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Monthly Archives: August 2015
The Claw… A story of a lie
This lie we tell to Bang started small, kind of like a snowflake. However, it has grown into a fairly large and complicated tale much like a snowball turns into snowman’s head. You see, many months ago Bang notice a missing tile in the ceiling at Walmart. He asked why. Now, 99% of the time, I give him the truth.This, however, was the 1%. Bang was going through this whining phase (he hasn’t quite passed all the way the through it yet) so when he asked why there was a hole I told him, “That’s where the claw comes down to pick up kids who whine.” It worked. He stopped whining. In the grocery store he asked if there was a claw. Of course, because if it works in Walmart it will work in the grocery store, too. The air ducts are the tubes the whiny kids go through. “Then where do they go?” he asked. They get dropped into the dumpster that’s out back. “Then what?” Then the garbage truck comes to pick them up. This happen at every store. They all have claws.
One day he asked to go see the dumpster behind the grocery store to see where the whiny kids go. So we took him. Lo and behold there was the dumpster. We laughed when we noticed that the dumpster had a tube connecting it to the building. Perfect. He now can see that after you go through the tubes inside the store, you then go through the tube outside and get deposited right into the dumpster. *This dumpster is actually for compost from the produce department*
Then, as our lie continued to manifest, the claws developed cameras and microphones. Bang’s first question in a store is asking where the claw comes out. Quickly, we find a spot on the ceiling, usually air vents, and point it out to him. Then he wants to know where the cameras are. Usually, this one’s easy, we just look for the little black objects on the ceiling that typically house security cameras. After that, he’ll want to know where the microphone is. Sometime it’s emergency sprinkler heads and sometimes it’s a speaker mounted into the ceiling.
Just last night this lie progressed a bit further. Bang asked where the garbage truck takes the whiny kids. “Erie, Indiana,” I told him. Where they have to sleep in Tupperware containers. DW added that they have to go to “bad kid school” where they teach the whiny kids to be good.
As you can see, this lie started small, just a claw to get him to stop whining. It has snowballed. One day he will realize that there is no claw. Hopefully he will laugh at the complexity we have created. Who knows, maybe the claw will be passed on to our grand kids.
We have all told little white lies to our kids for one reason or another. Has one of your little white lies turned into an elaborate hoax as our “claw”?
This is the thing that picks kids up by their head, takes them through the air ducts and drops them in the dumpster out back.
Some weird stats…
Is the WordPress stats page reliable? Maybe it’s just my writing. Last Friday and Saturday I had 121 views between the two days. Since Sunday, over a four day period, I’ve only had 46 people come to read my posts.
Last Friday I was writing about our vacation so my tags were traveling related. Perhaps those tags drew more people? Hmmm…
Do you find that certain topics tend to draw in more views and visitors? Do you stick with those topics or do you cover various subjects?
The Children and The Rain
While California is experiencing it’s fourth year of a severe drought, we here in Maritime Canada are not. It only rained twice last week – once for three days and once for four. The veggies and flowers and grass are loving it. However, this isn’t about that.
This is about letting children be children. It’s about letting your inner child out to play every now and then. It’s about playing in the rain.
There’s not much that is as childish as playing in the rain. We’ve all been caught in the rain, of course. Needing to get to/from the car in a torrential downpour or you just happen to be outside when the heavens open up. But intentionally going outside while it is raining is sure to induce giddy laughter.
Twice in the past week we have done just that. We splashed in the kiddie pool. We jumped on the trampoline. We set up the slip and slide on the hill. We splashed in puddles. We even had the neighbor’s kids join us.
I’m thankful I am young (ish) and healthy (and childish) enough to run, jump and play with two rambunctious boys. The trampoline is assembled in the spring and taken down for winter. In between it sees use every day. It’s not as slippery in the rain as it appears to be. The slip and slide is self watered when it rains. It makes for some fun photos, too. As does puddle jumping. Just take a look!
So, in conclusion, rain doesn’t just make the veggies and flowers and the grass grow. It doesn’t just wash away the dirt and grime of the world. It washes away inhibitions, it helps the child (inner and outer) grow strong and healthy. Have you played with yours lately?
