I'm way behind on updates, sorry. I'll get to it soon...
11/8/10: Had to write this down before it's lost to my imminent senility. He has quite the imagination. I'm not sure at this point if he understands that he's really not superfast like the Incredibles Dash Parr. And I'm pretty sure I won't be able to effectively convey his matter of fact tone of voice and his total belief in the false equivalency. But, hey, this is largely to stir my memory many years from now.
Friday night Dash was getting his first viewing of Lord of the Rings. There is this series of scenes where the Ringwraiths are pursuing Frodo and and Liv Tyler on horseback. The Ringwraiths, black murder incarnate, the steeds, massive, thundering beasts of fury. Dash says "I can ride horses like that." I say, "Dash, have you even ridden a horse?" He throws down his trump card: "I've been on a llama."
How old to you have to be to be a Fox News Commentator?
|I know he gets a lot of his hamming from me, but this is far beyond anything I've ever displayed...|
|Dash gets to attempt a takeoff on our way to see his cousins in Raleigh, NC.|
|Teenage Extortion Video #24. This is also why baths take an hour. Showers aren't any shorter as he spends 20 minutes cleaning the glass door with a squeegee and zero minutes cleaning himself.|
Valentine's Day Pictures:
Sunday 4/10/11: Disneyland!
Leigh's watching women's tennis. I've got the laptop in the living room to approximate "quality time." It's been a long time (9 months!) since I've really updated this website. I can either beat myself up for the letdown or commend myself for making it almost 5 years with regular content updates. In my "defense," I've been putting content on Facebook, where, though I give up a lot of creative control, it's quick, easy, and gets feedback.
Two big recent things: Dash's Grandma and Grandpa just spent a couple of weeks with us, and we went to Disneyland for the first time since Dash was 2. Both were very cool.
I need to post pictures for Grandpa and Grandma's visit, but before I forget, wanted to share this conversation with Dash:
"What was your favorite part of Grandma and Grandpa's visit?"
"The Jawbreaker! The Chocolate Coins. The Gummy Puppets [Finger puppets made from Gummy "material"?!]. The cupcakes..." He went on to list, in great detail and without exception, every sweet he scored from Grandma over the two week period.
I asked "What about the trip to the U.S.S. Midway?"
Oh, yeah! That was great! And the train ride and the..." Funny, what they focus on.
I'll get back to the Stokes visit later, as it involves a lot of pictures. First, I want to talk about our trip to Disney on Saturday.
We'd been planning it for a while. Me: I've always loved Disney. Always a good time. Even the lines were fun, since you were generally there with friends. I'm pretty sure my first non-kiddie roller coaster was Space Mountain. Spent a long time watching that chocolate-chip cookie asteroid fly overhead every 110 seconds. There was always something different every time, some nook, some cranny with something new, even working there one summer (and Christmas) it never really got old.
Back in the summer of 2007, we took an eighteen-month old Dash with Grandma, Aunt Theresa and Cousins Taylor and Emily to the Magic Kingdom. I had one of those profound moments, heading over on the ferry, thinking "Holy cow, I'm here with my wife and son. All the times hanging out here, that was a thought that didn't enter my mind. Wow." Dash had a blast, especially during the Eyeore Parade at the character lunch. But still, the perspective and reaction of a toddler is different from older children. Going with a five-year old is a different experience.
Even as a 2.5 year old, braving the Matterhorn, the experience is more of a passive absorbing experience than that of a five-year old. So I was really looking forward to Disneyland and standing in line to Space Mountain with my son just as my dad stood in line to Space Mountain with me.
Friday night, we were in the middle of an 892-piece Lego set. Dash didn't want to go to bed, wanting to finish the Legos. I told him he needed a good night's sleep to get the most out of our day at Disneyland. "I don't want to go to Disneyland." Just another bluff in the sleep-stall wars.
Saturday morning he awakes us early. "All right! Disney, here we come!" "I don't want to go to Disneyland. I want to finish the Lego Scorpion Pyramid." "You're kidding?" No. Okay, mad rush to finish the Lego set. Done. "Okay, now I want to go to Disneyland." (Lesson learned: he doesn't bluff about his legos).
Trip to Disneyland took 70 minutes. Not bad at all.
