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Most Recent (Last update: 1555 6/8/2003)

Late, but I suspect the entire week is going to be that way. This is the last week of school for the guys and things are just way too busy. We took some time off from the rush this evening and took in Finding Nemo; that pretty much broke up the pattern of 'full tilt' we've been in for the last week or so...

Unfortunately, the process revs up again in the morning and continues through the week. We're talking a charter student event for Daniel and his classmates tomorrow, dentist appointments, parties, baseball games...

No wonder I'm behind...


Wow! We just came back from one of the more emotionally charged moments of my life. Yeah, Daniel's "Charter Student" assembly...

I was expecting the usual speeches and rememberances from both staff, and we had plenty of that. ...and the very unexpected typecasting of one of the kindergarten teachers as a sarcastic wit just brought the house down. ...but what I didn't expect was the impact of the video Daniel's teacher put together. He not only had the highlight pics culled from the last seven years, but tranposition shots of each kid in kindergarten and this year. ...and yes, some of my shots from the mountain trip.

...and yeah, I knew that was coming, but what I didn't expect was how the time I spent with these kids in Sonora would couple in. I mean, I'd seen most of these kids over the years, but always as kidlets on stage or pointed out by Daniel or Shelley in pictures. ...but over the three days in the mountains, I'd say I got to talk to or interact with well over half of the nearly one-hundred graduating this week (only a handful didn't make the trip). ...and that made the flashover from their picture at five to their picture at eleven very real to me. ...from an abstraction to someone unique.

I may not be explaining it all that well, but hey, I'm still not much of a 'people person'. ...but I may be a little bit more of a 'kid person' after last week's adventure...

Speaking of which...


Day one of the trip dawned hot; temperatures were supposed to be near the century mark, but we weren't too concerned since we were headed into the mountains. ...and since it was very nice when we stopped for a while at a river park on the way, we were still misled on the true state of the weather. ...but once we arrived at "Camp Granada", the true impact of the weather pattern made itself felt: it was flat hot! Later that evening, we were to learn it reached 105F on the valley floor; the best guess for where we were was in the upper nighties.

...and we could have handled that if we'd been scheduled for classroom work, but the routine for day one involves a five mile hike in terrain. Yeah. Whew. The staff was excellent though, and didn't run it as a forced march; it was something of a mix of a nature hike and an outdoor classroom. The gal leading our group held her lectures in the shade after each trail segment; that meant we could rest and catch our breath. One thing I found out early on was that hiking uses different muscle groups than blading <g>; cardiovascularly I was okay, but I knew I'd be hurting in a day or so.

One rather nice segment of the hike included about a mile of path along side a canal; they spaced us out about fifty yards apart and had us walk quietly, listening to the sounds of the forest. Way cool (pic up over on the blog)...

...but the section after the next lecture was a real bear: we had about a quarter mile uphill at about a sixty percent grade. Yeah. that heat I mentioned. Whew. Really, really bad... We had plenty of water though, and everyone made it. ...but wow. That almost made the trip back to camp seem down hill. ...and that was another curious thing: everywhere we went at this place was uphill!

I felt like I was on vacation at EscherLand!


Well, we made it through the hike and dinner. ...and then the kids went off for some classroom stuff while the adults had free time. "Free time" sounds really cool, but it really gets down to showering away the day's grime and sweat, then loading up with insect repellent before going outside...

...and it was during our "free time" we found out about the cooling situation in the number one boy's dorm: there was none! The swamp cooler hadn't been dealt with since fall (understandable as it was snowing only two weeks ago up there), but there were no fans available. ...and no breeze. ...and no screens on the windows. ...and forty some odd boys to put to sleep on what was the first night away from home for some of them. ninety degree heat ('cause it was cooling of really slow without the winds). Lions and tigers and bears...

Oh, my. ...and it was all that and more! We had kids who couldn't go to bed without a shower, kids who'd never showered in a locker room setting, kids who'd never used a sleeping bag, kids who needed meds, kids who really didn't understand this wasn't a sleepover and we'd be up early in the morning, kids whose social skills were lacking, and kids who were just kids. Call it twenty kids and three adults on our end of the dorm. Oh, and it was "lights out" about a half hour after we got them back...

To say it was a full evening understates things. We concentrated on getting everyone's teeth brushed since that was what the mothers were the most concerned with. Showers became a quick evening/morning/optional item and sleep was just a distant goal. We only had to lay down the riot act with one or two of the inmates; but man, getting them to slow down and drift off just took time. Finally, we were able to head into our own beds sometime after 2330 and try to get to sleep in the heat...

At 0030, the cell phone rang. It was Shelley...


(Preface: cell phone connectivity at "Camp Granada" was problematic at best; maintaining a connection for more than a minute was nearly impossible.)

So, receiving a call was the last thing I'd expected. ...and the connection held just long enough for me to know there was trouble in River City. Several tries later, with mosquitos stacked up on the antenna to act as resonators, I got through and found out the "attic fan is making a terrible squealing noise". Great. That fan takes its power from the line that feeds the garage door opener and the TV (don't ask; I didn't spec the place)...

...and great, the way she found out was the neighbor's dog waking him up from the sound; it wasn't audible at the back of the house. Well, the neighbor was up and Shelley was up and the phone connection was good, so I 'walked' the neighbor through turning on the breaker for the attic lighting and headed him up the stairs and all the way to the end of the attic with the exhaust fan. The good news is that I'd installed a cutoff switch up there; the bad news was he took the phone along and I could hear the fan just raising heck as that bearing tried its best to keep going. least I knew that he got it shut off okay; it was suddenly silent on the line. I thanked him (and Shelley picked up a pie for him the next day). ...but man, that was one of those WT???s for Shelley; if I hadn't left the cell on in the charger, she wasn't sure what she'd have done.

...and at 0100 everyone tried to get back to sleep!


Whew... The week is finally over. ...and none too soon: this entire household needs some serious downtime.

We managed a little last night; one of the boys' "end of school" parties turned into a bit of kickback time as parents gathered to pick up the kids and just hung out and talked while the kids continued to play. I managed to hit the store after work, blade, shower and still have nearly three hours of R&R (and dinner and dessert! ...most unexpected!) when I'd only expected to retrieve Brad from where Shelley had taken him after the party he went to had ended. ...but no, he'd managed to get fed (again) and was in the pool playing with the older kids when I showed up. Cool enough; I ended up with a nice dinner and had a chance to chat with some of the adults I'd met on on the Sonora trip.

Now to hit the weekend list of stuff...


Caution: Lazy Sunday in Progress...

I mean, I took some pictures around 0800 this morning after I got back from blading, but I only just now managed to get one of them posted.

I guess if it's going to be that type of day, I should just go see about another nap...


The Conjuror
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"Any sufficiently advanced technology is
indistinguishable from magic."
Arthur C. Clarke, "Technology and the Future"

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