Go Ask Your Father: Universe, Rubberband Balls, Owls, and the Inevitable Travel Question

This is our last sleepover for this trip. Tomorrow we’ll attempt Hope for Wildlife and then make trails for home. The boys are excited to see in real life what they’ve been seeing on TV. There are the animals which they love and the rescuers/vets they’ve met through the show. I’m kind of excited, too. DW’s brother say they have a talking crow. We call him Russel or Sheryl. You know… famous Crows.

1. How big is the Universe?

Freakin’ huge. I can’t even begin to fathom the size. It’s measured in distances that light can travel in years. In one second it can travel 186,000 miles. With every tick of the tick tock clock light can travel around the Earth 7 times. So you can imagine the distance it goes in just one year is pretty far. The known universe is estimated to be 13.8 billion years old. This is 3 times older than Earth. When the light left the stars of the farthest galaxies Earth didn’t even exist yet. However, while looking at light that 13.8 billion years old, the universe has moved to 46 billion light years away. This puts the known universe somewhere around 92 billion light years in diameter. Or about the same as Trump’s Ego.

2. How are rubber band balls made?

These are easy. If you happen to have enough rubber bands on hand and an equal amount of time, you can make these fun things on your own. Start with one and simply twist and fold it into a tiny ball. Continue doing this with other bands, wrapping them around your starter. Eventually, you’ll have a ball of rubber bands. The largest one made weighs 9,032 pounds and is 6 feet 7 inches tall. About the same size my Ego.

3. What’s a screech owl?

There are Eastern and Western screech owls and they are very similar. They average the same small size, 6 inches in height or 9 inches  and 4-8 ounces in weight. Adult plumage is a combination of brown, black, and white. Nesting screeches are grey and fuzzy. It’s their voice that sets them apart. If you hear it you would compare it to a kid screaming. Just looking it up. It’s haunting.

Listen to a screech owl

4. How much farther?

If you’re lucky you won’t hear this question get asked before you even leave the driveway. You hope to never hear it during a three hour trip. But, without a doubt, it will be asked. Even if you’re only driving 10 minutes down the road. We’ve made a few side trips since getting here and without a doubt the youngest always wants to know where we’re going and how long it’s going to take to get there. I do my best to give them my best estimate. But sometimes I tell them, “The Promised Land and we’ll be there in 40 days and 40 nights.”

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Field Trip

 We’re going to spend 3 hours in the truck tomorrow with 2 oragutans. Wish them luck. We’re headed to the city for a few days. Part 1 will be a stay in a hotel. A free stay! DW discovered our room last time hadn’t been cleaned properly – hair on the bathroom floor. They gave us a complimentary stay. During this part we’ll also try to visit the science museum – The Discovery Center. 

However, a friend of ours went yesterday and reported that they had to wait a half hour to get in and then weren’t able to do much once inside because it was so busy. It is March Break and every kid in Nova Scotia is out of school this week. We’ll test our luck as we love science and know the boys would love this place. 

During the second part of the trip we will be visiting DW’s brother and sister-in-law and their four kids. The boys LOVE playing with their cousins. 

The third and final part will be a visit to Hope for Wildlife. This is a wildlife rehab center. There is a show on TV of the same name and center. The boys will be excited to see first hand what they’ve seen on TV. They will be just as excited to meet the Vets, too. Perhaps I’ll drop off a couple orangutans if they misbehave.

I’ll have my GoPro when I can and hope to record what I can. That’s more of a heads up to DW than to all y’all. 

