring at the end of February. Their plan? Finish the (until last week, somewhat languishing) work to their bedroom, sell the house and most of their belongings, buy an RV, and spend a year travelling the country. When my dad says “Everyone thinks we’re nuts”, he doesn’t count me. I think it’s a great idea and they’ll have loads of fun, and they’ll come home to a much simpler, calmer life.

I didn’t move to Connecticut until I was 6, but I consider Danbury my home town. It’ll be sad to know that a different family is living in the house that was built just for us. It also means I’m suddenly on the hook to stop using my old room as miscellaneous storage space. But I always knew I couldn’t hold onto the past forever. I’m behind this idea 120%.

Construction cam

My parents are enlarging their bedroom and bathroom by about 50%. Being nerds, they’ve set up a ConstructionCam so we all can watch.