Sunday, May 30, 2010

Long Weekends

I seem to always be surprised when I get a long weekend.  I am organized, I live by my Outlook calendar, but sometimes getting an extended weekend just creeps up on me.  I get that revelation at some point on Saturday or Sunday that I really don’t need to go back to work until Tuesday.  I spent almost all day working outside on Saturday.  My lawn is a mess.  It has been completely overrun with weeds.  If I weren’t so picky, I would be able to enjoy my beautiful crop of clover in the south quarter and my hearty bounty of wild strawberries blooming in the north.  I also have some weird vine-like weed that is filling in the spaces in between the clover and strawberries.  I put down a strong layer of weed and feed hoping that will put a dent in it. If this doesn’t work, my only recourse maybe to kill everything and start over.  I really hope it doesn’t come to that, with three kids and a dog, I need a backyard, not a mud pit.

The garden, on the other hand, is growing like crazy.  I already have a few small peppers sprouting and the tomatoes look like they are going to need 2X4’s to support them soon. 

The boys helped me weed all of the flower beds.  Of course I had to bribe them.  I offered them $1 per 5 gallon bucket of weeds.  I honestly didn’t think they would last past a bucket or two, but they stuck with it.  We were done in about 90 minutes and I am only out $12. 

I had to run out to local home improvement stores to pick up a few essentials, like fertilizer, duct tape and para-cord.  I think I moved up a few notches on some federal agency’s watch list after that purchase.  My wife suggested I pick up a fire pit while I was out.  We have been putting off getting one since we were waiting to install a new stone patio off to the side of the deck and have one built in.  I don’t think that is getting done this year, so we figured we might as well get one now. 

I found a nice one that was reasonably priced.  My wife picked up marshmallows, Hershey’s bars and graham crackers.  We promised the kids that if they ate their dinner we would roast some marshmallows and make some s’mores later that night. 

I pondered the genius that first created these lovely confections.  I wondered if this person ever had children or had considered the effects that this would have on them.  Let’s look at the steps making a s’more:

  1. Ignite a marshmallow on the end of a sharpened stick (I think the Mongols conquered most of Asia with similar weapons)
  2. Watch as it gets waved around like a flaming white meteorite (yet another medieval siege weapon, flaming pitch)
  3. Attempt to squish the molten marshmallow between two graham crackers and a piece of chocolate
  4. All of this happens around a fire

After the first round of s’mores, these steps get played out in hyperspeed as the roughly 500 calories of sugar per s’more gets quickly introduced into the child’s bloodstream.  This is a GREAT treat right before bedtime.

There were no injuries although the dog almost waved his tail through the flames a few times.  He could not understand why we were all outside in the dark and not in bed.  If he is not on his dog bed by 8 PM, he starts to get really weird.  He kept coming up to my wife and I and then turning towards the house as if to say, “um, hello!  It’s bedtime.  Follow me and I will show you where we need to be.”

We decided to go on a little hike after church on Sunday.  We packed up the kids and headed out to a nearby state park.  We got one of those backpack carriers for the baby.  Secretly I wanted to test out the My Tracks application on my phone.  We picked a bad place to start.  The beginning of the hike was a 600 feet increase in elevation over 2,000 feet walking distance.  That is about a 30% upward grade. 

20 lbs of baby + 7 lbs of backpack + my lard ass + 600 feet climb = imminent heart failure. 

I survived.  Unfortunately I hit something I wasn’t supposed to on the phone and turned the My Tracks application off midway through our hike, so I never got complete stats.  We all had a good time and it was a beautiful day to be outside.  The boys definitely want to come back to this same place again without their little sister, so I can take them exploring a little more.

This chick wouldn’t get off my back the whole time, her first lesson in becoming a wife:

State of euphoria from lack of oxygen:

mom and her two mountain boys:

mountain men:     

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