Today I opened my laptop for the first time in nearly 2 weeks. It sounded like a pinball machine dinging with all the alerts and messages that it had qued up in its little body. I’ve been having a great time with just my phone, a few facebook posts, skim the emails for anything urgent and basically back in the bag.
I’m on our traditional 2-week camping adventure in PA. Every year is a little different, every year it is nicely the same. I can nearly walk the site with my eyes closed but each year there are new areas I become more acquainted with. This year I got to participate in a cool ceremony for a person I think is great, it was a once in a lifetime experience and I’m am so glad I was in a position to do it. This year is also 100% less stressful. Sure, still a bit of stress over this or that – a difficult person, random drama, or, an uncontrollable situation but since I’m not at max stress from moving it is all much more manageable.
Why do I vacation in a place that is built to be not relaxing? I’m trying harder this year to take a break here and there but old habits die hard.
The positives, aside from the role I got to play included giving a fun camp tour, watching my kids excel at boffer, seeing my kingdom have a great time on the field, seeing two friends new babies, tons of time to have conversations with friends from various points in my life, I’ve helped a few people out, built a great camp, attended a class I’ve been meaning to get to and even the weather has been really pretty good. The kids have hit a milestone of being able to be (even) more independent and it is very nice to know they are happy and taken care of by our fabulous nanny, and, she isn’t frazzled because they are overall less needy. We are growing into the tween phase that includes boys stopping over but I gave a stern lecture to my camp family against any threats against any boy. The adults do mean well, but, “I’ve got a shovel” is a threat that we need to let go of. It isn’t cool the threaten kids, and, if you don’t mean it (and they really never did) don’t waste your words on something people auto-dismiss. Slowly slowly we can shift away from empty threats that imply our children are helpless. I think the phrase that actually hit home was when I asked them to think about if they had a son and someone said that to them – I’m sure the parents of the boy who has been hanging around did as good a job as me, and, I would be pretty offended if I heard someone threaten my child based on nothing but their age and gender. I also want the kids where I can see them so having the camp that is friendly is one of my goals.
I’m short on my hour of internet here, I got the mundane life details dialed in and the bills paid. No matter how vacation brain I am, bills still need attention and an hour now prevents a ton of problems later. Next up I pack up Lars who could only join us for a few days and then Friday we put this all back it the box and move on to vacation part 2 – the NY phase. I’m visiting family and friends and I can’t wait to see them even though I’ll be missing Lars and the house and pets and friends at home. Pennsic, as always, is a special time and place and I’m glad we can come.
Last week was a break for the kids from school and I have an entire long post about what we did that I wrote last Thursday. Why didn’t I publish? Well, the ol ‘one thing leads to another’ is the core of the reason. I usually don’t even edit a post (can you tell?) I just write, fix all the computer underlined red line words, pop in a picture or two from my phone and push publish. This time I had A LOT of pictures so I wanted to actually do an album link for anyone interested in the cool things we saw in Texas. I thought ‘hey, 15 uploads and I’ll be ready to album and link’. NOPE. I somehow turned off my auto upload and had over 600 pictures that upload in random order to Amazon. Why random? I just don’t know. However, the picture you want most is the one that loads last and I’ve learned not to touch it in process or you will just cause more issue.
Given all 3 were home time at the computer without ‘help’ is not all that common. I set up the uploads and walked away figuring Friday would be fine to post. It was also toward the end of break so everyone was sooooo borrrred and no matter how many times I suggested room cleaning as an entertainment they wanted other things. They usually managed to find something to do that was not tablet or TV but at one point I threatened to use my power* on school board to cancel future breaks** because they can’t handle so many days at home. However, at some point, #2 decided to try and guess the code to #1’s iPhone (my old one) and locked it down. They could not fix it and had to admit to me their mutual problem. #1 shares blame for actually encouraging #2 to guess.
