Movember is also National Write a Novel in November

Moustaches and writing.

This month is National Write a Novel in November, since, after all, it is November.  So while some of my friends might choose to raise your awareness of their prostate through growing a mustache, I am going to offer you something else:  The opportunity to read a short story written by me, with a new passage added every day for the remainder of this month.  Heres why:  I have tried 3 separate years to write a novel in a month and everytime, like growing a full 70’s porn like stach in under a month, I have failed.  It’s ok.  I have come to terms with it– you learn from failure.  So this year– it different.  This year, I am just going to try to get out one story passage per day.  Hopefully I will come up with one or two that everyone likes.  Here goes:

The Hunt

Nov 4th.

Somewhere you will never be, WA.

3 solid days.  3.  That’s how long I have been out here.  Some years, its been longer before I hear the bugle for the first time– a few years, I haven’t heard it all.  Other years, it’s just other hunters in the valley, making their desperate calls out to the other elk hunters here, but those have long since faded since I discovered this particular ridge some years back.

I know he’s here and its just a matter of time before his ______ gets the best of him and he becomes obsessed with curosity.  Every bugle has to be perfect and timed perfectly to keep him in the game, but I know hes close, I can feel him closer every hour.  These older bucks know these lands better than any man does and the slightest scent that I am here, he will not hesitate to go to another one of these unlimted peaks in these mountains, but I know this is his ridge.

I have been tracking this particular buck for the last several years.  It was his magnificant barrel chest and impressive rack that I saw three seasons ago from another ridge– he had heard my bugle from that ridge and he ran to the high ledge of this ridge to see what other male was in his territory– it was close to the rut, so I was sure he was checking his compition.  I saw him from below on the other ridge, out of range of my bolt and too far too track that year, but I swore I would be back that way– and it didnt take long.

I was back there the next season, lumbering my way up the side of the ridge like a billy goat.  I had broken camp just below the ridge, knowing that hauling his carcass out of that ridge would probably take days.  But he wasn’t going to give it up that season.  There was no sign of him that year and I thought another hunter must have him hanging on their trophy wall.

But they didn’t.  I saw him the end of last hunting season, as I was hauling out my kill for that year.  That kill went down not far from the ridge that I had seen this giant buck, most like having again heard my call echoing through the valley, he was again in search of that other beast entering his territory– but I already had my kill.

This season I started up a little earlier than ever before so I could be on the ridge when the season opened– I knew that the process would be long and I wanted to get started as soon as I could in order to call him out– I knew now that he was resiliant and that it would take time before his pride won over his instinct.

I broke camp where I normally would and proceeded the long hike to the ridge and up it, intending to spend a little more time there each day, being patient as I knew that was the only thing that would get him to show himself.  This would be going into the third season I had been tracking him and skill would be the only way to properly take down such an old codger like this.  The hike in was long and the push up to the ridge took the last breaths of strength I had to give, but even on the first day up there, I could feel that this would be the place where the beast would breathe its final gasp of air.

 

The 4 pack Hogg family

The Miracle of Life, Part 2

In some ways, it feels like ground Hogg day, having that second baby in the same hospital that you had the first one. Here we were again, almost exactly three years ago– and not much changed.

This time there was no labor to see how far we would get, this time it was purely surgical, an early morning appointment that led to a son being born about 2 hours after we checked in.

We learned a lot this time.  For example– in the south, they don’t encourage breast feeding, but rather direct to formula.  Seems insane to me, especially given the overall health of Elliott and he was breastfed for 14 months.

One thing that was new this time was the immediate skin to skin contact following the C-section.  This is now highly encouraged if not loosely required.  As soon as Liam’s vitals were checked and his health and weight recorded, he went to spend a few moments with mom as she was being stitched up.

This birth was much less stressful than the previous one with Elliott.  Elliott had a slight heart murmur and after 18 hours of pushing, we were all out of our element.  The procedure was unfamiliar and there were some complications.  This time around, it was like clock work — the only surprise was his weight– all along we were all thinking it would be a big baby– at least 8.5lbs– but in the end, he ended up at 7.5– not a bad surprise to say the least.

