Sunday, June 24, 2012

On the Run and Having Fun, Mostly

Summer vacation is starting off with a flurry of activity. On Tuesday I took Karen's car off to have an oil change, and to have the mechanic sort of poke around to see if there were any obvious issues that would prevent the car from passing inspection in August. Good news: nothing major wrong with the car. Better news: I got to go to lunch with Karen.

On Wednesday, after doing some packing for a trip, I spent some time over at the Wright Museum, a local World War II museum, to be in a movie. A friend of mine from the theater has a friend from his earlier film acting career who is making a short film about a 13-year-old boys who finds himself suddenly back in the War. And he needed some extras, and of course I said yes. Not only did I get to be in a scene in the movie (as a cafe patron), but I got to spend the whole afternoon in an air-conditioned building. Which was truly a treat.

Thursday found us driving down to East Lyme, Connecticut, where we spent the afternoon at a beach on the Long Island Sound. I stayed on a chair on the shady hill overlooking the beach while Karen and the boys played in the water. I got to listen to music (which I don't do as much as I'd like) and read using the Kindle application on my phone. I'm reading The Fifth String, by the legendary composer John Philip Sousa.

That evening, after cleaning up at the motel, we found a restaurant in Groton called Flannigan's, which had a menu published in the phone book that looked very tempting. What the ad failed to mention was that Flannigan's is also a bar, and that they have karaoke night on Thursdays. So it wasn't quiet, but it was fun. Karen and the boys managed to talk me into doing the karaoke bit (twice: one solo of Mac the Knife, and a duet with Daniel of Puff, the Magic Dragon), and William gave it a try although he found he didn't know the lyrics to the Back Street Boys song Larger Than Life as well as he thought. And by the way the food was delicious.

Friday turned out to be a bit gloomy, and not much of a beach day, so we went to visit a museum that we read about in a brochure for Groton, called the Submarine Force Museum. It's adjacent to a naval base, and one of its features is the first nuclear-powered submarine, USS Nautilus. Unfortunately, we couldn't go on the sub because the air conditioning was down and the temperature inside was well above 100. But the rest of the museum was fascinating, with some great films about submarine history (and one about an underwater spy system called SOSUS that was used to listen for Soviet subs). That's a place we'll go back to.

We also visited a Revolutionary War battlefield, where the only battle of that war to be fought in the State of Connecticut was fought in 1781. The monument that looms over it has a spiral stone staircase inside with 166 steps. Karen and I bowed out, but both boys climbed to the top, and William did it twice!

We also got to explore around the fort a little before it really started to rain. We had planned to visit a little restaurant on the shore in Groton that makes its own pasta, but it was so busy we didn't have time to wait for a seat. So we went back to the restaurant we had eaten breakfast at the morning and had a wonderful dinner before heading for home.

Despite the fact that we got home around midnight, William and I got up the next morning and loaded one of the kayaks on my car. We met the Boy Scouts at the local park, where our kayak joined about a dozen others in the trailers the leaders brought, and William kayaked with his troop all the way to Maine. Okay, it's closer than it sounds, but he was on the water for more than two hours, and swam and played around for about two hours after. Needless to say he slept very well last night.

A lazier day today, expect that we had a lot of cleaning to catch up on, until Daniel, doing the dishes, tried to wash the "fiddle bow" bread knife, which is the sharpest knife we have. And, of course, he sliced his thumb open. So he ended up with three stitches in his thumb for the next 12 days.

But we still had a celebration tonight. Why? Because this morning Daniel had his last dose of medication. And the pain in his thumb didn't stop him from enjoying his cake and ice cream.

That's my boy!

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