Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Flying and Camping and Acting and Fishing and Dunking Firemen in Ice Water

Weekends be crazy, y'all.

I hear The Internet loves lists of things, so here are Seven Things I Did This Weekend (And No Reasons for You to Care About Them.)

  1. The Zelmer Airport Fly-In Breakfast.  I actually did that one twice; I showed up with my youngest boy, Sean, on Saturday morning, which was the wrong day.  The local Experimental Aircraft Association chapter was having some kind of meeting, but they greeted us warmly and invited us to look over their planes.  One pilot even took time to come out with us and let The Little Bear sit in the driver's seat and put on the headphones.
    "But don't turn it on!" Little Bear warned him.
    "Nah, I wouldn't do that to you," the pilot said.
  2. Then it was time for the Steven Snodgrass Fundraiser.  Steve is a young (very young, and usually very excited, but it would be wrong to call him Scrappy Doo, so I plan to stop soon) police officer, firefighter and ambulance EMT in our little home on the prairie where the coach road and the railroads once crossed. I like Steve.  So, after the fly-in that wasn't, we came back to town and Sean and I took a walk to the town square.  I walked up with a considerable sum (for us) in my pocket, and we managed to spend it.  All Little Bear cared about was the dunk tank.  It was the first cool day of the year, so it probably wasn't necessary to add so much ice to the water, but that's how our fire department works: when in doubt, make the men suffer.  He spent more at the dunk tank than I spent anywhere else, but he also dunked the poor kid three times.  He was happy, I was happy.  We returned to home base to prepare for the campout.
  3. Little Bear joined the Cub Scouts this year.  I have my reservations about the Boy Scouts, but they did most of the right thing this year when they decided (despite considerable pressure from frightened people) not to eject gay boy scouts from the organization.  They still won't accept (openly) gay scout leaders, but it's progress, and our local group doesn't discriminate.  I'm not entirely comfortable with the religious touches, but that's the kind of thing Sean will have to negotiate for himself one day no matter what.  For now, I'm satisfied that he got to go camping overnight at the lake with a bunch of other kids.  We fished, we put up tents, we built fires, we played ball, we roasted hot dogs and s'mores and some kind of crazy thing that consisted of an ice cream cone stuffed with half a banana, some peanut butter, and a marshmallow, then wrapped in foil and roasted over the fire.  I don't know what it's called and I didn't sample one myself, but it appeared to make an impression.  In the morning, we struck camp, did a little more fishing, played a short and whiny game of sandlot baseball and got out of there; it was time for the fly-in.
  4. There, the boys split up according to their interests.  Thing One came with me to sign up for a flight in a Cessna 172, which was pretty cool--we were so close to the lake that we flew over it.  We even picked out the Cub Scout camp from the air.  The day was perfect, and I don't know what it is about looking down and watching the shadow of the plane chase along over the fields, but I've never gotten over it.  Little Bear was adamant that there would be no flying, but he'd only had a Hershey's bar and a muffin for breakfast so far, so he and mom hit the chow line for pancakes and sausage.  Thing Two continued to sit at home, presumably either moping or playing video games, having declined to leave the house for items 1-4 on this list.  If someone could design a video game with a realistic moping engine, I'd probably never see that kid again, but I digress.  After we'd fed the kids, flown over the prairie (I still forget sometimes how utterly flat the land is here) and looked over all the cool airplanes, from "Experimental" homebuilts to a beautiful Stearman Kaydet trainer, it was time to pack everybody up and head for home so we could get all the chores and schoolwork done.  
  5. At home, The Wife tried to catch a little sleep while the boys and I unloaded the car, did a few chores, and tried to get dinner started.  At about 4:00, she headed off to her first practice for this year's community theater production, The Regifters.  It's the heartwarming tale of three couples of really very bad, greedy people who don't understand the spirit of the holiday season, plus some mother-in-law jokes and a stolen baby Jesus lawn ornament (well, found, really.)  At about 4:30, she called me up and asked me to come audition for a part.  It turns out that one of their favorite male actors can't do the play this year, so they called in a replacement . . . but that guy can't do it either, and neither could their next few choices.  So they went down the line and eventually decided that they were desperate enough to pull me in, since there was no singing required.  I spent a couple of hours reading through the play with the cast, and for my first time, I think I held my own.  Whether I'll be able to hold it together in front of people without a script is an open question . . . but I'll know in November.  The important things are already settled; the play is being performed a little earlier this year, so it will definitely not interfere with firearm deer season.
There was a time when I thought I had successfully "slowed down."  Now it's clear that I'm back to running around like a squirrel desperate to save a moose from a Communist assassination plot.  But I don't know what I would have wanted to cut out of that weekend, so I didn't cut out anything, and here we are.  I'm not actually getting any less busy, but it's 3:00 a.m. and the dogs have barked me out of bed so that I could let them out--again--so I figured I might as well write something.  It may not be the most artful thing I've ever set down on electrons, but hey, if you're reading this, then I did sit down and write it.  That's the third week in a row of actual blogging, and if I can ever get the photos off the camera, I might even post about this stuff twice in the same week.  I do understand that the rest of the world spins on just fine without my little blog, but I used to enjoy writing it, and maybe I could enjoy it again.

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