Ah, the quiet. Once again I've got hard-to-come-by quiet computer time, The kids are still asleep and Dan's off at the first day of a two-day golf school I gave him for his birthday. I copied the Christmas present he had given me. It was a great gift, so I had to copy. I hope he gets a lot out of the lessons.
Yesterday we loaded the kids into the car for a drive down to Charleston. I tried to take artsy pictures that didn't turn out as well as I hoped. I'll post them in a separate blog entry so I don't have to fiddle with editing the code now.
When we got back, Dan went off to play 9 holes of golf and I took the kids to the beach. We're renting a house in a "village" where the beach is about a half mile away, but there is a private parking lot at the beach, which is handy. This is also a golf cart village, where a lot of tenants/residents have carts. What do you think when you're following a golf cart that pulls way over to the right? It's ok to pass, right? That's what I thought until I almost hit the guy when he started to turn left! Aye yai yai! Use hand signals for goodness sake. sheesh. The guy glared at me like I did something wrong.
Well, I better get these kids up and fed so I can get a parking spot at the beach.
It's really Camp Greentop which is about a half mile down the road from Camp David up in the Maryland Mountains. Camp Greentop is a camp run by The League for People with Disabilities. Kevin has been going for about 6 years now and loves it. When you first drive into the parking area you are met by a staff member whom you tell what camper you have. Then you drive around to the next "station" where a large group of staff wave and cheer at the arrival of your child. My eyes always well up when I see them standing there, then manage to steady my voice before I have to speak to the next person, it takes about 10 seconds for this drive. It gets me every year. The staff all seem to love having the campers there, very enthusiastic and caring.
Kevin had a great time, so the staff told me when I picked him up yesterday, ate well, particiapated in activities, and had fun. Then we hit the road for the drive to South Carolina. I tried to get him to tell me his needs on the drive, but he never says anything about his needs on his own, just answers "Are you hungry? Do you want to eat?" questions.
We left Curaçao Thursday and picked Fern up from her camp on Friday. Wow, we've done a lot of driving. Now we get to relax in one place for a while. Except for the drives to mini golf, the batting cage, the movies, Charelston, golf, and where ever else the kids want to go.
Another boring day in paradise. We went to Playa PortoMari again, but this time I rented a snorkel set and got to see a lot of cool fish. PortoMari is also a dive site. The water is about 3 meters deep at the end of the swimming area, then just drops off into oblivion. I was paddling around in the "shallow" part looking around and saw some divers and freaked out a bit thinking I'd gone too far from shore, but I hadn't.
This little guy was haning out on the rock wall behind the sun bathing area. Then we went back to Jaanchi's for Dinner, but this time I had the shrimp and the grouper. And this time I got pictures. This is Jaanchi. And this is my dinner. There are a lot of churches here, all brightly painted, even the cemetaries were painted.
Tonight for dinner we at at Jaanchi's Restaurant in Westpunt. There are no menus, Jaanchi (I'm guessing) has a seat at your table and tells you what's available. I chose the shrimp with garlic and my husband chose the grouper. My shrimp was in a creamy sauce and was served with beans and rice, fries and some mixed viggies. It was good. I didn't bring my camera in to dinner so you'll just have to imagine it.
Before dinner we played golf at Blue Bay. Yowza. Windy. Hard, fast greens. Forced carries on several holes. Bad swings. Bad putts. We were almost ready to quilt after nine, but we stuck it out and things looked better. I didn't keep score the whole game, it got too bad, but I was better than my husband by several strokes for 4 holes, then there was hole number five. I'm standing in the tee box, and that's the green over there, on the other side of those rocks. Yes, that's the ocean down there.
The course finished up with a par 4 along the ocean: Before golf, we went to Playa Knip. Nice, quiet, just a few other people there, even though a tour bus stopped there for 10 minutes while the tourists got out and took pictures like this:
Be sure to check out my husband's blog, he's posting his own version of our vacation.
