Thursday, September 26, 2013

Arctic Fall

Talk about bad timing. Two weeks ago we were slated to have our stove repaired for the coming winter, and then a massive storm comes and knocks out the power. The repair man said he needed electricity and had to reschedule, so the soonest time he had was near the end of the month. Big bummer. Of course, the morning that he was supposed to come, the power came back on, but we couldn’t have predicted that, and he’s coming from pretty far away.

With fall on the horizon, it has been getting cooler, though not intolerably cold. Even still, when you’ve got your summer skin on, the advent of fall is always an adjustment. In years past, we’ve started burning wood in September, but now we’re stuck. There have been a couple of nights of frosty evenings, but for the most part, the chill is bearable. We just have to wear some clothes around the house. We can actually use the stove, there is a crack in the base, but it was there all of last year. We want to fix it before the whole thing collapses, but we could probably get away with a week or two burning. Then again, you never really know, do you?

We have taken the “suck it up” approach and decided to just deal with it. Like I said, it hasn’t been awful, it’s just the adjustment period that is hard. The days have been in the 70s, though the mornings hover in the 40s. Then again, that’s nothing a Vermonter can’t handle, right?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Polar Cruises for the pic.

Phone Contact and Birthdays

My mom’s birthday is coming up, and she is a no-frills sort of person, though deep down I know she doesn’t want us to ignore it. She has repeatedly asked that we not give her flowers or gifts, but I always send a card, even when we’re not on speaking terms. This time around, not only did I send a card, but I also asked the kids to make a special card for her, and they always do an amazing job. You’re really in luck when you get a homemade card from the kids because they do a pretty cool job.

This year my inspiration stemmed from the fact that I recently contacted my mom by phone and it was a very pleasant experience. In the past, virtually without fail, my mom is mean to me when I call, no matter how long the duration between calls. She feels compelled to be vindictive and sarcastic from the minute she answers the phone, and it can be an unpleasant experience. Needless to say, it doesn’t encourage me to make that call, and this time around was no different. To add to the drama, the last time we spoke, she mentioned that she’d like for us to visit her on the west coast and I hedged a bit but said we’d try.

Fast forward several months later with no contact and no visit, and you can imagine my trepidation over making that call. R kept telling me to call her, reasoning that it was the right thing to do, and that I was an adult and needed to deal with it. Besides, for all I knew, she might have changed (fat chance!).

Well, at some point, if figured I had to face the music, so I took the plunge and called her, and you wanna know what? She was very congenial and friendly, and didn’t attack me one bit. I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least. We chatted for a bit, she asked about the kids, and then she really floored me when she asked me if I was happy. I can honestly say that for my entire adult existence, I cannot recall once when she asked me if I was happy. Growing up, life wasn’t about happy, it was about success and achievement, and doing something with your life. What’s happiness got to do with it?

I told her I was, and she was glad and said that was the most important thing. Wow, R was right, she had changed. The clincher was when we talked about visiting and if it would interfere with the kid’s school, and I told her we homeschooled, expecting shock and disbelief on her part. Again, she floored me when she was supportive, saying that R and I were probably qualified to teach.

Just one surprise after another. I told her we would make sure to visit in the fall, which is not an easy time for us, but I figure it’s important to make some effort in this regard. My mom isn’t getting any younger, and she would get a huge kick out of her grandkids, because in my completely objective and unbiased opinion, they’re pretty cool kids.

Now I have to work on getting out there. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Mark Mathosian for the pic.

Monday, September 23, 2013

An Evening of Culture

We attended the ballet this past weekend, and I have confess, I rather enjoyed it. If anything, I liked it better than the opera, which I’ve attended, as well. Maybe it’s because it’s more dynamic and energetic, or that it doesn’t last as long. Same dramatic elements and basic storylines, though.

Our friends A&K daughter, who is a wonderful dancer, was actually in the production, and they had four free tickets. I asked R is she was interested and she said sure, so we got them. I was a little pensive about how the kids would respond since it’s a fairly sophisticated art form. I don’t know too many adults (mostly men) who would sit through it, so how can you expect small children?

