Sunday, July 31, 2011

Boston to Bar Harbor Trip

Not the best vacation, not the worst. All in all, it was a well-executed vacation, performed with adequate precision.

We started in Boston, a place where my wife and I had been years ago on our honeymoon. I had since visited a couple times on business. But this was a new city for our children and my daughter is interested in American history, so we spent a couple days there. The first day after our travel, we walked Boston then rode the Ducks to get a different perspective. It was a bit rushed but we covered some highlights from America's early history.

The next day we went to Clara Barton's Birthplace and Old Sturbridge Village for a piece of history a little later in America (1820 - 1840, on the cusp of the Industrial Age). We followed that with an excursion to Plymouth and dinner in Salem to soak in a bit of pre-USA history.

We left Boston for Bar Harbor, but we didn't leave learning behind. At Bar Harbor one of the first things we did was go on the Lulu - a lobster boat tour of the bays outside Bar Harbor. There we learned all about lobster and lobstering, saw seals and lighthouses, and pulled up a couple traps.

Following that, we headed into Acadia. There we drove to the summit of Cadillac Mountain and skirted the shores of Mount Desert Island. It was gorgeous. That evening was our last chance to unwind on the rocky Maine coast before heading back to Boston and back home.

The evening before our flight home, we explored Cambridge before and after dinner. At least, as best we could from the car, in the rain, without either a plan or a clue.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

It's a Regular Thing

My daughter awakens, having to go pee.

When I tease her about this, I received the response, "it's a regular thing." My misinterpreted laugh provoked the further explanation that, "I have to do this at home, too."

I tell that story to tell this one.

Sarah and I were taking a stroll around the group camp site. Saying, "hi" to those we passed and dodging little kids on scooters and bicycles who were making up for their lack of control with speed. Along the way we pass a little boy and his father. The boy is sitting on a camp chair, blood streaming down the side of his face - father kneeling in front of him, trying to assess the situation.

We continued on.

We pressed forward on our stroll as if we'd seen nothing, but not with callous disregard. No. I was now headed to the trunk of my car, in which I kept a small first aid kit. Pink, either by design or age, containing little items that might help. We were also giving father and son time. Time to assess, resolve or generate fears - just a minute of space for father and son.

"Do you need help? I...I have a first aid kit. I don't know what's in it, but we can look."

While the father looked through the kit of random and mostly useless items, I examined the boy's wound. Not deep, but an inch-long gash on the top of his right eye socket. The perfect location of sweat to sting the cut. Also a place that is difficult to close. The mop-headed son was a scrappy fellow, but reduced to whimpering at this point. It hurt, and he was frightened.

Dad was doing his best, but he had no experience to fall back on. "I don't know what to do."

I did. Three cheers and a tiger for me, I had experience with this. My wisdom made me feel ten feet tall.

"My son's been through this a half-dozen times. No big deal. You just need to get him to an Urgicare and have them glue his head back together. It won't take long at all."

Pulling the dad out of earshot, I let him know under my breath, "I'll get you directions to the nearest hospital with an emergency room. He may need a couple stitches, but he will be fine." You never say the word "stitches" to a little boy that needs them.

While he tended to his son and gathered his daughter, I found a couple scraps of paper in my car, a pen, and using my smartphone was able to get directions to Mansfield Hospital. I also gave him their phone number in case he got lost.

Off and on again, I thought of the boy that night. The next morning I saw the father. He was really thankful, but in truth I was thankful for the opportunity to help - if even in a small way. His son rode by, fast as can be without even a glance. No, don't call him back - I'm just happy to see that he's okay.

The Medina Guides - we're all dads. We look out for each other and our children. It's a regular thing.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Camping this Weekend

The annual Indian Guides camping trip is coming up tomorrow. As usual, it will be two thousand degrees outside with one-hundred twenty percent humidity. The sun is forecast to dip within ten feet of the ground above my tent, just when I will be struggling to erect it.

But we will survive. We always do.

These father-daughter outings are supposed to free up our wives for a time.

I wonder, though, if time just continues to fly by for our spouses - leaving in its wake the guilt of unfulfilled aspirations.

In either case, I cannot wait to get home on Sunday. Tired, unshaven, caked with sweat, craving a beer and a shower in no particular order. Coming home is sweet.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Proud of my Daughter

I had never taken my daughter to Cedar Point before (my son would not handle the lines well, so it was just my daughter and I). She had never rode anything beyond carnival rides. Walking into the park, I looked up at the Raptor and suggested we ride that.

"No, Daddy. Let's keep going."

Oh, at that point I knew where this was going. She was going to be scared of anything challenging. Iron Dragon came first. It's a fairly tame, swoopy hanging coaster. That scared her and she screamed the entire ride. Truth be told, I found it a bit scary, too. It had been more than a dozen years, and the body forgets. After that first ride, though, I was readjusted. Bring 'em all on.

Well, my daughter wasn't quite there, yet. So we rode the Corkscrew, followed by the Magnum. Okay. Now she's not only hooked, but riding the big rides. By the afternoon, she was dragging me towards the Millennium Force. Heh.

She conquered her fear - trusted her father and pushed herself.

All her petty transgressions pale in comparison to her fortitude and resilience. She's an impressive little girl - at least to me. Realizing that is as much fun as anything in the park.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Morning Mystery

I don't want an omelet. I want scrambled eggs - with onions, tomatoes, and cheese in them.

"What's the difference?" I asked. I did not receive a satisfactory answer. My wife said because omelets are too big (offering her half an omelet did not seem to placate her). My daughter said that I'm more likely to burn an omelet (by which she means even the slightest browning), but when they aren't burnt my omelets are delicious.

I understand that there are a few impenetrable mysteries to life. Questions such as, "why don't ripe olives come in jars, too?" Some things Man was not meant to know. But this morning's mystery required a bit of research on my part.

According to The Atlantic's food writer, Corby Kummer, "the chief difference between an omelet and scrambled eggs is one of social status."

Julia Child described the omelet as, "soft-cooked scrambled eggs, wrapped in an envelope of firmly-cooked scrambled eggs."

Neither of these people are any help. An omelet is scrambled eggs - cooked with a bit of flair, perhaps, but that's it.

I like making omelets. They're easy, and not as pedestrian as a pan of scrambled eggs. I'll be damned if I can get someone to tell me why one must be in "the mood" for an omelet, as opposed to wanting scrambled eggs.

No, I did not suggest a frittata as a compromise. I have principles.