Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Day Four of our vacation extravaganza started at about 4:45 AM for me. Sort of. I woke up at 4:45, but I stayed in bed and stared at the wall for two hours. So, to some degree I guess the day really didn’t start until nearly 7:00. I’m really becoming a slacker.


The kids were awake early today, a fact that they tried to hide by staying in their room. However, what they forgot is that my hearing hasn’t suffered so much from years of abuse from loud rock ‘n’ roll that I can’t hear the television in their room. I think they might have been playing poker, too, with that deck of cards the nice lady at the Kroger’s grocery store sold us for free as part of our $300+ grocery order. Well, it wasn’t free, I’m sure, but it is easier for me to think of the cards as being free when the numbers get so large. Anyway, poker. Or go fish. They had some kind of card shark thing going on, that’s for sure. The funny story about poker is that yesterday, when we had the kids go through and mark all of the activities that they were interested in, The Boy marked his name next to the Poker Game. Never mind that he has never played poker. Never mind that it was ages 16 and up. Never mind that it was meeting when we would be at the water park or at the caves… he was positive that he wanted to participate in the poker game. I had to work hard to dissuade him of that notion.

Anyway, back from my little poker game digression, eventually the whole clan was awake and admitting to it, which was good since we had to get an earlier start on the day.

Our (abridged) schedule looked like this:

  • 10:00 to 10:30: Nick and Rosa – Diving Lessons
  • 11:00 to 12:00: Nick – tennis clinic
  • 12:00 to 1:30: Rosa – glass etching project
  • 12:30 to 1:30: Nick – kickball
  • 2:00 to 4:00: Rosa — basketweaving

First up after breakfast was diving. The kids have limited (at best) experience with diving from their swim classes at the Hamilton Area YMCA, where every day is a great day. Largely this is because the main facility’s pool only goes to about six feet deep. The pool where they are taking their lessons this summer actually goes to about nine feet deep so they are expected to do some diving. In fact, it is kind of necessary for The Girl’s class. So, we decided to sign our kids up for the Diving Lessons here (they wanted them, we didn’t force them into taking the lessons). So, we signed them up for Level 1, which was essentially a beginner’s class. They started the class by doing sitting and kneeling dives off of the side, progressed to standing dives, jumping dives and then to doing all of them from the diving board. It was exciting. Thirty minutes later it was over.

Backing up a little, our plan had been to just eat whenever we found the time in the middle of all of our other activities (note the lack of anything noted as "lunch" in that abridged schedule). So, we packed lunches as we prepared to leave the villa and had it all under control.

Except that we forgot the packed lunches when we actually left.

At least we remembered this early in the day. So, I dropped everyone off for diving lessons and schlepped back up to the villa to get lunch. Then I headed back down to the diving lessons. This worked out fine, I suppose, as I only missed the first few minutes of the lesson. Here are some pictures of Nick, first diving from the side of the pool and then from the diving board:



Similarly, Rosa from the side and then from the diving board:



They did a great job. So, referring back at the schedule, note that there is not much time to get from this diving lesson to the tennis lesson that is at the bottom of the mountain. So, we rushed into the locker room to do the quick change, only to discover that lunch was not the only thing we forgot.

So, back into the car we piled and then rushed to the villa to pick up… underwear. Poor, underappreciated underwear, never noticed until you don’t have it but thoroughly necessary. I hurried the culprit through the process of rectifying this particular issue (no, it was not me) and piled back into the car to head down the mountain. Part of the rush to get from diving to tennis was due to the fact that there was no pre-paying for these lessons – you pay as you get there, so I wanted to be sure that we got there early enough to pay and have him be at the lesson on time. We succeeded.

Nick learned about forehands and backhands and volleys and serves and played "Jail", losing every time. Here’s some pictures:



He did really well. It was nice to see him work so hard and enjoy it, especially considering that he is going to start lessons at home next week, too. For the less cultured amongst us, the first picture is a forehand, the second is a backhand and the third is a forehand volley. Consider yourselves schooled.

Rosa and Ginny left about half way through the lesson so that they could eat the packed lunch I retrieved and then get to the glass etchings class. I stayed with Nick. Apparently, despite the fact that I’ve taken her to nearly every arts and crafts class she has taken here on our prior trips to Massanutten, The Girl decided that her mom is the "craftier" parent and as such should be the one to go to the crafting classes for the afternoon. That worked out well since The Boy decided that I am the "sportier" parent and he wanted me to be at tennis and the upcoming kickball.

So The Girl and her craftier parent went off to make some glass etchings. Well, one glass etching. This is the result:


It came with a fancy, curly stand thing (with an additional charge, of course). The stand is missing one thing: something to attach the etched glass to it. I don’t know… maybe I’m old fashioned but it seems to me that it would not be asking too much for them to include an attacher thingy with the $20 stand. I don’t care what – string, thread, fishing line, used dental floss – something to use to attach the glass thingy to the stand thingy. But no – they couldn’t be bothered. So now I’m staring at a piece of glass and a metal, curvy thingy that is supposed to hold it, and I have to wait until I get home to use it.

Let me answer the question I know is on everybody’s mind right now – yes, I do, in fact, floss. I do so almost every day, like a good boy should. However, my suggestion that used dental floss would work for this project was shot down by nearly all parties (the boy was on the fence).

