Saturday, July 22, 2006

Quiet Reigns

After 3 fun-filled weeks of company including two family reunions on back-to-back weekends, a couple canoe outings and a trip to Aquaboggan Water Park our house is strangely silent. Our nights of sitting around talking with family members, trips to LL Bean together, and just sitting on the lawn eating watermelon together are over for another few years. And then we'll likely be doing it all out west.

There is still plenty to do: college move prep to be done (for our DD who is now an RN and going on to grad school), financial records to update and bills to pay, and work to go to as well. At Jean's suggestion I mowed the lawn (which had been neglected for 2.5 weeks) mid-week and it has now rained to encourage growth.

We have also made one more trip to LL Bean to buy adult life jackets or PFDs for Jean and I so that we can take 3 adults in each of our two canoes for future outings in the next few weeks. Larry's PFD which is made by Stohlquist. Jean has a matching women's version of the same PFD.

A canoe outing was planned for this weekend however, we will likely have rain most of this weekend, so it will likely have to be postponed a bit.

Hopefully all the family will get caught up on sleep that has been in somewhat short supply for the past few weeks as summer is now well into it's second half. We have actually had just a couple of weeks of sunshine this summer so that last couple weeks were a real gift and we look forward to the next time when we can see our extended family again.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Fourth of July Weekend

How To Survive A Weekend With 34 of Your Wife's Relatives

OK, it's not all as bad as it sounds as they are a VERY nice family - but the number of her family that attended her triennial family reunion, this time in our home town, was signficant. Only one of our nephews and a brother-in-law were unable to attend and all of her brothers and sisters were in town.

The "weekend" actually started very early Thursday morning: Jean and I awoke at 3:30 AM and picked our way through dense fog to Boston in two vehicles to pick up our daughter, son-in-law and 5 grandchildren (ages 6-2 - yes, there's a set of twins in there) came for the reunion as well. The rest of that day was spent settling in, recuperating, and caring for the assembled clan. That night two of my daughters and myself practiced clarinet for an upcoming performance (Friday night) at the local conference campmeeting with our community band.

Friday evening we performed with the community band.

On Sabbath we hosted most of my wife's family (one brother was not yet in town with his 5 children) for lunch and visiting afterwards. We did clean up, napped and then went to the motel for visting later in the day.

Sunday we all assembled at the motel and caravaned to Cook's Lobster House where we took the Casco Bay Lines Noontime cruise through Casco Bay. This proved to be an adventure to remember. The winds were about 25 - 30 mph and there was a 5 foot swell that left at least 4 of us very motion sick, including myself. Though, 4 out of 34 is a reasonably low percentage, nonetheless, it was clear which of us do not enjoy/ride roller coasters! The ship was pitching and yawing in a rather good reproduction of roller coaster-like motion for more than half of the 1 hr. 45 min. cruise. The other 30 individuals enjoyed the cruise immensely including beverages and food from multiple coolers we took on with us. I did not partake primarily due to motion sickness.

I managed to get my head in the way of a rapidly opening rear hatch of a minivan which was being automatically driven by an electric motor. To be precise: the hatch had been opened using the remote control and I tried to close it manually. It started closing (~1/4 of the way closed) when it very rapidly and very forcefully reopened striking my glasses (knocking them off my face), nearly knocking me off my feet and causing me to see stars briefly. After getting the hatch closed using the remote, putting my glasses back on, I ran to catch the ferry. Once on board I noted that I was bleeding from a cut on my right cheek from the rim of my glasses. My brother-in-law, David, got me a cold pack from the first aid kit onboard and my daugther had bandaids with antibiotic pre-applied. I spent a lot of time just sitting down trying to hold the contents of my stomach inside me (it came up to the back of my throat multiple times, however - likely TMI, I suspect, so I will desist).

Monday my son-in-law, Allan, and I took his son and 4 year old daughter canoeing for about 1 1/2 hours on a local tidal river. We waited until after the hottest part of the day and were paddling downstream against the incoming tide and on-shore breeze. While we still had to paddle coming back, it was definitely a lot less work. I got to use my long kayak paddle in the bow while Allan steered. Last night two of my daughters (#1 & #4), my wife and I moved a van-load of books and bookcases from our attic (kindly packed by DD #1 & #4 and carried to the van by SIL/DDs and loaded by DW) and we all carried them from the van, up the stairs and into DD #2's apartment. When combined with a general clean-out of temporarily stored clothing that is to be donated and worn out clothing that is being discarded there is a LOT more space in our attic today.

Today has been a quiet day - I mowed the lawn and have helped some here at home with dishes (as usual) and food prep. Mostly a low key day, though I did review with the oldest 3 grandchildren (Canadians) a brief history of the events leading up to the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War. SIL with the two oldest grandchildren are off with DD #3 and her DH to attend fireworks.

Tomorrow - back to work for the rest of this week and next week. I'll take a long weekend later this month once again though.