Monday, June 30, 2014

Boys' Fishing Trip

Tim is back with us after a week at Wabatongushi Lake with his Dad and brother. The travel included a flight to Michigan, driving many hours to Northern Michigan, driving more hours into Ontario, Canada,  a train to the lake and a boat to their cabin. After that, they spent the days fishing for walleye. Honestly, other than the excellent company, it sounded like the 7th circle of hell. But maybe that is why I wasn't invited.

This was the lake on which they went fishing 35 years ago so this was a trip down memory lane as well. There was cell coverage only at dinner, from 6-7pm. We didn't get many updates.

A mini bat, for finishing off fish. Yuck.

While the travel and fishing might not have been for me, I could have taken pictures there all day long. It looked just beautiful. In addition to the stunning scenery, they also saw black bears, eagles, and moose.


It sounds like they had a great time and ate lots of fresh caught fish. But after a week without him, we're glad to have Tim back!

Tim's brother.

Tim's Dad

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Roaring Run Hike

With Tim out of town, I was determined to get out and do something besides the pool darn it! Luckily, we live in the middle of so many beautiful hiking trails that it wasn't hard to. I heard that Roaring Run was a nice, family friendly hike (though there is a harder one available) and that there were some natural water slides. Jerry and Melanie, who had been there in the past, confirmed it was a good plan and we set off first thing in the morning.

It was a lovely hike, gentle and following a stream.

It ended at a small waterfall. But you know what the kids wanted to do.

Water slides! There were varying degrees of bravery, but in the end, all the kids went down several times. There was some complaining of bumped buns, but they all agreed it was a blast, if a bit cold.

The second biggest hit was rock throwing, which might have continued indefinitely had it not been for the need for lunch.

My children were completely underwhelmed with the 1840's iron forge, but I guess you can't win them all. 

Round trip was about 2 hours with ample play time. A+ family day and highly recommended!

Monday, June 23, 2014

And Monday Means...

Swim meet! This week was the 50 breast and 100 IM. E opted for only the former and placed 1st bronze, which made him quite happy. He even beat two other boys, a rarity. Eion has also decided he is taking a page from his sister's book and smiles at me as he races. I have no idea if this slows him down, but I do love the pictures.

Maggie was thrilled that tonight was breaststroke, her favorite event. She dropped time, grinned, and placed 3rd silver.

100IM garnered her a 1st silver. Go Mags!

Morrigan happily worked the bake sale, allowing proud moms to watch their kids' heats.

So with the stats out of the way, can we move on to the bitching and drama? Of course we can!

As in previous weeks,  I was in charge of tables, where, with my crack team of volunteers, we enter all the times and produce the results sheets and labels for the ribbons. I'm sure you all know that I enjoy the job and feel generally well suited for it. And try to keep it all in perspective. No need to sit hang out with me before the results start coming in, unless you want to, of course. And I tell all the tables volunteers to make sure they watch their kids' races. Sheesh, the last thing that should happen at country club swimming is you miss a real life event in order to average some score. I've been told that my approach, the sane one, is a refreshing break from some of the more hardcore hosts. 

But not tonight.

Some fellow, who clearly ate an excrement sandwich for dinner, complained all night. When I was watching Maggie's race, he asked where I was, bitching about how I had made so many mistakes, which, in the spirit of transparency, I had. When you enter hundreds of numbers, sometimes you mess up. But he was a dick about it. Apparently, no one told him my job was available at zero pay right that very evening if he wanted it.

And then the ribbon debacle. We didn't print them for the kids over 12 because, at the end of the summer, our club generally has a whole box of them that the older kids don't even bother to pick up. But some parent from the opposing team flipped out because their darling wasn't getting a prize. So after we had everything packed up, we had to drag it all back out to print some ribbons. I took full responsibility for not printing them in the first place and offered an apology.

Would you like to know the irony in the whole evening? I was the person who lobbied to share our post meet ice cream with the opposing team, free of charge. We want to be the nice team, I said. We'll just file that under no good deed goes unpunished. And in the second helping of irony department, this is the only team from a church.

After finally finishing up with my responsibilities, I found Maggie sobbing because she was left out of some post meet game. F dash dash dash.

But wait, we aren't done for the night. Peeper drama awaited at home. We've had a raccoon eating the birds' food in the evening. But he wasn't bothering the girls so I figured we would just put the food away. When we arrived home, poor James Blond was all alone on the deck. We knew there was trouble. Putin and the Koch brothers were in the coop but Tank and Attila were missing. We found Attila out of bounds and distressed. After herding her in, we feared we were down a chicken. Luckily, Mags and I didn't give up and found Tank, looking distraught, stuck on the fence.