Anyway, next up was kickball for the boy. He and I ate our lunches immediately following the tennis clinic and we wandered over to the park where kickball was to start. We had a few minutes to spare, so we played catch with the baseball and gloves we just happened to sneak into the car. Okay, my wife and daughter knew all about them so it wasn’t exactly sneaking, but it sounded like a better story when I said we had surreptitious baseball paraphernalia, didn’t it? Anyway, kickball. I love kickball, so long as I am nowhere near it. Call it too many times getting pegged in the head, call it too many times being told I was too much of a nerd to be the pitcher… whatever. Kickball and I are like magnets and hard drives – we should not be mixed.

But The Boy loves it. The Girl agrees with me that kickball may very well be the Sport of the Beast. So, being the nice parent that I am, I put my own sanity on the line and took the boy to the allegedly organized kickball game. Key word: allegedly.

Sure, there were two "official" types from the resort in attendance and rumor has it that they were supposed to be the ones herding the cats coordinating the activity. They stated The Rules of The Game, which are (and always have been) as follows:

  1. Don’t peg anyone in the head. If they get pegged in the head, they are not out.
  2. Don’t peg anyone in the feet. If they get pegged in the feet, they are not out. Unless, of course, their foot is up in the air above their ankles, as in… if they are running.
  3. One base on an overthrow.

Yep. That about sums up The Rules. Essentially, the other rules that are loosely followed in kickball come from baseball: 3 outs per inning, force plays on any base when a all earlier bases are occupied, no advance on a caught fly ball unless the runner tags up first. Essentially, all of the baseball rules are in effect except for the infield fly rule.

For the less culturally sophisticated among us, I should take this opportunity to explain the infield fly rule, since most people never learned it. I, being a nerd by trade and having been an avid fan of baseball for my entire life (I even played it and played it well, much to most people’s surprise)… yes, I know what the infield fly rule is. And, since I am a giver, I’ll explain it to you right now. The infield fly rule is in effect only when there are two or three runners on base (first and second MUST be occupied) AND there are fewer than two outs. In other words, a force play must be in effect at third base or home and a double- or triple-play must be possible. If the above things (two force plays AND less than two outs) are the situation and the batter hits a fly ball, in fair territory that, in the umpires discretion, can be caught by an infielder with an ordinary effort, then the batter is automatically ruled out, regardless of whether the fielder actually catches the ball. If the ball is dropped, the runners can advance to the next base if they wish to (or not) and since the batter is out all of the force plays are no longer in effect. If the ball is caught, the runners must tag up before advancing. For you history buffs, the rule was added to baseball in order to prevent cheating and unsportsmanlike conduct by infielders who might purposefully drop a popup just to be able to get two or more outs on the play (since the runners would not be able to move up without tagging up on an ordinary popup).

The rule was NOT added to kickball because the entire point of kickball is to cheat and be unsportsmanlike.

Anyway, the two "official" folks setup teams using the "ones and twos" method of team selection. This was just about the extent of their involvement.

Nick was a two and the twos were up first. So, making the story shorter than it might otherwise be, Nick played kickball and tried to be the pitcher all the time, which kind of annoyed a number of the other kids who also wanted to pitch. When his team was batting, err, kicking, he tried to be the first one up each inning, which also annoyed some of the kids but mostly annoyed the parents of the shy kids who didn’t want to be out there in the first place. This one little kid didn’t even know which way to run on the basepaths. The other team stopped trying to get him out, largely because they thought he was cute. So, if he managed to kick the ball, they didn’t even try to get him out. If they couldn’t help but get him out (like if he kicked it to the first baseman who was standing right on first base), they let him stay on the bases and run anyway. That, I thought, was nice of these kids. Some of the other kids didn’t even want to be on the bases or anywhere, really, which made me wonder why they were even there.

Anyway, as I said, the "officials" didn’t do much. One of them stayed in the outfield and counted outs. Of course, she lost count on the way from zero to three every inning, so the teams sometimes got four or six or even eight outs before she realized there were three. The other guy stood behind home and, well, did nothing. In my opinion, he should have kept the batting orders intact, preventing my kid and the others from fighting to be first every inning. But he didn’t. In the end, I guess it was all alright since no one got hurt but still it could have gone better. Nick had a good time and I got to teach him about sportsmanship afterwards, teaching him that everyone else needed a chance to be first or to pitch. I think he got what I was trying to say, I guess we’ll see.

When the kickball event ended, Rosa and Ginny went to basketweaving class and Nick and I went swimming. Nick and I swam, we did cannonballs, we got splashed by little hoodlums in swim diapers. It was great. Rosa and Ginny made this:


So, the next bit of gossip from the crafting world comes from a story my wife told me (since I was not there).  Apparently, there was this one family that was refusing to allow their child to do the crafts.  That in and of itself is not a problem to me.  I mean, these things take time and cost money so it’s not like the kids should be allowed to do all of them.  What was stunning was the reason the parents would not allow the child to do the craft.  Simply put, the craft would not match the decor of their home.  While the decor in our home is, well, not definable by any words I know, I’ve never found a craft that was hand-made by my children which did not fit somewhere in the house or in my office.  So, my vote for the Non-Supportive Parents of the Year Award goes to that happy family.  P.S.: I hope your kid draws a mural on the wall of your formal living room.


After all this sports and artsy fartsy stuff was done, we were all very tired and hungry so we came back to the villa for dinner and a movie. We had pasta and watched "Monsters, Inc.". For those who haven’t seen it, this is a movie that proves, once and for all, that laughter is far better for the world than screaming.  So, good people, I beg you to laugh at with me.  For the good of the world. 

Anyway, the day ended with a few more episodes of "Lost, Season One". All in all, a good, busy Day Four!