Thursday, July 27, 2006

Scout Camp

Stardate 59072.5
Patrick went to Scout camp at Camp Kiesel last weekend. The theme was pirates, and they did a small skit from Treasure Island. Patrick got to make a sailboat (from a fry box, drinking straw, and paper), learned to tie some knots, row a boat, shoot some arrows, and shoot a BB gun. We were there all day Saturday.

Friday was the school pool party at the Roy Aquatic center. Thomas had a number of friends show up, and so did Rachel. Patrick had one, which is unusual. They had a good time. We talked with another parent about getting Thomas and some of his friends in Cub Scouts as Tigers.

Sunday we finished the new floor in the room downstairs. The dog, in a fit of pique, had defecated all over the room about a month ago. We ripped up the carpet, and installed a ‘floating’ Pergo hardwood floor. Basically you put down the planks without glue. It looks pretty good for an amateur job. We still need to get the baseboards down, and then Rachel is moving down there. Her room will be the new playroom for a while. Patrick wants to move into that room, although Thomas does not want a room to himself.

After that, we went to see “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”. It was good, but I thought the first was better. I think because Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow is known, and not an off the wall thing as the first show. Depp got back into the character, though. It did answer the nagging question I had about Will Turner’s father. The ending was a little surprising. I won’t give it away, but it’s the movies and no one stays dead. It’s worth seeing.

Monday’s dinner with Dad fell in the same pattern. I ordered a Sizzler steak medium, and when I got it, it was red all the way through (almost raw in the middle). They did get it right the second time.

I saw an article on MSN about wireless washing machines. The idea is that it calls your cell phone when it’s done. I agree with one lady’s assessment that it’s an answer in search of a problem. I did get a laugh out of the idea of excusing yourself from a staff meeting because your appliance needs you, or having to instruct the machine to hand the load to the dryer and telling it you expect it done and folded by the time you get home.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hot weather

Stardate 59071.8
Hot weather is now here. It’s been in the triple digits the last few days. April and Rachel did a yard sale on Saturday, and netted $50. That’s not bad for a bunch of used books and videos. April shut down early because of the heat.

We took in a friends son for a week while she went out of town. Hans is a good kid, but his main source of entertainment is video games, and he took every chance he could to jump on Runescape.com. I had the firewall block it out from 10 PM to 10 AM just so he would not spend 24 hours a day on it. April had me take the PS 2 away as well, although I took pity on the sitter Monday and put it back.

Patrick had been staying over at a friend’s house before Hans came, and he came home pretty tired and moody. Thomas enjoys Hans, so he kept him going.

Wednesdays Ticonderoga meeting was a little disturbing. There was quite a bit of shouting and demanding information. If a little restraint and listening is shown, the meeting could get through faster and more efficiently, and the post-meeting gathering can commence sooner. Carl is borrowing from the scouts to deal with it (the hand in the air when silence is called for). I think stronger measures may be needed. April took the boys to a Raptors game, so Rachel was home alone and I didn’t go to the after meeting gathering.

Sunday April had a baby shower for a coworker, and I convinced the boys into seeing Superman Returns. I thought it was a good movie. Brandon Roush did a wonderful channel of Christopher Reeves. I would have liked a different villain from Lex Luthor, but oh, well. After that we went fishing at Bountiful Pond. I like the place, but it was too hot to stay long.

Monday’s I go out to dinner with my dad. He is not doing well this week. He did get his scooter fixed after a few go arounds with the manufacturer. The guy that came out to do the repair did a thorough job. He replaced the charger, and tightened the seats.

One small quandary: it seems like every week something goes wrong with the food service. One week my order is forgotten, the next week my dad’s steak is almost raw. Last week service took forever; a bottle of A1 required three requests and fifteen minutes. to get, and that was the fastest service. This week was almost right; Denny’s just didn’t get the requested side order right. It’s a bizarre pattern.

End of Entry

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Mt Rushmore Final

Stardate 59071.1
The next day of the trip we spent in Keystone, S.D. Think how Main Street in Park City looks, and you have a pretty good picture of Keystone. We did a round of miniature golf. It sufficient to say we all sucked at a course with steep hills. The Presidential Wax Museum was next to it, and the next stop. Not surprisingly, the boys were bored with it. They have wax figures of all 43 Presidents, as the billboard puts it “From George W. to George W.” They also have some famous Senators and other figures such as Sitting Bull, Custer, and Crazy Horse. There is even a death mask of Napoleon. April, Rachel, and I found it interesting. We then went panning for gold. This is a tedious, boring process, made difficult by the fact mica looks like gold from some angles. We did find a few flakes. We headed back to the Badlands campsite. I cooked dinner, and then built a fire to do smores on. Patrick went to blow out the flames on one marshmallow, and whipped it right into his nose. There was only a little burn, but it was a scary moment.

