Monday, July 27, 2009

West Sand Lake, New York

We arrived at Albany late at night and immediately went to sleep after some VERY short greetings to our cousins, aunt and uncle. The next morning we got up around 7:30 and went inside to see Tucker. We didn’t get to talk with him for long because he left for a week-long summer camp called Sky-High Adventure Program Experience, or S.H.A.P.E.. Then at 5:00 he would come home and play with us for the rest of the day.

In the meantime it was not all play and no work, quite the opposite actually. We would paint, mend, and untangle fences, clean stables that have been horseless for almost 5 years, and other odd jobs. Ben and Sam were let off easy of course, but after all they’re just lazy, overly childish boys who get on the brim of tears when it’s their turn to wash the dishes. This went on for 2 more days until the camp was over for the week.

We were told on Saturday to participate in an off-road triathlon that Tucker had been preparing for all week. We checked in and lined up and raced off, swimming, biking, and running. For my first triathlon ever, I thought I did a pretty good job. For a while in the swimming stage I was in first place, then fell behind a little. During transition my number ripped off my shirt and I fell behind the leaders by a whole 20 seconds at least. On the biking stage I had a problem with the chain on my bike and that cost me more time, but I caught up with Tucker on the running stage and beat him by half of a second! I was pretty proud of myself but it was hard to feel proud when your head feels like its splitting down the middle!

Then we were told that Tucker would be doing another week of SHAPE and so would we. On Sunday we went to a local church and didn’t like it too much. On Monday we drove to the SHAPE premises and got introduced to a lot of friends I would soon make. The first day we played get-to-know-each-other games but after lunch we swam and played a game very similar to “capture the flag.” It was a lot of fun. The second day we swam some more, biked some, and completed a half mile run. The third day was almost exactly like the second and the fourth was a 30-mile off-road bike ride. I think I did well, and when I finished I swam half a mile in a pool bigger than a football field. It was a very tiring day.

That night at about 2:00 in the morning, Uncle Eric and his children pulled in at Nana and Poppa’s house, right down the road, and they brought a present! Friday morning we went out to bring in chicken eggs, and in the stall that we were told to clear out were two beautiful horses! They brought them from Maryland and put them in the stables before they crashed. We rode them after the last day at SHAPE where we went river rafting down some river with a long name and an attitude. Our guide was really funny and we shot streams of water at each of the other rafts. It was a lot of fun and Erin came with us.

That Saturday we did more chores and Sunday we did more as well, after going to church that is. We liked this church more and on that day we finally decided where we were going to live permanently, Albany, New York! It is official and we are moving into my Uncle Fred’s house! We were so excited and my Mom and Dad have been on the phone and on the computer for hours looking for houses and jobs and stuff like that.

It’s been real, and it’s been fun, and this trip has been REAL FUN! I’ve learned so much, seen so many places, and probably met four thousand faces! I’ve loved this past year dearly and maybe when I’m an adult I may bring my wife and kids on a trip like this one. I’d just have to get a cooler R.V., just kidding. But I really have made memories that will last with me for the rest of my life. I still think back to how lucky I am, probably always will. But life goes on and now we’ll finally start to have a stable, boring, life with schedules and piano practice, and real Boy Scout meetings with qualified Scoutmasters! It’s been a great year and two months and I’d like to thank my parents, Calvert teachers, and all the readers, and viewers that made comments and checked up on how we were doing. Good-Bye!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

New York, Indiana, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado

7/15/09 – Indiana, New York,

We arrived at Nappanee, Indiana about two hours after we were supposed to. We had dinner with Mr. Larry, Mrs. Marlene, Michael, and Kari. We enjoyed our time and made plans for just the 4 of us kids to come over tomorrow and work on the farm. So we did! We cleaned stables, weeded weeds, picked green beans, and some other stuff but none of it was really hard. I told Michael that if he wanted to wear us out he was going to have to give us a lot more work! We saw our waitress Amanda at the Corner Café and even met up with Mrs. Sara again.

It was fun, and then we left and drove for two days to Buffalo, New York and stayed in a Wal-Mart Parking lot. The next day (today) we were tourists and drove across the Canadian/American border to see the Niagara Falls. We saw them all right, all the millions of gallons of bluish-greenish water falling off the 13 ½ story cliff and just plummeting into the misty abyss below. It was really pretty.

