Thursday, September 11, 2008

Travels with Deb

Obviously I've been a bit weak on blogging lately. Now that the school year has started back up again, I plan to grace your computer screen much more often -- blithely spewing my insights, humor and twisted political rhetoric into your otherwise peaceful day.

So, where have I been all summer? Well....

Our summer started off with Lawyer/Social Advocate Boy participating in a 2-week video camp that was held at the local public access television station in downtown Cincinnati. The camp was great, and, even better, it was free -- unless you count the gas money spent to drive to and from downtown to my suburban home for 10 days. It capped off with the lovely adventure of me forgetting to pick my beloved eldest son up from camp, and thus leaving him waiting for me for over 30 minutes on the corner of Race and Central Parkway. I had nothing to fear, though, because a nice gentleman, who just happened to have multiple body piercings and was smoking a cigarette, waited with him. He told me I had a great kid.

Following video camp was our church's much anticipated Vacation Bible School. I have to admit it was mostly anticipated by me, because it was the first time that I could drop all 5 of my kids off someplace at one time! 2 1/2 hours of free time for 5 straight days! I had visions of me sipping cappuccino while reading Dostoevsky, learning to play an instrument, taking up mosaics , writing the great American novel, waxing philosophical in a coffee house somewhere downtown, or in a less elegant yet realistic moment, visions of me napping on our living room couch.

However, the week before VBS, we decided to put our home on the market ASAP, and I spent the week painting... painting.... painting and painting. And, I hate painting. I hate it more even now. (Plus, our house still hasn't sold!)

The following week, we took our first vacation of the summer. I'm not really sure what insanity caused me to plan a camping trip to a gorge, when I have two physically handicapped children. However, I guess it was that I really want them to experience life to the fullest.

Plus, I figured that if Nappy was ever going to go down into a gorge, then it was going to be on someone's (mine) back, and that was only going to happen when she was little. As the trip approached, though, I was a bit daunted by the 7 days I had booked the campground. Rainy weather saved the day, and we ended up wimping out of about 4 days of our trip. We stayed at the nice Internet-linked, cable television access, air conditioned home of my parents. They, however, were busy at an elder hostel in New York with Swimmer Girl. We did enjoy a day at the small zoo/fun park in Pennsylvania called "Deer Park."

I even had the joy of placing my children in jail:

Unfortunately, Green Bottle Boy worked against me and they were all out within minutes:

After several days of vegging, and making pitiful jokes about us enjoying our vacation at the retirement center, we headed to Watkins Glen, New York.

No. We didn't go there to see the race cars. It happened to be the location we had to get Swimmer Girl to in order to attend the elder hostel, and we wanted to see the Glen.

We arrived home and jumped back into Farm Camp, Woodland Lakes Christian Camp, the end of swim season and the peak of 4H season. 4H projects included, of course, chicken and duck farming despite the fact that we live in a suburb and have a very typical backyard. Word spreads fast when you live in a typical neighborhood and are housing chickies and duckies, and every kid that lives within 1/2 a square mile of our house was visiting us. In fact, the following interchange was not uncommon:

A knock on our front door.

Either I or Rob answers while the dogs stand behind us barking like they would actually protect our house if it really was an intruder and not a 4-year-old at the door.


"Can I have one of your chickens?"

"You want one of our chickens?"

"Yes. Can I keep one?"


"Can I buy one off you?"

"Yep. For $150."


"Good-bye." And, with that a door would close on the child and all their hopes of having their very own chicken to love, raise and then, ultimately, eat.

The ducks and chickens left us the week of the fair.

Several weeks later, while on vacation at Lakeside, Ohio, we ate Calm Wind -- possibly the best broiler I've ever eaten. I'm very thankful that Green Bottle Boy loves agriculture and raising meat. It's a great hobby that's now been embraced by 3 of our kids!

We finished our summer with our week at Lake Erie, in the gated community at Lakeside, Ohio. The boys loved the freedom of the community, being able to play shuffleboard in the park, swimming at the beach, a sailboat ride out onto the lake, and riding bikes everywhere. Swimmer Girl loved the theme for the week: the Civil War. I enjoyed taking the two little girls to hear a live performance of Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto. Rob enjoyed relaxing. And, Nappy enjoyed the playground.

We finished our summer with a quickie surgery on Swimmer Girl, and now we're off to a quiet school year at home....we hope.

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