Browsing Tag: holiday


    Our Minimalist Christmas Lighting

    November 29, 2012

    We don’t do outdoor Christmas lights at Casa McGee. At least not in the traditional, showy, make-the-house-bright-enough-to-be-seen-on-Mars way.

    It’s not that we don’t like Christmas lights; quite the contrary, and we drive around every Christmas eve and admire what other Tri-Cities homes have put on display. (Plus, we try to get over to Senske‘s amazing light production.)

    The reason we don’t do Christmas lights is that, several years ago, I was up on the roof at our old house and almost fell to my death while trying to connect a string of lights to the upper corner. And that was the end of me playing hero so we could have our house look like everyone else’s.

    What we do, instead, every year, is just change out the existing outdoor lamps from regular bulbs to colored bulbs. It looked nice at the old house, but I think it looks especially good this year at the new house. Don’t you?


    The more I look at it, the better it fits. I don’t think our new home would look right with the regular string of lights around the edges. But this minimalist look just feels perfect to me.

    Have I mentioned lately how much I love our new home?

    Tri-Cities, WA

    Fireworks Season … Anything Goes!

    July 5, 2012

    I really do love living in West Richland. Been here since 1998 and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in the Tri-Cities area.

    But for a few days each year, I can’t stand West Richland. It’s during the few days before and after July 4th. If not for the fact that I fear our house being burned down, I’d get out of town for Independence Day. I’d really prefer to not have to deal with the insane noise, the kids being unable to sleep, the dog going crazy with fear, the smoke, the constant sound of fire trucks and all the other hassles.

    West Richland has historically had the most lenient fireworks rules in the area, from what I understand. In addition to locals doing their own thing, people come into West Richland from other areas so they can play with explosives for hours on end (usually after a BBQ and beer at home — ain’t America grand? Drink beer then go play with explosives!).

    The city changed some of the fireworks laws this year, mainly reducing the days and times that fireworks are allowed to be used. From what I understand, they didn’t change what types of fireworks are allowed … or, if they did, then we need much better enforcement. Because just a few houses away from us, the neighbors were putting on a professional-grade fireworks show.

    West Richland fireworks

    West Richland fireworks

    Residential fireworks

    Yes, this is legal

    Seriously, that’s insane. When amateurs can shoot off pro-level fireworks at home, who needs to go down to the Columbia River for the big “River of Fire” event? There’s no difference.

    We had to deal with this, maybe 100 yards from our front door, from about 8:30 pm to midnight.

    End of rant/complaint. Here’s hoping the West Richland City Council sees the light and eliminates fireworks altogether inside city limits.


    Poor Sparky

    May 22, 2012

    My poor dog. He’s in for something different this Christmas, and I’m sure he’s going to hate it.

    See, I was shopping online for some dog-related supplies that we need and I was about a dollar short of qualifying for free shipping. A dollar!

    So I clicked into the CLEARANCE section of this website, and then sorted the results by price, with the cheapest items first. There were plenty of options, all of which would get me over the free shipping threshold.

    After a minute or two, I chose this:


    How awesome is that??!! Oh, he’s gonna be upset. Heck, even the dog in the photo above looks like he hates it. ROFL!

    Merry Christmas, Sparky!


    The Latest Reason Why My Son ROCKS

    December 14, 2011

    My son, Sean, turns 14 on Friday. (That’s him at right; he’ll probably be angry that I’m using his picture here, but at least it’s a great photo, right??!!) When we asked him to come up with a list of gift ideas a while ago, he said there wasn’t anything he really wanted this year. He had a few small things on his list, but those could also be Christmas gift possibilities.

    So Cari suggested that we could take the money we would’ve spent on gifts and instead donate it to charity.

    Sean said yes.

    How awesome is that??!!

    He decided that he wanted to donate to The ONE Campaign, but ONE isn’t a charity. It’s a lobbying organization and they don’t accept public donations.

    So the second choice, and the one we’ll be donating to in his name, is the African Well Fund. You know this group if you’re a U2 fan, but for the rest of you — the AWF is a charity started many years ago by U2 fans for the purpose of raising money to help build wells and get clean water to the neediest parts of Africa. It’s an amazing group of people doing great work, and I’m super happy that Sean chose the AWF.

    More specifically, we’ll be donating to a current project that aims to bring clean water to 30 schools in Malawi and Tanzania. It’s the first project listed on the AWF donation page. We don’t know exactly how much we’ll be donating yet, but that’s okay.

    I just think it’s really cool that a 14-year-old would eschew birthday gifts and instead give the money to those who need things more than him. And that’s the latest reason why my son rocks.


    Official: Thanksgiving is Dead

    November 22, 2010

    turkey-knifeFrom the Wall Street Journal today:

    “… an increasing number of stores are getting a jump on the Friday shopping hordes by opening on Thanksgiving. Some retailers say they are offering a convenience for shoppers who want to beat the madding crowds.”

    It was just about a year ago that I wrote this:

    Black Friday is Killing Thanksgiving

    That shows some Black Friday ads where the stores were opening at midnight Thursday night/Friday morning — as close as you could get to Thanksgiving without actually being Thanksgiving. I said this:

    “Thanksgiving — the holiday itself — is becoming an afterthought. Black Friday is killing it, and quick.”

    Well, now the WSJ says Sears is gonna open from 7:00 am to Noon on Thanksgiving. KMart will be open from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm. Old Navy, Gap, and Banana Republic will also have stores open on Thanksgiving. And there are others, too.

    And my promise is this: The McGee family won’t spend a dime at any of them between now and the end of 2010. Obviously not a big deal to anyone’s bottom line, but sometimes you gotta put your money where your mouth is.

    (photo courtesy NathanF via Creative Commons)