Questions I Asked My Kids: Travel Edition

We’re on the road today and tomorrow. Our favorite DW is at a literacy conference so we joined her on her journey. Traveling with kids is always an adventure, isn’t? We were only on the road for two hours this morning. Listening to the 5 year old, though, you would have thought we were on the Oregon Trail. Today’s questions are brought to you from the hotel…. here goes…

1. What is your favorite thing to do in Truro?

Crash: Go swimming
Bang: Go swimming

2. What is your favorite part about staying in a hotel?

Crash: It always has a few fun things to do 
Bang: The hair dryer

3. How many rooms do you think are in this hotel?

Crash: about 250
Bang: 300

4. How many times can you jump from bed to bed?

Crash: 500
Bang: 1600

5. What time are you going to go to bed tonight?

Crash: 1:00 in the morning
Bang: 7:39

6. What is something we didn’t bring with us but should have?

Crash: I don’t know
Bang: pictures

7. What did you buy with the $10 Nanny gave you to spend on our trip?
Crash: I bought Hotwheels minecraft cart, creeper and armor Steve with a diamond sword
Bang: Car hauler

8. If you had more money, what would you have bought?

Crash: I would have bought a scene for them
Bang: The race track set that was ginormous

9. We’re eating supper in the hotel. What do you want to eat?

Crash: Pizza
Bang: I ginormous pancake

10. If you bought the hotel, what color would paint the hallway? 

Crash: Orange
Bang: Blue

Bonus:

What animal do you want to be?
Crash: Shark because they eat tons of fish, have big sharp jaws and can swim very good.
Bang: An elephant so I can be loud

H is for Hotel and Questions I Asked My Kids

If you remember from last year, I wrote about this place already. Except last year was mid-April. We were on H in the A-Z Challenge because H was for hotel (it was also for Hyper). If  you missed it or forget what happened last year, you can read it here. It was slightly embarrassing.

We weren’t able to get checked in until 3 today, but DW’s conference started at 11. This left the boys and I up to no good for 4 hours. We hit up Wal-Mart for a few forgotten items (my bathing suit being one). Then the mall. Then the park. Finally, we’re in our room and the boys are aching to jump in the pool, but we’re going to have some supper first.

Anywho, on the questions. We both know it’s what you came here for.

What makes you happy?

Crash: When you tickle me
Bang: Jumping on the tramperline (that’s how he says it)

What makes you sad?

Crash: When I get hurt
Bang: Hugs

What would you like to do tomorrow?

Crash: Go swimming, go for a walk so I can 11,000 steps, play tablet and hang out in the hotel
Bang: Go swimming

What do you like to watch on television?

Crash: The Gaming Show (In My Parent’s Garage)
Bang: Team Umizoomi

How much money do you have?

Crash: Only $10
Bang: 49 and 80

What do you do that is naughty?

Crash: Everything! Being mean to my brother
Bang: Whining (contributed by his big brother)

What is the best job in the world?

Crash: Being an engineer
Bang: Cleaning

What’s the best part about Truro?

Crash: Staying at the hotel
Bang: Swimming (I’m sensing a theme here)

What’s the best part of staying in a hotel?

Crash: Swimming and the restaurant in the hotel
Bang: Going swimming and going on the elevator

Bridge

 

 

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.

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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:

IMG_2658We 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.

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.

bay bridgeWhile 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!

IMG_2630We 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:

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Traveling (Days 7,8, and 9)

Monday, July

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.

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IMG_2445 IMG_2443 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. IMG_2460

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.

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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…. 
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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.

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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 🙂

Crash Bowling

Crash

Bang Bowling

and Bang

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.

Our Triumphant Travels (Days 1,2, and 3)

I wish I would have blogged our travels south. I seemed a bit busier traveling this time as compared when I traveled alone back in May. Anyway, here I am. Here we are. I have only written once since my last blog 22 days ago when we had stopped for the night in Portland, ME. That was half way to my parents and it had taken us 10 hours to get there. There were no issues crossing the border. Our new RAV4 performed spectacularly and I was pleasantly surprised at how well it did on gas. We could drive for five hours before having to fill up!

Along the way we paid some respects with a moment of silence:

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The boys were in awe over the bridges we crossed – The Tappan Zee and the Delaware Memorial.

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Now, on to the good stuff. We arrived at Nana and Pop Pop’s house shortly after 6pm on a Wednesday.

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What a welcome sight! Finally here!