Our rental car is a low-end 5-speed Toyota Yaris with hand crank windows and manual door locks. And air conditioning. The temperature control goes from light blue to dark blue. I guess no heat. Never seen that before. The steering wheel is configured in such that every time my husband made a hard turn, like into a parking space, he honked the horn.
We probably drove over 100 KM today. Our first stop was the beach at Porto Mari. We managed to leave the hotel without beach towels, so we had to dry off in the sun. It was hard for me to get oriented at the beach. We're below the Tropic of Capricorn, and it's almost summer solstice, which means the sun could be to the north at noon, something not seen in the states.
Our next stop was at a grocery store. We have the cutest little kitchen in our room. It's the size of a wardrobe. It has a sink, stove, microwave, toaster, coffee maker and a fridge. Breakfast was very expensive so we stocked up on bread, butter, water, coffee and other things; we just moved right in.
Now, for beach towels, found some in the tourist district of Willemstad, had lunch and headed off to another beach, this time Seaquarium Beach. Much more crowded than the morning spot. These beaches both had changing rooms with showers and snack bars.
Back to the room for a break and change of clothes and now off to dinner.
I'm sitting in the business center of the Kura Hulanda Lodge checking my blog replies and email. We've got Internet in the room but we need an ethernet cable. This browser has blogger set to Dutch so I have to remember where all the usual clicks are to do a posting, since I can't read it. Well, I can figure out "Bericht Publiceren" because it's surrounded by a large orange button. We arrived late last night because we sat inches away from the jetway in Miami for over an hour. Lightning had closed the ramp, the area outside the airport where the workers drive the baggage carts, and we couldn't get off the plane until the storm cleared. Since all flights were delayed, we made our connection and here we are.
Fern has a friend from school and when they get together they become Molly and Polly VanDega. The last day of school was yesterday, so Polly came over today to hang with Molly. I have been informed I am now part of this charade: I am Holly, my husband is Wally, my son is Ollie, and we now have a collie named Dolly.
About 7:05 pm last night my lights went out for a second, then came back on and I heard a bang from across the neighborhood. Then they went out again. There were thunder storms in the area but nothing really close, so it was a surprise, really, we lost power.
Kevin was cool about the lights. Fern's iPod had power so he hung out in her room with the music and the battery speakers. Good thing she wasn't home.
There is something pleasant, comforting, about the quiet house, no droning TV, no humming AC compressor, and the porch door open with the breeze blowing the trees outside, no washing machine agitating, no dryer tumbling, no laundry getting done mere days before the kids go off to camp. Sheesh.
Kevin got an award for perfect attendance at the 8th grade ceremony. He wouldn't sit with the rest of the students, but sat with me in the audience. He knew what to do when his name was called. I'm so proud of him! Fern's band concert was last week. She played in the 6th grade band as well as the Saxophone Ensemble. She's the only 6th grader in it, the rest are boys from the 8th grade. I'm very proud of her too! A couple of weeks ago I posted about being worried my girls wouldn't get their bridging requirements done. "My girls" being the sixth graders in my daughter's Junior Girl Scout troop who were moving on to Teen Scouts (formerly known as Cadettes). They made it! And their ceremony went well, I'm proud of all of them.
Fern gets her last Junior badges with the secret handshake from the leader to follow. The bridging Juniors before... ... a little musical interlude... ... and finis!
This past weekend we made our way to the promised land. The place we have been promising to take Kevin for months. The land of killer steps and huge smiles, the promised land of Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg. Check-in time is 4:00 pm and that's exactly when we got there. On this visit we got a "Wolf Den Suite" which has a "cabin" in the room with bunk beds and a separate TV. Our room wasn't ready yet, but we got our waterpark passes and changed into our suits in the locker rooms.
