May 2010

May pretty much turned out to be a good month.  Kate finished with Chemo and Radiation, her sister came for a visit, Brie came home twice and we did some interesting stuff.  Additionally, we can use the phrase "cold as hell" and "hot as hell" in the same newsletter.
Above, Will and his partner, Dave Lowenthal, came in second at a USTA Level 6 doubles match.  Below, Individuals, where the top players from the High School tennis teams compete for honors independent from their teams.  The matches were held at Wayland high school on a day that broke record low temperatures for May in New England... it was cold as hell.  Will is literally playing in a winter jacket, while Kate and Anne bundle up and use a thermal blanket as a wind shield.

Will wins his first match, loses his second in a third set tie break


Of course, ridiculously cold temperatures and Kate working from home most days while recovering from Chemo and Radiation treatments meant that our annual furnace inspection and cleaning had to take a sinister turn:

National Grid employee:  "Mr. Dickie, I'm afraid the combustion box on your furnace has cracked and flames are escaping into the internal air space."

Dave:  "Really?  Give me a worst case scenario."

National Grid employee:  "The demon lord Chuthlu appears from another dimension and sucks your brains out your eye socket."

Dave:  "And this is related to the furnace... how?"

National Grid employee:  "It's not, it's just a worst case scenario."

Dave:  "What's the worst case scenario for the furnace?"

National Grid employee:  "I declare it unsafe, shut it down, and you're without heat until you pay a small fortune to replace it."

Dave:  "And best case?"

National Grid employee:  "Ditto."

Turned out that doing the furnace and putting central air in the house were closely related (in that they both cost a lot of money), so we are doing both at the same time.  Below, the old furnace and the new furnace (the new furnace is obviously vastly superior because it's a much niftier color),

Below, our attic is no longer a storage area for anything other than a refrigerator sized heat exchanger and, right,  the slightly less massive but still pretty impressive outside condenser


Fortunately, we had company to appreciate the chilly mornings.  Kate's sister Anne flew out to visit for a couple of weeks, and Brie came home over mother's day weekend.

Below left, Brie and Tasha, right, dinner at Sprig's restaurant the day before Annie headed back (Brie was already back at RPI by then)

Visiting the Gardner Museum the day Annie flies back to CA


Below, the annual ABRHS Tennis Banquet.  Kate's done this for the past few years, and despite undergoing cancer treatments did a great job of organizing it this year as well. Will, as team captain, gets to come up and rag on Coach Kevin Curley (and did a great job speaking).  Brie, back for a four day stay at home before heading back to RPI for summer classes, hangs with some of her girlfriends from her stint as AB Girl's Tennis Team Captain during the prior year. 


Saturday, the 22nd, we attended a traditional Telugu wedding; we're not sure what that means other than it's Hindu, but it was more than interesting; fascinating would be apt.  The invitation read: "Mangalyam tantunanena mama jeevana hetuna: kanthe badhnami subhage twam jeeva sarada satam" which, loosely translated, means:

"This is a sacred thread. This is essential for my long life. I tie this around your neck O maiden having many auspicious attributes, but not so tightly it chokes you. May you live happily for a hundred years with me"

Which sounds kind of romantic, except maybe the auspicious attributes part, but did little to indicate how different the ceremony was going to be.  For instance, at one point (loose translation again) the Holy Man (Priest?) asks the Groom whether he wants to marry the Bride, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, etc etc (meaning "yada yada").  The Groom announces that he does NOT want to marry the bride; he wants to achieve total enlightenment, which is impossible with earthly attachments to other people, dish pan hands, and taking out the garbage every night.  Then he stands and exits stage left.  The entire wedding party and guests follow him out of the building (Chinmaya Mission) to the parking lot, where the Bride's brother holds up a strangely high tech, burnished aluminum umbrella and begs the Groom to marry his sister.  The Groom thinks about this for a bit, but again declares that nothing can compare to total enlightenment, not even a nifty burnished aluminum rain umbrella.  Then the Bride's parents rush in and offer to wash his feet.  This seems like a pretty good idea... the parking lot asphalt is kind of harsh on bare feet anyway... so, sure, it's only a short stop on the road to enlightenment, and the Groom will be lookin' good for the rest of the trip.  While he's sitting down, enjoying the foot washing and shade of the umbrella, the Brother and Parents plead with him, maybe pointing out that he could get a foot-washing every day if he had a wife, or maybe total enlightenment really, when you get down to it, doesn't compare favorably to having their very attractive daughter at his beck and call.  Finally, the Groom decides to postpone the search for total enlightenment to another lifetime, and everyone troops back into building to finish the ceremony. 


It was pretty cool to watch, and Dave convinced Venkat (the Groom) that he should Americanize his wedding a bit at the reception (which featured awesome Indian food) by mooshing cake in the Bride's face.  "It's an American way of indicating that the marriage will be a happy, fun filled one."  Bystander comment... "It's a way of making sure your Bride will be paying you back for the rest of your life."

Venkat and his Bride to be face each other


Sunday, the 23rd, we took Brie back to RPI, where she is taking some classes over the summer.  She's staying at a Frat House, Acacia, with another one of the young women from the tennis team.  While she and Kate unpacked, Dave had a chance to chat with a few RPIers that knew Brie, belonged to Acacia, were on the Tennis team, or all three.  The banter back and forth between them reminded Dave so much of the kinds of conversations he had with friends at RPI it brought a little tear to his eye...

(Glazier, from South Carolina) "MIT?  You go to MIT if you want to read books for a living, you go here if you want to build shit. This place is all about practical."

(Kim, a large, blonde girl from the tennis team) "Right, all about practical... says the MATH MAJOR!" (snorting prettily)

(Big Guy named Evan, Kim's boyfriend) "Heh, you know what the difference between a park bench and a math major is?  A park bench can support a family of four!" (laughter from everyone else)

(Glazier) "Oh, give me a break... it's not like I'm a physics major or something, math is universal, I can go into anything." (we're not going to follow that thread of conversation to where it was bound to go...)

Brie is staying in "The Dungeon" with her strange, karate-chopping Tennis teammate Scarlet.  Fortunately, the old days (Dave's days) at RPI when the drinking age was 18 are over and Acacia is a much more subdued, sober, and focused place than it was 30 years ago (note... Keystone Light?  What happened to Genny Cream Ale?)

Kate, Patric and Tasha are constant companions of the Boy's Tennis Team

And we close the month out with the final game of the season on May 26th for the AB High School Tennis team; win this game, they go to the post season for a shot at Division 1 North Champions.  If they lose, it's the end of the season.  This day set records across New England for high temperature; it was hot as hell (around 100 degrees).  AB verses Newton South, who had won 4-1 in a prior match.  At the end of the day, it was a 3-2 win for AB, with Will winning his match 6-4, 6-1.  Frankly, we think it was the coolers of iced Gatorade Kate put on the courts for the team that was the reason for this upset!