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Sunday, July 25, 2021 2 comments

Pitter-patter, part 3 (home again, home again)

The dynamic completely changed, once Charlie was in the mix. Mason went full-on micromanager, completely losing his shorts over the most trivial things.

As for Charlie, his happy place is the pool. Put floaties on him, toss him in the pool, and he’s good. The outdoor pool at the clubhouse is usually pretty cold (with 2018-2020 being exceptions), but Charlie doesn’t care about a little cold. (A lot cold is enough to get him out, but this wasn’t a lot cold.) Mason insisted on the indoor pool, but the outdoor one was tolerable even for me. So Charlie and I played around, while Mason sat in a chair and sulked because he wasn't getting his way.

After maybe an hour (I’m not keeping track of time on vacation, what’s the point?), Charlie decided he would be okay going to the indoor pool. Mason, finally getting what he wanted, joined in.

At this point, I should point out that there’s a third pool, next to the waterslide and close to the diner and country store. It was closed for much of the week, since some moron had gone tubing, didn’t shower, and introduced algae. For some reason, this pool is often warmer than the outdoor pool at the clubhouse, but it had a definite green tinge. I’m not sure why that would be a problem, since the lake is also a good place to swim (and is often warmer than the outdoor pools, and I have no idea why). Maybe the algae had some irritant qualities.

But I digress. By Friday, they had dumped enough chlorine into the pool to kill the algae, and re-opened it. Charlie was so happy to be in the pool, he wanted to hug everyone in the area… literally. He spun around with a huge grin, arms wide open, making his happy noise. Several folks thought it charming, anyway. It was noticeably warmer than the clubhouse outdoor pool, and it also has a “real” deep end (8 feet). People invited Charlie, then Mason, into their games, and I just hung out and kept an eye on the rugrats. Mason complained about the amount of chlorine in the pool, but he was wearing a diving mask so I’m not sure what his actual issue was (besides just complaining).

Mason brought a couple of R/C vehicles along for the final leg of our outing. Charlie enjoyed watching them whizz up and down the lane. Someone came up in a golf cart, and suggested a “race.” The R/C truck won (those electric motors can go from zero to top speed pretty quick).

By Saturday morning, I’d had all I could take of Mason’s attitude, his constant ordering everyone around (especially Charlie) and refusing to help. He’s been throwing up all this anti-spanking “evidence” at us, trying to dodge the consequences of his actions, so I simply told him he could have no electronics (no iPad, no Xbox, no Switch, no nothing) until his attitude got better. That probably hurt more than any spanking, anyway.

I’d loaded all the non-essentials into M.O. the B.B. Friday evening, so (with Mason’s ultra-reluctant help) we broke camp Saturday morning and headed on back to the manor. The outdoor rug stank with mildew, and needs a good cleaning, and the Starflyer needs some attention as well. I’m trying to decide whether to get the A/C fixed, or just replace it with an exhaust fan and stuff a window A/C unit in a convenient spot. Whichever way I go, I’d like to have it completely functional before I sell it and go with something else. Then again, campers are going for a premium right now… anyone want a lightweight camper with a few minor issues?

We got home, to find the wife there. They had drove up to their retreat, then the sister-in-law hosed up her foot when they went to get groceries. And when I say “hosed,” it was several times worse than either of mine. They ended up coming back. BUMMER. The wife needed a break more than I did, and I had somewhat of a break even with Mason making things as miserable as possible.

Back to work, and everything else. The boys will be in school soon, although I don’t know how long Delta will let that happen.

Thursday, July 22, 2021 No comments

Pitter-patter, part 2

Rain on a popup is a special kind of noise. What hits the bunkends is a nice pitter-patter sound, actually quite soothing. What hits the roof in the middle is anything but soothing: it’s somewhere between a pop and a snap noise. And that’s what we contended with for much of the night.

The Starflyer’s A/C isn’t working, despite my replacing the starter capacitor, so we had to make do with fans. I claimed the fan/light combo, since Mason swiped it last time. He groaned, but didn’t press the issue. Fortunately, it never got out of the low 80s (F) for highs each day… I guess the rain helped with that.

Staying dry on a wet night
With the awning and the EZup, and no wind pushing the rain around, there were dry spots to take a chair and a beer outside while Mason was zorched out (or doing late-night iPad sessions while pretending to be asleep). The EZup framework also provided a convenient place to hang swim suits and towels, to get them a little dry, anyway.

So this was our routine, the first few nights. Charlie has his therapy sessions on Monday and Tuesday, and the wife was going to have some fun with her sister on a long weekend starting Thursday, so we went home Wednesday afternoon.

The foot improved with (not enough) rest. By Thursday morning, I could walk on it almost normally for an hour or two before it started giving me grief again. Extra-strength Tylenol helped to extend the time I could use it, and propping it on a pillow at night made it less cranky in the mornings. We took a brief bike ride on Wednesday, and it was okay. Our campsite is at the bottom of the hill, so we could coast back “home.”

Thursday, Charlie had a neurological evaluation scheduled at ENEC in Decatur, so I drove us down there. In the vein of combining trips, wife had her bags packed and in the back of the van, and all we had to do was figure out where to get lunch and meet the sister-in-law. We settled on a place called Grub (Burger Bar), that served up what the wife described as “the best burger I’ve had in a long time.”

