Monday, September 29, 2008

Bee Story (not the movie!)

Part 1: Morning Drama

This morning Mikayla came out of her room at about 6:45 a.m. to announce that she was just stung by a bee. A real bee. Not the cute little animated kind from the Bee Movie. This is real.

Apparantly there was (or had been) a bee in her room. For some reason it decided that she was not the type of flower it was looking for and decided to sting her on the upper arm. Mikayla is not allergic to bee stings. Well, she didn't used to be allergic to bee stings.

We doctored up her injury (no stinger to remove) and were ready to resume our usual get-ready chores when she threw a cough at us and said that her face felt all tingly.

If you are familiar with the medical history of this family you should know that these symptoms could indicate an allergic reaction could be in motion.

Dr. Tanya jumped into action to administer the Claritin and her Asthma inhaler as a precaution. Of course we had everything we needed on hand.

Tanya isn't really a Doctor. She just plays one in real life.

With that taken care of, Tanya decided to call an actual Doctor to find out what we should do (officially). The Doctor (on call) returned our call a short time later and said we should give her Clariton and use her inhaler. Groovy. She also suggested we keep her home as long as possible to monitor her for changes before taking her to school.

No further symptoms showed up... but we'll probably end up with an Epi-Pen for her to carry around. Pretty soon we'll just be buying these in Bulk from Costco.

Part 2: Afternoon Drama

While trying to diagnose some IT issues at work, wishing my tech-savy spouse was on-site, my cell phone rings. It's Tanya.

I hear frantic reports that we have bees in the house and the are coming out of the upstairs heating ducts.

My course of action is quickly assigned by the dipatcher (you all know who that is!): Coat the ducts with bug spray and erradicate any or all insects from the attic.

This is a priority. Right after soccer.... and after stopping to buy pasta sauce... and eating dinner... and cleaning up.

Part 3: Evening Drama

Once at home, I convinced the family that I would likely survive a trip into Mikayla's room to investigate how many bees were present and to finalize the erradication plans.

No bees were evident upon first inspection.

Mikayla peered into her room from the hallway.

The scenario played out a little bit like this:

Mikayla (M): Dad, the bee went up there (motions to the ceiling where the heating duct is).
Dad (D): The Bee?
M: Yes!
D: The. Bee. ????
M: Yes!
D: How many bees came out of the duct?
M: I saw one crawl in there!
D: One. Uh huh. (Peers in through the grate, sees nothing, hears nothing).

I head out to gas up Tanya's ride and to get Weapons of Mass Destruction for bees.

My purchases included all the essentials for a full assault:

  • Raid Wasp & Hornet spray (shoots 25 feet!!!) for the nests that might be in far corners of the attic... or at least for the 10 nests that I know are under the eaves outside the house
  • Raid Flying Insect Killer for Indoors (for close up assaults in proximity of living quarters
  • Indoor Foggers (box of 3)
  • A yellow fly swatter (for Alexia)
  • A pink fly swatter (for Mikayla)
  • A bag of spearmint candies (because I ran out at work)
  • A bottle of Gatorade (because I'm hiking on Sunday)

Once back home I issued the fly swatting equipment to M & A. Hopefully my directions were clear:

  • Only use these on bugs.
  • Do not use these to touch your sister or you will lose your privledge of defending yourself against flying insects.
  • If you squish it, you clean it.
  • If an insect is on someone's body you must wait for it to move before using the fly swatter.
  • If an insect is on something fragile you must wait for it to move before using the fly swatter.
  • There are no second chances.

The kids were torn between the excitement of owning a fly swatter vs. the perception that the attic is filled to the brim with bees.

The Assault Begins

This is a 3 part plan.

  • Phase 1: Heating Ducts
  • Phase 2: The Attic
  • Phase 3: Outdoor hives under the eaves.

Attack 1: Heating Ducts

The plan was to remove the upstairs heater vents, scout around them for evidence of bees, spray some of the 'indoor' bug spray into each vent and then cover each vent with plastic for a day or two.

I proceeded to remove the heating vents from the ceiling on the 2nd floor. I had quite an audience: they were ready and willing to help, but also ready to leave me in a heartbeat if anything went wrong.