Anyway, we A’s buddy ES was sleeping over, so we brought her along, as well. I had never been to a ballet, but I’d seen a couple of operas when I lived in NYC. I actually liked them, especially Carmen, where I recognized a lot of the music, but they were a little long. The ballet was Giselle, and it was at the Lebanon Opera House. The crowd was a little light, but good enough to make it a show. People were actually dressed up fairly nicely, nothing like you would see in NYC, but even still, no jeans and t-shirts, which meant my standard attire was not going to do. N even wore a tie, which was too cute for words.

We even saw several of our friends there, and it was a fun evening. It’s funny because I saw several moms we know who came out without the dads and kids. Go figure. The ballet company is the local Lebanon school, so they are mostly high school kids, and they did a wonderful job. I enjoyed it, and even the kids said they liked it, though the true test will be if they want to go again.

We got home late, but it was fine, and after an evening of culture, I felt like I was back in the big city once again. That is, of course, until we got home in the woods.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Scott Moore for the pic.

Game Time

N’s hockey has been cruising along, and he’s been having fun, even if at times he’s reluctant to go. I don’t know where this comes from, but he was hedging a bit on going to his game. He had missed the previous session because his stomach wasn’t feeling well, and now that we had recovered, we figured it was a no-brainer going to the game. That morning, however, he alluded to skipping it, and of course we wondered why. This seems to be a recurring issue with him, not wanting to do something for no apparent reason. I’m sure there’s a reason, but when it comes to things he likes or even loves, it leaves us scratching our heads.

I’ve noticed with him that sometimes it’s just the idea of doing something that’s discouraging, and when he actually does it, he enjoys it. With this in mind, we’ve found that we sometimes have to force him to have fun and enjoy himself. I understand completely. There are often times that I don’t want to do something because it’s easier to just give in to inertia. This is doubly so with new experiences, but once I do them, I’m glad I did. It’s better to regret what you have done than what you haven’t done, right?

Either way, we sort of nudged him to go, and he didn’t resist. Of course, once he was in the game, he loved it and had a great time. It helped that he did well out there, and he even had a breakaway, though he missed the net. That didn’t matter, he looked darn good missing that net. It’s the skating and controlling the puck that’s the hard part, the rest will come.

Afterward, I asked him if he was glad he came, and he replied with a resounding, “Yes!” This brings up the question, how much do you push your kids versus giving in to their initial impulses of not wanting to deal with life? I for one think kids need encouragement and nudging, and then over time, if they really hate something, then re-think it. Otherwise, it’s just too easy to sit at home and watch TV while your life passes you by, and we don’t even have TV. I shudder to think what would happen if we did, not to mention video games. We’d never make it out the door.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Christine for the pic.

Busy Market

Last week we had our busiest market ever, and it was sort of fun, but sort of not. The biggest bummer being at the market is, hands down, sitting around twiddling your thumbs and having no customers, so I can’t complain, but that never seems to stop me.

We had heard from other vendors that this past week was the big one, with all the students back in their routines and the fall/winter population back in the swing of things. In past markets it never went past September, so we had no frame of reference, but we were optimistic. First off, we really lucked out with the weather, it was stellar. Warm, sunny, but not hot. This brings out the people. There was a steady stream of customers, but around 4:30, things started cooking, and it was crazy. We were all working at a furious pace for about an hour straight, and it was quite the sight to behold. I’m talking cutting, chopping, cooking, and money changing hands like lightning. We really couldn’t do this without the kids.

At one point we figured we were done, only to have other customers appear. I fired the stove back up while they waited, and we were able to fill their orders, which is always a nice thing. In the end, we could pat ourselves on the back for not only the amount of business, but for the fact that we even survived. It should be interesting to see what happens next week.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Tom for the pic.

Budding Engineer

N definitely has the engineer gene in him. Maybe it’s inherent in boys, but he is very industrious and creative when it comes to constructing and building things (I think his next big toy will be an excavator). It’s really nice to see, and I think it really comes out because he doesn’t have the option to sit and watch TV or play video games. He is forced to find an activity and his creativity kicks in, I can’t tell you how awesome I think it is.

As you may know, N has been very keen on his BMX bike, and the place to be with it is the skate park. However, it’s not always so easy to find the time to get over there. Not to be deterred, he set about making is own sort of bike track at home, using a shovel, shears, and various garden implements. First he charted out a path, then he cleared branches, dug up the ground, and then carved out trails and obstacles. It’s so cool, despite the fact that he tore up the lawn in certain places. It’s only grass, after all, and what’s a little grass when it comes to your child’s development and ingenuity.