The next day we packed up and headed to camp in Custer State Park. We stopped at Wall Drug, advertised as the largest drugstore in the world. It’s more of a shopping mall to me. That evening we drove up Iron Mountain Road to a chuckwagon dinner. That was a mistake, because it took a lot longer than we thought, and we were late. The drive was beautiful, I just wish we could have enjoyed it more. There were wild burros on the way. We needed to get there by 4:00 to make the horseback ride, but didn’t make it until 4:20. They managed to get Rachel and I on horseback (Patrick decided not to go after seeing the size of the horses). Rachel’s horse was good, but mine didn’t want to do the ride. She tried twice to turn around, and stopped several times. It was fun anyway. Patrick did some shooting with a six-shooter that shot plastic caps. Dinner was beef, chicken and buffalo. Not the best, but good. We headed back, and just short of the park entrance a doe and baby were in the road. I ended up hitting the doe as she jumped in front of the car. There’s a dent in the front right quarter panel. The ranger station was closed for the night, but April told the camp host, who called the rangers. Patrick and I went fishing after we got back. He caught one, and a little later I handed my pole to April to hold so I could help Patrick get untangled, she caught one. The fish slipped off before we could get it out of the water.

Friday we started to head back. We did part of the wildlife loop, and saw some bison, antelope, and prairie dogs. We drove down through Nebraska and stopped at Sydney. Saturday, and Sunday were a somewhat leisurely drive back home. We got back Sunday morning around 11. The cat, toads, and hamster were still alive. I retrieved Leo from the pet boarding Monday as they were closed on Sunday. He was overjoyed to be home again.

End of Entry

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Mt Rushmore Days 3,4,5

Stardate 59070.4
Day three of the vacation we went to Reptile Gardens. It was interesting to me that the favorite attraction was the prairie dogs, and not the alligators, snakes, or other reptiles. The gator show was good, but the snake show was a little boring. It rained for about ten minutes just before. We then went to Bear Country USA. It’s one of those drive through wildlife places. We saw the elk, reindeer, mountain sheep, goats, wolves, and of course, the main attraction: bears. The bears wandered around the cars, and once they had to be chased away. There was a small zoo-like display you could walk thru with some bear cubs.

July 3rd we spent 12 hours at Mt. Rushmore. The long time was because of the fireworks that night. The parking lot filled up by 10 AM, and you had to get and hold seats early. So we were up at seven, a quick pancake breakfast at the KOA, and off. It went well, the kids got pictures with actors playing Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, except about 2 PM it started to rain. It really poured from 3:30 until almost 6. April had a plastic poncho, but we all got pretty soaked. The fireworks display was the best I’d ever seen. I heard that if it doesn’t rain, they won’t do the show because of the fire danger. In reality there is only enough there for 2 hours on any other day. The rain did one thing: I retreated with the kids (and hundreds of other people) to the exhibit hall to escape the rain, and the kids played cards with the kids next to them, and were laughing and having a good time. The only down side was leaving. We were expecting to be there a while as all the cars filed out. The unexpected was that the parking was underground, so the park rangers would not let anyone start their cars because of carbon monoxide. So we sat in a parked car for about an hour and a half. It was another hour and a half back to the KOA. We finally reached it at 1:30 AM.

Today was spent sleeping, mainly. It rained here for a while. The kids went swimming and rented some four-wheel bikes. We went to the Badlands later in the evening after having a good dinner at a local diner. April, Rachel, and Patrick went on a six mile hike in the back country. I was a little nervous that they would not make it back before dark, but they just did make it. Thomas got to see some wild rabbits.

The local town of Interior, S.D., had a pretty good fireworks show of their own.

I hope everyone had a great Fourth

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Mt Rushmore

Stardate 59070.1
We are on day two of a vacation to Mount Rushmore. We started out yesterday and made it to Casper. We stayed at a Holiday Inn. Not the best time, and it was a little pricey. Our room was by the door, and later that night someone was banging to get in. The hotel clerk called security. Then a big group made a lot of noise coming in. I got up around 7 in the morning to take a shower, only to find the toilet had flooded. So we cleared out pretty fast.

We drove to Custer State Park, and stopped to do paddle boats. We then drove up to Sylvan Lake, stopping a couple of times on the Needles Drive. Patrick did his usual climb up as high as I can routine. He went about 30 feet up the rocks. We stopped again to look over the valley. A man found a small bull snake, and kept hauling it out to the delight of the boys.

We are staying in a KOA outside of the Badlands National Park. The kids played baseball with a few other kids around camp.

It’s been a while since the last entry. I’ve been pretty busy and stressed with work.

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