The trauma of a broken phone for a tween is epic and so I saw my computer time earmarked for making an album for that last Thursday post turn into researching how to resurrect a very locked out older phone. When I say combing kids hair for lice is slightly less tedious then unlocking an iPhone you may get the picture of my frustration at this situation. Not really anyones fault, but, something I got to deal with. Internet says it is easy, put it in safe mode, connect, select ‘restore’ and then the phone will be purged and reinstalled. For me that additionally meant downloading iTunes, then going through my computer to purge trash etc to FIT all the stuff the phone needed to download to restore (2g worth). These two steps are both after calls to apple support because there is a trick to getting the newest version of iTunes, and, then a criptic error that appears to be iTunes but was actually from my computer wasted a ton of time. I needed to tidy the hard drive anyway, but, this was a 2 day process with many attempts and restarts. Victory at the end though, the phone is fixed!
Any spare computer time between reboots was diverted to finishing the Girl Scout Cookie process. I’m actually good at inventory and logistics and this system was very hard to use. I ended up getting creative and after far too much work our account is perfect, zeroed out, and each girl accurate. If I do this again I have some notes for my future self.
While all this computer nonsense was going on, Lars and I were attempting to car shop. We started earlier in the month with a solid test drive on a med size SUV with an awesome sales person. She seemed extra great next to the Honda sales guy who acted like we were wasting his time and then actually disappeared leaving us standing by the not really functional floor model of the Oddysey for 20 min. I was ready to buy that minivan, I like my current one but it is 11 years old and getting cranky. I plan on tweeting “thanks Honda sales for helping me find the Chrysler Pacifica” I didn’t even know there was a minivan from Chrysler since I was happy in Honda land but ignoring us has its consequences. Anyway, much time was spent at the dealer looking at options and looking for the one we wanted in their network and in the end, we are ordering it from the factory since what we want is a tad more unique than expected. Oh well, I can wait a month to get exactly what we want.
Yesterday the kids finally went to school. I did a ton of laundry and catch up in peace, and today I can finally get around to making an album for the pictures that belong in the post from last week that I’ll publish tomorrow.
*there is no actual power over kids via the school board, advisory and oversight
**as an April fools joke I dropped them off and told them that we arranged that all public school were now boarding schools and I would be bringing their pj’s and pillows later in the day. They took the joke well. The rest of the day they pranked me and as a once a year thing it is hilarious but ONLY once a year.
ps. No pictures in this post because I want to actually publish before I need to leave for the afternoon rounds. Imagine frustrated computer sitting, google Chrysler Pacifica, and that is what I would have inserted had I the time. Cheers!
The post-Lars part of our time in NY is nearly over but we have made the most of it. My family and friends in NY have been great and I’ve enjoyed seeing who we can see. The kids have not been to bed near bedtime in days and there has been tons of visiting and driving. We haven’t done anything ‘grand’ and vacation like other than the trip to the cloisters, however, I love our playground time with friends and backyard bbq and just being around people.
Last weekend we did adventure out to NJ to a family birthday for my great aunt’s 90’th birthday and informal family reunion. I’m reminded I actually do have relatives in MN and also MI and it is on me that I have not seen more of them. Well, can only go forward and do better when we get back. The funny part of the party was seeing how tall I am compared to my ethnically Maltese family, as island people they just top out at 5ft tall, so I tower above them.
Sunday, fathers day, we face timed with Lars and went sailing with dad and in between hung out and brunched with high school friends who have all become great parents in their own rights. Monday we had to wait for kids to actually wake up and then we went to my sister Josie’s house where we generally hung out and started to build the most annoying shed ever. I told Lars about it that night and he reminded me of when a friend got so frustrated at a shed he was building that he destroyed it in a fit of rage Hulk style and now I understand why. It was still fun to just have a day with my sister doing normal stuff. Our Monday evening plans were 20 min away at Miss Math’s house where we ate dinner and kids played and we talked and her husband hid to avoid the girl talk. Another late night but worth it!
Yesterday I tried to find hardware for the house but the place we went was more disorganized showroom than a place to find a deal but Miss Math joined me so it was worth the trip. Then to make sure there was fun in the day, we went to find the ice cream truck. Note I say “go find” because in NY they roam the streets and if you EVER come out of your house you get a permanent star on his route map and that truck will come back 5x a day all summer. Unless you want a daily discussion about ice cream and its relation to dinner/lunch/cash/diet never let the truck know where you live. The park was lovely and there was shade and a breeze and #3 godfather made an appearance and the kids got icecream sticky and we were just walking home when we met up with Aunt Josie (I had her kids) and home we went to meet more friends for games and eat dinner.
