Another visit to memory lane

Laralee and I continue chipping away at the vast piles of stuff we’ve accumulated over the course of our marriage. We plan to move in a year or so, and don’t want to drag all of this to the new place (wherever that may be) so we agreed to spend the next year getting rid of things.

Today I went through six boxes from the depths of the crawlspace. Two of them had my college textbooks. Yep, it’s interesting to see a stack of them that probably cost me a thousand dollars back in the day:

This was only a third of the textbooks I’d kept. Of course when I flipped through them, I was reminded about how much I knew once upon a time.

So those will be heading to Goodwill, who apparently will take old textbooks. I have no idea who buys them, but I suppose if someone decides they want to learn quantum mechanics, they’ll be thrilled to find my old book.

Then there was a box of day planners. Back in 1992, my first year as a resident assistant, the Department of Residential Life (“reslife”) provided all of the RA’s with little planners and encouraged us to use them. We had a number of responsibilities, and I found that it came in handy. From that day until sometime around 2012, I used a day planner. Every year I’d buy another one, and bring it everywhere with me to jot down notes and appointments and make sure I was crossing things off my to-do list.

As it happens, I flipped open to this page in my 1993 planner:

Cool! On May 10 I picked up my car (yep, my very first car). The next day I installed a new stereo in it, after finishing my astrophysics final of course.

Oh, and the box with instructions for my original Lego sets. Here’s my very first space Lego set!

Two more boxes had my electric train stuff. It contained dozens of train cars, boxes of track, and things like gas stations and a theater and all those other things I built from kits for my big train setup in the basement as a kid. Years ago, I figured my boys would like to play with it, but it sat forgotten in the crawlspace, and now it’s too late.

I was going to just toss all of it, but decided to call a local hobby store to see if they even sold HO-scale electric trains these days. It turns out they don’t, but they knew a guy named Warren who collected them. They gave me his number, I called, and he was happy to accept them. He told me I could leave them at the store for him to pick up, and mentioned that if he sold any of it on eBay he’d be willing to split the profits. I replied that I didn’t care, but after hanging up, I was curious and hopped on eBay to see what sorts of prices a thirty-year-old train set might bring. As it turns out, individual Tyco cars in their original boxes (which I have) sell for anywhere from five to twenty dollars apiece. Who knew?

Finally I stumbled upon a small box that contained my original Star Wars action figures. I only have about twenty, but they’re original, circa 1980.

Again out of curiosity, I checked eBay because I know people trade these things. I found a Boba Fett just like the one sitting on top of my box above, and it was listed at $40. The little gun my stormtrooper is holding? Ten dollars. For just the gun. It’s crazy. That little box is easily worth hundreds of dollars.

So, once again it was fun to dig through some nostalgic stuff, and as I take it to Goodwill and the hobby store (and the trash can, in some cases), it’s funny to think of the thousands upon thousands of dollars I spent on it over time… and even what some of it is worth now, if I only had the desire to spend effort selling it on eBay. Oh well. Hopefully Warren can make something.


I was at the gas station last night and saw this sign.

Am I the only one who notices the problem? Ugh, it’s the little things…


Over the weekend we trucked (well, mini-vanned) out to Missouri to visit the larger Schroeder Clan. It was a great trip, with a lot of fun times around the pool (of course!) as well as a trip to the St. Louis City Museum, which I’d heard of but never seen. If I had to describe it in a word, that word would be “eclectic”.

Here are some photos of our adventures…

Zaque “hangs loose” as he cruises through somewhere in Kansas:

My beautiful wife:

There was a little jar of M&M’s in the kitchen, and Laralee kept sneaking handfuls (handsful?) of them, while commenting that no one would suspect her, and would blame the younger kids. Sure enough, they got the blame.

Some mammatus clouds near sunset:

A caged Zaque at the City Museum:

Zaque’s strange attraction to tiny hands was given new life when he found tiny feet.