Only 1 of the 8 vents had anything exciting. The vent in Mikayla's room did actually have one solitary, live (albiet inactive) yellow jacket. Chances are that this is the same one that stung her this morning. A quick blast of Raid and a fly-swatter gurney ride to the toilet sent him on his merry way.

Phase 1 is complete and considered a success.

Phase 2: The Attic

I had to drag the pool ladder upstairs to reach the attic access panel. We quickly located two small nests a few feet away. Unfortunately this implies there are probably quite a few more up there as well.

Mikayla had to have herself a look. Here she is, armed with a headlamp, fly swatter and curious determination.

We rigged up a plastic cover for the attic access and then sprayed the hives, knocking both of them off the roof. Yellow Jackets started to fly so we taped up the barrier and ran for safety.

Tomorrow we'll resume the attack on the attic, if time allows.

Tune in for more exciting adventures...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Weekend in Review

It's been a busy few days.

Here's the Reader's Digest Version for those of you who are as busy (or more busy) than we are.

Tanya: Work & Scrapbooking @ Lynne's.
Eric: Work & Risk Management
Alexia: School & Stunt Driver Training
Mikayla: School & convince Alexia to ride a bicycle up & down the sidewalk while towing Mikayla on rollerblades, hanging onto a jump rope tied to one side of the bicycle handlebars.

Tanya: Baby Shower for Aimee, watch Alexia's soccer game, wait for hot chocolate at Denny's that never arrived. Spill stuff.
Eric: Fill in rabbit holes underneath patio slab, reinforce underground Rabbit pen fencing, assist kids with helmets, pads & rollerblade issues, confiscate jump ropes, locate invisible youth-sized soccer uniform and cleats, coach Alexia's soccer team, mow yard, plant grass, family Walmart excursion, dinner at Denny's.
Alexia: Breakfast. Dawdle. Breakfast again. Rollerblade. Ask dad to stop work on the rabbit pen to make scrambled eggs. Rollerblade again. Lunch. Ride bicycle. Insist that Soccer Uniform is nowhere to be found. Refuse to be goalie. Play great soccer. Buy a new book at Walmart. Dinner at Denny's & bed.
Mikayla: Breakfast. Crochet a snake. Ask dad to tie snake string. Tells dad to not touch her string until he washes his hands. Rollerblade. Lunch. Rollerblade. Watch soccer game. More snake crocheting & bike riding. Tag along on family excursion to Walmart. Dinner at Denny's.

Tanya: Spill stuff. Teach Sunday School. Lunch. Shopping. Spill stuff. Throw fit. Library. Gabe's Birthday Party in Everett.
Eric: Make Sunday School preschoolers feel smart. Help Mikayla with Sermon Notes for confirmation. Lunch. Weed. Water new grass. Assist kids with rollerblade equipment. Clean Rabbit cage. Clean up spilled cat food off bathroom floor. Go to Gabe's birthday party.
Alexia: Sunday School (and recognized for her recent birthday). Color during church. Snack. Lunch. Clean guinea pig & hamster cages. Rollerblading biking. Gabe's birthday party. Read a book.
Mikayla: Confirmation. Church. Snack. Lunch. Clean guinea pig & hamster cages. Rollerblade. Library. Gabe's Party. Work on topographical map of Hershey Island for school.

We had some good times and we had some less than good times.
We're starting another busy week. I'll try to keep better track of the blog-worthy events that seem to cross my path every day.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Exclusive Dog Show Videos - Never before seen footage!

If you read the previous post, you know that we've spent a lot of time with dogs in the last few weeks. Here is some more detailed information about the two exciting dog shows that we just participated in.

Washington State Fair Dog Show (Puyallup, 2008)
Mikayla and Josie won the Reserve Junior Champion award to qualify for the Championship. The secret to success in this event is all about how you handle your dog. It's also important to refrain from laughing at other dogs.
Note the care that is exercised when handling the canine.

The above video is a clip of Mikayla and Josie entering the Showmanship ring and getting 'stacked'. I'm not kidding - that's a real dog show term. Near as I can tell, "Stacking your dog" involves carefully positioning the paws into some sort of alignment followed by distracting the dog with treats while the handler lifts the dogs tail and prays that the dog doesn't notice. When the dog does happen to notice, then you get to start all over.

You may be disheartened to know that I had difficulties in getting video for the "three minute stay" portion of the Dog Obedience show. Maybe next year.

