Adventures of a Modern Day, Middle-Aged Hero, on the Glory Road(to family security)


He says it better than I could, anyways.

Sorry...I was distracted from creating a blog post today by watching a 20 minute speech that Mike Rowe gave a few years ago.  It's really quite insightful, and the fact is, I don't disagree with anything he says in it.  Two of the points he makes: Safety 3rd, and the decline of trade school attendance, are of particular interest to me. 

Since Mike says it better than I ever could, here he is saying it. 

Damn...less than a year old.

So...after hauling our now empty chest freezer outside, and hosing it out, then giving it a round of ammonia followed by a round of bleach, we moved back into our garage, and plugged it back in. 

Nothing.  Oh...the green power light came on, and then the red 'running' light came on, but not a single bit of cold has been generated over the past 24 hours. 


Now, since I do unexciting things on my blog, like talk about chest freezers, I was able to look back and figure out I just bought this thing last November...it's not even a year old!  I thought we had had it closer to 18 months.  I don't remember purchasing the service/protection plan(we only paid a bit over $150 for the freezer...I think it might not have felt worth it.)  Still...with it being dead after less than a year, it's got to be worth it to at least make the attempt to see if Home Depot can do anything for me. 

Otherwise I shall call down all the demons of the internet upon them.


Movin' to the country, gonna eat a lot of peaches.

Yeah...I've had the Presidents of the United States song 'peaches' stuck in my head all day, as I have been in the kitchen pealing and chopping peaches. 

My contribution was finished early...I popped out one batch of 9 pints of Honey Spiced Peaches, and then helped peal a few more pounds for my wife to can up this evening.

You know you have bought too many peaches when you have to run to the store to buy a larger canner, like I did earlier today.  Swapped out a canner that could only handle 7 pint jars for one that can do either 9 pints or 7 quarts.  It takes a while to get it to a boil, but the ability to do quart jars is a huge advantage. 


I won.

As threatened, it's time to go into painful detail about the events of my last weekend, starting with my 20th High School Reunion.

I'm not sure what I expected to get out of it, so I can't rightly say if it was a satisfying experience or not. 

It wasn't cheap...it was $200 for a couple, and more if you waited an bought tickets at the door.  That price kept more than a few people away...out of class of over 400 people, I'd say we had about 75 of them(plus guests) attend.  There were even a few folks I talked to that came alone because they couldn't afford to bring their spouses.  I'm sure there was once or twice my wife wished I had left her at home...but all in all, she seemed to have a good time.  She is the friendly talkative type, and strikes up a conversation much easier than I do.

Who wouldn't want to talk to her?

I would say that I only had three or four meaningful conversations(went beyond the where do you live and how many kids do you have point) all night.  There just wasn't that many people there that I clicked with, or had significant memories of from high school, which is funny.  I was in drama, and choir, and wrestled and played football, and was in a few AP classes...I thought I had a fairly varied social base, but I would say 80% of the folks who showed up at the reunion were ones I couldn't remember saying more than 5 words too in 3 years of school.

One thing I did realize, from the conversations I did have, is that no one came to the reunion with a sad story...which should make sense.  People aren't going to pay $200 a couple to come talk about how bad their lives suck...and it wasn't why I went. 

I went to see if I won...and I did.  I had the hottest wife, and the best kids.  Let's not talk about jobs...I wasn't about to admit all the times I cried in the shower before going to work...but I didn't hesitate to point out my wife. 

I'm not sure I will go to a 25th or 30th...it depends on how much they decide to charge, and what kind of commitment I get from folks that I WANT to meet with.  My wife and I could have come up with a lot more interesting/fun things to do with an evening for $200+.  Heck...we didn't spend that much when we used to hit Seattle for a night at the 5th Avenue Theater.  I'm more likely to use facebook to try and set up a night at Famous Dave's than go to anything organized again. 

Son of a Motherless Goat.

After a fairly close to ideal weekend, I was putzing around in the garage, when I noticed an ominous pink liquid dripping from the bottom of my chest freezer.

Sure enough, it was worst case...a total loss of 7 cubic feet of frozen goods(including my last 10 pounds of venison)...and I don't know why.  According to the lights on the front of the freezer, it had power, and it was running.  As near as I could tell, the door was fully sealed.  The only depressing possibility right now is that the freezer was 'running', but not running correctly. 

