This past weekend, I took Thursday off of work with the intent to go camping with my family. As it was, we decided not to go due to a major heatwave smothering Southern California. It cost us $50 to cancel, but the last thing we wanted to do was to go sit at a campground in the dust, with no decent shade, and attempt to not get dehydrated.
Even so, I still took Thursday off (Friday was my regular day off from work) and we enjoyed a 4 day (okay, 3 day, but I'll get to that) weekend together as a family. Pretty much we goofed off. Seriously, that's what we did. Thursday, the day I took as a vacation day, I pretty much hung around the house with the kids, playing on the Wii, building stuff with Legos, and puttering around the garage.
Speaking of the garage, I finally got the kayak hung and it is really weird and somewhat discomforting seeing it hanging above the hoods of our cars in the garage. I keep telling myself that my engineering and my knots are sound, and that there's nothing to be concerned about, but ...
That day was an awfully hot day. About mid-afternoon we discovered that one of our air conditions -- the one we have for the ground floor -- was not working. Happily the one from upstairs was content to crank away all day, and kept the ground floor at a reasonable 85 degrees. This made things more comfortable, and after a few phone calls to friends looking for references to a good air conditioning guy, we were able to get in touch with a fellow who was willing to show up at 9 pm that night!
We were delighted. First, with the worst heat wave of the year upon us, we didn't expect to actually get him to our house that day, and second, when he did show up, he actually had the right part to get our air conditioner working again in about 20 minutes! 350 bucks poorer (we burned out the air conditioner's capacitor, which was swollen from abuse), but feeling much cooler, we sent him on his way with an earnest promise to call him in a month to service both of our 6-year-old-and-never-once-serviced air conditioners.
That night we let the two older kids stay up late and watch Star Wars Episode 2, which they hadn't seen, and they really enjoyed it. Then, to make up for not going camping, we let them sleep in the family room. We pulled out the really lumpy and miserably uncomfortable sofa bed, and my oldest son crashed there without complaint while my daughter crashed on the adjacent couch. Oh, to be kids again.
Friday morning, I mowed the lawn just after 8 am, and it was already in the 90s. Clearly it was going to be another hot day, but our air conditioners were working!
That afternoon we went over to a place called Sky City, which is a business where they have large inflatable slides and play areas where people can hold birthday parties. Apparently they charge half price for general admission on Fridays, so we spent $5 each for our three children to go there and goof off for two and a half hours. They were so sweaty and gross when they were done, but they had a great time and were downright exhausted.
The next day, Saturday, we woke up and headed out the door to go to Chuck-E-Cheeses. Still a favorite place with all three of our children, they had 32 leftover tokens each and had a great time burning through them. My oldest burned most of them playing racing games, my daughter was all about earning tickets, and my youngest just kind of meandered and did everything else. My wife and I? We sat and read books. It was awesome.
After we got home from there, we packed up our stuff and headed out for the beach. We went over to Ventura, where finding a parking spot was a major challenge. We ended up sitting at the end of one block waiting for somebody to leave. We had a lunch with us, so everybody got out of the car and ate while we waited about 20 minutes for somebody to show up and move their car.
Finally getting parked, we ran into some friends from our ward, and, together, we found a decent spot of sand to plant our families. We had a very nice visit with them -- they're a very nice family with three kids of their own that are each respectively, slightly younger than my own. After getting the kids slathered with sunscreen, taking a hike to the super-gross bathroom, and sending them off to play, my wife and I sat down and finally had some time to quietly talk with our friends and do a little more reading.
About this time, my wife started sun-screening herself. As we would find out later, it was way too little way too late. She is torched, and she absolutely hates getting sunburned because her burns typically fade to a tan, which lasts forever (okay, about a year -- which is a crazy-long-time for a tan). This sounds like a good thing, but when she has a very white swimsuit line, it bothers her immensely. So, not only is she suffering the pain from the sunburn, she also has an ignominious tan line that she will be unable to erase for a long, long time.
Come Sunday morning (five or six layers of aloe vera later for my wife), I woke up and did my "usual" Sunday thing. My wife now attends Ward Council with me, so when she showed up at 9 am, she told me that our oldest son wasn't feeling well, and that she intended to bring the kids for sacrament meeting and then go home to be with him. This turned out to be an inspired move, because after she arrived home after sacrament meeting just after lunch time, he threw up all over the family room carpet. Messy, messy.
Our theory? He picked up a nasty stomach virus at Sky City. A natural thing, but we immediately went into quarantine mode; after all, it is summertime and the last thing we need is our other two children to get sick. He spent the day moaning and dry-heaving into a bowl while planted on the couch while my wife spent the day telling the other kids to stay away from him and disinfecting the house. She even had him sleep on an air mattress on the floor of his bedroom instead of his bed so he wouldn't have trouble getting to the bathroom if he needed it.
I, on the other hand, spent nearly the entire day doing church stuff. 7:30 am Bishopric Meeting, 9:00 am Ward Council, 11:00 am Church Services, home from 2:20-2:50 for a quick bite to eat, 3:00 pm interviews, home at 6 for another quick bite to eat (thanks, wife, for the great dinner!), and then off to home teaching from 7 'til 9 pm. It was a long day, but I got a lot of stuff done. And got another calling ... which I'll write about in a few weeks ...
Busy weekend, but very nice. I feel mellow, and don't really want to be at work now ... summer vacations are wasted on schoolkids.