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Another refrigerator, the Exploratorium, and a movie

Valentine’s Day this year was pretty focused on the kids. MJ was traveling for work and the kids have really been getting into the idea of holidays lately, so it’s been fun to decorate with them and talk about what each holiday means and how we celebrate it. In the case of Valentine’s Day, that somehow meant hearts and chocolate, so we put heart decorations around the family room in the weeks prior, and then on the day of, in our matching t-shirts that Adam and I made a couple weeks before, I gave each of the boys a cardboard heart filled with chocolates. That evening I was surprised by a delivery of flowers and chocolates from MJ, which was a nice conclusion of the day.

In February we also gave up on our broken refrigerator. We bought it in 2019 to replace the old one that came with the house, so it was incredibly disappointing to have it stop functioning properly just four years after we bought it. A series of failed repair attempts by the warranty company over several months had really started adding up, until we were ultimately convinced that the repair was more trouble than it was worth, and likely more expensive than a whole new refrigerator. So, after about four months of basically living out of our chest freezer and a couple large mini-fridges (one which we already had, and a second that we bought), we bought a new full-size refrigerator. It turned out that Costco had the best deal on the best-fitting refrigerator for our budget and space, so we got got a Costco membership with the deal too and within a week we had a new refrigerator, hooray!

It’s been such a relief to have a functioning, full-size refrigerator. It’s absolutely something I took for granted, and there were a lot of things I wasn’t doing food and drink-wise due to how limited and unreliable our space was. It’s nice to have options again. And a few weeks in, the refrigerator seems to be doing fine. I’ve now cleaned out the small mini-fridges and unplugged them, so the next step will be taking them down to the garage.

I’m less convinced about the Costco membership. Even at this phase of our family-life, we simply don’t go through bulk amounts of food, so many of the options there just don’t make sense for us. I think we also just don’t eat a lot of the food they have at Costco on a regular enough basis. Still, we got a nice new set of pans at an excellent price, along with some new runner rugs for our downstairs that have needed to be replaced since we moved in six years ago. The store is also a bit overwhelming. We are bound by school/work schedules, so we end up there on the busiest day of the week, and the kids lose interest in shopping for bulk food rather quickly (or want to buy every non-food item we walk past). So it’s not a particularly enjoyable experience and I’m not sure it’s worth it.

Speaking of questionable worth, I replaced my Pixel Watch recently. There was nothing wrong with mine, but the opportunity arose for me to get the Pixel Watch 2 for free and it was too hard to pass up. Now that I’ve been using it for a couple weeks, I will concede that the battery life is better, which is nice, but I probably could have been perfectly happy with my old one for quite a bit longer.

Aside from visits to Costco, we’ve been keeping busy with little local jaunts and events. A local organization runs a series of “Comic Cons” throughout the region, and one came to Castro Valley recently. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was a nice day and even if it was a bust it was only $7 to get in and I thought Adam might enjoy it. They had a costume contest, but it seems like that was the only “event” and it was just a bunch of vendor tables selling art, toys, and various anime, science fiction, and game-focused merchandise. I’m not complaining, it was something that Adam enjoyed as he went through tables of toys, picked out some art from a local artist, and even saw a girl from his class at school. I’ll probably skip it next time, but it is nice to drop by these local type events from time to time.

The weekend before last we decided to head to San Francisco to visit the Exploratorium, a science museum on the Embarcadero in San Francisco. MJ and I had both been there a few times, but after the success of The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, we figured it was time to bring the boys to our own local hands-on science museum. We got our membership and grabbed some lunch at the cafe before doing a bit of exploring around the museum. The boys had fun, but it was getting to be mid-afternoon and we had planned on going to a free tulip event in Union Square. Thankfully, our au pair went to the tulip event first and warned us that it was very crowded with a long wait, so we decided to skip it.

Instead, we decided to fulfill a wish the boys had for a long time: taking a ferry! There are several commuter ferries that cross the bay, so we selected one that runs about every hour on weekends and would take us to Jack London station in Oakland. From there we could catch a short bus over to a BART station and go home. The ferry ride was a delight that we’ll definitely repeat, but the BART station was a bit of trouble as trains were expressing through while an “incident” was being handled by the police in another part of the station. We did manage to finally get a train and make it home.

Last week MJ and I took the rare chunk of time and went up to The Metreon in San Francisco and saw Dune 2 in 70mm IMAX together. We hadn’t seen a movie released in theaters together since before the pandemic, and even then I’d struggle to pinpoint the last time, maybe before we had kids? It was really nice to settle into a big theater and see a fun movie together, and Dune 2 was a perfect one for the IMAX. The worms and the explosions were very boom-y and made the most of the sound system there.

From there, I hopped on a flight to Pasadena for the Southern California Linux Expo, my first work trip of the year! And the beginning of several more to come in April.