My Summer Bucket List – In Review
Back in June, before school dismissed for summer vacation, I wrote out my bucket list of what I wanted to do. This list included:
- Hiking and seeing waterfalls
- A Road trip
- Relaxing at the cottage by the lake
- Skip rocks
- Grow a vegetable garden
- Watching/playing baseball with Crash
DW returned to work today so there’s clear evidence that summer vacation is just about over for the kids, too. Did I do anything from list?
You betcha. Even better, I was able to complete the list. We made it to a waterfall in Pennsylvania. I didn’t make it to the 100′ North River Falls, but I knew that was a long shot, at best. The one in PA was great because the kids could play in it and there wasn’t a two and half hour hike to get to it.
I found six geocaches. One was on my birthday. It required a little bushwacking through the trees. Then it started raining on our way out. The second and third was on a rails to trails trail. The bugs were so bad we cut the trip short. There are eight more on that trail that we’ll get when the weather is too cold for bugs. Bang and I found two more while DW was visiting a family member in the hospital. Then Bang and I found one while Crash was in the hospital having oral surgery. Great finds!
Our road trip was spectacular. Just find my Traveling posts to read all about our two week vacation to the States.
We have been out kayaking twice now. Once was down a fairly large river. Too big for our liking. We were hoping for a wooded, lazy river, but no such luck. So the kayaks are out at the cottage we’ll just paddle on the lake. Crash had his kayak out and was having a blast (as were his cousins as they all took turns on it).
Speaking of the cottage – we’ve made a few trips there now. It’s so relaxing out there. Especially yesterday when there was only a small breeze and the water was as calm as bathtub water. That made kayaking a lot of fun.
I’m sure I’ve skipped hundreds of rocks by now. With water this flat, how could I not? I even helped teach nieces and nephews to skip them.
The onions are growing well in the garden. We’ve already harvested the lettuce – 2 one gallon bags worth. The green and jalapeno peppers are coming along. Unfortunately, the broccoli went to seed to quick. The thyme smells delicious!
Crash is great hitter. He’s okay at throwing and his catching is much improved. Unfortunately, he’s only made it to two practices. He had one before we left for vacation, though a couple were rained out before that. Then we were gone for two week, but even those were rained out, too. He made it to a practice (they don’t play games in T-ball here) the week after we returned. But then had surgery the week after so he missed that one, too. Hopefully, the rain will hold off so he can have practice tonight! It’s looking like it’s going to rain!
My bucket list is complete, everything I do from here out is just icing on the cake – yummy, delicious buttercream frosting.
The one thing that hasn’t happened yet is painting. Our hallways are dire need of some new paint. We have it. We just need to get it on the walls. Maybe I’ll just open the paint bucket, give Crash and Bang a paintbrush and let them do it. 🙂
What’s something exciting or relaxing did you do this summer?
Traveling (the final days)
Before our two weeks of travel began I had seen a picture of a waterfall that our friend’s girls were playing under. After seeing the picture I wanted to go there. I needed to go there. It helped that Pennsylvania is between Virginia –
all the farther the farthest south we would be traveling – and home in Nova Scotia. I sent along a message asking if they would be around the weekend we were passing through and if they could take us to that waterfall. You can imagine my excitement when I found out that a) they would be around and b) they could take us!
What should have been a four hour drive from Virginia to Pennsylvania wasn’t. The traffic around D.C. and Baltimore was incredible. Poor DW was stressed to the max – though I was doing the driving and I was in pure city driver mode. 12 lanes of traffic-six in each direction, a couple toll booths, some accidents and bottlenecks and many idiots who swerve in and out of lanes like Mario Andretti make it difficult to relax. One bonus? We got to go through the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel – a tunnel (duh) under the Baltimore Harbor (duh) that is 1.45 miles long. Of course, windows had to go down so we could listen to it. Anyway, we made ‘er though D.C. and B’more unscathed and made a quick stop for a late lunch.
Six hours later we were there. Their two girls were quite anxious for us to get there so we could all go swimming. We were just as anxious to get there and be done traveling. We did get to see the hydroelectric plant.