The path is a loop that circles around the driveway. There are jumps, ramps, beveled turns, and bumpy trails, fashioned after moto-cross tracks. He even cut a trail through the trees to make a tunnel, of sorts. It’s taken him hours to create, and it’s still being created. Best of all, once it’s done, it’s never really done because it can provide endless amounts of fun outdoor activity.

I love when that happens. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Anthony GELOT for the pic.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Back to Guitar

At times I’m amazed I get anything right. Last week the kids had a busy day and I made it busier by messing up the schedule. The kids had book club and then afterward A had guitar, followed by my library board meeting. I mistakenly thought N had drums that morning and showed up at the school, only to have JB look at me like I was crazy and say, “Drums aren’t today.” Yikes, how did I space out on that one?

Oh well, that’s what happens when you bite off more than you can chew. We went home and immediately got ready for book club, giving me an hour to work on that barn. We then had to jet out to the big city for A’s guitar lesson, the back to our small town for my board meeting, which for the record, I never want to attend but always do because we love our library.

After the meeting, I had time to come home, whip up some supper, and then have a moment to relax and take a power nap before going to bed. I live for those moments.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Thomas VanSelus for the pic.

Mountain Biking?

Could it be that N has found a new sporting interest? We were up in Killington the other day riding the gondola and hiking down the hill. The place was filled with mountain bikers who ride up and then ride down, which is a great concept, when you think about it. It looked cool, so naturally N was intrigued. So much so that it began to percolate in his head, and pretty much from the time we started walking down the hill, I think he was hooked. I’m not sure where this will go, but it’s an interesting direction, kind of in-line with his whole X-games gestalt.

Unfortunately they really stick it to you at the mountain if you end up renting the gear and getting a lift ticket, on the order of about $100 a person, even kids. This begs the question, do you really need all that gear? It seemed to be a bit excessive, and I’m all for safety. We have helmets, we have gloves, would it be enough to bring out own stuff and just buy the lift ticket? I need to investigate this a big more.

In the meantime, we’ll stick with the skate park and BMX bikes. It’s free, and it still has the big cool factor.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Mirko Banfi for the pic.

Back to School?

We were on the cusp of enrolling A into a language class at the local school and it all fell to pieces at the last minute. My feeling is that at some point, the kids might benefit from taking classes as the school, and could even one day go to school full time. I don’t think it’s such a bad idea, not just for their academic careers, but I’m not sure I’m capable of giving them the best high school education. A good start would be language, and then maybe social studies or something like that.

Either way, I don’t think everyone shares my POV, because I could sense some trepidation in this house, and in the end, it didn’t happen. I had to contact the school at the last minute and say we had a change in plans, and they were cool about it. A will still do extra-curricular at the school, so we’ll see what happens next year, or even next semester.

For now, we’re still at home, ready for another year. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Emory Maiden for the pic.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Side Out

I think the real-man influences in my life are not going to believe this, but I actually managed to finish putting up siding on one side of the barn. Can you believe it? Sure, it’s going pretty slow, but it’s going, and as I do it more and more, I get better and faster. It boils down to starting out clueless and gradually learning how to do it right.

With this in mind, I probably should have started on the back and learned from my mistakes over there, but instead opted to work on the side that everyone sees so it looks like progress is being made. I’m from L.A., so I’m all about appearances.

Another concern with finishing the appearance side is that I might get complacent and put off doing the rest until next year, but hopefully that won’t be the case. Either way, now it’s time to tackle the gable side, and from there, who knows?

Until then, thanks for reading.

Scoring Firewood

I was sitting around waiting for TB to call and tell me when I can get our firewood when out of the blue, he called me and said he was having someone else deliver the wood, and soon. A friend of his, JW. I was a little surprised by the timing, not to mention the change in supplier, but when it comes to working with loggers, you can’t be a sissy and worry about these things.

TB said the wood come in the next day or so, and that I should deal with JW directly. I forgot to ask TB if this meant he was no longer doing wood, but I can always inquire at a later date. In the meantime, I got in touch with JW, and we arranged for a delivery. He came a few days later and I learned he’s pretty local, just as much as TB, and can get me wood in the future. Bonus time, another source of firewood. I love when that happens.

