Monday, September 19, 2011

Football, Friends and Further

It feel like Summer was just in full swing and suddenly school is starting, the rain is falling, and football is on the tv.  Wow.  Insta-Autumn.  In typical Pacific Northwest style, we couldn't start the school year without the first week being one of the nicest of the Summer.  Sorry kids, the parents get to enjoy this one solo.  I'll flap today about some more personal goings-on, and touch on a trip planned for the weekend.

In my new digs, I'm rediscovering how much I enjoy American Football.  College ball, NFL, its all good, and if I'm not careful, it will consume all of my weekend time.  Contrasting this new interest are parental responsibilities with both boys playing soccer (or should I say "Football"?).  Basically, helicopter-parenting season has opened, and this past weekend was quite an opening weekend.  C played his second game, pulling in a few assists from his mid-fielder position, and his brother T played a spirited game (also at mid-fielder), though I couldn't tell if he got any assists.  It was really fun to see both of them play with such passion.  As much as they say lacrosse is their favorite sport, they play soccer with a true love of the game.

After the games, I hosted the "family" birthday celebration for C.  I tried to go a little further than usual in setting up the party, blowing up balloons and stringing streamers (okay, actually my new friend Boo did most of that, but I'll get to that later).  It was a mid-afternoon affair, to fit around little-niece and nephew naps with an abundance of finger foods.  Beer was flowing, and conversations light.  Overall, it was a great time, and C felt the love from everyone.  After the cousins and grandparents left, we ordered pizza and watched a movie: his choice - I am Number 4.  Great b-day celebration for sure.

Well, with the divorce finalized for a few months, and life somewhat settled down, my finding new, uh.. friends... was inevitable.  Dating has been a surreal experience for me, but fun for sure.  I've recently started seeing someone exclusively, though.  Out of privacy respect, her name will be omitted from posts like my boys' names and I'll just call her "Boo".

Further (the remaining members of the Grateful Dead) is performing 3 nights at a tiny outdoor ampitheater in Eugene, Oregon.  Its been 2 years since "The Dead" played the Bay Area and the Gorge.  It was on that trip in Ed's bus (Belle) that really re-focused me on getting my bus project completed.  *see the "WALSTIB" posts for details on that trip* This time, I'll be driving my bus, cara-bus style, with Ed & Belle down to Eugene.  Sure, its only a couple hundred miles, but its the longest drive I've taken in him since the engine transplant.  We'll be camping a few miles from the venue to boot, so as Summer turns to Fall officially, we'll be squeezing one last camping weekend in.

Tonight, I need to get a short in the dash resolved and get the fuel tank level signal working so I can make the trip safely.  You don't want to run a diesel engine empty.... or drive out of a "Dead" show at night without tail lights.  That's a cop's dream, and a DeadHead nightmare.

More next time, and thanks again for following along.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

so much for tomorrow

Okay, I just need to stop saying I'm going to post anything, and just do what I do.  Clearly, I can't hold myself to a schedule, even when I publicly state I'll do something.  Again, my apologies.  I'll touch on some "life stuff" today.  After that, I'll head down to the bus and start working on material for the next posting.  Honestly, now that he's running, my posts will probably happen less often. Well, at least until ski season opens and we start driving the bus up the mountain for a day of sliding :)

I ran a basic trip report in my last post covering the road trip to Champoeg State Park and back.  The boys and I drove past the exist on the freeway this past week (in the Jetta), and we got talking about our camping trip again.  Since it was our only trip of the season, it had all the usual "first trip of the season" a-ha moments.  Among them, both boys understood again that camping night time is colder than at home night time, so bringing pants and fleece jackets are a good idea regardless of how hot it is when you leave civilization.  Mostly, we remembered how much time you have in a single day when you're camping.  By leaving all the time-saving devices at home, we actually had more free time.  Not sure how that works, but I'm sure it only works for a couple of days.  Hmm..  sounds like an experiment or a dare for another season.

Like all trips, there was a small collection of stuff we brought that we didn't use at all (lacrosse sticks), stuff we brought that I thought wouldn't get used, but was used a heck of a lot (bikes) and stuff we forgot, but muddled through without (spoons).  We made a list of things to bring next time (including spoons), of course.  In the end, though, we spent most of our time down by the Willamette River, splashing in the water and making a mud/clay wall.  Fun stuff.

The weekend after the camping trip, the boys returned to their mom's house for the week.  I'd been waiting for some cash to roll in so I could finish making my place a little more home-y.  For example, I had a tv sitting on top of a bass amp with a pile of stereo equipment around it.  It looked kinda like it was set there during the move-in in April and then never touched.  In fact, that's exactly what happened.  I got a tv stand-thing, re-arranged everything again, framed some posters, decorated the boys' room and the hallway.  Basically, the place is ready for outsider viewing.  I'd hoped to be at this point in time for hockey season, and I made it in time for football.  Sweet.  Drop by for part of a game if you're in the area.  I may make you look at the bus engine during a commercial, though, so you've been warned...

Boys Back
I got the boys back on Sunday night, but they're already back with their mom (Labor Day Weekend).  They loved my place before, but I think they like the energy in it now even more.  I had to work this week, so my folks minded them during the day Mon-Wed.  T is old enough to watch his brother, but they can't use the pool or get beyond BMX bike-range without a licensed driver.  Great thanks to my folks for being available.  The boys found a local BMX bike track and used it a few times while they were with me.

Oregon State Fair
On Thursday, I took the day off from work and took the boys to the Oregon State Fair.  I hadn't been to the fair in a few years, but it rang familiar.  Big barns full of show animals, carnival rides and a bilk-your-money arcade... live music and many booths of sellers.  We couldn't find the Alpaca's, but we did find the horses, cows, pigs, goats and sheep.  There were some beautiful animals, and being so close to them we city-folk get a much better idea of how large they really are.
There were 2 big downsides, though, that the Fair organizers should re-think.  First, the only water available was for purchase only in enviro-hostile plastic bottles or given out in tiny dixie cups by Bible-thumpers or Culligan water salesmen.  Ain't nuttin' free.  I was able to find a single old-school water fountain where I could refill my water bottles, but the Fair folks should change this policy.  Second, almost every vendor was cash-only.  So, if you prefer plastic you either didn't buy stuff (like me) or you hit the $4-per-transaction-fee ATM's which were everywhere.  Clearly, the Fair was getting a taste of those fees, and I think that's rotten.  The few vendors who handled their own credit card transactions got my business, I spent my cash on food.

Well, this got long.  I suppose I should post more often, and this could have been 3 posts instead of one massive one.  *shrug* It's getting late if I'm going to look at my bus today, so I better get to it.  Hope you're having a nice Labor Day weekend, either with friends, family or live music.  More next time...