Then we walked to a daredevil museum and read about the 15 people who jumped off the Niagara River Falls in contraptions, or parachutes, or birthday suits. It was just the most bizarre thing! We saw a video about a guy who did make it out alive while in a 1,500 rubber ball that was sealed inside two feet thick of solid steel. They were just crazy…jumping in with pets, wives, wills, and all sorts of other junk! A 63year-old lady (who claimed to be just 43) threw off her cat first to see if it survived and then jumped off in a barrel.

You’d have to see it to believe it. Then we ate lunch at a Canadian Subway and crossed back over the American border to start our 5-hour trek towards Albany, NY where we’ll see our cousins again! That’s all for now; bye!

7/11/09 – Golden, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska

We had a fabulous 4th of July and the Galvins visited us during that time. Ben was still in the hospital at the time, and we watched the fireworks from the Central Park in Golden, Colorado. The Galvins and Will, Sam, my mom and I walked around Clear Creek for a while and then watched the fairly short, yet well put together display of fireworks. We enjoyed it thoroughly and Will and Olivia even more so, because they both bought some silly string spray and ran around chasing us and incessantly spraying us.

We visited Ben again the next day at the hospital. The next four days were a blur of tennis, swimming, rock climbing, and river rafting. But on July 9th I was walking down a sidewalk picking up trash for an hour and a half for a requirement for Boy Scouts when I met a very nice lady pruning roses. I thought that if I came back later and helped her on the city’s flowers, then I could get some more credit.

Turns out her name was Ms. Jean and she was part of 3 gardening clubs that do volunteer work in the city. She came to the R.V. and we set up a time at 6:30 the next morning to prune a rose garden belonging to the city. I got up early the next day and we set out pruning, sheering, pulling weeds, and dumping buckets full of dead plant matter and weeds into enormous trash bags. Ms. Jean was very nice.

When I got home not only did I get the two hours of volunteer service work, but I also received an invitation to her house that night to play board games and watch movies and stuff. Ben got out of the hospital and we all went over. My parents left to go ballroom dancing while we went on a walk, had lots of angel food cake and ice cream, watched movies, and played dominos. We had a good time.

The next day we spent touring the Coor’s beer factory, geology museum, and the Galvin’s neighborhood in Evergreen. They REALLY want us to live there. Shelby and I had something between us that could have developed into a relationship, but with the R.V. trip we are limited on such things. Oh well, she’s probably better off without me.

We left the next day and where we camped out, there was a movie theater down the road. We watched the new Transformers; one word, AWESOME! Everything is fast paced, funny, with lots of things that blow up, new good guys with cool powers and also new bad guys that do happen to have a better sense of fighting skill than the old ones. It was definitely the best movie I’ve seen in a long time.

We also stopped at a really neat tourist ranch where we went horseback riding and fed pigs, sheep, alpacas, ostriches, peacocks, turkeys, chickens, cows, bulls, camels, and ponies. The next day (today) we drove almost 6 hours so far with about another 2 to go. Our goal is Nappanee, Indiana and we SHOULD arrive by tomorrow night, but nothing is for sure. Bye!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Golden, Colorado

We left the Air Force Academy and drove to a city called Golden. It’s a great place Golden, Colorado. Tomorrow is my third favorite day of the year. It’ll be the Fourth of July! I love it for being the day that we won our independence, and, yes the fireworks.

Not too much time has passed since Ben’s last orbital cellulitis episode and yet it is happening again. He has been in the hospital for three days now and he has gone through one surgery already. Hopefully this will be the last attack from this bug but if not, we’ll be prepared. He’s doing great because of the antibiotics.

We went to the Galvin’s and hiked for about 45 minutes in their woods. Shelby is a very enduring hiker and Cameron (who was also visiting) was fairly impressive. We sat in the hot tub telling stories at 8:00 at night and watched a movie about ghosts and spirits and paranormal activity. It wasn’t scary but we had a good time. That’s all we seem to have now, apart from Ben’s eye activity, good times.

We went swimming yesterday and they have a waterslide and a Rock Climbing Wall. Our R.V. park is right next to a beautiful set of river rapids that’s just calling us to ride down them. Yep, we’re outside and active and almost the only time I’m on this computer now is to blog and learn Spanish using Rosetta Stone. The park next door is really nice, and the community center is a pretty fun place. School is over and I kind of miss it now that I have hours and hours that I never knew existed. Summer is……………. interesting and it will be exciting to see how it ends; hopefully in a new, big house with Dad having an environmentally friendly job that he enjoys. I’m going to leave now, since there are fireworks outside and we’re watching a really funny movie called Norbert.