Some evening Sudoku on the patio:

Two handsome guys with their Hawai’ian shirts (you can hardly even tell we’re related):

And a few pieces of kameraspielen as I experimented:

Yep, good times all around. We’ll be back again sometime next year…


In the spirit of crowd-sourced instruction, the WikiHow site is a great resource to learn to do various things. Many of the instructional guides include drawings to illustrate what’s being taught, and there’s an entire Reddit group dedicated to taking these drawings and using them to illustrate an entirely different concept. Some of the ones that made me laugh out loud:

How to Cannibalize Your Uncle as a Family

How to Maximize “Quiet Time” for Your Kindergarten Class

How to Remember You Have Legs

How to Physically Delete an Annoying Student

How to Tell Someone Their Diet Failed

How to Think of a Rhyme for “Spaghetti”

How to Use “Enhanced Interrogation” to Find Out Who Tore Up the Living Room

How to Escalate a Thumb War

How to Embarrass a Horse at a Sleepover

That’s helpful

Me: What do all these buttons do?
Manufacturer: Here’s a helpful diagram to explain.

It’s important!

This just came in the mail…

Any time an envelope says Important Information, I know it must really be important. Because they wouldn’t be allowed to put that on the envelope if it wasn’t true, right?

Back to BYU

After a few months living at home, Alex is heading back to BYU for the summer semester. He (wisely) decided that staying in Longmont wasn’t helping him “move forward” with his college and career goals, so he registered for three classes and will be starting next week.

Now that he has a car, it’s much easier for all of us– we don’t have to plan a couple of days to drive out to Utah and back. This morning he loaded everything into his car. I remember the days when everything I owned in the world fit into a single car…

He even had enough room for a passenger. And this is a Honda Civic coupe!

After everything was settled and Laralee had double-checked every last detail, he was ready to head out.

And he’s off! (He even learned to drive stick shift in the last week, so he’s rolling smoothly along without killing the clutch.)

We’ll miss having him around, of course, but I know he’ll have a good time during the summer.


Fifteen hours of daylight today! I thought the summer solstice would be an apropos time to take a few sunset photos. I biked a few miles to McIntosh Lake and waited for the sun to dip to the horizon. It was pretty cloudy, so unfortunately I couldn’t actually see much of the sun, but I managed to get a few decent shots.

I’m always a little sad to know the days will be getting shorter now, but there’s still a lot of summer ahead…


This… speaks to me. Maybe I’ll do it.

All hail the hail

Alex and I headed out to play some ultimate today. When we arrived at the field, there were overcast skies and it was sprinkling lightly. No big deal, although sometimes it’s a little tricky playing with a slippery disc. We started our game.

Then the rain started coming down a bit harder. Still not a big deal; by that time all fifteen of us were pretty wet, but when you’re already wet it doesn’t matter if you get a little wetter, right? We played on.

Then the lightning started coming closer. We paused to count the time between the flash and the bang, to approximate the distance, and decided it was okay. Over the next few minutes, though, it became not okay. The flash-bang dropped suddenly to just a few seconds, and the skies were lighting up all around us. We called off the game and started picking up the cones. A huge bolt of lightning hit right across the street with a deafening crack of thunder. Yep, time to clear the field!

Then the hail started. While driving home, the skies opened up and the rain was coming down in sheets. Hail mixed in with it, and there were roughly quarter-size chunks of ice everywhere. It was coming down hard, too. My car was rattling and banging with the impacts. The roads were covered in ice.

With all the rain that had come down, there were rivers of water running across the roads and along the gutters. People were hitting them at full speed and splashing water 10-15 feet in the air. (People! Slow down!)

When we arrived back home, Alex and I changed out of our absolutely soaked clothes and decided to head out for some pizza. This is the view as we walked through the neighborhood to our local pizza parlor:

Yeah. That’s less than thirty minutes after the pouring hail. Crazy.

Lies, all lies

For Father’s Day, Zaque had a mug custom made for me. It says “My son kicks my butt in Munchkin”.