I have no idea what went down, but all the girls are safe. Talk about a roller coaster evening. But with everyone happy at bedtime and all the Peepers safe, we'll take a deep breath and call it good.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


So where are we? I figure if I just do back to back to back swim team updates, I really couldn't be more boring. Let's start with our favorite topic, the chickens! After capturing the killer kitty, we are happy to report that the remaining six Peepers are alive and well. James Blond (the white one and only remaining bird from the second flock,) is integrating quite well. I feared they would kill her once she was alone but they have accepted her in the position on lowest man in the pecking order. No eggs yet but we keep hoping.

Lots of pool time, naturally. Eion could stay there all day, every day. He finds people to play with and follows the pretty lifeguards around. I told the guards they could send him away if he was bothering them and they told me he has a "charming" personality. OK then. It is his happy place.

Despite the other Margaret being gone at camp for two weeks, Maggie is enjoying her time in spite of being forced to branch out and make other friends. (And we let her bring some as often as we can too!)

Morrigan, on the other hand, has declared she does not like the pool.

A rare appearance with a friend.

I've really struggled with it. Especially with swim team, we are going to be there frequently. Not to mention, Mags and E are generally pretty happy there. We often have to drag Eion out. But if I force Morrigan to go, she often just sits and reads, which is what she would do at home only she would be less sullen. So I've been letting her stay home quite a bit. There is tremendous guilt in this path. That being said, there is really no point in making her unhappy, which leads to others being unhappy, when she is capable of being home alone. She says she is fine with the arrangement. Anyway, we have three weeks of camp lined up for her in July.

Speaking of Morrigan, she hosted her book club today. It was loud.

They read the book The Assassin's Creed, which they all seemed to enjoy. Morrigan made pancakes and I think they spent some time on the book. After that, it was singing and chatting, all done at top volume. But she has a sweet group of friends and they seemed to have a good time.

Tim left to go fishing with his Dad and brother at Lake Wabatongushi in northern Ontario today. He'll be gone for a whole week. I'm hoping to take the kids out on some adventures but seeing as Tim has the little camera and the waterproof one, I can't guarantee pictures. 

Now I can blog tomorrow without guilt about the ever fascinating swim meet.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Monday Night Recap

It is the meet neither child particularly wanted to attend - the dreaded 100 free and 50 butterfly combo, or as Maggie put it, her least favorite two races. Add to that the possibility that E might not be able to finish either one and we were in for quite a night.

The thunder that had been intermittent throughout the afternoon let up, it cooled down a bit and we were set to have some beautiful conditions. Eion was up first for the 100 free.

Let's just say I had plenty of time to take photos. His finish time of 2:51 was nearly triple the time of the first place winner BUT once again, the shallow field made that time a 4th place bronze. Ribbon and points, it doesn't get much better. I nearly cracked up when he got out of the pool and asked, "What was my time?" not only because, really?, but also because I am quite sure he doesn't know what a good time is for said race. Whatever. He was half done and happy.

Maggie was up next and was looking good.

That is, until the turn at the 50 meter mark when her goggles disappeared!

She finished the race without missing a beat and managed to cut almost 5 seconds off her time. 1st place silver so she was pleased.

And then I lost them!

Next up, butterfly.I actually told Eion that he could skip this if he wanted, but he was so excited about his ribbon in the first race, he was going for it.

Sadly, he dq-ed somewhere around the 25 meter mark. The judge apologized but what are you going to do? He did finish but that was little consolation for him. I told him to drown his sorrows in ice cream.

"I hate this race." she smiles.

This is Maggie's least favorite race but she was all grinny none the less.

It was a first place silver finish again cutting an unbelievable 6.25 seconds off her time. And of course, she had to show off and give me a big smile at the turn.

Join us next Tuesday for more swim team adventures!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Feral Cats and Massive Cacti Influx

So as you may well have surmised from my last post, we caught the cat who has been killing the chickens. Concerns were high that he was too smart to be trapped. He walked right past the trap at least twice when it was baited with dry and wet cat food. I feared we would have to encourage him to leave the Peeps alone in a more lethal fashion. But sardines, in the end, were too strong a draw and we apprehended the vicious killer. He was taken away by animal control yesterday, which likely means death but it was not directly at my hands. No remorse here. One cat death for seven chickens seems more than fair, and the birds are out happily enjoying their freedom. All is good, that is until the next threat, which is inevitable, shows its face!

