Zoe and Grandma Turner

Zoe and her Grandma Turner have a lovely Christmas tradition: making a gingerbread house together. As Zoe has grown, so has the project. This year, Jane even made the gingerbread from scratch!

Here’s the lovely abode:
gingerbread 2008

And the one they worked on two years ago:
gingerbread 2006

And the ongoing threat to any gingerbread that enters the house:
gingerbread eater

my favorite contractor

I have this contractor. He works for coffee. He supplies all of his own materials. He is fastidious. He treats his clients to lunch. He babysits. He doesn’t mind if you say you’re going to work with him and then end up lying on the couch. He works in any kind of weather, inside or out. He designs, fits, paints, re-fits, and installs custom storm windows in old homes. He does everything. But, sorry, he only does it for his kids.

This fall Dad made and installed 30 custom storm windows (mostly interior) for our leaky old house. Dad is well acquainted with storm windows having hauled them around his own house every year. When Dad was painting his own windows with his perfectionist eye, I was only 4. He would pay me a nickel to tell him stories while he worked. One day, Mom snapped this picture:

Last week, when Dad and I finally put up the last of the windows here, Zoe snapped this picture:
storms dad and me

And today, we had the family over for dinner to thank Dad, and I sang the following song. To the tune of “The Brady Bunch.” Thank you, Dad. My favorite colleague. My favorite contractor.

Here’s a story
about a man named Galen
who was busy with a “vineyard” of his own
his retire-ment meant putzing at his own house
If his youngest kid would just leave him alone.

Leave him alone. Leave him alone. If his youngest kid would just leave him alone.

Here’s story
about his kid named Tasha
who said “Dad, here’s what I think that we should do”
“we should make custom storms for all my windows,
and by “we” I guess I’m really meaning “you”

I’m meaning you, I’m meaning you, and by we I guess I’m really meaning you.

So then Galen, gave it a good thinking
Wondering if outsourcing could fit the bill
After talking to just one window installer
It was clear these shoes were meant for him to fill.

For him to fill, for him to fill. these were shoes that really only he could fill.

Here’s a story
About a ton of windows
Made with care to fit precisely to a “t”
There are 30, yes 30, altogether.
Windows must just be his special-ity

Speciality, Speciality. Windows must just be his special-ity

Here’s a story
how his daughter helped him
Doing the really really real important jobs
Like sharpening pencils and changing out the drill-bits
And pointing out the cuteness of the dog

Cuteness of the dog, cuteness of the dog. She gladly pointed out the cuteness of the dog.

Here’s a thank you
From a grateful daughter
Who still thinks her father must have hung the moon
If he didn’t, well that would be just nonsense
Have you realized there aren’t drafts in any room?

In any room, in any room, have you realized there aren’t drafts in any room?

So thank you, Dad,
For this lovely gift.
We are awed, inspired, and ecstatic
It’s so lovely but we have just one small question
What do you think of working on the attic?

The attic, the attic, shall we move on to the project of the attic?

Thanksgiving at our Happy Place

We spent Thanksgiving at our family Happy Place this year–the Veal home. My sister’s family put us up in style. And, while we did plenty while we were there: IKEA trip, a peek at Jim’s new school, adults only dinner, plenty of thrifting, and a complete turkey dinner; it seems I only brought my camera along when we climbed Stone Mountain while our turkey was in the oven.

The kids, who had been running around the house before our departure, suddenly became fatigued when it was clear that we were planning to walk up the mountain. You’ll see them draped dramatically over rocks in the photos below. They miraculously recovered once at the top and found the descent downright enjoyable.

We simply could not have had a more lovely Thanksgiving break. Thank you Jim, Becki, Ramona, Josie, and Ike!

And thanks, Mom, for a lovely gift!

fainting cousinsbex and jimcousins at the topJosie 1 and 2Mark and meZoe at Stone Mtn