It’s pretty clever, and of course it only invites retaliation. On his birthday I’ll have to come up with something good.

On the afternoon of Father’s Day, he and Alex and I played some Munchkin. I trounced them both. Twice. Take that!


Occasionally I’ll find a spider in my basement office. They’re usually fairly small wolf spiders– very common around here, and completely harmless. I just squish them with a tissue and go on with my work.

A couple of nights ago, Laralee went down to my office to get something, and came screaming back upstairs. “There are so many spiders in your office!” I went down and, indeed, there were maybe four sitting quietly in various spots. Maybe the cool evening air made them come out of hiding, or maybe they come out of hiding every evening and I just don’t notice because I’m not in the basement. In any case, I squished them as usual.

Then Laralee got a spray bottle and added some essential oils to it: lavender and peppermint, I believe. She proceeded to spray the heck out of my office, hitting all of the baseboards and corners and spider hidey-holes. For good measure, she doused the rest of the basement. Imagine a bomb exploding, but instead of throwing shrapnel it throws lavender smells. It was something like that.

Now, two days later, I’m back in my office. There are no spiders. And it smells like a flowery garden. Yay lavender!

Best girl

I sure do love my favorite daughter. Apparently she thinks I’m okay too, although I question that little dig at the end.

Another car

Alex is getting the hang of his new car but today he decided he might like a McLaren instead.

I’m not sure what model this is, but it’s almost certainly worth somewhere north of $200,000.

Yeah, that’s a sweet, sweet ride.

Jet skiing

A few years ago we went to Horsetooth Reservoir and rented a pair of jet skis for a few hours. It was a blast, so we decided to do it again this summer. We had a reservation for this afternoon, and last night Zaque learned that he’d have to work all day at his new job. I looked into moving our reservation, but there was a “no change, no refund” policy and even though the rental place was willing to bend the rules a bit, we weren’t going to be able to make it work with Zaque’s new schedule.

So Laralee, Alex, and I planned to go, but then just before we were leaving, Hannah texted to see if she could come over to the house and hang out, and Laralee invited her to join us. She’d never been jet-skiing before, so she grabbed a swimsuit and hustled over.

Horsetooth Reservoir is almost seven miles long, and the marina is near the southern end. Since it was a Thursday, there wasn’t much boat traffic on the lake (apparently weekends are crazy). We had a lot of space to play. Alex and Laralee started out driving.

I was with Alex, and as soon as we passed the no-wake buoys he punched it and we shot out across the water. The jet skis topped out around 40mph, which doesn’t sound like much until you’re pounding across waves with the wind tearing through your hair.

To my great surprise, Laralee followed suit and was screaming around the lake. The last time we’d gone, she was much more timid and didn’t put the pedal down, so to speak. But this time she was zipping around, with Hannah shouting and laughing behind her.

We had our waterproof camera with us, which doesn’t always take great pictures, but we managed to catch a few good shots.

After a while, Hannah got up the nerve to drive, so she swapped with Laralee while I swapped with Alex.

Alex and I made a few turns that were a little too sharp, and tipped the sled a few times. I figure if you don’t take a couple of dunks, you’re not driving hard enough. The lake water was cool, but in the hot June sun it felt great.

After we finished, we decided to grab dinner in nearby Fort Collins. Pizza won the vote, and we decided to go to a place called Totally 80’s Pizza. Not only was the pizza really good, but the decor was awesome. It was pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a place dedicated to the pop culture of the 80’s.

They had a life-size Han Solo frozen in carbonite…

Signed photos of the cast of The Princess Bride

A mint-condition Trapper Keeper (under glass, because you know that thing must be valuable)…

And as we finished our meal and headed out the door, I was thrilled to see my favorite line from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:

Yep, it was a great day.


Trump must really be screwing up the economy if the sixteen-year-old girl I pay to clean my office is complaining about it.


My 2008 Civic hit a bit of a milestone today.

I figure I’ve got another hundred thousand miles still to go…