It’s all begun again. Jenny and I have started pursuing another adoption, this time an international one through the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire). So far much has been the same as last time around - filling out paperwork, background checks, talking about my feelings - fun stuff. We’re getting to the point where we will be having a social worker come to the house to interview us, so we were explaining to Quinton what we were doing. Jenny explained it to him that he was going to have a new brother. He looked very confused and concerned and asked her, “is Ethan leaving?”
Jenny’s and my parents both came down to attend Ethan and Quin’s Grandparent’s day at their school. It’s sort of a special year since both Ethan and Quin are in school along with their cousins, Jenny’s sister’s boys. Since Quin and their youngest are in the same class, and Ethan and their oldest are in separate classes (three classes in all), Ethan hatched a plan where the Kelchen boys could have their other grandparents be with the eldest Kelchen boy, Jenny’s parents could hang out with the youngest Kelchen and Quinton, then my parents could hang out with Ethan. A fool proof plan if I’ve ever heard one! Well, that wasn’t how things ultimately panned out…
Anyway, while my parents were down, they were helping the boys get ready for school or something. My dad recounts the conversation better than I could, so here I present my first ever guest auther - my dad, Glen Grady:
Last Tuesday morning, while we were getting ready for the Grandparents Day Mass at your house, Quinn was looking for his DSI- whatever that is. I was helping him look. We went down in the basement to the laundry room to look- when we were down there someone flushed the toilet and I pointed to the pipe and told him that that was where the water from the toilet and bath tub drained out- he looked at the furnace and saw the gas line and asked if that was the same thing- I told him that that was where the gas came in to burn in the furnace. He looked thoughtfully at me and said- you know Grandpa, if you have a fire in the house you are suppose to get on your hands and knees and crawl out of the house and not get up until someone tells you to. I asked him if he learned that at school- he said, “yes, a policeman came and told them that- and he didn’t say “you’re under arrest.” I think big brother has been talking to our little Quin.
Quinton the Worker
Last weekend, Jenny and I ran in our first half marathon together. Let me explain - we’ve both run them before, but never at the same time, and never together. Probably not that important… Anyway, my parents were again in town to watch Ethan and Quin while we punished ourselves on the cold highways of Lake Mills. When we got home, my mom recounted the story where Quin had hung his own poster. When she told me about it, I immediately thought back to a couple of nights before when an Angry Birds poster showed up on his bed one night as I was tucking him in. I remember him telling me that he wanted to hang it up, and he clearly pointed to the exact spot on the wall where he was going to put it.
As mom recounts the story, Quin got out his toolbox that his other grandparents had gotten him earlier, complete with a plastic hammer, plastic wrench, and plastic, but mechanized drill. Mom said that he somehow came up with some nails (I assume from some other picture he took down from elsewhere in his room), then sized up the wall, took his plastic hammer, and somehow managed to hang the poster up all by himself. When he finally showed up while mom was relating the story, he got very excited and immediately took me upstairs to show me his handywork. I must admit, I was impressed - he did a very good job, and it was only slightly crooked. He then proudly told me that he was a “worker” and that was what he wanted to be when he grows up.
As I’ve no doubt written before, Ethan’s favorite time of year is Halloween. November 1st marks the first day of planning for the next Halloween, typically. He helps everybody plan out their costumes. Quin rarely has to pick out his own costume as his big brother will tell him exactly what he should be (he was Spiderman this year, incidentally). In the past, Ethan has been your typical popular character - Spiderman, The Hulk, A Clone Trooper (twice), Darth Maul (which was actually very cool), but each year his excitement was clearly at a much higher level than mine was with regards to his costume. That was until this year.
The plan started hatching sometime in early to mid September. Ethan must have discussed his plan with my mother, because one day when they came to visit us, she showed up with our old accordion. At the time I wasn’t sure what it was for - I assumed it was part of her sneaky plot to trick her grandchildren into taking all of her old stuff into my house so she could clean her attic. But this was for some grander vision. When Ethan saw what it was, he let me in on the plan - he was going to be Weird Al. More specifically, he was going to be a UHF era Weird Al.
Most of you that know me are aware that I am a very big Weird Al fan. Jenny has often complained that she has been to more Weird Al concerts than she has been to all other artists’ concerts combined. Well, that fandom has clearly rubbed off on my oldest, who has also now been to a concert, has memorized large chunks of his only feature film (UHF), and has now decided that he was going to dress as him for Halloween.
He meticulously planned out each phase of the costume. Granted, it wasn’t that hard. With the accordion secured, all he needed was a wig, some glasses, a fake mustache, and a Hawaiian shirt. After a trip to the costume store and Goodwill, his raw materials were assembled, and he was ready. When Halloween night finally came, he got into his costume, and I think I may have actually cried a little bit when I saw him. Honestly, I think he could one day be elected President of the United States and I wouldn’t be prouder than I was of him at that moment.
We took a series of pictures as we typically do. One of the photos turned out well enough that I sent it to Al himself. In this day of social networks, it’s easy to get something out there and potentially in front of that individual. Al has literally hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers, so I can only imagine the noise that he must get on that account, but somehow, some way, he picked Ethan out of the crowd and included him in his series of “Best Costumes of 2012.”
Editor’s note - it seems the photo evidence of this has been lost to internet history, but rest assured he was selected.
Recognize the handsome devil in the lower left? OK, so when I said I couldn’t be prouder, I guess I was wrong. Now he’s been validated by the Weird one himself. NOW I couldn’t be prouder!