Mount Vernon Invitational Dog Show (September 2008)
The Rolfs family hosted the first annual Invitational Dog Show for selected citizens considered to be both good natured and animal loving. Participants also had to meet other stingent eligibility requirements:
  • Younger than 12 years old
  • Able to handle leashed stuffed animals without fear
  • Slightly germ-o-phobic
  • Partially OCD about something or another

This show involved an agility course which required the dog (and sometimes the handler as well) to proceed through a tunnel, weave through a number of poles, jump over a raised bar and then sit in a 3 foot square area.

Here is some footage that was confiscated from a paparazzi who managed to bypass security to get this video just as the show was concluding. Be sure to note the degree of care that is being exercised while handling these canines. Clearly this agility course is only for hearty breeds and agile handlers.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Whirling Dervishes

We did it at a trot.
We did it at a gallop.
We sat in the dog barn all day, just for the halibut. (You know what I mean).

Yep... we did the Puyallup.
We also celebrated Alexia's birthday.
Then we did the Puyallup... again.

Lots of Birthday partying. Dog theme, complete with stuffed animal outdoor dog show using the agility course. Look at that poodle jump! Aargghh - ye landlubbers be walkin' the plank next yar!

From TEAM Rolfs

From TEAM Rolfs

Lots of dog showing and awards.

From TEAM Rolfs

From TEAM Rolfs

From TEAM Rolfs

Lots of dogs (well, they were in the dog barn so I'm assuming they're dogs).

From TEAM Rolfs

From TEAM Rolfs

From TEAM Rolfs

Lots of family time.

From TEAM Rolfs

From TEAM Rolfs

From TEAM Rolfs

From TEAM Rolfs

Congratulations to Alexia for surviving the multi-week birthday parties to celebrate her 8 years of spiritedness. Hopefully you enjoyed your 'on the road' birthday party / hotel continental breakfast with the solitary birthday candle in her Belgium waffle. We reminded her about how she woul sing her own embellished Birthday song when she was younger: it always ended with "ezzzzry buddy blow"! Using the cursor you can highlight the area within the following quotes to see the secret translation: " Everybody Blow ! "
Congratulations to Mikayla for all of her success and dedication that allowed her to win the Junior Showmanship Reserve Champion award during her first year of 4-H. It was a long and trying few days that I think she also found to be very fun and rewarding.

Congratulations to Tanya for putting up with the rest of us through all the good times and the not-quite so good times (and believe me, there were a few).

What we learned:
  • Alexia learned that the 4-H Leader of our club did not actually write the "Do The Puyallup" song. She probably feels the same way I did when I learned that our Pastor was not actually God.
  • Mikayla learned that it's tough work to train dogs, but it's also rewarding and fun (most of the time).
  • I learned how to follow directions from the 4-H judge... and I got to publicly prove that I do know which way is left and which way is right. I figured I had at least earned a red ribbon for my performance, but apparantly not.
  • I also learned that you can't put a folding chair in front of a fire extinguisher. Actually, I learned that you can't even think about putting a chair in front of the extinguisher because the Dog Barn Nazi watches me like a hawk. That chair hadn't even hit the ground before she was on the public address system reminding everyone "YOU CAN'T BLOCK THE FIRE EXTINGUISHER!".
  • Also, courtesy of the Dog Barn Nazi "DON'T STEP OVER THE CHAINS!! IT'S A SAFETY HAZZARD!" C'mon... I was just stretching my leg - I wasn't really going to step over that low chain to save myself 25 steps.
  • Mikayla learned that just because a smoothie costs $4 doesn't mean it's going to taste good.

Thanks Dad, Margie & Rachel for taking the time and effort to join us at the fair. Too bad you didn't get to see Mikayla perform live.

Thanks Nana & Poppy for visiting and entertaining Alexia for a few hours and I hope you had a great Birthday Steve!

Thanks Tory, Dawn Gavin, Aleigh, Sarah, Nick and Alyssa for also coming to see us at the fair.

Thanks Sarah (the 4-H Sarah) for entertaining Mikayla throughout this event.

Thanks Tanya for finding my sunglasses. Woo Hoo! Another crime solved before dinnertime!!

Hopefully things will start to slow down a bit now so we can stop running around like Whirling Dervishes.

