10 October 2014

Seven Quick Takes: Grouse hunting, winter tires and sitting up front

Linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary for Seven Quick Takes!

This week was... not as photogenic as last week, I suppose. I don't think I took any photos after the snowy weekend photos that went up on Monday. Little Bear's been a handful, and I haven't been feeling well, so the week has kind of just been blah. Oh! Okay, there was one exciting thing that happened this week; just how exciting it was depends on who you ask...

Matt and my dad went out grouse hunting near a lake in an old mining area north of town on Tuesday. Little Bear and I spent the afternoon with my family, and the plan was for us to all have supper together. As they were driving back just before supper time, Matt called to let us know that he'd be a little late because he had to go home and change; he was too messy to come into the house. "What happened?" I asked. "Did you get a grouse?" 

"No..." he started to answer, but my dad quickly interrupted him. "It'll make a great story. Wait until we get there."

Because Matt had to go back home and change, my dad happily took on the role of storyteller as the rest of us sat down for supper. His version of their afternoon:

We were hiking out from Olnes Pond in the direction of the old Vault City mines, looking for grouse, when Matt discovered an old mine shaft. He fell through, landing in watery goopy mud up past his waist. The satellite phone was miles away in the truck. I had to cut down spruce poles and make a ladder with parachute cord for him to climb out. Don't worry, he's fine; maybe a slightly sprained ankle.

Matt was very confused when he showed up for supper and everyone was worried about him and asking if he was okay. My dad said, "I told them about the mine shaft," and they both started laughing. Matt's version of their afternoon:

We were hiking near Olnes Pond, going the same direction Ben and I were when we were talking about looking for the remains of old Vault City this summer. There was snow on the trail and a light crust of ice, making everything look smooth and flat, but sometimes it'd start making cracking noises as we walked across it. It's really weird to hear the ground cracking under you; we weren't on a slough or anything. We had just passed a spot where six different trails branched off, maybe ten yards back, when I punched through the surface and landed knee-deep in mud in a rut worn by four-wheelers that the snow had hidden. It turns out my boots really are both waterproof and insulated! I was pretty dirty, but not too wet or cold. Really, I'm fine. I just wish we'd seen a grouse.

Tall-tale hunting stories are an art form in Alaska... but it's reassuring to hear the real story, too. :-) My dad managed to keep a straight enough face to convince my mom and siblings of his version, but I couldn't bring myself to be too worried because Matt had sounded perfectly fine and happy when he called.

I've now done laundry four out of the five weekdays this week, because there was no way the horrid-smelling muddy pond-scummy carharts were going to wait until the next scheduled laundry day. (Laundry normally gets done in the Shifflerhaus on Mondays and Thursdays.) Monday for regular laundry, Wednesday for the carharts and the rest of his hunting clothes, Thursday for regular laundry, and today because there was a very unfortunate leaky diaper incident with the little boy who crawled into our bed in the middle of the night. Sheets, mattress pad, quilt... all getting washed today.

Little Bear was very sad about being wet, which wound up meaning that none of us got any sleep after quarter to six. I'm trying to find the silver lining to the "why do I have to be up so early I'm so tired ugh"-ness; since he was awake so early, Little Bear easily went down for a nap at 9:30, so we shouldn't have any trouble making it to noon Mass today. Hopefully he will do as well as he did on Wednesday: 

I was a little nervous about it, but I brought him to an hour of adoration followed by Mass, figuring that I'd probably have to wind up taking him out or just sitting in the cry room. But he was so quiet and well-behaved! He looked at books, played with a Marian bookmark and whispered with my youngest sister during adoration. I moved up to the front pew with him for Mass, which was concelebrated by five priests (so, about 1/3 of all of the priests in our diocese), and he was still and quiet and watching everything all through Mass. I was initially pretty skeptical about the "sit up front so your little kids can see and they'll behave better" theory, but we've really seen results since we started sitting in the first couple of pews.

Driving all the way into and out of town three times in one day is simply too much gas, so I've been saving errands and after Mass we will get as much done as we can before picking Matt up from work. Staying in town all afternoon also uses gas, but given that I need to do these errands anyway, it's not as bad. Today we'll probably spend a while waiting at the tire place; we've been through three Alaskan winters with our all-season radials, and in cooperation with the four wheel drive on the jeep it's been okay, but I was sliding all over on Monday even though I was in 4 and we decided that it would be wise to invest in winter tires this year. The tire shops are all super busy right now so I'm not sure if we will be able to get the tires put on, but at least I can buy them; there's a "buy three get one free" sale that ends tomorrow.


One photo for the week: lounging against the rounder, enjoying homemade yogurt with strawberry jam. That step stool is his favorite place to sit in the kitchen.