Great Winter Mistake

We haven’t had the easiest time getting the kids out in the snow. Jackson got snow in his mitten, or down his snow suit, or down his tighty-whiteies when he was tiny, so it was touch and go trying to get the kids to leave the house in the winter, to revel in the arctic variety of crap weather New England showers upon us.

But this year we turned the corner… this year we have had a couple wildly successful Gatchell Park sledding trips. So what shows up on the family agenda? Skiing. Apparently it’s now crucial to teach the kids how to ski. What!? Why!? Because their friends might learn how to ski and they’ll feel left out if they don’t ski.

Don’t get me wrong. Skiing is tons of fun. It really is. But it’s almost never worth the trouble or expense, and it’s really only fun after you’ve learned how to not die at it. The dirty secret about skiing is that sledding is more fun. People don’t like to talk about such things, but injected with truth serum, people will invariably admit that sledding is more fun than skiing, boogie boarding is more fun than surfing, and tubing is more fun than kayaking… especially if you’re going down the Saco river with a case of beer. Skiing is really only advisable if you’re Scandinavian AND you think you might have to fight the Russians on mountains. Otherwise… skiing is a mistake. It, like golf, should not be started, and if started on accident, it should be quickly quit.

Skiing was always expensive, but now it’s hellaholy%$#! expensive. Good luck finding a daily lift ticket for less than $50, and places like Vail are now charging something like $160 a day… for one person… not including a bloody mary. Then there’s the traipsing… lets not forget the traipsing if you have little kids. Unless you are a New Hampshire live free or dier or a Vermont granolaista, you’re looking at minimum an hour’s drive to get to anywhere decent… and probably much longer.

Your nightmare begins early as you pack a lunch and the little monsters into the minivan, forget something expensive that you’ll need to replace in the ski shop at the mountain, navigate the rental lines (not sure if they like this yet!), give a kidney for lift tickets, talk child one back into skiing as they try to not try skiing at the last minute, get their snow pants and boots on, take the snow pants and boots off one because he needs to use the bathroom even though you asked if he needed the bathroom before you put the boots and snow pants on, get their snow pants and boots back on, carry their skis and poles up to the base of the bunny hill, clip in their boots, pick one up as they fall over, and… if you’re lucky… hand a couple hundred dollar bills to the ski instructor and run like effing hell until you’re out of earshot.

If you’re unlucky… or suffer masochistic tendencies… you’ll be the parent “teaching” your kids how to ski. Good luck with that. You’re probably better off cracking a wine glass across the counter and jamming the jagged stem into your eye. Chances are overwhelming your young kids will hate skiing and/or you after a couple hours, but it’s not like you can just whip out a plastic sled at that point. No… at that point you’re stuck on a mountain, with a stupid sticker on a wire on your zipper, .with a whining or full-on-crying kid, with a headache like a hangover you didn’t earn, and without the kidney you left in the ski shop.

You could have been sledding.

Abby discovers the power (and limitation) of literacy

Abby’s homework early in the year was dominated by mathematics, but lately Bell Elementary has been focusing increasingly on reading and writing. This offers us an opportunity to observe a concrete, practical application of the liberal arts side of public education, as Abby harnesses painstakingly-crafted, threatening notes taped to toys in a well-calculated attempt to exert her Sith-leaning will over Jackson. The dark side is indeed strong in Abby; it’s just too bad Jackson doesn’t read. Jackson simply removed this pesky note from Imperial star destroyer and retaped it as a warning on the paisley tuffet.

The literate side of the force may be powerful, but never… ever underestimate the unyielding, blissful ignorance of the illiterate side of the force.

Touch not, brother... touch not.
Touch not, foolish brother… touch not.


Lucky Seven and Fortuitous Four

Still combining birthday parties while we can get away with it, this year’s birthday extravaganza featured a Rainforest Reptile show at Chez Moore and breakfast at The Driftwood… oh… and lots of Star Wars and Dinosaurs… and a hand-knitted hat from Great Aunt Kris!

Most importantly, we’ve finally turned the corner into toys that the kids AND the dad play with together. Consumer drone for Xmas? I think so!

Massachusetts Youngster Learns Cruel Life Lesson

Never trust the shirt...
Never trust this shirt…

When Jackson visited the vintage arcade and skeeball courts of semi-seedy Salem Willows in late summer 2015, he fully expected his hard-whined-for ice cream to require focused defense against parent bites, ants, wharf rats, semi-domesticated sea gulls, and even his sister’s offers to help him finish. Unfortunately, he never suspected his trusted dinosaur shirt as a top dessert predator.

Normally the Tyrannosaurus Rex on a midnight blue background is an excellent all around clothing choice; it competes favorably even with the legendary three wolf t-shirt. Comfortable, intimidating, eminently stylish, the T-Rex shirt and Jackson are constant companions, but in our fallen world all friendships have their limits.

This particular 3T shirt apparently draws the loyalty line at creamsicle flavored Tweety Bird ice cream treats with blueberry gumball eyes.

Lesson learned, Jackson. Lesson learned.

Update #1: it happened again! TRex helped himself to Jackson’s pancakes at The Ugly Mug:

TRex can sense syrup in the water from miles away
TRex can sense syrup in the water from miles away

Museum of Science Visit

Abby, Max, and Jackson visited the Museum of Science in Boston today. Real dinosaurs! 4d movie! Chicks hatching out of eggs! Free tickets from our neighbor! There was truly something for everyone.


Carnivale d’Offderippe!

This picture illustrates much of what we learned at this year’s beach carnival visit.

Joy, anger, looking where you've been, and the giant on the swing.
Joy, anger, looking where you’ve been, and the menacing giant on the child swing.

So what’s going on here? In no particular order:

  • Abby meets her first Boston driver.
  • Abby discovers that “scary” rides are actually how she rolls. Too much success on this swing ride resulted in quick escalation to all multiple-gravity rides short of the Zipper.
  • I’m pretty sure this particular ride stole all the chains from the Hellraiser set. Anger Pinhead at your peril, Carnies…
  • The child in blue halfway through the gate is enduring the bitter public humiliation of being a “big boy” not able to overcome the Darwinian suspicion that Carnie ride maintenance should not be trusted. Take heart, keen-witted coward, you may be crying now, but you have an excellent chance to outlive all those other kids mindlessly hopping onboard duct taped machinery.
  • The “you must be this tall” sign is strictly enforced these days, but Abby’s super power is incredible on-demand vertical stretching. Take that, safety enforcers! Abby can shrink to 32 inches to get into museums for free, and then instantly grow to 42 inches to get on to big kid rides.
  • We thought a couple trips to the carnival would be good for cheap thrills; instead, we dropped a C-note in about an hour and have nothing to show for it but heightened whining from two kids who want to go back. We’re opening a daycare carnival as soon as possible. It will make billions of dollars… billions and billions of dollars.

Dairy Predation

Much is happening in this series of nature photographs taken with the Nikon 3700 Ultra Z camera, a device more commonly used to capture the movement of hummingbird wings. Please note the Jackson’s unique style of consuming a cone from not one, not two, but apparently from three different sides. There’s little question now that this species’ wrist is double-jointed. Notice also how quickly the Abber shakes off a vicious ice cream headache (last defense of the iced dessert) and continues to shovel Jimmie-crusted Oreo ice cream to its death.

Dessert Eating Techniques of the Eroom.
Dessert Eating Techniques of the Eroom.