After that we were in Amish country. Tons of farms, and just as many horse and buggies. Anyone even remotely familiar with Amish country will understand the humor of this song:
We finally arrived at their house, hung out for about 10 minutes then took off to the waterfall. The water was chilly – really no different than Nova Scotia water. Too cold for Bang’s liking. He splashed around, but he wouldn’t venture too close to the falls. Crash, on the other hand, loved it. Did we take home a Pennsylvania rock from this waterfall? You betcha!
Afterward it was back to their house for a BBQ, let the kids play for a bit, then bedtime for them. We were starting our trek home in the morning. This afternoon Bang asked me “What house were we at that I slept in my little bed?” I told him and he asks “Next time we go there can we play ‘McDonalds’ again?” All I did was sit inside a play house while Crash and Bang drove around it like a drive through while I took their orders in the most ridiculous, redneck, hillybilliest voice I could. Naturally, what I ordered for them would never be found a normal McD’s menu. Fresh roadkill with a side of salted slugs. And such.
To make a long story
short not as long, we got the kids to bed, had quite a few laughs playing Cards Against Humanity then went to bed ourselves. By 9 the next morning they had left for church and we had left for our next stop, Bangor, Maine. We didn’t get there until 10 PM. The next morning there was a huge, delicious free breakfast. We got our fill, then hit up a liquor store for the cheap liquor the US is famous for and booked ‘er for home. We crossed back into Canada with no problems and were back home at 7:30. DW’s mom (Nanny Moe) had supper waiting for us, and there is where we ended our two vacation.
Authors Answer 42 – To Be PC or Not To Be PC
Pollitical correctness is the buzzword these days. We’re always cautious not to offend someone. But is literature different? Do you write (or read) books that are not PC?
Political correctness has taken over, hasn’t it? It seems that almost anything can offend someone, so we make sure everything is gender neutral, religiously neutral, racially neutral, and so on. We don’t want to offend anyone, do we? But what about in literature? Should we be PC?
Question 42: Does political correctness have a place in your writing?
I’m not sure what this means. I don’t write Earth cultures, so the societies are different. People fight about different things. I do keep an eye out for story-elements that could be construed as racist/sexist from our perspective, but my personal opinion is that most of those problems, in fiction, come from treating the characters as props instead of people. Since I try to fully flesh out my characters and their cultures, no matter how minor, I think it goes some way toward heading off those complaints. Though I…
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Our Travels (continued…) (Days 10,11, and 12)
Thursday, July 30th
We had just spent a week with my parents and my brother and his family. Ten of us in the house. Twelve if you count my aunt and uncle (though they were sleeping at a friend’s house, not with us). It was an awesome week and it was great seeing people we hadn’t seen for 5 years. But today, it was time journey on. It was a bitter sweet departure. We’re going to greatly miss seeing and playing with everyone. Games of UNO, Sorry, and Shut the Box. The delicious food. Come to think of it, I completely forgot to mention their dog Brody. He’s a good dog. Almost never barks. Loves to snuggle. Fun to play with and take for walks (which, I think, my sister-in-law used to up her Fitbit step count so that I could never get more steps). Anyway, leaving was sad. However, we were headed to Virginia to see more friends so it was exciting at the same time.
We did get to cross the Bay Bridge – a 4.2 mile long bridge across the Chesapeake Bay.
While that was fun for them, one of the highlights of our trip was about to happen. Crash had been waiting for this moment since his birthday three weeks ago. The money he received was burning a hole in his pocket, but he knew good things were coming if he didn’t spend it. The LEGO store.
There was a bin full of Lego people pieces so you could customize your own characters. Crash built three. Bang fell in love with a train set. He sat and stared at it for a solid five minutes. He held the box and checked it all out. He loved it. His disappointment was heartbreaking when we told it cost $200 and he couldn’t get it. He did settle on a construction site with a wrecking crane, front loader and dump truck which made him nearly as happy. Crash also got a Lego Minecraft creativity set. It only took an hour to get out of there.