I may be able to get some related videos up in the next week or so.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

You can do it at a trot, you can do it at a gallop...

You can do it at a trot
you can do it at a gallop
You can do it real slow so your heart don't palpitate...
just don't be late...
do the Puyallup!

Come see us at the Puyallup Fair on Friday, Sept 19th, 2008!
One of us will surely always be in the Dog Barn... all day. 10am to 10pm.

Wish Mikayla the best of luck in showing the dog!
Wish Alexia a Happy 8th Birthday!
Be sure to participate in Talk Like A Pirate Day, ye swashbuckling bilge rat!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Rolfs Slang (PBM Volume 1)

PBM's = Pre-Blog Memories
When there is little to write about (or the stuff I want to write about is simply too embarrasing to post on the itnernet) I'll try to share a story from our life before we started this blog.


When Mikayla was very young (preschool age or so) she would often insert the letter 'B' into her words. We don't know why... she just did.

Here are a few of our favorite variations that she frequently used:

Emily (her preschool BFF) = Embily (as in "When is Embily's birthday party?")

Sore Throat (too many of those) = Brrr-throat (as in "My Brrr-throat Hurts")

Remote (as in TV Remote) = Brrrrmote (kind of rhymes with her Brrrr Throat)


Alexia developed a few of her own slang terms, but didn't seem to favor any particular letter. For example, the other morning she woke up and announded "My nose is snuffed up".

Tonight at dinner a sequence of events transpired that led her to announce "You smell it, you dealt it!". Obviously that was a misinterpretation of something she heard earlier.


Tanya likes to use the term "window seal" instead of "window sill". We're not sure why but it makes us laugh.

It's funny how the little things can make us laugh. Sometimes we even laugh at the calendar (which you know I'm not allowed to write on).


Of course, I always pronounce everything correctly, but I tend to have issues with remembering who is who. Surely you've heard the story of the guy named Burt who I accidently called Ernie.

It might have been the other way around, but I really can't remember.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Completely normal.

Busy, busy busy.

Not a lot to say right now - not because things are dull or uneventful but because we've just been so busy with the traditional beginning of school schedule changes and such.

Tanya continues to work on her district website (did you read the earlier post?), educate her 1st grade class on their schedule and keep the rest of the family organized, on time and entertained. She's managing it all quite well - even with a cold and sore throat. Hang in there baby doll!

Mikayla has been doing a lot of swimming: swimming in 6th grade homework, State Fair preparation, Confirmation classes and also her swim team training. She's managing it all quite well - even with an injured foot. Her foot injury occured Monday morning when she managed to step on a fingernail sized piece of glass (from a broken bowl) in the kitchen.

Dr. Dad applied his wilderness first aid skills (obtained from watching Man vs. Wild and Macgyver episodes) to extract the glass and stop the overly dramatic flow of blood long enough to hustle her off to school on time. Once at school she had the nurse take a look at it and confirm that we could avoid stitches. She hobbled along on Monday and Tuesday but we opted to visit the local Urgent Care when it appeared to be all bruised and periodically bleeding. The real Dr. took a look and gave us the same opinion... no stitches... just needs some healing time.

I gave myself a pat on the back after that appointment.

Alexia has also been busy since school has started. She's enjoying her 2nd grade class, Girl Scouts, birthday party planning and playing soccer. Her birthday slumber party is coming up this weekend - activities include a dog show and probably other canine capers but I noticed that there aren't any pirate events planned.

Alexia is now also the "Dog Boss" in the morning - she's in charge of making sure the dog has received adequate bathroom breaks before we leave for the bus. I'm pleased to report she takes her morning jobs very seriously and dutifully completes her chore chart daily. Most of the time she does a fantastic job of being her own boss on weekday mornings.

In case you don't know, Alexia likes to be the boss (hmmm.... sounds like someone else I know). Chances are pretty high that the neighbors also know that Alexia likes to be the boss. Probably they figured this out the other day when Alexia and I were having a difference of opinion and she announced (repeatedly & loudly... with all the windows open) that "YOU AREN'T THE BOSS OF ME!".

That's about it for now. I'm keeping busy with work and coaching Alexia's soccer team.

