Category Archives: Andrew

Movers Day

What was originally to be our closing day yesterday became the movers day. We were up until the wee hours of the night Wednesday night (as the timestamp on my last post attests). We awoke at about 5 AM to continue packing. And, we were still packing while the movers were here. (Despite purchasing 40 more boxes in the past 24 hours, we eventually ran out and had to stop.)

Fortunately, I think, for us, the movers underestimated how much stuff we had. They did a virtual walk-through with Sarah last week and determined that we would likely require eight “vaults.” Each vault is a crate on their truck. The truck holds five vaults which can then be offloaded into a storage facility until they can deliver them to the new house.

After a long, sweaty day, the moving team ended up filling 13 vaults. (I like to think that one vault was dedicated solely to my collection of roleplaying games.) We still have piles of junk to sort through, but it feels pretty good to have made it over this hurdle. We’ve got a few days to sort, clean, haul stuff to the dump, and get ready to hand over the keys on Monday. Until then, we’re sleeping on the floor. I’m writing this while sitting on the steps, since we have no chairs.

I’ll post a few pictures below.

The last of the moving trucks.
The leftovers (including the banner from Griffin and Maggie’s last day of school).
More leftovers.
Celebratory dinner on the patio at a neighborhood restaurant.
We stopped by the new house after dinner to pick up a few packages. The kids ran around to the back garden (not pictured) and exclaimed, “I’ve never seen anything more beautiful!”
Oliver convinced Sarah to pitch her tent for him to sleep in.

Addendum: We went to bed early and slept long and hard. (My Fitbit says that I got almost nine hours, which is unheard of.) Feeling good today!

Move Update

Closing will happen on Monday the 21st. We learned late this afternoon, however, that our movers couldn’t change their date. So they will be here at 8:30 tomorrow (actually, later this morning—I’m tapping this out at 1:00 AM). This was our original plan, but we lost many hours of packing time making urgent phone calls to keep the sale and purchase on track. So many things to sign!

The long and short of it is that we’re not ready for the movers, but hopefully we haven’t missed anything big. We’ll be counting on our friends to load up a lot of the remaining stuff on Sunday so we can clear out on Monday morning.

We never would have made it if Sarah’s mom didn’t join us for the last 36 hour push. Thank you, Pam!

Last night in a bed until next week. Too bad it’s only for a few hours. Clock is ticking!

Wrench in the Gears

We received bad news this afternoon about an unexpected hiccup in the sale of our house (outside of our control). Closing has been bumped from Thursday to Monday (the 21st). This caused a cascade of issues, not least that Sarah was supposed to be up north for her new job on Monday but she has to sign it the documents in person at the closing.

In any event, it’s been a stressful afternoon, but we think everything is ironed out and we’re on track to move on Monday. Fingers crossed!

Barbarian Guy

Just found this while packing:

I was the barbarian/Braveheart guy.

Addendum: I found a photo of meeting Peter Jackson at the screening. My costume doesn’t exactly fit the Braveheart look—I should have been sporting leather and body paint.

Andrew, Luis (a colleague), and Peter Jackson, circa 2002.
I seem to recall this was where Luis was trying to impress Peter with the fact that I taught a Tolkien class in college. Peter was very polite.

santa cruz boardwalk predicts the future

One of the joys of moving for me is going through old boxes of sentimental things I’ve saved over the years. Today, I came across a printout from a dot matrix printer, complete with the holes in the sides, that reads across the top: “Prepared at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Especially for: Andrew & Sarah.” We are guessing we did this the year before we got married, in 2007, when we invited friends and family to meet each other in Santa Cruz, California, before our wedding the upcoming summer. For those who aren’t familiar, Santa Cruz has a famous seaside boardwalk amusement park, complete with a rickety white wood roller coaster and massive arcade. We must have done one of these sideshow games where we pushed buttons and got a print out. I think I saved it because of how accurate it was! Read for yourself and see how Santa Cruz predicted our future:

For those who can’t read the picture, here’s the text:


Him: When you wake up, and the champagne looks like stale beer, then you consider cutting out and seeking new action.

Her: You possess a remarkable sense of realism. You have deeper emotional needs than most people. When you fall in love, it is it.