I won't be able to tell that for a day or two.  We moved the freezer outside last night and completed Phase 1 of the cleaning.  Today we will complete Phase 2, and maybe even get it plugged back in tonight.  At that point, I'll put some water in it, and a thermometer or two to see how it cools down. 

Not happy, not happy at all.


A full weekend.

Boy, we have been hoping ever since hitting the road at lunch time Friday: my main 20th Reunion Party Friday night, and then a less formal family picnic Saturday followed by a smaller 'after-party' at another friends house, which my wife and I then left early to go catch a late showing of 'Pacific Rim' Saturday night.  All of this was then followed by going out to a family breakfast and a day at the Woodland Park Zoo with my mom and her fiancĂ©, before then driving home Sunday afternoon/evening. 

Since we are glutton's for punishment, on the way home, we stopped at a fruit stand in Thorp, Washington and picked up 72 pounds of peaches for canning, because we couldn't resist the price($13 for a 24 pound box.) 

Good thing I had the foresight to schedule Monday off already. 

I assure you, each of these epic events will be covered in oftentimes painful detail, but for now, in the interest of unpacking, and laundry, and just general kicking back, I leave you with this sign for which you can thank the lawyers. 


Westward ho!

Heading out in a bit to swing over the western side of the state.  I'm not sure if I'm more excited about getting to show off my wife and family at my 20-year High School Reunion, or getting to enjoy day-time highs in the mid-70's.

Probably the temperatures...I am soooooo tired of this 95-100 crap we have been getting the last 6 weeks.

I'm so there.

Finally saw a trailer today for a movie I've only recently started hearing buzz about: Gravity, staring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock.  Watching one trailer led to watching another trailer, and I really like what they are doing...instead of jumping around the movie with dramatic music, the trailers appear to be an extended clip from the movie...and intense doesn't begin to describe it.

Yeah...the week of October 4th I think I know where I will be.


Sign of desperation

Just not feeling it lately.  I guess I cold blame it on the weather...we have been over 98 for two straight weeks now, and that leaves me sitting around like an unmotivated slug.  It's too hot to form an opinion worth ranting over.

So...look how big our chickens are getting!

How could they not get big, eating a plate of left over macaroni and cheese and a chopped up venison burger?  Still no eggs yet though.  Each time we by a carton of eggs at the store, we keep hoping it's the last one.


I don't know how you defend that!

Back in February, a tragic accident occurred when a Maryville Police Officer left his firearm in the cup holder in his van, under a pile of mail, while he got out to visit an antiques shop on the way to a wedding.  His three year old son got ahold of the gun, and used it to kill his 7-year old sister.  After a three month investigation, the local prosecutors office decided to move forward with 2nd Degree Manslaughter charges.  The jury failed to reach a decision, and the prosecutors office declined to retry.

Meanwhile, the Marysville Police Department conducted their own investigation, and reached the decision to fire the officer for:  'committing a negligent act, endangering himself or others, not promoting a positive image as a police officer and of conduct unbecoming a police officer.'

I agree with that decision 100%. 

What I don't agree with is the Maryville Police Officer's Union filing a grievance to try to get him his job back.

I mean...I know that a union is supposed to defend it's members...but come on.  Isn't this one of those times when the union leadership can say 'Man...you left a gun out and one of your kids used it to shoot another one of your kids.  You avoided going to jail...just let this one go'. 

ESPECIALLY because prior to firing him, the city offered him another position with the code enforcement office.  The only possible reason for saying no to that is so you can test the unions power. 


You win some, you lose some.

This evening, in a futile effort to try to reduce the amount of heat we are adding to the inside of the house, I came up with the brilliant idea to do some bacon on the grill, instead of in the oven like I usually do. 

Painfully aware of fatty flare ups, I babied the heck out of the first batch.  Used indirect heat, and even some wood chips to add a bit more pop.  If I do say so myself, the first batch came out spectacular.

The second batch...well, I might have got a bit complacent about how good the first batch turned out.  I abandoned my post to go whip up the eggs and milk for the French toast.  I swear, I wasn't gone more than 3, or maybe 7, or even 10 minutes.  When I finally did make it back to the grill, it was all over but the crying.
Oh, the horror!

Yup....the worst part is since it was my mistake, I had to do The Right Thing and share the survivors of the first batch equally with the rest of the family, limiting myself to two pieces of bacon...