This has been a quiet week, other than cat/chicken drama. The girls have not at all been enjoying their typing camp but I found out from the other parents at pick up that I have many of them with whom to share the title of Worst Mom Ever. Seeing as we have a lull in the action, let me tell you about our new plants.

A few weeks back, our friend Molly posted a picture on the facebook of some cacti in her drive way and said they were free to anyone who wanted them. Always a fan of free, we went by and picked up several of them. Now these were not the wee ones you get at Home Depot. They were some difficult to move, gigantic cacti. Tim and I took home four large ones and three small ones. Part of our pick up was to take one very large one, think as tall as me, to Fiona, who marveled that I could have moved such a thing at all. I had to admit it was all Tim!

But what turned out to be interesting and heartbreaking was how Molly acquired all these plants. Apparently, her neighbor is a hospice nurse with a patient who, in her final days, was most worried about her extensive collection of cacti. She was concerned they would all be thrown out. Molly happily took up the cause and set out to find them homes.

Many of the ones we have needed to be re potted, which is some tricky business. It was tougher than we imagined, but we finished them all and found placements throughout the house.

It was an odd feeling. Were I dying, about the last thing I would care about was my plants. But as we worked to move them from one pot to another without suffering great pain, it became more and more clear that it didn't matter what my priorities would be. I had been handed an opportunity, a gift. There was someone to whom I, hopefully, was able to provide a bit of peace and comfort, at a time when she would need it most. And though we didn't know each other, she would get to live on in our house as we could never look at the plants without thinking of her.

I sent Molly some pictures to pass on to the original owner in the hopes it would bring her some joy to know that her babies were being loved. They certainly have added beauty to our lives.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Victory is Mine!

Take that you rotten, murderous, Peeper-killing son of a bitch.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Return of Swim Season

Coming to you live and in person from the feral cat watch, already in progress. Our babies are being picked off one by one by an orange cat. Until we trap him, the Peepers aren't allowed out unsupervised. Can't say they care for the extra coop time but they are alive! But it does mean that the whole family, who really loves the birds, is spending a great deal of time hanging out with them. Luckily the wifi down here is excellent. I am iPad blogging so forgive any poor formatting.

Last night, after a week of lazy summer, was the first swim meet of the season. Our team has decreased in size, causing us to but put in a lower division. Bad news? Not for the McKs I tell you! Eion is now in the 9-10 age group where all races are at least 50 yards. But since we are in a new, smaller team filled, division, there were far fewer competitors in his field. Result? That would be a 4 point earning, 2nd place bronze finish! He couldn't have cared less that his placement was still dead last. He earned points and is getting a ribbon dammit.

Maggie was pleased to get a gold time on her backstroke even if the placement meant neither ribbons or points. It was a personal record time and she was all smiles, even as she raced past me. Flipping show off.

Freestyle was a repeat of backstroke for Eion. Dead last but with the positive reinforcement of prizes! He earned the same number of ribbons last night as he has in the past 3 years combined. He was over the moon. 

Maggie placed 1st silver for freestyle, a result with which she was plenty happy.

Morrigan, who has generally been avoiding the pool like the plague, she's had lots of chicken time, couldn't wait to go to the meet and work at the bake sale. I am in charge of tables, which enters and tabulates the meet results. Most people don't like that job but it suits me quite well. The meet flies by and I can still watch my kids race and take pictures. Tim is just happy I'm taking care of the family's volunteer obligations so he doesn't have to! 

One meet down, five to go and a excellent start to summer!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Lazy Summer Days

I was checking in on my Blogger dashboard and realized I had not posted a thing this month. When I went looking for pictures, I further realized I had taken one, as seen above. But in spite of spotty documentation, summer has delightful. We've been blessed with great weather and most of the family has been enjoying a great deal of pool time. Morrigan, whose friends all seem to belong to other clubs and who is generally over the pool, has been spending more time at home. But she has been walking to friends' houses and happily completing any tasks I assign before we leave. I don't want her to spend the entire season a recluse, but it is nice not to have her sulking at the pool. Not that we don't want to be with her, but she's been much happier on her own.

Eion, on the other hand, would be happy to live at the pool. We've had to battle a bit as he is trying to consume 100% of his calories in hutch food. Some strong-arming dietary concerns aside, his summer is going great.

Next week is not nearly as laid back, the girls have keyboarding camp, for which I was called the meanest mother ever. Whatever. And the first swim meet of the season is on! I'm a little nervous about E as he has to swim 50 yards this year but I'm sure it will all go to plan. Hope your summer is off to a great start too!