They were keeping tabs on us through Waze – a navigation app for the cell phone. (That, in itself was fun. It gave us directions and warnings in the voice of Arnold Schwarzenegger. If he warned us of “danger” he would follow it up with “GET DOWN!”. Naturally, Bang would make us duck each time.) We arrived to hugs from Nana and Pop Pop, my brother- Uncle B, sister in law- Aunt Sara and their two kids O and KK. Inside, they had taped off the doorway with streamers for Crash and Bang to run through and tear down, which they did in glorious fashion. O and KK had even made a sign “Welcome home family”. Then we sat down to a spaghetti supper followed by minion cupcakes for dessert! IMG_2205

Crash and Bang were excited to see their cousins. They hadn’t seen Crash for 5 years (O was only 6 months old last time) and no one other than Nana and Pop Pop had met Bang. So naturally, they got to stay up late. By 10pm all the kiddies were finally asleep.

Thursday morning Pop Pop made us all waffles for breakfast. Then we headed to the park.IMG_2241 It’s the same park I played at 25-30 years ago except it received a major overhaul since the last time I played there. It was a beautiful park with some really neat equipment for the kids (myself included) to play on. It had cushion foam matting for flooring, too! Unfortunately, it wasn’t made quite level with the ground surrounding it. Nana stepped off one piece of equipment and rolled her ankle. When she tried to catch herself with her other foot she overcompensated. She heard something crack or pop and she fell. O saw her and said “Aaaand, she’s down”. Sara had gone back to the house to get my parents truck and upon her return Nana was taken to get x-rays.

IMG_2279Meanwhile, the rest of us continued to play on the playground and take a bit of wiffle ball hitting practice with the kids. We returned home for lunch and we heard from Nana and Sara – it was a spiral fracture of her fibula. She came home in a boot and on crutches. We spent the remainder of the day hanging around the house, preparing for supper and playing with nieces and nephews we hadn’t seen for five years.

It was so great to be home. It was the first time we’d had the whole family together. Five years ago we hadn’t been complete. Now that we were, it was pure joy to have us all together. Even if one of us had a broken ankle.


P.S. I’ve been out of blogging action for 3 weeks now. In that time I have still been receiving comments and followers. For this, I am grateful. I am grateful for and appreciate all of my followers. However, these eight have chosen to follow my blog with the assumption that I will return. They have liked what I have written enough to take the gamble on my return. I thank them. The rest of you, I welcome your return with an open blog.

Island Traveler
SVEGLIATI CARA
Bettylouise31
Fashionable Librarian
S. Robert Cyre
L.M. Nelson
jodaley
Pheonix

I’m not hiding

Dear you,
Hi my loyal loyal readers. Especially those of you who stopped by to read wn old post or leave a comment to let me know you liked something. I feel I’ve let you down this month with so few new posts. I aas hoping to blog our trip beacuse remembering all that has happened is going to be tough. I do have some photographic evidence that I can’t wait to share with you. But you’ll have to wait until we get back. Don’t worry, we won’t be too much longer then it will be back to life as we know it.

We are currently in Maryland and head to Virginia tomorrow for some much needed catch up with some “old” friends. So hang in there and we can play catch up upon my return.

Your blogger
Eric
aka Stomperdad

No One Strapped to the Roof

Well, not yet anyway. We were on the road for about 10 hours yesterday. The kids had a few breakdowns when they got bored so they would irritate each other. Our plan was to make it half way, which we did. Crash spotted a hotel and said, “We could stay there.” We responded with, “We could, but we’ve been only been driving for an hour and 15 minutes!” So, of course, every hotel we saw after that we ask Crash if he wanted to stop there for the night. We laughed.

Have you ever confused 2 cyclers for horses? Easy mistake, right? What confused me most is why 2 people would ride their horses on the shoulder of a major highway. That’s because they were riding bikes, not horses.

Then Bang went trigger happy with his camera. I can’t wait to see the pictures. Cement trucks. 18 wheelers. Overpasses. Hopefully, they’re not all a blur.

Now, it’s  5:30 am. DW and Crash just got out of the shower. I have a hunch we’ll be on the road by 6:30 for our next 8 hour leg. Ma and Pa (and an aunt, uncle and cousins) will be excited when we finally get there!