Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Greetings

Happy Halloween
from our pumpkins to yours!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Road Woes

The entire area where we live is experiencing improvement. So to speak.

Our street was ground down to the bricks and then resurfaced. It looks wonderful and is a joy to drive on.

The main drag to get to our street was completely destroyed, rebuilt, destroyed again for unknown reasons and then rebuilt.

Almost all of the side streets around us are undergoing grinding, repaving as well as getting new curbs. The little road that I think of as my fast escape route out of our neighborhood looks like a missile testing site right now. It's getting new water lines. (I really felt for the family who had to put up with a port-a-potty on their tree lawn over there. Today I noticed it was moved across the street to the cemetary's tree lawn. I'm sure the dead are handling this much better than the living.)

We are into week six of this project. Throughout all of this, I've tried to keep a sunny disposition. It will all be worth it when the roads and curbs are shiny and new. Property values will soar. Crime levels will fall. Peace on Earth will be achieved.

Okay. So maybe that's asking a lot of blacktop and concrete.

But today I have cracked. Today I'm really ready for these guys to be gone. Today I've had enough of being detoured around and the whole world smelling like pitch. This simple resurfacing job should just be a bad memory by now. But today, it all started all over again! Look at this map. This is what it looks like out there right now!
They are jackhammering huge holes in the roads around all of the manholes. They are digging up even more curbs. They are putting down another coat of blacktop on roads that we thought were done. They are everywhere at once surrounding us and pinning us in.

We are prisoners on our own street. And if we can get away, dodging huge filth-spewing trucks and grumpy workers in day-glo vests brandishing stop signs, then we can't get back to our own driveways when we return. I've had to park around the corner and walk home more than once.

I've tried to be understanding. I've tried to be grateful for the much needed roadwork. But enough is enough. It's time to show them where to put their orange barrels.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Corn Maze of Insanity

I'm usually pretty great with writing dates down on a calendar then actually showing up at places when I'm supposed to. I know this shouldn't be a trait to brag about, but I know lots of people who cannot handle the responsibility of showing up to scheduled events. But this weekend was a failure in my record. There was a training out at Timberlane that I agreed to help facilitate. I wrote it down on my calendar for Sunday and looked forward to helping out.

The Sister came along with me. She hadn't been out to the property in more than a decade and wanted to see all of the improvements. It was a beautiful warm afternoon. A day exactly like we needed last weekend but didn't get. The Sister and I wandered around, peeking into building and hiking trails. She oohed and ahhhed at all of the lovely new buildings and facilities. The weird thing was that no one else was out at camp. I mean no one. We had the entire property to ourselves.

Around the time the whole training was supposed to occur, I came to the realization that I had made a big scheduling goof. Wrong weekend or wrong day. Something like that. It didn't bug me too much though. That's the beauty of volunteerism.

But now The Sister and I had a whole sunny afternoon with nothing to do. Should we just go back home and call it a day? Nah. That's for losers. In a series of escalating dares* we ended up at Hillcrest Orchards and decided to brave the corn maze.

*Name that show!

Hillcrest does a fairly intense corn maze every year. There's all these little stations you have to find and pages of puzzles you have to solve. If you find everything and solve the one big puzzle you win... a candy bar. (Believe me, you want that damn candy bar by the end. It become a point of honor.)

The theme of the maze was Knights and Dragons. There were all these obscure facts at the stations about medieval times. We learned the definition of a gauntlet. (An armored glove. That's an interesting fact.) We also learned that why June is thought of as a wedding month. (The once a year bath comes in May and since you are still fairly clean, people would get married in June. That's a suspiciously dumb fact.)

Mostly what we learned is that corn mazes, especially when it's eighty degrees out and crazy sunny, suck. People start to lose their minds in there. Someone was screaming HELP while we were in there. Kids were running in rabid packs. And "No running in the maze" is rule #1!

The Sister and I kept at it in the blazing sun. Make rights and lefts. Ending up in the same place over and over. Considering cheating. Finally cheating. We protected a woolly bear. I left a piece of gum on a cob of corn. When we crossed for the third time into the area which we had dubbed "Loserville", we both decided to throw in the towel. No candy bar for us.

Our biggest regret was not having a camera while we went on this failed adventure. The pictures would have been amazing. Especially of the one row we called The Row of Insanity. It looked like more than one person had had an violent emotional breakdown in that row and the corn and ribbons had paid the price.

So since we have no pictures, here's an article about some really cool corn mazes. Love you sis!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Mystery Camp Out

Months of planning, dozens of phone calls, hundreds of emails, two trips to camp to deliver food and craft supplies and 120 Girl Scouts all collided at Timberlane this past weekend for our big once-a-year camp out. This is an event I organize for all the troops in the our city to attend. This year I had nine troops come out claiming every available bed and almost taking the dining hall to capacity. A huge leap in attendance over last year.

And I did it all myself!

Okay, no I didn't.

This year I had a quite a crew behind me that took over almost every detail leaving me in the end with the registrations, assigning cabins, providing training and programing for all our teenage Scouts (There were 42 of them this year!), coming up with the schedule for the weekend, hiring the cook and shopping for one meal.

That might sound like a lot, but in the grand scheme of the weekend, it's a drop in the bucket. I had one leader plan all of the program stations (27 of them!) and shop for all of the supplies. Another leader planned our one "nice" craft and hand made all of the insanely cute name tags. One leader and her troop made dinner for everyone Friday night. Another leader and her troop made a huge brunch for everyone Saturday morning. Co-Leader Supreme personally found the program we ran, picked out the fun patch, ran archery, opened the observatory, set up a killer clever trail with her younger troop and tried to keep me in line all weekend. (No easy task there.)

The weather tried to ruin it all. It was cold and it never, ever stopped drizzling. Just this steady, light, freezing drizzle the entire time we were there. We had to cancel boating. Nobody wanted to go to archery. We had our campfire inside the dining hall. It sucked the energy out of everybody ending the day around 9 PM instead of 11.

But everyone says that they had a wonderful time and that their girls had a super-fun-amazing experience. That makes it a success.

And I forgot to take my camera, obviously.