The Avengers (the movie)

We saw The Avengers over the Memorial Day weekend.  Before I say anything more about it, I just want to make sure that everyone understands that we are a family who likes cartoonishly violent movies (with the possible exception of Jim, who, at least, tolerates cartoonishly violent movies).

That being said, we enjoyed The Avengers very much.  There were lots of explosions, lots of aliens killed in a variety of ways (smashed by Hulk, pierced by arrows from Hawkeye, shot or knifed by Black Widow, laser gunned by Ironman, etc.) and all of it done with such cartoonish verve that it was impossible to take it too seriously.  There is no doubt that Robert Downey, Jr. as Ironman carried the movie (smart alecky dialogue is his specialty, after all).  Samuel Jackson was excellent as he always is, and my new favorite hunky actor is Jeremy Renner, who plays Hawkeye.  (In a slight digression, it’s interesting that archery has found a new place out of geekdom in light of The Hunger Games, The Avengers and the upcoming Pixar movie, Brave.  A conspiracy by bow-and-arrow manufacturers perhaps?)

The film is rated PG-13, but our 10 year old son (visually resilient with an affinity for destruction on a large scale) had no issues, and neither did our 13 year old daughter (visually sensitive but with an equal affinity for destroying bad guys (or bad aliens) in creative ways).

Jim, our resident peacenik, thought the movie was an enjoyable way to spend 2 1/2 hours, but it is not his particular kind of movie.  I, on the other hand, really enjoy cartoonishly violent movies (I find them very relaxing) and thought The Avengers was an excellent example of the genre.


Chronicles of the Mole Family, Chapter 12

The entertaining thing about the renovations (if living in the basement for 5 months and counting can be called entertaining) is that there are surprises every time we go upstairs and look at the progress.  Of course, this is primarily because we have no idea what any of the colors or tile or flooring is going to look like.  (Clearly, no one can ever accuse us of being micromanagers!)  So, on the latest exploration of the house, we discovered a few things:

First, the coffered ceiling in the master bedroom now looks like a ceiling as opposed to the assembly of sticks pictured in an earlier blog post:

coffered ceiling

Second, the shower in the 13 year old’s bathroom is tiled:

peipei's shower

So is the shower in the 10 year old’s bathroom:

weiwei's shower

But the master bathroom shower is not:

master bathroom

And the main floor is still a total disaster:


An end of June completion date?  We shall see.  And that concludes the update for today.

Chinese Water Clock

Our 10 year old is studying ancient China at school this year, and as part of the curriculum, he had to make a model of a Chinese water clock (being a boy, he was bummed that he didn’t get his first choice, the crossbow).  Fortunately, Jim is really good at these projects, and after a trip to Michael’s for the necessary materials, several copious applications of gorilla glue, and many, many tests on the accuracy of the markings, here is the water clock in all of its glory!

Chinese water clock

For those of you interested in the basic engineering of the water clock, water is poured into the top bucket, which then drains into the bottom two buckets.  The bottom bucket contains a stick inserted into a sponge.  An arrow is attached to the stick.  As the water rises in the bottom bucket, the stick also rises, marking the passage of time.  Sundials were used to calibrate the early water clocks, and the most famous Chinese water clock was constructed in 1088 by Su Song and took 12 years to construct.


Inconveniences not problems

As I was standing in the line at the post office this morning, stressing about all that has to be done over the next few days, I learned that a child of a friend of mine who has a controlled but serious medical disorder had relapsed.  This reminded me of the true priorities in life and also reinforced a lesson we had learned several years ago:

Jim’s business partner was at a dinner party where the folks at the table were complaining about various issues in their lives.  After listening for several minutes, an elderly woman spoke up and said, “I don’t have any problems.”  She then proceeded to roll up her sleeve to show a number that had been tattooed on her forearm.  “When I got this,” she continued, “I had problems.  Now, I don’t have any problems.  I only have inconveniences.”


Happy Anniversary!

We’ve been married 22 years as of today!  It’s been more fun and more rewarding than I could have ever imagined.  Happy anniversary, sweetie!!

happy anniversary!

Postscript:  we spent the day shuttling child #1 to and from a bat mitzvah service and party and going to a school event for child #2.  The day concluded with a romantic dinner at Shake Shack.  🙂  This is what happens when you’ve been married for 22 years!

Chronicles of the Mole Family, Chapter 11

We have drywall on both floors!  We have paint on the upper floor!  I will post photos soon, but one dry-walled room looks very much like any other dry-walled room, so unless you have dry wall obsession, it’s not that interesting.

Most importantly, we have tentative move-back-in date(s)!!  It looks like we will be able to move back into the 2nd floor some time in late May.  Bedrooms (rooms with doors)!! Closets!!  Separate bedtimes!!  (In case you couldn’t tell, I am very excited.)

Kitchen cabinets (or, more accurately, the lack thereof) are holding up the main floor move-in date, but we are still hopeful that it will be some time in June, in keeping with our original internal date.

Happy dance of excitement may now commence!!