Four hours later were in the town DW and I lived it when a) we met and b) where Crash lived when he was born. We got checked into our hotel room (which had a leaky air conditioner so they moved us to another room) we contacted a friend to let her know we were in town. She’s the mother of Crash’s first BFF. He was only about 3 months old when they met at the YMCA’s child watch program where DW worked at the time. After a year they had developed a good friendship and loved seeing each other. They would dance and squeal when the other would finally show up in the Child Watch room. Crash was two when moved away from that town. We had gone back for a visit when he was three. Now five years later they were reunited.
They picked up right where they left off like not a day had passed. It was amazing to watch them together again. After a quick meet up in our hotel room we out for supper at a wicked awesome burger joint. As we were sitting there catching up, the heaven opened up and it poured buckets. Here in Canada, we get hard rains like that, but they only last 20 minutes. Here in Virginia, it wasn’t letting up. Come time to leave and we hightailed it across the street and through the parking lot to our truck. Shin deep water running down the road. A lost flip flop. Kids laughing hysterically. It was AWESOME!
We went back to their house and met their chickens (who all have names, but I couldn’t begin to tell you what they are). There’s one over on the left. They also have two dogs, a koi fish pond, a tree house, and an owl house. Sitting outside chatting after sunset, I realized I had forgotten all the night sounds. Cicadas. Crickets. Frogs. Birds. We ended up staying until about 10pm and the kids crashed hard that night. They fell asleep in seconds.
Friday, July 31
The hotel had free continental breakfast. It was a good spread, too. Bang fell in love with the pancake maker (he still talks about it). Just push the OK button, wait a minute and it “poops out two pancakes”. Afterward, we toured around town. We saw our old house. We saw the boat wharf, the school I taught at for six years. We stopped by the YMCA where DW used to work and got to see some former colleagues. From there it was off to lunch at a sandwich shop that makes the most delicious subs and sandwiches. We were sad to learn that the lady who began the shop has Alzheimer’s and her son had moved to Baltimore while her daughter kept the shop running.
From there it was back to hotel to go swimming. It was an outdoor pool. The thing about outdoor pools in the South is that they tend to get warm. This one was like bath water. But getting out felt nice when the breeze caught you when you were wet. A former colleague of mine, and great friend of ours, stopped by. It was great to play catch up with her. Though, thanks to Facebook, it was pretty easy. By then, Liz was off work and DW met her at a nail salon for mani/pedis. Then to a Mexican restaurant for supper. By now, I’m thinking if my kids never see another nugget and fry, I’ll be okay with that. Then we hit up the carnival hoping to see some former students. While I did see a couple, the highlight was the Ferris Wheel. Crash wanted to ride with his BFF and of course Bang wanted to join them. At first, DW was a bit worried about sending the 4 year old with his brother. However, it was Crash who ended up a bit scared by the rocking motion of the car. Bang had his hands in the air screaming with excitement. Then we spent the rest of the evening at Crash’s BFF’s house. We only stayed until 11pm.
Saturday, August 1st
I’ll keep this day short. It was mostly spent driving. We left at around 10 and headed for Pennsylvania to visit one more friend. My other best friend from high school and his family. Anyway, we were expecting to get there at about 2. Because of ridiculous traffic going around D.C. and Baltimore and stopping for a late lunch we didn’t get in until 4. This would be the last place we’d visit before heading home. *Side note* Before leaving Canada, I had seen a picture they had posted of a small river and waterfall where they had taken their two girls to play and swim. I had asked how far from them it was and when she told me 20 minutes I knew I had to take Crash and Bang. I’ll write about this secluded, hidden little spot next time. But for now, I suppose I can show you what it looks like:
We got “the” call a couple weeks ago. The hospital called us to inform us of Crash’s surgery date and time. Naturally, he is no allowed to eat after midnight tonight. So he ate his “last meal” of 3 slices of Dominoes pizza. Since we live 3 hours from the hospital and they want him there for 9:30 we opted to come today and spend the night near the hospital.
Traveling (Days 7,8, and 9)
Monday morning we were up and at ’em. The morning had been planned for myself, my dad and my brother. We were going to “Go Ape“. It’s a zip line and obstacle course in Lums Pond State Park in Delaware. My dad and brother had gone last summer, but I was new to this. I couldn’t wait to get there. Once Crash found out where I was going and that he couldn’t he was quite disappointed. But a) you had to be at least 10 years old and b) I don’t think he would have done well with the heights.