All of this is good, but what most of you will come for are the pictures… Speaking of pictures– we will have some really great photos done by Trellis Photography… I will post those as soon as we get them…. (http://www.trellisphotography.com)

Wish us well… We go home tomorrow and then the double trouble begins…. Hope to have enough time to post to the site and keep things updated.  I know that people get tired of cute baby pics clogging up their Facebook feeds. :)

Thanks to everyone that came by and we hope to see more of you this weekend!

Three Weeks to go….

This summer has flown by– most it a blur in a fast moving cycle of work, spending time with friends and getting things unpacked in the new house.

I went to my first Masonic meeting in several months– we seemed to be busy or just dealing with house issues for every meeting this summer– I can see why lodges tend to go dark for the summer months. Getting back into the cadence of a Masonic Meeting is good– and other habits will also hopefully begin to take hold.

Owning your first home is more overwhelming than I had thought it was going to be– but not something that wont go away with time– but purchasing within that final stretch of pregnancy is a pretty major stretch for any couple to take.

It has also been quite the summer in Seattle– the hottest one that I can remember from June through now– even today it is expected to be over 85 today… which is very warm for the Pacific Northwest.

Elliott and I got the time yesterday to make it out and check out the Ringling Brothers Circus,.  You can check it out here:  http://www.ringling.com/

The theme was Circus Super Heroes– the format was good.  It had a very nice mix of both animals and acrobatics, complete with elephants.  You can check out the pics on my facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10101504226350403.1073741827.27201089&type=1&l=2e8e5f1021

Well, it’s time to watch the end of the Seahawks game — I will try to add more as I can over the next couple of weeks– mid-October is when we should see the new Hogglett…..

 

Summer2014

Things are moving fast in Hoggland.  We are in the process of closing on our first home and it is both very simple of a process but at the same time its very complicated– somewhat unnecessarily so, but they do seem to make it seem like it was the people’s fault the banks got into the mess that they did some years ago– they need all these forms and there are all these questions— where did this money come from, why did these people pay you in cash, why were you saving cash outside of a bank– its all so silly in the grand scale of things, but people have to do what they need to in order for us to get permission to pay a bank for the next 30 years and at the end of the day, what protects the consumer from the banks?

Regardless, I think that its a good idea to buy, even though it seems crazy expensive and I could laugh/cry if I think of the size of the place I was spending this kind of money somewhere else, but land value is a funny thing– the odds are pretty good that what will buying will just increase in value– one thing is for sure– rent will certainly increase over the years and I like the idea of having a place that I am free to do what I may.   Even if it does seem to cost us every cent we will earn for a number of years.

I never thought I would be interested in being a homeowner, but I think children turns that rather quickly– giving your family a place where they can spend their formative years– in a consistent sense is important to me– part of what makes me is the way that we moved around so much, so that culture might be important, the perspective of different people, but I think I given the choice, I would have probably preferred one place and then been set free in the world, but who knows.  It is usually the case with people I meet that have only lived in one place their whole life have more of an altered perspective than those who have traveled.  That being said tho– most of the experience with place comes later in life– going away to college, getting that first job in a different city, the ability to know that you can survive in a city on your own is a rewarding thing– not to be taken for granted.  Children almost beg for consistency, especially during those developing and early childhood years.

Owning a property doesn’t necessarily tie you down either– it just puts the roots in the community I want to live in while we are here.  There appears to be a trend here with housing which indicates that investing is a good idea and if we decide to go to Germany for a couple years, we could easily rent the place out and head out.  Which I could see us doing before the kids get settled in school.