Him: The need for action and activity is directly related to your personality. It seems you are born with certain frustrations.

Her: You are a very determined and practical person. Maturity is one of your most strongest points. Your[sic] very responsible.


Him: You find non-productive ways of earning money. You can be very self-indulgent about your expenditures.

Her: When it comes to money, you are hardheaded, realistic, and you are willing to work hard for it. You tend to be stingy and cheap.


Him: You make the most of every minute and force the people around you to move at your own pace. You love being the boss.

Her: You react in a positive way to mental challenges in your work. You constantly need mental stimulation.


Him: You like to surround yourself with the more successful inhabitants of society than with the average person.

Her: Your sense of realism, your no-nonsense approach and your organization assure that you’ll always be a person in demand.


Him: Your restlessness can keep you in hot water. Impatience over any delays makes you investigate anything new that comes up.

Her: Your slightest conversation will inspire someone else to live up to ideals. Your words will give insights to many problems.


Him: You are in touch with your own emotional pain. You are able to show a nurturing and sympathetic concern for others.

Her: Since you tend to be traditional in your tastes, you love nineteenth-centurey[sic] chandeliers and marble fireplaces.


Him: You need constant excitement far more than you need a mate, but sometimes you take both just to try them out.

Her: Your relationship will be very exciting. You will want to take care of your mate and your mate will want to take care of you.


On the surface, she is cool and steady, while on all lvels[sic] you are a crazed madman who means well. You think he is nice but know he is from another planet. You excite her with the way you get enghusiastic[sic] over a flavor of ice cream. If you want a mate that is real, then this one is it! You both are to[sic] sensitive to live with only a facade. She doesn’t believe in love at first sight, however, she’s flexible.


Him: Rachael Ward

Her: Roger Moore

Barricade Day

One of my students is an ardent fan of Les Misérables. For the past few weeks, she has repeatedly asked if we can celebrate Barricade Day by building a barricade in our classroom. I laughed. But she was serious. I had never heard of Barricade Day. She was happy to fill me in. I hemmed and hawed. Finally, at our last class, it became apparent that this particular group would finish their video projects early. (They’re a pretty sharp, dedicated bunch.) I told my student that if she came up with a lesson plan that would teach the class about Barricade Day, I would give her 45 minutes to run the show today.

Sure enough, last night she emailed me a lesson plan with a 350-word mini-lecture about the June Rebellion of 1832, including images to share with the class and a short video. I honored my end of the bargain. at 1:45 sharp, we ended our regular social studies class and went to Paris to learn about the unrest there. At 2:00, filled with revolutionary zeal, we tore apart the classroom and built a barricade. (I did have two recommendations: don’t break anything and don’t get hurt.)

Here are the pictures my student shared followed by a picture of our 8th-grade version.

April Updates

Life was a whirlwind in April with spring break, the long-awaited start of in-person school for Griffin and Maggie, three birthdays (plus Piper’s), a cabin visit, and much that I’m forgetting. Lacking the time to write everything up in detail, here’s a selection of photos to remind us of these many events.

Bonus! Two videos.

Oliver practicing on his balance bike.

Piper leaping into the very cold lake.

Beetling Crags

A highly unusual event occurred last night while reading Treasure Island aloud with Griffin and Maggie. We came across this passage:

Among the fallen rocks the breakers spouted and bellowed; loud reverberations, heavy sprays flying and falling, succeeded one another from second to second; and I saw myself, if I ventured nearer, dashed to death upon the rough shore or spending my strength in vain to scale the beetling crags.

Like many other passages, there were some words here that the kids didn’t know, but I was also perplexed by the adjective, beetling. We guessed from the context that it might mean steep or slippery or only climbable by beetles. I pulled out my phone and looked it up on my trusty Merriam-Webster app:

The example sentence is the very sentence we had read! We were all quite astonished by the coincidence.

COVID Data Update

The latest two-week COVID rates for the Twin Cities and surrounding counties continue to skyrocket.

For reference for our out-of-state friends, Saint Paul is in Ramsey County and Minneapolis is in Hennepin. The other counties form a ring around those two.

My full spreadsheet with a larger chart is here. Weekly data is released on Thursday at 11:00 AM central. (Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, they didn’t release the latest data until Friday, November 27.)