Credit where it's due

Back in the kitchen bright and early this morning, canning up another 7 pints of plain green beans to go with the 14 pints of pickled beans I made yesterday. 

Killing time, I hade my computer on youtube, clicking from song to song, when I came upon this one I'd never heard before, Martina McBride and Kelly Clarkson singing a tribute to Reba.

Now, it's easy to make fun of American Idol...but they got it right on the first one.  Kelly has done alright for herself, and this one, from back in 2006, shows it all off.  Standing to face to face and holding your own with Martina McBride, perhaps the best voice in country music, is no small thing.


Well, that's good to know.

Learning lessons is good.  Today's lesson in the kitchen is that while it takes roughly one pound of fresh asparagus to give you a pint jar of pickled asparagus, it only takes about one HALF of a pound of fresh green beans to fill that same pint jar.

So, yeah, I've got about 3 times the amount of green beans that I needed to can up two batches(14 total pints) of pickled green beans. 

Tune in tomorrow for Canning 2, Electric Boogaloo, were I dust off the pressure canner to make up a few batches of 'normal' canned green beans...chopping them into pieces and boiling them seems to be easier than hand packing each jar length wise. 

We shall see.



Putting off my canning/pickling obligations, I instead took my wife and kids out for lunch, and then surprised them by heading to the movie theater to go see Despicable Me 2.   Now, I never saw the first one, but I don't think that really effected my enjoyment of the 2nd one.  I mean...Gru used to be a villain, who turns into a mostly good guy after being saddled with 3 little girls to look after...ready, break.

It was a cute movie, with several funny parts.  I dig me some minions, and need to get a few.  I can't say it ranked as high on my list as most Pixar products...it lacked a few of the subtle nods that play to the adults in the crowd...Despicable me just plays it a bit straighter as a kids movie.  The kids, being the target audience, loved it. 

Prior to the movie, there was the usual collection of 'animated movie' trailers you would expect, but there were two trailers that caught my eye.

The first was for The Lego Movie.  Yup...another movie based on toys...but, after watching the trailer, I've got to tell you I am 47 times more likely to take my kids to The Lego Movie than I am to ever watch G.I. Joe, or Battleship.

The other trailer that caught my attention was for Enders Game.  Loved the book, and the trailer looks pretty good.  Tough to go wrong with Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley.  My only hope is that the maintain the twist in the book.  Even though it won't be a twist to people like me, who have read the book...it's an integral part of the story.  Remove the twist, and I'm worried that it will just be another kick-ass space battle movie, that I will probably go see anyway.

I didn't want to be bored, anyways...

A quick trip to the local farmers market turned what was shaping up to be a lazy, lazy weekend, into a slightly steamier, less lazy weekend.

Yup, the price is finally coming down on green beans, and so I bought right around 15 pounds worth of them, with the goal of doing some pickling.  I also bought a handful of Serrano peppers so I could make a batch of spicier ones, instead of just dill. 
The only real problem with this plan is that it is supposed to be 98-101 degrees this weekend, not ideal for sweating over a canner.  However, I think I have a plan. 
Because I went and donated blood this morning, I will probably be ready to go to bed about 8-8:30 tonight.  Then, I can wake back up at about 3:30-4 AM, and get most of the sweaty part done before things heat up, and have a great excuse for a last Saturday afternoon nap!


I win.

Last night while I was out mowing the grass and gaining a new appreciation for Coors Light, my wife was out running around town, looking for a new dress.  My 20-year High School Reunion is next weekend, and my wife is in the enviable position of not currently having a dress that fits her.  Oh, they fit on her, but due to the weight she is lost, they are not flattering anymore.

Last night she came home with two new ones, which rapidly turned into a fashion show, as she showed me a selection of looks to help narrow down, and I showed her what I was planning on wearing. 

I came out the definite winner in this game, especially because the new dresses my wife bought were size 8's, a size she has never gotten to buy in her adult life, where as the clothes I was trying on were, well...the number was larger than several multiples of 8.   

I'm afraid pictures will have to wait(she didn't have her 'face' on)...but, whoa Nellie!  I'm not sure I would bother going to my reunion if I didn't have a pretty wife to show off. 


A purpose for everything.