Also, the wood JW brought me was killer, not a lot of birch, a fair amount of hornbeam (iron wood), and just the right sizes. I ask for tops so the wood is not thick, which is a bear (if not impossible) to cut and split. I only have a 16 inch bar on my chainsaw, so cutting a log that’s over 3 feet in diameter (you can do the trigonometry) is a chore. I actually called JW and thanked him.

On a side note, while I was waiting to hear from TB, I also contacted my friend, DS, who was also A’s track coach. He’s the logger who helped me move those massive oak and pine logs to the mill. He’s very hard to get ahold of, but I left a message with him asking if he could get firewood. I didn’t hear back from him and figured he was busy. He did call about a week later, however, and said to give him a call, but before I could, he came over to see if I still needed wood. He saw the wood pile and that answered his question, but it’s nice to know that I have yet another source of firewood in a pinch.

Now all we need is to get our stove fixed, and we’ll be ready for winter... I hope.

Until then, thanks for reading.


Talk about crazy weather, we got socked with this massive storm a couple of days ago, and it sort of came out of nowhere, didn’t last that long, but knocked out the power for two days. It was time to break out the flashlights and candles, and it was a bummer, to say the least.

We were at the market and the weather forecast called for massive thunderstorms to the point where we really debated going. The big downside to canceling a market (besides missing out on making the big bucks) is that we have to buy all the ingredients to make the falafels, and it’s all perishable. We’re talking fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers. The falafels are easy, we can just freeze them, as well as the pita bread, but fresh veggies are tough.

Anyway, I was mixed. I would have loved to have stayed home since I have this massive case of farmer’s market fatigue, which for the record is a known condition taught at every medical school in the country... yeah, right. When we woke, though, the weather wasn’t that bad. To add to the fun, it was forecast to be 90+ with high humidity. Now how exactly does that happen when the weather has been cool and mild every day, and then suddenly it shoots up to 95 degrees on market day. Surely someone is trying to tell us something.

The big storm didn’t really pan out, so we went to the market, and believe me, it was hot. The market was slow, people had the good sense to stay home, but looking at the bright side, we didn’t hit with the storm. It was, however, hovering on the horizon, and as we packed up and headed to Boloco for our must-have after market supper, things got darker. BTW, just wanted to mention that we weren’t even that hungry, but we really need that down time eating at Boloco because it’s such a nice break at the end of a hard day. We just love that place.

After supper, we headed home and just as we were unloading things, the storm hit, almost out of nowhere. The winds kicked up and it started pouring rain, and within minutes the power went out. Talk about a bummer. We figured it wouldn’t last too long, so we watched a DVD on my computer and went to be early. The next morning, however, still no power, and this lasted into the evening. The big issues were our fridge/freezer, and no running water. It’s hard when flushing the toilet is compromised.

Also, since we had no power, the stove repair guy, who was supposed to come, had to cancel because I guess he needs electricity. What a bummer.

The power finally came back, and not a moment too soon, but it’s been interesting, to say the least. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have urgent matters that need attending to in the bathroom. I’ll leave it at that.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to gc85 for the pic.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

George of the Jungle

All the bad weather we’ve been having the past couple of weeks combined with the market and other assorted projects have meant that the yard has been neglected, in a pretty bad way in some parts. I had all these grand ideas of clearing areas and making them more aesthetically pleasing, all of which passed without realization. It takes all I’ve got just to do routine yard maintenance, and even that’s a chore.

I finally bit the bullet and decided to mow the lawn, and it was quite the adventure. I felt like Tarzan out there. I benefit from the fact that the grass is growing slower due to the weather, but it is growing plenty fast in some parts. This is the price I pay for seeding and encouraging it to grow. For all it’s worth, it does look pretty good. The front part of the lawn, the one that people see when they drive in, has been fairly well maintained and looks good. The side sections are not doing too bad, and the part of the back are just okay. It’s the very back near the garden where things have gotten out of hand. It’s a jungle back there.

It doesn’t help that the yard is a steep hill, which makes pushing that mower quite the chore. Then again, it’s a good workout, and as I get older, I can appreciate the importance of being active and getting some exercise. Life would be easier to just cut the grass with a driving mower, but think of the lost opportunity to burn some calories. To compound the situation, when a situation starts to get out of hand, I tend to want to ignore it and hope it goes away, thus exacerbating the situation.

