Sunday, June 25, 2006

Great Day on the Peninsula Marred by a Horrible Accident

On Saturday we took a road trip to the Olympic Peninsula. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, and we got an early start, miraculously catching the 8:45 ferry to Bainbridge Island. We saw a peregrine falcon and an osprey circling around each other as we crossed the Agate Pass, and had lots of beautiful views of the mountains and Sound. Our ostensible destination was the Coast Guard air station at Port Angeles (Liam is really, really into all things Coast Guard lately, especially helicopters) but mostly we just wanted to get out of the city. The Little Guy and MicroMan were getting kind of restless, so we stopped at the Dungeness Spit just west of Sequim. We walked the beach, put our toes in the surf, and Liam and I caught a bunch of crabs in the tidepools on the east side of the spit. It was awesome. After a quick picnic, we continued east to Port Angeles.

The air base was pretty cool--it is at the far end of Ediz Point, which is another spit similar to the Dungeness, but unlike the wildlife refuge, this one has been heavily developed. In any event, they do not allow tours unless they've done a background check, and in any case they don't do them on the weekend. We were fortunate to see one of the Dolphin helicopters take off, and the security guard was extremely cool--he let us watch it take off from inside the base, which he wasn't technically allowed to do. He also gave Liam some candy and a "collector's card" showing one of the Pt Angeles Dolphins in action.

We loaded the boys up, re-stocked our water, caffeine, and snacks, and headed for home. Both boys zonked out in their car seats around 3:30, and we drove for about another half hour, talking with each other, and just enjoying the scenery.

That's when the accident happened.

We were heading south on 101, and Amy was driving. Suddenly, she had to put the brakes on hard--a white car, two vehicles in front of us, stopped very suddenly to turn left. The vehicle in front of us stopped in time, but Amy did not want to lock the brakes and wake the boys. So she pulled over to the shoulder, and we stopped adjacent to the car that was in front of us. The white car that was turning left completed the turn, and we were just about to continue on our way, when suddenly--BAM!!! We were rear-ended, hard. We could hear glass hitting the pavement and various pieces of debris falling around us.

Amy and I looked at each other, trying to process what had just happened. She pulled forward to get us across the intersection, and we both jumped out of the car to check on the boys, both of whom were now crying. They seemed fine--Liam said he was OK, so I left him in his seat to keep him away from traffic, and Amy took Lochlan out of his seat to check on him. I looked at the other vehicle, a two door Mercedes, which was totaled. The driver was an old man, and he kept saying he was sorry. He had three passengers--his daughter and two granddaughters. We made sure they got out of the vehicle and off to the side of the road, and then we exchanged information. A volunteer EMT who worked at the resort on the other side of the road came over to help. He phoned 911 and started checking everyone over. Before long there were 3 ambulances on the scene. Fortunately, our family was fine, but the passengers in the other vehicle had some injuries. After about 15 or 20 minutes, the old man (named Norman) sat down in the passenger seat of his car. He called out to the paramedics, and said he was experiencing some chest pain. Very shortly thereafter, maybe 30 seconds, he became unresponsive, and the paramedics and EMTs sprang into action. First they moved him out of his vehicle onto a stretcher, and we could see that he had lost control of his bowels. He did not appear to be breathing. All of this was happening in front of his daughter and granddaughters, who were understandably freaking out. By this time a WA State Patrol trooper was on the scene, and he tried to keep them calm, but it was pretty horrible. We learned later that he was airlifted to Harborview in Seattle, and probably did not make it. The doctor that we spoke with when our family was checked out said that he was 88 years old, he most likely had a ruptured aorta, which is very difficult to recover from.

Fortunately, our family was just fine, and our car was still driveable, so they released us from the hospital and we took the Kingston-Edmonds ferry. It was a long night, and we were all really sore and tired, but thankfully, uninjured.

Car accidents suck.

Father's Day

We had a great Father's Day this year--it coincided with the Solstice Fair, so we attended the parade on Saturday and checked out the Fair on Sunday. We grabbed a bite to eat at PCC, toured the art cars (here's a pic of my favorite) and took in lots of live music (they had at least 3 stages going simultaneously!). Liam & Lochlan gave me a card--with a little help from Amy--that included some stickers, one of which is affixed to my shirt. I really love being a Dad.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Fremont Bridge Approach Replacement Project Update

Things are progressing nicely on the Fremont Bridge project. They've closed off the eastern half of the bridge and torn down that half of the approaches. Consequently, all pedestrian and bike traffic has been shifted to the remaining walkway on the west side of the bridge, and it seems to be working pretty smoothly. It's only bad after a bridge opening, when there are dozens of peds and bikes trying to make it through the choke point on the north end of the bridge.

The best part of the construction is they are starting to implement some of the designs suggested by the Citizens' Advisory Group. It was particularly gratifying to see this sign, which is very close to the sketch that I made for the Parsons-Brinckerhoff engineers at one of the meetings two summers ago (the main difference is my drawing had a bicyclist in the middle of the yield sign). I knew there was a reason I was spending so much time under the artificial lights on those beautiful July days!

The Amazing Flying Toddler

While on paternity leave I went to Liam's gymnastics class. The boy can jump! (Kinda hard to tell in the photo, but he's about 2 feet in the air)

Holy Baby-Induced Time Vortex, Batman!

My goodness it takes a lot of energy (and TIME) to work forty hours a week and be an engaged parent of two boys, especially when one of them is just over a month old. Hence, the very light blogging since MicroMan (aka Lochlan) came on the scene. I shall try to remedy that, starting today! Here is a recentish photo of the wee lad, and another of the dynamic duo in the living room. My favorite part about the second photo? It almost looks like Liam pressed down on Lochlan, resulting in the dollop of goop that exited his mouth right before I took the picture. Sweet!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Bike to Work Day

Bike to Work Day happened the day after Lochlan was born. Obviously, I was not going to go to work, but Liam was awake and really wanted some attention from Mom. However, she really, really needed some uninterrupted sleep, so I packed up the boy on the Co-Pilot and we pedaled to the BTW festivities on the south end of the Fremont Bridge. It was a pretty impressive turnout, and I think it was exciting for Liam to see so many people on bikes in a familiar neighborhood. David Hiller spoke, and at the end of his remarks, he introduced our State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles who talked about cycling with a refreshing level of familiarity (in fact, she told the assembled crowd that she's even completed the Seattle-to-Portland ride!) and I was heartened to hear her point out that her district has the highest number of bicycle commuters in the entire state, and she expressed her continuing support for generously funding bicycle and pedestrian transportation projects in the district.

The best part of the morning for Liam, however, was the free donut, free water bottle, and free Clif bars!