I have a tendency to be a bit of a beer snob, and am not a huge fan of light beers.  I mean, either you want to drink beer, or you want to drink something other than beer.  If you want to drink something OTHER than beer, there are about 78 things I would pick before a light beer.

However, due to my float trip last Saturday, and some general laziness on Sunday, my lawn was starting to look kind of shaggy.  The temperature after dinner was still in the upper 90's, which is hardly ideal mowing weather, but, the next few days are supposed to be even hotter, so, I sucked it up, and got it done.

Man...those blue mountains on the cold can of Coors Light in my fridge was just the right thing after putting the lawn mower back in the shed. 


And it's healthy too!

Well, canning season officially started today, with my wife stopping by one of her friends houses to pick a bunch of elderberry's, with which she made up 7 half-pints of jelly, and then 3 pints and one half-pint of syrup.

As the official taster, I got to try a left over spoonful of the jelly...and it's some tasty, sweet stuff, as well as being a concentrated source of anthocyanins, which research shows do good things for your immune system. 

Now when I pour some of that syrup on chocolate chip pancakes, I can do it guilt free!

Thinking about jumping ship.

Yeah, more cell phone talk. 

With my Droid appearing to be dead, dead, dead, I went to the Verizon store to talk about my options.  Having no insurance, the only real thing Verizon can do is sell me a new phone, which are pretty expensive when they can't dangle the 2-year contract deals over your head, which they can't since I'm currently in a contract.  It's possible(I don't want to get anyone in trouble) that no fewer than 2 Verizon employees have tried to talk me out of this, instead directing me to find someone on the internet selling a used/refurbed phone on the internet for MUCH cheaper.

However...there is another option.  I keep hearing more and more good things about pre-paid phones...specifically, Straight Talk, which is sold through Wal-Mart.  Buying unlimited calls and texts and data through straight talk is roughly $90 a month.  Right now, Verizon is charging me well north of $200 for two phones worth of coverage. 

The other pieces of the puzzle are my wife's phone, and my contract.  By luck, my wife is due for another phone in 5 days, which gives us some freedom.  It means if I do decide to jump the Verizon ship, the only real negative is having to pay a penalty for my contract.  From a straight financial point of view, this is a no brainer...both path's require me to pay some money for new phones, because even though my wife is due for an upgrade, something is still going to need to come out of pocket...and even with a penalty for breaking my contract, we are no more than 3 months away from coming out ahead jumping to Straight Talk....

I just need to do some research on how good their actual coverage is.  Hanford is kind of in the middle of nowhere, and Verizon has always had the best coverage out there. 


There is a lesson here, somewhere.

Saturday evening, I had a bit of a boo-boo.  It wasn't really my fault, other than I was the one who brought my cell phone into a room it really didn't need to be in, and then I am the one who knocked it off the counter with a towel into a bowl full of water. 

However, this isn't about assigning 'blame', it about results.  The result in this case is that my cell phone appears to be screwed.  It was quickly retrieved from the bowl full of water(ick), and then placed in a container full of rice, which is supposed to work magic with wetted phones. 

So far, it hasn't worked any magic.  Immediately after the incident, my phone had Wi-Fi internet service still, but no kind of phone service.  Now, it doesn't seem to want to turn on at all.  It's been in the rice almost 36 hours, and charging a few hours...very sad.

Very sad because it's going to cost money.  I didn't pay for any kind of cell phone insurance, or use any kind of 'cloud' for the pictures on my phone, other than periodic downloading to my computer.  Now I am faced with having to buy a new phone that isn't tied to my two year service plan...and those aren't cheap.  I also have the option of picking up an unlocked phone online, which can be cheaper, but then Verizon will punish me for having to start a new 2-year plan.  The cheapest phone that looks acceptable to me is in the $200, most of the really nice/fancy one costing about the same as a lap top computer(which makes sense, since they ARE lap tops.)  There ARE cheaper ones, but after my Droid 4, I don't think I could exist long with a flip phone. 



There is an old saying...

'Opinions are like ass-hole's.  Everyone has them, and they all stink.'

I'm not sure who first said it...I'm sure it was floating around for decades before I was born.  I found one site that attributed the quote to P.T. Barnum, and I know that Dirty Harry said something similar in The Dead Pool.  Either way...it's a great quote, because it's so very true.

Bring me to my opinion on the whole George Zimmerman/Treyvon Martin case. 