I don’t have any pictures. I left my phone, my glasses and my hat at home. My brother brought along his Go Pro so he has some good footage. I’ve got to get that from him. I’d love to share my dad’s not so graceful landing. He had us laughing! It was A LOT of fun. There were 5 zip lines (the longest 2 being close to 700 feet long) and 42 obstacles (rope ladders, various tricky bridges, Tarzan swings, cargo nets, etc..). We were always tethered, so there was no risk of falling. Considering the two injuries we already had, this was a good thing. We had a great time and made it though fairly quickly. The staff offered to let us do part of again and we were all over that. Except we would have been behind a family of four and we would have been greatly delayed. So we headed for home, picking up white icing and lunch on the way.
Afterwards, DW and I took Crash and Bang to a farm. It was the farm another of my best friends lived on growing up. We would be seeing him later in this trip. Anyway, Crash and Bang loved the tractors and boom sprayer.
That boom sprayer could have driven over our RAV4 without touching it (it’s that tall so it can drive over corn without damaging it while spraying insecticide/herbicides). Its booms unfold to reach 60 feet in either direction.
We got to meet Elmer, a baby cow. He must of loved the texture of Bang’s shirt and shorts because he kept trying to chew on them! Of course, Bang thought it was the funnies thing ever to have a cow eat his shorts.
They also had some pigs. While rather smelly, there are kinda cute, if I do say so myself.
Then there is the obligatory handstand in front of the corn field. My friend who grew up on this farm enjoys getting others to take photos of him doing a handstand in front of famous monuments. So I did a handstand in front of his parents corn. Not exactly a “famous monument”, but still….
Then Crash discovered the 3 day old kittens. Someone had secretly dropped off their unwanted pregnant cat on the farm. Of course, Crash wanted one. Sorry buddy, but we’re not taking an animal your mom is allergic to on a 20 hour car ride back Canada.
While Crash and Bang were swooning over the kittens who hadn’t even opened their eyes yet, DW was swooning over the bird houses and butterfly garden.
Shortly after we returned from the farm and got showered and cleaned up, my aunt (mom’s sister) and uncle arrived from Florida. I had seen them when I had come home for my grandmother’s funeral service back in May, but this was the first time they had met Crash and Bang and it had been a long time since they had seen DW. That night was crab cakes and corn on the cob for supper. Mmmm. Delicious.
Tuesday, July 28th
Right after breakfast DW, Crash, Bang, myself and my dad went to visit my aunt in the hospital. She was still in pain but had found out that there were no floating bone fragments so surgery wouldn’t be needed. All they had to do was get the pain under control and she could be up and moving again. It was good to see her again before we left to continue our travels.
From there we headed back to my parents where the kids played in the sprinkler which progressed to a water balloon fight. Not much else happened that day other than hanging out and getting caught up on the times with family.
Wednesday, July 29th
This would be our last full day in Maryland. I had washed all our clothes yesterday so today’s task would be to gather the clothes we’d need for the remainder of the trip and pack them into one suitcase while the rest of the clothes went into the other two. This way would only need to haul in one suitcase to the hotels we’d be staying in. Smart DW 🙂
Anyway, after breakfast we headed to the bowling alley. Crash and Bang had been bowling in Canada with small balls the size of a softball and tall skinny pins (candlepin bowling) but this would prove to be a new experience. Big balls and tall fat pins and two rolls instead of three. Naturally, one of them (or perhaps both) rolled the ball without realizing the pin sweeper would be coming down and the ball bumped into the pin blocker. After the first game Bang go bored with it so he played with his Gator 4×4 toy while the rest of us bowled. It was fun, though I could have scored much higher had I been allowed to use the bumper lanes with the kids.
Once bowling was finished we hit up The Green Turtle for lunch. All 12 of us. There, my aunt bought Crash and Bang each a Green Turtle t-shirt. They’ll be the only kids in school with one of those!
Find out tomorrow what happens when our trip continues to Virginia. Hint: Lego store, Crash’s first BFF, and a bit of rain.