When I say kids, there it is.  Number 2 comes just after number 1 turns 3.  That is going to be interesting.  Elliott is a special kid– such a great demeanor to him– and I think pretty smart for his young age– but I think children now have a lot of things at their fingers that we didn’t have– for example, he knows how to find his own shows on this device I am typing on and the iPad and the iPhone– its pretty interesting to see him do it– at 2.5 years– it wasn’t a skill we taught him, but we are on these things a lot– and it does work to keep him calm at times when there is adult talking to be done.  I used to make fun of parents that would bust out the phone to entertain their kids, shaking my head and saying to myself that there was no way I was going to let my kid get away with that.  But here I am today, eating crow as usual.

The summer has been super fun and busy with the preggers wife and the son — it started with a great visit from my in-laws who spent three weeks with us and it was good to take some time off and enjoy it with them.  Soon after they left, we were back on the housing hunt, thinking we wouldn’t be purchasing a piece of property until late in the summer at the earliest, then one day when we were just planning to look at a couple of places in the market to see what was out there, we stumbled upon the kind of thing we were looking for.

–Not a flipped house.  Buying a house that someone just bought and flipped seems cheeseball to me.  Buying a new remodel means you have to accept everything that people did to that house and every house we looked at– we had to gulp at a lot of the things that people did– from the odd sinks to the fake tiling… it reminded me bad Russian stuff you would see in China– No Thanks!

–Updates over the years is fine, just not dreadfully outdated or just shipped from Home Depot.

–Big Yard.  This was huge and this is disappearing with the amount of zero lot housing being developed here.  I wanted something that we could make into our own at this point– I have been gardening a lot lately and its something I enjoy– as a hobby.  I also think it would be cool to plant a tree when the next boy is born– but with my luck, it would die by winter if we planted in October.

So, lots of things to consider as we throw ourselves into this next chapter– exciting, scary and amazing.

Here are some pictures, because no one likes stories without pictures…

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One of the three rooms for the kids.

Another one of the smaller bedrooms

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Walk in closet…

…an example of what needs renovating… The guest bathroom– needs a makeover– but it is functional now– but its little projects like this that tend to skyrocket the asking price for a home– and I would rather do this to what Lili and I want.

View from the Master Bedroom of the yard. Hot tub is located below.

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Seattle Eastside Housing

I have to say that the Seattle market for Real Estate at this point has not impressed me at this point.  I have kept away from purchasing a home for all of my life but when you start to build a family, a home seems a logical step in the pathway.

We have been renting a really nice house in a part of Kirkland that I really like, right at the base of Finn Hill.  It’s a great location for both Lili and I to commute to our jobs, has nice schools and is close to Lake Washington and Puget Sound, 20 minutes from Seattle and my parents.

However, after 2 years, you start to think, I could be paying down a mortgage for the same price I am renting this place for — building equity while home values rise between 6-8% in this market every year– and when the median house in this area is between 350-550k, that’s a pretty significant return on investment.

The only problem with that theory is the market is completely insane.

We have been looking at purchasing for the last month and have all but given up looking in the neighborhood we love so much and have spent the last four years in.  Sure, there are houses for sale here in our price range, but we just don’t see the value in most of them and the overall inventory is super low.  Those that are on the market in our price range, need work.  Who in their right minds would want to pay 400,000 for something you are going to have to fix up to suite your middle class needs?

So we move out a couple miles, right?  Not so fast.  The problem changes the further you go out.  In Bothell, Kenmore, etc. there is a ton of new development going in and most of it is in the price range we are looking at, but the homes are built on zero lots, which means no yard and neighbors you could shake hands with through your window. No Thanks.  I don’t the investment in these types of homes– sure they look great now, but in 10 years, when the cabinets have aged and the tiles are cracked– who is going to want that at that price?

Now I am not knocking you if you have one of these– for me, I just can’t see myself living that close to someone and not having a bit of a lawn to take care of.  Some people just don’t want to take care of a lawn, I get that– but buy a condo!

The mixture of these two elements makes me leery to continue looking, but I know the problem is just going to continue to get worse as time goes on and as people get older and more people move here.  I just didn’t think that there would have to be so much compromise on our part to get us into something where we can start building a future for our developing family.

We just have to keep searching for our diamond in the rough.

at times travel, at times tidbits, mostly rambling…