Now...I don't know anything that wasn't fed to me through the media, but from what has been force fed down my throat, I think the jury made the right call...I don't think Zimmerman was guilty of 2nd degree murder.  I think at the moment the shot was made, George Zimmerman DID fear for his life, and by that slim standard, he was justified in the shooting.

However, I don't believe Treyvon Martin had to die that night.  Somewhere along the line, George Zimmerman displayed poor judgment in his pursuit and confrontation of Treyvon Martin.  That poor judgment lead directly to confrontation in which Martin was killed, meaning that Zimmerman went out of his way to create a situation that led to an unnecessary death.

In my world that makes him guilty of something...I'm just not enough of a legal expert to know what.  I think that is the prosecutions fault for trying for 2nd degree murder instead of settling for some kind of manslaughter/aggravated assault charge right off the bat.  The prosecution wanted to make a statement, and they overreached.  As a gun owner, I believe Zimmerman should be doing some jail time for his actions that led to this death. 

I just think the jury, faced with the decision they had to make, made the right call in deciding he was not a murderer. 

But boy, if you are still someone who carries a gun with visions of John McClane running through your head, and this didn't convince you to change your attitude, you haven't been paying close enough attention. 


I'm such a wimp.

A few years ago, one of my friends started what has turned into an annual event...a float tube drip down the upper Yakima river.  That first year, we all came over from Western Washington, and I remember being a snively bitch because it was over 90 degrees, and I was DYING.  However, since the water in the upper Yakima was snow less than 20 miles ago, you WANT it to be hot...the water temperature is in the low 50's.

This year, it's only supposed to be about 85-86 degrees today for our float trip...but I have been living in South Eastern Washington, where that is a cool summer day.  All my friends coming from the damp, wet side of the state are all excited, but as I sat in my back yard yesterday with the mercury hovering at 84, I began to get worried...what if I'm an acclimated wimp, and 85 degrees has me shivering all day?

Oh well...time to man up and head out anyways. 


Worse things than bills come in the mail...

Got home today to find a letter from the Richland PD waiting for me in the mailbox.  Instead of some picture of one our cars running a red light, as I had feared, it was a letter notifying me that a Level 3 Sex Offender had moved in within, say...300 yards or so of our house.

I'd rather have gotten a red light ticket.

Now...I'm not the type to go and say I'm going to shoot the dude on sight, because that's a good way to incriminate yourself.  But...if I see him and he is looking sideways at a kid, ANY kid...well, appropriate action will be taken.

This is where I kind of get mad, and maybe a bit irrational.  I understand the concept of serving your time and having a second chance...but folks like this guy have proven that they are not able to be rehabilitated and fixed.  They are tracked as level 3 offenders because they are recognized at a risk to repeat.  In the end, either you can trust someone to be back out in society, or you can't.  If you can't, as is the case with a Level 3 Sex Offender, put them in a hole in the ground.  Stop wasting my tax dollars tracking them, and measuring circles around schools, parks and the library.

Kids are EVERYWHERE else too...which is where this guy could be right now.


I am SO cutting edge.

Supposedly, this study came out back in 2007...but I just found out about it today.  Luckily, I am sooooo good, I've already been living my life this way.

A pint of beer is better for you after a workout than water, say scientists

I'm just kind of bummed out that the study doesn't have more details.  Does it have to be a Spanish Lager, or would a Yuengling or an Amber Boch work fine?  Would a pilsner, ale, porter or stout be better for you than a lager? 

I'm willing to volunteer to be part of a more in depth study. 



With the advent of remote controls, and now DVR's that let people fast forward through commercials, I was once worried that advertising folks would stop spending the money to make funny, original commercials for anything other than the Super Bowl.

Luckily, I was wrong.  This one made me laugh longer than any commercial has for a long time.

Live Free or Die

Read a book over the weekend by an author I have been wanting to check out for a while, John Ringo.  The book in question is the 1st book of his Troy Rising series, 'Live Free or Die'.

Blame it on Val Kilmer...whenever I see John Ringo's name on a book, my brain here's 'Johnny Ringo! I'm you're huckleberry'.  Because of that I have probably passed up his books longer than I should.

Live Free or Die is a book about first contact with several alien races.  Essentially, what happens is an alien civilization parks a 'star gate' off one of Earth's lagrange points, and says here you go...a way to get to between star systems.  What YOU do with it and what others do with it is up to you.