Next was the Haunted Mansion; which should be right down his haunted alley. He loves Halloween and drives his teacher crazy by always writing about skeletons and zombies when he gets to pick the topic. We was a little scared through the first part but lightened up during the lighter second half.
Next was Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which to me is Disney in a nutshell: a thrill ride where the thrill is in the ambience rather than the ride. It's a nice roller coaster (excellent if you're five) in a ridiculously expensive amazingly detailed setting.
Next we ambled over to the Matterhorn, but it was experiencing difficulty. We headed to Tomorrowland. Dash watched, rapt, the Jedi Training, but was too self-conscious to want to participate. Ate two and a half hamburgers at Tomorrowland Terrace for $35.
|We then hit the Grand Prix RaceWay, er, AutoTopia. He got to drive, but not particularly well (I told him he could NOT drive us back to San Diego).|
Call me just a bit skeptical of his driving.
Next: Buzz Lightyear's AstroBlasters. First rate, lacks for nothing.
Back over to Tom Sawyer's Island. Crawling through tunnels and
mounds of treasure. He could have spent hours here (like he does
at the fort at Legoland).
Caves and tunnels for boys to crawl and parents to bang their heads
Not sure where he gets the Arm-Cross-of-Satisfaction...
On to Space Mountain! This was the only line that was long and tedious for the boy. Way back in Orlando, you spent most of your time in line in the attraction itself, immersed in the ambience of the thing. Here, now, in California, they queued you outside in a featureless uninspired void under awnings for your 45 minutes, and then let you in the Mountain. You'd then essentially fast-walk to a short line in the main terminal loading area. So you had five minutes to soak in the full space theme mockups. Then off you go.
I got to ride with Dash, Momma had to sit behind us. I know the cars switched styles a long time ago, but I really miss the old "spooning" bench seats. Those were fun back when you were a teenager and were fortunate to be with a member of the opposite sex. On the other hand, loud spacey music pumped into your ears was an interesting experience. The effects had improved over twenty years. I remember being able to just make out where the track was going, but that might have just been the fact that we had been on Space Mountain so danged much. In any case the complete lack of visual cues other than the continual swirling points of light made it a pretty unique experience to me and certainly to Dash. Leigh found it too disorienting.
Dash and Mom in the Space Mountain line...
Dash doing his best Ozzy Osbourne face
So the experience I anticipated and the one that actually happened were pretty similar, though at the time I was a little disappointed, as one's imaginings tend to overlook the reality of seven hours of being in crowds and the inevitable crankiness of forty minutes in a line. Two days later, and only the good cool memories remain. A man, his boy, and Space Mountain. It's a beautiful thing.
As it was cold (April in Southern Cal) and Dash was running out of energy, so we started to wrap it up, heading back to the Matterhorn to call it a day. Passing by Finding Nemo's Submarine Adventure, an attraction notorious for it's long lines, I noticed the wait was signed at 30 minutes. Hmmm, this wasn't even on the agenda. I asked one of the Cast Members if the estimate was correct. Yes. Hmmm. After a 5-minute wait (I didn't bring a lot to the marriage - Slurpee technique (don't straw: pour), knowledge of which burritos to get at which mexican fast food chains - but ex-20,000 Leagues Under the Sea driver status has lots of pull) we boarded. Ahhh, they've really brought this ride to life, it's really well done now. I can't believe they filled Orlando's Lagoon and put ToonTown right on top of it. Anyway, Dash thought the whole thing was legit.
Looking for Fishpatrick?
When we got swallowed by the whale, you could tell he was very concerned. Again, this was a completely immersing experience for a five-year old, completely magical, impossible to duplicate or fake.
Finally, the Matterhorn. Dash has been riding this thing over half his life (bringing his total up to two rides). Old pro. This time, laughing at the Yetis...
Sunday morning at breakfast I say to him "Tell me that you loved Disney." "Let's go back!" Good boy.
Monday May 9, 2011
Disney on Saturday.
Tuesday, May 12, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Had a nice weekend this weekend. Feeling very tender toward the son. He's doing a lot of things that are quite endearing.