So they tossed the wife’s bags into her sister’s vehicle, Charlie told them “bye-bye,” and away they went. We also went… back to the manor, to get Charlie’s stuff and get Mason while we were at it. M.O. the B.B. chugged on back to the campsite, and we did manage to get about 40 minutes at the pool before it closed for the evening.

Sunday, July 18, 2021 No comments

Pitter-patter, part 1

Pretty similar to last time
The wife’s sister decided the two of them needed a long weekend out. Wife floated it by me, and I thought it would be a good idea for her to have a little fun time, far away from FAR Manor and the adjacent farm. Plus, maybe I could take the boys out camping or something, right?

So I called the resort to see if I could swap our week in September for something in July. Nope! All the condos were slammed. EVERYONE is (or was) trying to get out and enjoy some vacation time in that brief period before the Delta variant decided to try culling the idiots who have made such a mess of things over the last… oh, who am I kidding, my entire lifetime.

But I digress, as usual. The woman who runs the condos gave me the number for the campground (different part of the resort) and they had openings. “You can have slot 38.” As we have a new pastor at church, and I’m nominally head of SPRC (what passes for HR in a Methodist church), I decided to go in Sunday afternoon and leave Saturday morning.

On Saturday, I decided to buzz up to the resort to see what #38 looked like, because M.O. the B.B. isn’t exactly the easiest thing to maneuver around in tight quarters. I took the boys with me, so we could hit the pool as well (the pool is Charlie’s happy place). Turns out it’s the same space I had last time we came up!

Sunday afternoon involved lots of packing up. Wife bought a Thermacell gadget (it does a pretty good job at repelling skeeters and the like) at Tractor Supply a while back, but they didn’t have any extra fuel cartridges at the time. I ordered a pack from the Mighty Zon, who told me they would be in on Friday… then Saturday… then Sunday. (Can someone explain why I’m paying Prime fees when 2-day delivery is 4 days so often?) Fortunately, the shipment arrived before we were ready to go.

Lots of rain in the forecast, but we had a good dry slot as I rolled M.O. the B.B. into the road around 4:30pm. It stayed dry long enough to get the essentials set up, too. This time, I brought the EZup to put over the picnic table (instead of dragging it under the awning). With Mason’s reluctant help, we got it hoisted. I’m trying to get screens for the EZup, but their website isn’t cooperating and they weren’t really needed for this trip.

I’ve had a little more practice backing a trailer over the last two-ish years, but not enough. I did realize I needed to position the backend of the Starflyer at the edge of the driveway, this time. It only took two tries, rather than five or six, to get it into position this time.

Mason and I both brought our bikes, but I’d managed to hose my right foot… just as the left was feeling better. Mason was trying to wheelie his mountain bike back on Thursday, and I thought maybe a visual would help him. I stuck my sandal’ed feet into the toe straps, put the bike in granny gear, and gave the pedal a good push. The ol’ Raleigh lofted all the way up, and spit my right foot out of the strap. The pedal put some impressive gouges in my lower leg, and I’m still trying to figure out what I hit my heel on. The upshot is, I’m once again gimping around—two days after getting over whatever was wrong with my left foot.

Fortunately, for now, it’s just Mason and me. Charlie has therapy Monday and Tuesday. We’ll run home Wednesday night and bring both boys up on Thursday. Of course, I forgot several things, and we ended up making a Mal*Wart run (because I had no other choice) to get them.

Thursday, July 08, 2021 1 comment

Ah… the crunchy nuggets

Back in the 70s, when we hunted wild tacos with spears to get lunch, W.C. Fritos was the animated spokesperson for one of Frito-Lay’s primary products (and I’ll leave it to you to figure out which one). One of his taglines was “Greetings, my little chip-a-dees,” and another was “Ah… the crunchy nuggets.”

Fast-forwarding 45+ years…

Mason’s current obsession/YouTube rabbit hole is making replica weapons from cardboard. He has made several decent axes (and spears), and is working on more. We have plenty of unused cardboard around, and (due to disrespectful yapping) is now grounded off the iPad, so he's doing something semi-creative.

I told you that to tell you this:

While I was trying to get supper together, Mason had made a spear out of cardboard and some unused utility handle, and was hassling Rosie the Stupidog. Charlie was yelling “Stop, Mason!" over and over, and I joined the chorus when I saw what was going on. Of course, Mason kept on doing what he was doing.

Then… Charlie took matters into his own hands. He swung an arm around and smacked Mason square in the nuts.

Ah… the crunchy nuggets.

Mason staggered around, trying both not to laugh nor cry out in pain. Meanwhile, I was trying to not fall on the floor in laughter while telling Charlie that was NOT an appropriate thing to do. #parentingfail

The thing is, Charlie picks up on pretty much everything that Mason does. Mason likes to play rough with Charlie, and Charlie thinks it’s fine to do the same things to Mason (who often goes full-blown Drama Queen when it happens). So when Mason acts like he’s the substitute parent, Charlie doesn’t recognize the dynamics… and things like this can happen. Just not so spectacular (or hilarious). Most of the time.

So what will the boys come up with next?


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