After several years of light trading, things do get bad as a hostile alien race shows up in our sky, demanding all our precious metals.  Since Earth has nothing valuable, no other alien race is willing to stand up for us.  After several cities are destroyed, Earth's governments bend over backwards to give the aliens tribute.

Not all people are happy with our 'benevolant protectors'.  One of them finally finds an item that does make Earth valuable(and worth protecting), and also offers the key to equalizing the intergalactic trade balance, opening the door for us being able to protect ourselves.

I am going to go out on a limb and say that this book, with it's theme of liberty at any cost, reminds me more than a bit of 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress'.  It doesn't quite harp as much on personal responsibilty as Heinlein does...and he does it in smaller chuncks instead of page long lessons....but the feeling of being willing to fight, and die for freedom is certainly there.

Now to start cruising the used book stores for Citadel.


Well, Christmas IS coming.

Thanks to Drang for pointing out that on this day, way back in 1907, one Robert Anson Heinlein was born into this world. 

He was also nice enough to offer up a link to this, the perfect Christmas gift for any true Heinlein fan: The Virginia Edition.  46 leather bound volumes containing not just the complete works over Mr. Heinlein(including several unpublished screenplays), but an additional 450,000 words of correspondence.  All for the sweet deal price of $1500. 

I'm a pretty big Heinlein fan, but even I would have to admit a leather bound volume would be tough to read sitting on the john.  

Into Darkness

One of the things my wife and I were able to sneak away for this last weekend, while the World's Greatest Nana watched the girls, was to catch a matinee of the newest Star Trek movie: Star Trek Into Darkness.

It was enjoyable...I walked out of it very satisfied that I had gotten my monies worth out of the movie.  It was easily as action packed as World War Z, and I think it was even more fast paced.  Truthfully...it might have been too action packed, too fast paced.  I told my wife that despite the fact that the characters feel right, the movie didn't necessarily feel like a Star Trek movie.  The better Star Trek movies have always had a good amount of cerebral nature to them. 

This one seemed to be lacking that at some points...but was still a good 'summer' movie.

Like I said...the actors do a good job of playing their parts.  My favorites are Karl Urban as Bones and Simon Pegg as Scotty.  Benedict Cumberbatch plays an awesome villain, even if he doesn't play it in the same over the top manner of his predecessor.  Heck...I think my least favorite actor might be Chris Pine as Kirk...or it could be that he is sooooo good at the cocky thing I dislike him for the same reason I disliked Val Kilmer in Top Gun...because you are supposed to dislike him at least a little bit.

In the end, it was a good enough movie that I will go see the next one, when it comes out. 


I'm not dead yet.

Spent the Independence Day Holiday in the Everett area with my mom and my future step-dad.  It was a good time, and many explosives were blown up, and the best part was most of it was bought by other people.
In addition to the holiday, I have a movie to review, a book I've almost finished to review, and a stop at a historic flight museum to talk about. 

For now though, there is also laundry that needs doing and chickens that need taking care of, so I'll just have to leave you with a pair of pictures that have had me shaking my head, of two 4th of July's, 5 years apart.

I may be biased, but I think this family is aging like a fine wine...


Meanwhile, in the basement...

While the sun is keeping things hot up in the living room my younger daughter is keeping them hot downstairs in the family room.

It's less disturbing than the Niki Minaj she was singing and dancing along to earlier.


Don't judge me!

Day two of 108 degree plus heat.  Now, I'm not saying that it's too hot for beer, but on a day like today, I find a big glass of peach tea crystal light with a healthy jigger of peach schnapps added in to hit the spot perfectly. 

Rehydrates me a little better too.


Make the bad man stop!

Today out on site, the temperature reached a heart-breaking 109 degrees, while down in Richland, I believe the official high is only 107.  While that all sucks, it's still short of the 112 degrees they had been forecasting at the end of last week.

As far as the whole 'dry heat' thing, goes, I'll buy that up to temperatures in the low 90's....but above 100 degrees, hot is hot.

Tomorrow is expected top be the same, before things cool back down to right around a 100 for the 4th, which still sucks.

Lucky for us, we will be joining my mom for the 4th of July in Western Washington, where the temperature on the 4th is supposed to be in the upper 70's.