One, he's only now getting exposed to Bugs Bunny (he doesn't watch TV, but he watches DVDs; his electronic view of the world is biased by whatever we've managed to get on DVD (by design or happenstance). It's been cute seeing him react to the cartoons. At first he only liked Bugs and then began to appreciate the other characters "Who's that little bird? I like that little bird!" Tweety Bird. Hearing him laugh at the various hijinks. His general delight in it all. His first exposure to opera, like me, being "The Barber of Seville" and "What's Opera Doc?" (Come to think of it, that's still my entire exposure to opera). Kill the Wabbit!
Two, A comic once said "You learn different things spending time with a small child; like what your seventh-favorite color is." Saturday we learned that on a one-mile hike in the mountains of Southern California you'll see seventy-two lizards. Really. You learn that the hike that you had to walk one mile for, he had to walk (run) three. Here's how it took him three miles on a one mile loop:
- We'd spot a lizard (they averages about eight inches, four from front axle to rear axle).
- He'd run forward to yell "Mommy, we've seen TWENTY-SEVEN lizards!"
- I'd yell "Dash, here's another one!"
- He'd come running back to see the lizard.
- (there was quite a gap between the main group and me (once Dash started keeping track of how many he'd spotted (which was immediately), I started taking it pretty seriously ("Be vewy qwiet. I am hunting wizards!").
- Then he'd go running forward: ""Mommy, we've seen TWENTY-EIGHT lizards!"
- "Dash, here's another one"
Repeat this until we get to seventy-two lizards.
"This is a great day!" "Best day ever?" "Well, best lizard-counting day ever!"
I can honestly say I hadn't been on hike quite like that one. One now etched in my head.
Three: A couple of times this weekend, I was taking him somewhere and he'd squeal "Yippee!" and start running, bursting with enthusiasm (and taunting me with his energy). Adults should squeal "Yippee!" more.
Four: his expressions are very interesting.
|He cocks an eyebrow when asking a question sometimes (like 20 seconds into this video to the right).|
He's at a very fun age.
June 8, 2011: Debacle in the Desert #2
Observations from the Mirage
|Does boating and skiing
middle of a large California/Arizona
desert seem far-fetched at best and
ill-advised at worst?
Add in pulling a boat 300+ miles each way through backroad desolation. Now, how much would you pay?
Okay, now add to this desert oasis a transplanted historic London Bridge Ahhhh, now it seems like a really good idea.
Why would we consider such a thing? Especially since we live a mile from Mission Bay. The answer: Thirty degrees difference in air temperature and twenty degrees in water temperature
London Bridge in 1890: in London, where it belongs
Here are my acute observations gleaned from our three day adventure. This is all true and not even mildly exaggerated.
A three-hundred mile trip through mountains and desert is not going to make an ill five-year old feel less ill.
Do not assume that just because you have removed your long-trip tie-down straps from the boat, that you have put the drain plug IN. Do not assume that just because you have never left the van running and in Reverse in your life that when returning to the recently-drain-plug-installed-boat, that the van isn’t running and in Reverse right now. “Hey, why are the Backup Lights on?” Do not assume that the parking brake will keep the van from backing into the water (it did, Thank God, but never assume that it will).
Never assume that just because that the women and children in the front of boat are seated and safe and ready for a rapid deceleration, that the man in the back of the boat is also. You realize this too late as he goes crashing past you into the front of the boat. It is not because his wife and daughter he is suddenly and urgently missing (those front teeth on the other hand…). Sorry, Andy: My bad.
Do not assume that just because you have never in your life backed over a ski rope, cutting it and fouling the prop, that you will not this weekend.
Do not assume that the kids that have been fighting over the privilege to be the “Flag Waver for Downed Skiers” are actually going to Wave the Flag for Downed Skiers. Do not assume that when the Police Boat with Blue Lights aFlashing approaches, that they’ll be able to find the flag they were fighting over. Do not assume that just because you have in the glove compartment your Owner’s Manual, Shop Manual, Trailer Registration, Bill of Sale, every prior year registration, your Proof of Insurance, etc., that you will have your current registration. Do not assume that just because the Police have no intention of actually fining you that they won’t play tough while you’re dismantling the boat looking for that last piece of paperwork that they really don’t need. Don’t assume that it doesn’t sting when they STRONGLY URGE you, who grew up with boats, to take a Safe Boating Class (find me a class on “Safe Broad-Spectrum Water Activities with two 5-year olds, Four Adults, a Huge Inflatable, Two Wakeboards, a Kneeboard and Boom in a Boat Far too Crowded” and I’ll gladly take it ten times.