For two hours we played and had fun and around 6 pm I went back up to the lobby to get our room keys. Room wasn't ready yet. When will it be ready? I'll be right back. When the woman finally came back she told me 45 minutes, around 7:00 pm. She was very sorry, and they would take 15% off our rate. Uh, thanks. By now the girls are hungry (we took Fern's cousin, Rose, with us), so we dry off and pile the kids in the car and head off for some supper.
When we got back, our room was finally ready. Whew. At check-out the following morning, I looked at the bill. We were credited $122 for the three-hour delay. That was way more than 15%! I'm glad they made an effort to make us happy campers.
I finally converted my blog template to the new version. I picked this template design, mostly because I haven't seen a lot of other blogs using it. I've gotten blogs mixed up before, reading one, thinking I was on another because of the same template colors. I don't want anyone to credit my brilliance to anyone else. Looking at my new page is like looking in the mirror after a drastic haircut, yeah, it's me, but I'm different. do I like what I see?
I spent some time going back to old posts and adding labels so they show up in the label list. Wow, I ramble a lot. It's interesting to look back at old posts, to remember what was going on back then, and how we're moving on all the time.
Why must my son use my deodorant when his runs out? I think the "Tropical Breeze" scent is lost on him. He's been taking baths in the shower again, instead of in the bathtub. A couple of years ago he too such a big bath in the shower it was raining in the dining room. I don't want another new dining room ceiling, so I'm trying to get him to bathe in the tub or just shower in the stall, no playing. It's hard to get him to understand stuff like that, that it's not good block the shower drain and make the water flow out the door. I curbed him a bit last night by securing a drain cover over the drain so he couldn't stick a cup in there to block the hole. He still tried to block the drain, but there was no water on the floor. At 14, he's too old to monitor his bathing, so I've got to figure out a way to get him to understand he can't flood the house.
The leaking in the basement from the AC was not from a misconnection from the furnace installation in February but the failure of the condenser coil pan, it rusted out. So: new air conditioner to be installed on Friday, 14 seer, up from the 20 year-old 8 seer unit that's out there now. That should save us some killowatthours this summer. Our electricity rate is going up 50% next month. sheesh.
Saturday was a gorgeous day. Hot. It hadn't rained in a while so I set the sprinkler out for several hours. Sunday it rained, over an inch. Now the lawn really needs to be mowed. I coulda mowed on Saturday.
Memorial Day weekend I turned on the AC for the season. Later I heard some crackling noise from the basement, went to inspect and found water dripping on the electronic air cleaner. Hmm. I called the company who put in the furnace last winter. Service call, please. How's Tuesday? Over the weekend I went downstairs for something and the basement is flooded. I'm guessing they didn't hook the AC drain back up properly when installing the new furnace. And I won't pay for the service call if they try to charge me.
Sunday morning, getting ready for church, I find a puddle around the fridge. I pull the fridge out from the wall to take a look. There is a drain line from the icemaker that is not connected. I reconnect it, and, while the fridge is pulled out, I mop back there, yuck. Later in the afternoon, I hear the icemaker fill with some additional dripping, more like pouring, sound. hmm. I pull the fridge out again. Hey! the floor is clean back there, woohoo! Oh, and the drain line is disconnected again. So I'm thinking the icemaker is clogged, frozen shut, or something, it's on the blink. (I want a new fridge. The current one is twenty years old....) So I've been trying to figure out how to get hot water up in there to thaw the innards of the icemaker to see if I can fix it, or if it really is dead.
Last week I promised to work on Fern's quilt, so I have been. And hand quilting it, too. I decided I'd finish the pattern I'd already started by hand, then use the machine to quilt the border and maybe augment the current pattern. It was then, during the initial excitement phase of working on a new project again, I remembered I owed some birthday blocks to women in my quilt guild. And top of that, I've been hired to make four 91" drapery pannels out of moss green velvet. I'm trying hard not to crush the velvet in the process. I'm also trying to figure out how much to charge my client. Too bad I can't charge her the amount of a new fridge.
It's like the Nationwide commercial: Life comes at you fast.