We are all looking forward to all the exciting events just around the corner:
  • Alexia's Soccer game on Saturday (in Burlington)
  • Alexia's Birthday Party Saturday night
  • Hiking on Sunday (hopefully with sun)
  • Puyallup Fair on the 19th (next Friday)
  • Alexia's Birthday (also on the 19th)
  • Talk Like a Pirate day (yep- also on the 19th - don't let me forget!)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

What's in a name?

Just the other day Alexia came storming into our bathroom, announcing (ok - tattling) to Tanya that her sister was calling her names.

Certainly there is nothing new with that... it clearly happens more often than we would prefer. For those of you who have kids, you already know that it's important to determine the 'actual' events vs. the 'embellished' events.

This situation could almost qualify to become it's own CSI episode... well, ok, it's nothing like that.

Have no fear! Tanya is on the case and ready to "solve any crime by dinnertime"!

Tanya began the basic fact-finding interrogation to determine if this is a situation that needs to be addressed or whether it will just resolve itself in the near future. The questioning probably went something like this:

Tanya (T): Really? Your sister called you a name?
Alexia (A): (Indignant, annoyed and hoping to cause trouble) Yes!!!
T: Oh. What happened?
A: I was trying to get into the bathroom and sister started calling me names!
T: Where is your sister?
A: She's in the bathroom!
T: Oh. Hmm... what name is she calling you?
A: Everytime I try to go in the bathroom she calls me a word.
T: What word?
A: (Exasperated & sighs) Here! Let me show you!
Alexia storms out to the other upstairs bathroom and knocks loudly on the door.
Mikayla (M): Occupied!
A: Knocks loudly on door again.
M: Occupied!
A: (to Tanya, frustrated) See!?!

Good Job Tanya on solving the case of the Mysterious Water Loo Whisperer. Those hours of watching the Olson Twins Musical Mystery videos have really come in handy!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sweet Dreams

Sometimes I fall asleep almost immediately after going to bed. Sometimes it takes a little longer.

Sometimes I have dreams that I remember and I probably have a lot that I don't remember. Sometimes those dreams are happy, sometimes they are unusual, sometimes they don't make sense and once in a great while they are a bit scary.

While I'm not a sleep expert, it's my understanding that this is pretty typical for a lot of people.

Last night, however, something unusual happened.

In the middle of the night I was awakened by uncontrollable laughter. Not my own laughter... it was Tanya's laughter.

Apparantly, she had a dream that was so funny it sent her into a laughing fit that continued for... well, I'm going to say at least 15 minutes - followed by periodic subsequent outbursts as she would lose control once again.

She did her best to describe the image that she had dreamed about and while I think I can picture what she described... it didn't have quite the same effect on me and I was ready to resume my restful slumber.

If she's going to wake me up in the middle of the night then it may as well be with laughter, right honey?

Here's a picture from Dec. 2000 of the gals sleeping late. My little angels.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Day 'o Photos

It was a big day for TEAM Rolfs as the girls headed back to school after a summer of adventure and fun.

Tanya was kind enough to hand me a list of suggested photo opportunities that I might happen to come across while getting the kids situated. I did my best, but amongst shoes that suddenly don't fit, fleece pullovers that just can't be worn over silky shirts and the sheer embarrassment of having your photo taken in public, my photos didn't achieve all the mandatory objectives.

Can you spot the serious defects in these pictures? Answers below.

Picture A:

Picture B:

Picture C:

Picture A is troublesome because why would someone want their first day of school picture taken when you can't even see the ensemble they wore? Next year the girls won't be allowed to wear coats on the first day of school.

Picture B simply has too much shrubbery in it.

Picture C simply doesn't have enough shrubbery in it.

It's a good thing I just do this for fun.

Mikayla started 6th grade and Alexia started 2nd grade.

Both made a couple of new friends and reported having a great time.

I am pleased to announce that everyone successfully rode the correct bus on the way home - and got off at the proper stop.

1 down and only 179 more mornings to go until summer.


Tanya took Mikayla to 4-H with Josie while Alexia went to soccer practice, followed by team photos.

Hopefully the professional photos turn out better than the one we received a few years ago where the back row of players appeared to be missing their arms. Here is a (really crappy) scan of that one:

If, by some chance, we ever end up needing additional pets, I'm going to propose we get some of these cool fainting goats.