Do not assume that the Flag Corp will operate any more effectively even immediately after the Police’s Scared Straight Demonstration.
Do not assume that a final day where the boat gear is trimmed down to a manageable toddler-ski and kneeboard only strategy will result in an outing resulting in anything along those lines. Actions instead revolve around bodily proof that your boy actually was sick two days earlier and the efforts to salvage his wetsuit for ultimate reuse.
Do not assume that a bottle can’t reach and rupture the unrepairable sidewall of a car tire. Do not assume that getting the “space saver” tire out from its stash beneath the floorboard between the driver and passenger seats is only moderately exhausting even when there is clearance between the running board and the 140-degree asphalt. Do not assume that the new van’s jack points can be found. Ever. Even with the Owner’s Manual. Do not assume that once when squeezing your head under the car to locate a jackpoint, that 1) you’ll be able to find one, 2) that you’ll be able peel your now Dali-esque face off the hot asphalt without a hard, sharp tug. Do not assume that the first jack point you guess at can hold the weight of the car. Do not assume that the scissor jack can has sufficient height at Guessed Jack Point #2 to get the inflated spare tire back on. Do not assume that you can put the original flat tire back on so that you can change the jack point (the tire has equalized to its original round shape and won’t fit back on). Do not assume that letting the car rest on the wheel hub itself will ever let you get a jack underneath anywhere, much less a jack point that will allow more clearance. DO assume that the trailer jack can be lowered to support the trailer tongue thereby supporting the van from the hitch while you switch the jack point. Do assume that the van won’t lever the trailer up into the air (I got a couple lucky breaks there). Do NOT assume that if you attempt these operations in sandals you will finish with the same number of toenails as when you began.
Do not assume that finding a new tire on a Sunday in a city that has the chutzpah to have its own authentic London Bridge will take you less time than it took you to replace a trailer axle, wheel and bearings, a drum brake and two backing plates two days earlier. Really. Do not assume that Mobile Tire Repairman, Benny (Bless Him!), and you understood each other when you told him the size of the tire needed to be 225 65 R16, even though you went over it many times, because you wanted to be sure. The tire his son Benny Jr. brought was a smaller 225 55 R16. Fifty/sixty is less distinct that cincuenta/sesenta. Close enough, it will get me home.
Do not assume that a loose, flappy, boat cover at 60mph will induce any sort of comfort at any point in a 600-mile round trip. One size does NOT fit all. Three sizes does not fit all. In four weeks and $400, I’ll discover if “Custom Fit for your Model” actually fits my model. The worry about having to unstrap the finally-secured boat cover at the Border Patrol checkpoint is no longer a worry once the four-foot tear in this twice-used cover is noticed in the mirror. Any “undocumented workers” stowing away have been sucked out by now. With such a hole, the cover, at speed, looks very much like a Para-Sail parachute at speed. “Dang, I could barely stretch that thing across the boat, but now it has no trouble billowing up into low bridge overpasses…”
Do not assume that “boat” means anything other than its acronym, B.O.A.T., which stands for Break Out Another Thousand (dollars). And that was just for trailer and tire repairs, not even touching the replacement cover and a much-needed counseling program…
Don’t assume the 2010 Toyota RAV4 that was behaving flawlessly Thursday night when you parked it in the driveway would not need to be towed to the dealership Monday morning.
Do NOT assume that I’ll be in a hurry to do the Havasu Havoc again. I think I’ll evolve and adapt to San Diego's water and air by regrowing my nice warm layer of fat. Better make it a double…
In all honesty, there was a lot to be thankful for on this trip.
- the trailer wheel didn’t burn through or fall off in the middle of the desert; everyone got to boat while I found the
- repair shop.
- the tire didn’t blow out on the road in the middle of the desert while pulling the boat.
- The parking brake held and the van didn’t go boating.
- No one got hurt. Other than Andy, that is. Andy didn’t actually lose teeth; only a series of internal, legally-unenforceable injuries.
- Dash’s evidence of illness were sinkers, not floaters.
- The billowing boat cover didn’t actually catch on lower overpasses (that was an exaggeration).
- The Toyota only needed minor work…
- Apparently, Andy, Chantelle and Julianna are still talking to us.