The grass down by the garden was about 2 feet long, I kid you not, and it clogged the mower more than a few times. The cut grass, however, sort of acts like mulch and will hopefully discourage excessive growth, but we’ll see about that. I struggled a bit with the hills, they seem steeper and more bumpy than I remember, but managed to get it done. In a perfect world, this will be the last time I mow it until next year, but somehow I doubt that’s going to happen.

Then, of course, I have raking leaves to look forward to. I can’t wait.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Marcos De Pedro for the pic.

Just Goes to Show You...

... sometimes you just never know. We took on an additional market this weekend (as if we don’t have enough on our plates), and as usual, regretted it, but not only was reasonably fruitful, it was fun. Go figure.

We were approached at the farmer’s market by some people involved with King Arthur Flour. They were having some special event, I wasn’t even sure what was going on, but they said they were looking for food vendors and asked if we were interested. We said maybe, and pondered it before deciding yes. Who wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to make a big fat paycheck... yeah, right?

As usual, the pursuit of the greenback led us to regret, and as the day approached, not only did we have no clue what the actual event was about, but we sure as heck didn’t want to do it. I mean, really, we’re tired and busy as it is. Then again, as R always says, if you give in to that extremely strong desire to throw in the towel and avoid new experiences, you’d never get off the couch.

Either way, we learned the event was King Arthur’s inaugural fall Harvest Festival, celebrating the season and their beautiful new complex, which for the record is really nice. Not that they need to promote themselves any more, they are a hot bed of activity. The event was on Saturday and started around 10:00, which meant getting there around 9:00 to set up. We figured nobody would eat falafels for breakfast, and decided to get there later. The organizers said that we could basically come and go as we pleased, which made it much more relaxed.

We also learned that there would be brick oven pizza, barbecue, and a crepe stand, in addition to all the food inside King Arthur at their cafe. At some point we sort of wondered why they even wanted us to be there. With all those good food choices, we didn’t have a chance, did we?

Needless to say, this did not help our state of mind, and as we prepared to go, the whole time I kept wondering, why are we doing this? We’re not going to sell anything, people don’t even know what falafels are, and are not going to choose them over pizza, ribs, or crepes. Plus, we were dragging our kids to yet another day of work, which made me feel guilty. The only upside going into it was we could leave whenever we wanted.

Well, it turns out that we were pretty wrong. First off, the weather was great, cool and breezy, with no rain (very key). The place was hopping, with a regular flow of people and we sold a fair number of falafels. In fact, it was a better day than most of the markets in the big city, which for the record, has been surprisingly slow.

Best of all, there were tons of activities for the kids, and they got to make cupcakes and pretzels, decorate cookies and eat free ice cream. They said they had a blast. I brought along N’s BMX bike, and that made a huge difference because there were all sorts of trails and hills to ride on. Plus, we saw a bunch of our friends, several of whom work at King Arthur.

All in all, it was a wonderful day, and we didn’t even want to do it in the first place. I love when that happens.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Geoff Ward for the pic.

Skate Park

There is a local skate park in the urban section of town, and as you can imagine, it’s a favorite destination of Ns. It’s designed for skateboarders, but it’s open to kids on BMX bikes and scooters, they’re all part of the same crowd and accept one another. The park has been around for over 10 years, and they did a really nice job with it, especially when you consider that we’re out in the wilds of New England. I even met the guy who designed and helped build it, he’s one of the former owners of Whaleback Mountain, which is one of our favorite ski hills.

After a dozen years of use, you can imagine that the park is in a bit of disrepair. The guys behind it decided to have some sort of fundraiser/benefit to help rebuild the place, and naturally N wanted to go. Even A expressed some interest, maybe to see rebellious but cool teenage boys? She’s at that age, but I can’t speak for her motivations. We figured it would be a party, at the very least, so we packed up N’s things and headed over. He didn’t want to bring his riding stuff because he figured it was going to be a skateboarding event, but as I always tell them, bring it along and if you don’t use it, fine, but if you do want it, at least you have it. It’s better to regret what you have done than what you haven’t done, right? Yeah, yeah, whatever.

The event was a little more low key than I had expected. I thought there would be a barbecue and tons of loud music, but there was none of that. Even the crowd was smaller than I thought, though it really picked up later. The skateboarders were really good, and it was fun just watching them go off and try to outdo one another. Teenage male testosterone, you can’t beat the spectacle.

