It was a fairly chilly day, and that water was cold cold cold, but Reese just walked out into it and spent the next hour or so busily building dams and ponds. Completely lost in his play.

Architectural Detail: Built-in Reading Niches : Remodelista

Winter has us thinking about built-in beds, the ideal place to retreat with a book.

via Architectural Detail: Built-in Reading Niches : Remodelista.

Bed nooks will forever remind me of the beach house we rented at Seabrook. The kids loved them, with little curtains and reading lights and the rest of the room a playroom for them. Once Upon a Time Cottage Facebook page

Once Upon a Time Cottage Rental page

Joe the Bunny

My brother Joe and his wife Michelle are watching our kids while Adrienne and I are on a trip. He just IMed me with something our 5 year old, Anna, said apropos of nothing.

“Hey, I have an idea. When you lose a member of your family, you can just replace them with a pet. And the name would be no problem because you could just name them after the person you lost. I think I would want a fuzzy easter bunny. Hey, do you think reindeer talk?”

She is so going to kill him, buy a bunny, and name it Joe.

Letter Off Dead

My extremely talented friend Tom Llewellyn is writing a book in blog format,

In his own words:

“Letter Off Dead is an actual transcript of letters sent between a 7th grade boy and his dead father. It covers the subjects of life and death, faith and doubt, fathers and sons. The transcript has been edited and presented here by Tom Llewellyn.”

Make sure you start from the beginning. He does an amazing job of capturing what it felt like to be in 7th grade.

Creepy 101

I am cleaning out old boxes and found a notebook from college. In the section for Psych 378 my first day of class notes look like this:

Creepy 101

  • There is a thing called the Internet. Maybe you have heard of it?
  • Note to self: Bring trained chimp to class. Send chimp to class and stay home.
  • The kids are not going to be alright.
  • Note to self: find 8 men with wheelbarrows.

Yeah, I have no idea.

I Am Very Much Offended by Dennis Pryor

We are casually looking at homes out here in Washington, and I keep stumbling on fairly modest homes that have a second kitchen. I don’t want this at all and am shocked they are so common. I keep thinking that I can’t be alone in this and that second kitchens must be a bit of a liability in selling a home. In searching for information along those lines I found this Wall Street Journal Article that really helped me understand why I might need a second kitchen after all.

“Others like the fact that having a commercial kitchen minimizes their contact with food preparation. “We’re very much offended by cooking smells,” says real-estate investor Dennis Pryor*, who will have a catering kitchen in his 38,000-square-foot home under construction in Goochland County, Va.”

“Multiple kitchens have more quotidian purposes too, some say. “It’s a great convenience if you’re ill, for example,” says Colin Cowie, head of the event-planning, catering and design company Colin Cowie Lifestyle. “If you want an ice pack or Evian, it’s right there.” And having a kitchen close at hand means never having to stumble down a dark, sweeping staircase when you’re craving a glass of milk. “You have the ability to alarm the rest of the house,” says Mr. Cowie, “and remain in an isolated capsule.”

“Consider the mobile kitchen that will be installed in the house that developer Steven Skilkin is building for himself in Columbus, Ohio. The 10,000-square-foot house has multiple levels, and “he wanted a design where the kitchen comes to you,” says his architect, Bart Prince. “So we came up with an 8-by-10 section of the main kitchen — an arc-shaped segment with cabinets, counter top, refrigerator, and a microwave — that can travel to each floor like an elevator. It sounds a little extravagant, but if he wants that turkey leg he left in the refrigerator last night, he can just press a button.”

via One Kitchen Isn’t Enough: Some Homeowners Go for Seconds –

*It’s important to note that Dennis Pryor has more than enough money to have me killed, so I probably don’t mean any disrespect by this.

House Keeping

After about 8 years of writing on Amishrobot something went horribly wrong with my database. Unfortunately, my lack of writing lately also coincided with a lack of backing up my database. None of the entries are lost, they are just in a format that is a pain to deal with. In the process of fixing things I decided to switch to a new blogging system. So, things are going to be ugly around here for a while. Broken links, missing images and content will abound.

The old site is here

Hitting the Wall

My summer job in college was working for my volleyball coach. We would travel around putting on volleyball camps at high schools.

We drove or flew out to random high schools in places like Arco Idaho, or Truth or Consequences New Mexico, and spent a few days coaching volleyball teams. We usually stayed with the coaches or a parent of a player and they would somehow feel obligated to feed and entertain us as well. So my days consisted of waking up, coaching and playing volleyball, maybe work out, and then go water skiiing or horse back riding or fishing. We would be back home for the weekends. A pretty amazing job really.

The one downside was that I always got the 9th grade girls to coach. Supposedly this was because it was my first year doing it, but I suspect it may have had something to do with the fact that though I played for the best, or one of the best, teams in the nation, I never really seemed to bother learning anything beyond my own position. I could always tell the middle hitters exactly where they should be and what they should be doing, but outside hitting? Back row? Oh, let’s not even talk about me teaching people to set. Picture Shaq teaching people to shoot free throws.

A side note: I found the best way to coach 9th grade girls was to make them run lines until they were too tired to be annoying. I intend to use this strategy when my girls get to that age. In fact, my one and a half year old could stand to run some lines right now. She is upstairs screaming “out!” because she has decided sleep is optional.

Back to volleyball camps… After driving back from a camp in Idaho, I dropped my coaching partner off in Salt Lake and headed south to Orem, about a 45 minute drive. I was exhausted and it was a brutally hot day and I was fighting to stay awake. I hadn’t been that tired the rest of the drive, but the fatigue hit me about 10 minutes from home. Ten minutes from pulling into my driveway and I reached that mode where I was pretty sure driving with only one eye shut would be smart, “Only half of me is sleeping!” or the even better, “Let’s see, the road is pretty straight, if I just close my eyes for 5 seconds…”

I was so tired that I had to pull over. I was driving down State Street in Orem, just a few blocks left to go and I couldn’t do it! Pathetically, I could not drive another second. I pulled over behind a Radio Shack, parked, and set my watch to wake me in ten minutes. I closed my eyes and was instantly asleep.

When my watch alarm went off I just heard a crazy beeping noise, a horn maybe? and woke up sitting in the driver’s seat of my car with my hands on the steering wheel looking at a brick wall. I yelled, stomped on the brakes, and I hate to admit this, but I HONKED the horn. I honked the horn at a brick wall. “Get out of my way brick wall that has somehow appeared in the middle of the road! Get out of my way! How did this wall get in the middle of the road!? This is really poor urban planning! If I survive I am going to write to the Mayor!” I managed to stop just inches from the wall. Nice driving Josh! When I was awake enough to know what just happened and my heart had stopped pounding I drove off before anyone came to investigate the random horn blast.

I would be embarrassed to tell the story except that, seriously, that was a pretty mellow reaction for having a giant brick wall appear in front of your car.