The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

May 26, 2008

I Think My Family Has a Drinking Problem

Filed under: Family — Tags: , — Brian Lutz @ 9:24 pm

(or, the VanderHoeven Machine Versus the Soda Machine)

Often on holidays, my Mom’s family (several members of which have Blogs of their own that can be found in the links to the right of this post) will have a big get-together at my Aunt Pam’s house.  These gatherings always involve large quantities of food, and if you hang around for long enough something interesting is bound to happen.  Nonetheless, I think I’ll go ahead and leave the details of the “stand in a bucket of ice water” contest to someone else (edit:  Sure enough, Chris blogged it) to cover since I tend to value my extremities too much to participate in such an event.

Eventually, as things began to settle down later in the afternoon, someone came to the realization that the combination of french fries and the previously mentioned shenanigans had resulted in a severe shortage of ice with which to make ice water.  To remedy the situation, my uncle Mike was sent out to retrieve a couple more bags of ice from the nearby AM/PM.  Shortly afterward, he came back with not only the ice, but also with one of their huge 64-ounce sodas containing the highly prized crunchy ice.  When everyone saw this, they promptly forgot all about the ice water, and suddenly everyone wanted one of these things.  Orders were passed around, and before we knew it, my cousin Chris was dispatched to retrieve the sodas.  Since I’m far too indecisive to decide what I want without actually seeing the choices available,  I decided to tag along.  After making the drive over, we began filling in the various orders:


A combination of a slight rebellious streak and the inability to find anything I really wanted out of twenty (well, nineteen if you count the out-of-order one) choices led me to choose an Icee instead.  Before we knew it, we had acquired 3 1/2 gallons of various sodas, and the realization was beginning to dawn on us that we might just have a slight logistical problem on our hands here.  Appealing to the lady behind the counter for help procured us a couple of those drink holder things, which naturally proved woefully inadequate for the task at hand.  Clearly another solution was needed.  Looknig around the store, someone was finally able to locate a half-empty box of Gatorade bottles, which was quickly re-appropriated as an improvised drink-hauler:

Surpringly enough, the whole case of soda (and one rebellious Icee) ended up costing less than twelve bucks (if only gas was that cheap.)  All that was left now was to figure out how to get everything back to the house without any disastrous spillage along the way.  With some rearranging of stuff in the car we managed to get the box of soda shoved into the front seat, although I do have to confess that the drive back to the house might not have been the most comfortable ten minutes I’ve ever spent in a moving vehicle.  At least I wasn’t rhe one driving.

Luckily, we managed to get everything home mostly intact.  My Mom and I decided to leave shortly after this, which was probably a good thing, because with the sheer quantity of soda going around the place it was going to be just a matter of time before people had to start signing up for appointments to use the bathroom…

A Tour of Crossroads Bellevue – Part 1: The Mall

Filed under: Bellevue, Malls, shopping — Tags: , , — Brian Lutz @ 12:28 am

Note:  This is the third in an ongoing series of posts profiling the shopping malls found in the Seattle area.  The previous posts in this series can be found below:

For those of you out there who have been wondering when I would get around to actually finishing up my profile of Crossroads in Bellevue, rest assured that I have actually been working on this for some time now.  The main reason that I have delayed this is that I have not been able to settle on an appropriate format for this.  Crossroads is a very different place from the two malls that I have previously profiled on the site, and just taking a few photos and putting them up with some comments (as I have done previously) would not do the place justice.  Because of this, I have decided that a better approach would be to split this up into four parts, since there is a lot of material to cover here.  Tentatively, this is how I plan to do this:

  • Part 1: The Mall (this post)
  • Part 2: The Stores and the Restaurants
  • Part 3: What’s the Secret?  (What is it that has allowed Crossroads to succeed where other malls have failed?)
  • Part 4:  A History of Crossroads (I haven’t been able to find a whole lot of info on this yet; any help that could be provided would be appreciated here.)

In many ways, the story of Crossroads Mall is similar to that of the Totem Lake and Factoria Malls.  All three are relatively small malls designed for a similar mix of stores (although Crossroads is about a decade older than Totem Lake and fifteen years older than Factoria,) and all have faced similar challenges.  There is one major difference that distinguishes Crossroads though:  Where other similar malls in the area have foundered and failed, Crossroads has thrived, witha low vacancy rate and a strong base of shoppers.  This has not always been the case though.  When the current ownership took over the Crossroads Mall in 1985, it was largely vacant and considered to be a failed shopping center.  Since that time, a unique approach to retail has evolved Crossroads into something that is less of a conventional shopping mall and more of a gathering place for the community that just happens to be located in a mall, with a unique mix of tenants you won’t find anywhere else.  If you’re looking for designer label fashions, high-end housewares and four-star cuisine, Crossroads isn’t the place to look.  On the other hand if you’re looking for unique yet affordable food, stuff to do and a place to spend a Friday evening without breaking the bank, Crossroads is the place to go on the Eastside.  In this series of posts we will take a look at Crossroads, and what has made it a success where other malls have failed.  After the jump, a tour of the Crossroads Mall property. 

(Please note that this post contains a lot of pictures, and it may take some time to load if you are on a slower Internet connection.)


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