Today was a grand day where things just fell into place. Our original plans fell through so we were gifted use of a state park pass and a 75 degree and sunny day to use it. Niamh was the late sleeper today so we were just about ready to go when my dad had a break in his day so we kidnapped him to go walk a couple miles on the beach. We did the boardwalk and then up the lighthouse and back along the beach splashing in the Atlantic. It was just the perfect size outing for the beach and we got home just in time to get Chase from school and for Miss Math to pop in for a quick visit. We went over to my aunts for a general garden tour and play time and ended up doing dinner and seeing my cousin who usually works far later. Josie met up with us (I had her kids again) and back to grandma’s for our first quiet evening in ages. I plan on going out to see another friend tonight and starting the packing process because after tomorrow we hit the road again for vacation part 3; the road trip home.
Tomorrow should be a good one, our plans include seeing friends one more time, dinner on the big boat, and a cousin sleepover so get every last moment together. Somewhere in that time I need to find all our stuff and get it back in a car shaped package and point my brain back at the things that need doing to get us home again.
Last week Friday we packed up the minivan and hit the road after work. The kids are getting pretty well trained and I have to say this was one of the best trips for travel behaviors yet. The combo of learning to read, and, lifelong training meant that while it was still a loooong trip, nobody wanted to abandon anyone on the side of the road at any time.
We spent Friday night in a Chicago hotel, and Saturday in an eastern PA one. We made good enough time that the kids got some pool time in PA and the next morning we visited with family in the area and then back on the road to my parents’ house. Traffic was not perfect, it never is, but, only added on a little over an hour so all in all it was a 20 driving hour trip.
Once we got here my only plan was to be here. We have been making plans as we go but given that we are on vacation and nobody else is, we have plenty of chill time. There is a big 90th birthday reunion style party this weekend that since we are here we will go to. I’ve learned from being away that where there is a chance to see everyone, take it. You never know when the next one will come and for some of the people who are in their late 80’s I way prefer to visit them now then regret the loss when it is too late. I’m lucky that I enjoy 90% of my family and even the crazy 10% are not offensive, just not my preferred brand of crazy.
On the vacation bucket list we have gotten out on the big boat, had a cousin sleep over party, gone out for ice cream, and played in the parks. Its a bit cold for the beach but maybe next week. Just like most times you visit family, it isn’t truly a ‘vacation’ it is just living life in a different place with fewer responsibilities. I am glad we are here now, it is a great break from house packing at the very least 🙂
We are back 🙂
The kids are fine, the adult in charge of the kids is fine, the house is even fine. I call this a success. We filled in the balance of the afternoon with snuggles.
My only complaints about the weekend are because we are entirely spoiled. The restaurant we choose had a fairly small menu and Lars had a good dish but mine was super bland and not what was on the menu. The breakfast was similar – I cook breakfast foods well enough to know that these were not fresh, they were ok but nothing to rave about. So because we cook too well we are too fussy about the food out in the world. The house was a cool old Victorian with tons of original woodwork and furnishings. It was authentic enough I didn’t want to plug anything extra in and made note of the fire exits just in case. We met another very nice couple and learned a bit of the history of the house. Technically nothing I didn’t guess but the owners were not there and they actually know more details.
We had an odd amount of time this morning so we ended up stopping for Thor Ragnarock and I very much enjoyed it. The theater was a ‘bistro’ so you could order lunch or snacks and there were seats with tables like a first-class airline so it was a very good experience. The movie itself was well done, you can’t help but be inspired by hero movies – heroes are the ones running toward the danger, that is what they do.
Overall a very nice getaway. It is a little town about an hour away and we choose it nearly at random because we just wanted something interesting and unknown to us and that it was. We discovered that they have some really awesome playgrounds and also a great 20mile bike trail so we will probably be back in the spring so the guys training for their 150-mile ride can do a practice round. We also didn’t get to tour what the town was originally famous for – the pottery – but we did go to the shoe museum and saw two very familiar pairs of boots; one my grandfather wore in WWII as a paratrooper and the other my parents wore as 70’s era mountain climbers.
I hope it won’t be years before we do something like this again but it was a special way to celebrate our 13th anniversary.