The skate park is near Price Chopper, so I went shopping for food while the kids stayed and watched the various competitions. At some point A was bored, and kept asking to leave, while N wanted to stay all day. After a few hours, we finally did head out, but not before getting some ice cream at Fore-U. Our timing was good because as soon as we got home, the skies opened up and it poured. Life is all about timing, is it not?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to patrick janicek for the pic.

Late Night Fun

Last weekend was the annual Dahlia Fest held by our good friends JM and NT. It’s been going on for several years, and we attended the first one way back when. They set up this really cool stage with a great sound system and people go up and play on the open mic. A performed at one of the earlier ones when she was just a little kid, and from there she was hooked and loved to perform. JM and NT are older hippies who are hip and connected in the art community, so the group in attendance is an eclectic group, to say the least. Plenty of locals and lots of young hipsters, all of whom are accomplished musicians. I have noticed, though, that attendance has been declining, and this time around they had the smallest gathering I’ve seen so far. That doesn’t mean, however, that it isn’t a great time.

They have a pot luck supper and then everyone hangs out and socializes. When the sun goes down, everyone heads up to the stage to watch the show. This year there was some question about the performance because it was raining really hard all day, but what else is new? This has been a wet late summer/fall, so we get rain almost every day. The rain did stop at some point, and they put out tarps and chairs and we watched the show. It’s a lot of fun seeing old friends and watching the kids perform, especially, of course, A. She’s a natural performer and plays with a fairly high level of confidence, it impresses me to no end.

After the show, it was late, but the kids wanted to check out the bonfire, where there was a surprise. JM set up all these fireworks and this impressive display of sparklers and explosions, which was pretty cool. We ended up getting home closer to 11:00PM, and man were we beat, but in a good way.

Fortunately it was Saturday, which meant sleeping in on Sunday to be well rested to make falafels. Such is life, right?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Antony Grossy for the pic.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hiking the Hill and Long Trail

It was beautiful last weekend, perfect for working on the barn and dealing with firewood, but also for a fun family outing. The weather has been somewhat fickle this summer, though it was beautiful (dare I say perfect?) in August, with dry, cool and sunny days. Now that we are heading into fall, we’ve had a ton of rain but at least it’s been, for the most part, cooler. Good weather for getting out and soaking up what Mother Nature has to offer.

After taking care of business, we decided to head over to Killington and ride the gondola up to the top, then hike the ski trails to the bottom. We had done this once before, several years ago when the kids were smaller, and it was sort of a disaster. The kids were too young, N was about 4 or 5, and they pooped out about 1/4 of the way down the mountain. We ended up carrying both of them down, and believe me, it was not easy. A was heavy, and by the time we made it to the bottom, I couldn’t move my arms.

This time around, we laid down the law and told them we were not going to carry them, not that they wanted us to. They’re big kids, now. The gondola ride up was fun, worth the trip in and of itself, and it was beautiful at the top, with amazing views. The ski hill is open for mountain bikers who ride the gondola up and bike down, and the cars are painted in all these cool designs, which makes for an interesting ride up. Once we got to the top, we headed down and it was a really nice time. The kids really enjoyed it, though I have to confess, walking downhill for an extended period can take a toll on my old bones, especially my spine.

After we got to the bottom, it was pretty late, and we were in need of sustenance. It was too late to think of making supper, and since we were in Killington, a ski town and party central, there were plenty of choices. However, it’s the off-season, and a lot of places were closed. We ended up hitting the road and stopping at the Long Trail Brewery in Bridgewater. The place is really cool, and even though it’s basically pub food, we enjoyed our meal. They even have a quick tour of the brewery, which R and kids took while I sat and stared at the walls.

All in all, a great day of outdoor fun and fine pub dining. Interestingly enough, now N is interested in mountain biking. Go figure.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Jonathan for the pic.

Getting it Done

Once again, we got our school stuff in and it was down to the wire, though I’ve yet to hear back from them. I hope everything is okay, but I know if it isn’t, they’ll let me know. It’s been known to happen.

Every school year I make a vow not to wait until the last minute, and every year it goes to the last minute. You’d think I’d have learned by now, but no such luck. This year seemed especially pressing, maybe because as the kids get older, their curriculums become more involved and intense. We were also at the mercy of DE getting the evals done, which he did in a timely manner. Thanks to him.

What’s nice is that you can email the info to the office, and hope that they get back to you and let you know everything is in order. Unfortunately, they didn’t do that, and as the deadline loomed, I worried if we were going to be on time. I called the office and spoke with someone who wasn’t very pleasant, which I thought was a bit unprofessional. I felt like I was at the DMV, and wanted to be curt and snippy, but knew that would accomplish nothing. If anything, it would make my life harder. Don’t you hate when that happens.

In the end, this person transferred me to the person in charge, and they said they received the paperwork and would review it. I’m sure there will be problems, there always are, but for now, we made the deadline and now have 364 days to slack off... or rather, 363.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to amenah for the pic.

Monday, September 2, 2013

School Daze

School has started, and we were on the cusp of jumping into the fray before the idea was vetoed. I had contacted the school last week to inquire about A taking French language at the school. They were very cool about it, and said she was in. The class was at 8:00AM, which I think would be no problem for A, she’s more of a morning person than she is willing to admit. Plus, she’s excellent at jumping out of bed and hitting the ground running when need be. N, on the other hand, is a slower riser.

Whatever be the case, by the Sunday before school, it was decided that it wasn’t such a good fit, after all. First off, we will be taking a series of trips in the fall, so she’d miss a few of weeks. Second, I think the class is beginner French, which would be fine for her, but she might benefit from more of a challenge. Finally, it’s every day at 8:00AM, which is kind of brutal.

I had to scramble to inform the school that we would not be attending after all. I emailed the language coordinator, and called the school on Monday AM. They were very cool about it, it worked out fine, and we didn’t have to scramble for the first day of class.

What we did end up doing was having our end of year evaluations done. We piled into the car and headed over to DE’s for a playdate/evaluation day. It works out nicely because DE does a good job (maybe more than he needs to) and his kids are good friends with our kids. Plus, DE and I are friends, so we can sit and talk guy-talk. It was also a good chance for me to bolt into White River and get market supplies without having to drag the kids along. I love when that happens.

Now we’re almost ready to enroll in the 2013-14 school year. The only thing left to do is create A’s curriculum, which is not easy, but nobody said being a parent was easy, right?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Eileen Sandá for the pic.

Splitting the Difference

I think I’ve mentioned this in the past, but I finally located a wood splitter that our good friend JP said we could borrow. Employing the generous services of my Mentor, we hauled it over to our house and set it up where we usually keep the log length wood that needs to be cut. Once we got it home, my Mentor said to fire it up, being the take charge kind of guy that he is. I was, as usual, pensive, but we toyed with it before figuring out the optimal settings to getting it going

Once it was fired up, we split some logs, and I have to confess, the thing is pretty amazing. It split blocks that not only weighed about 70 lbs, but were like concrete to my maul. As much as I love to split by hand, I can see the value of a splitter, they really do what no man can do, or at least this man... in training.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to patty christopher for the pic.

On the Green

Summer is winding down, which means we have to make the most of the warm weather and do stuff that requires grass and being outside. This, of course, includes golf. A week or two back A was in camp for the umpteenth time, and N and I had the day to ourselves. He mentioned going golfing, which I enjoy but wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to do. He really wanted to go, however, and who am I to refuse a request to get out and have fun?

The two big drawback to golf are that it is a little expensive, especially if you get the golf cart (you have to get the golf cart!), and it is a huge time drain. We only do nine holes, I can’t imagine doing eighteen. Crazy. Either way, the day was beautiful, and we lucked out because August has been stellar in terms of weather, cool and dry, almost like fall.

We headed over to Carter, which we prefer to Larkin, but it is a little more pricey. The place wasn’t too busy, and we only had to let one guy go ahead of us at the 2nd hole, and then we were free to take our time and enjoy ourselves. It’s tough when there are groups behind you waiting, because it makes me anxious and self-conscious.

I will say this, N’s game is coming along nicely. He is driving it nicely, and making good use of his wedges. Now I don’t know much about golf, but I do know that N has a good swing, and people compliment him on it. It’s possible they’re just being nice, but they don’t have to say anything, and besides, I agree. We had a really nice day of golf, and timed it perfectly because we had plenty of time afterward for pizza at Ziggy’s and then over to Fore-U for ice cream... don’t tell mom.

I think we may try to get one more day of golf in before the season ends. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Jeff Carrel for the pic.