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Posts Tagged ‘Qwirkle’

Day Eleven: A Walk… into town, in the woods, through a maze

18 Jun

Today started like so many vacation days. Waking early, but lounging in bed. Saying good morning to my ragamuffin children. Having my windshield replaced. Wait. What? Yep, for the second time in three years, having the windshield replaced in my minivan was a vacation necessity. Two years ago it was in my old minivan. This year it was in my only slightly older than a year minivan. Do I know how to drive a car into the ground or what? Started with a chip of unknown origin, that the reputable glass company “repaired.” I did not have confidence in that solution. I wanted it replaced from the get-go, but they said no, that they only replace a windshield if the crack is bigger than a dollar bill. As I only had a chip, they could repair it. But because it was so close to the frame, their machines couldn’t fit to get the right vacuum seal and they would have to repair it by hand. My confidence plummeted even further. So I flat out asked what the procedure was when it began to crack, for I was certain it would, and if I could get service all the way up in Maine. Sometimes, occasionally, I hate it when I’m right. On the day we arrived in Connecticut, the crack was over a foot long and growing. (Ironically, the same location where I first noticed the crack in my other windshield two years ago.) I hated driving around with a cracked windshield, but managed to get this appointment set up for today, and was happy to at least have a new one for the drive home (which is coming up more rapidly than I care to ponder.) The guy who came out to repair it was named Bob. A name that didn’t particularly fit him, though I’m not sure what I would have named him had he been a character in my writing. The best thing about Bob was not his beard, though that came in a close second, it was his accent. My favorite of all the American accents, this particular New England one. There is no way I could phonetically write what it sounded like when he asked me to move my van so he had more room to work without risk of damaging the other car, but it made me smile. I desperately wanted to ask him to say some of Jon Hamm’s lines from the movie “The Town”, when he was playing a Boston FBI agent, especially the one including the phrase “box of quarters,” but I didn’t. I really, really wanted to, but I didn’t. Anyway, Bob was super nice, got my windshield fixed efficiently, gave me good follow-up instructions, and overall it was a very professional and pleasant experience. As much as having your windshield replaced on vacation can be, anyway.

The windshield excitement unfolded as we were just spending the morning bumming around the house. I was teaching Avery how to play Qwirkle (I told you, I’m obsessed.) Beau requested that we once again dine at Harper’s restaurant for lunch. This pleased her to no end and she ran to get her order pad. I internally groaned because I didn’t feel like another 45 minutes of hands-off supervision/assistance with the things I wouldn’t let her do by herself (like cutting carrots with super dull knives). But it all worked out okay, and Beau shocked me by following my lead and ordering a chef’s salad. And then he ate it, every last bite of baby spinach and carrots and turkey. We’re really getting somewhere now.

After lunch I walked the two or so miles into town. First, because I wanted to walk around in town, but also because I have had little to no exercise in about two weeks and I’m feeling the ill effects. It was a pleasant walk, but a little warm in places. Nice when my trail crossed right by the ocean, as the breeze was beautiful, but there were a few baking moments. Though nothing like what that walk would have been like in Florida! My very first stop was my favorite gallery – Northlight Gallery. They have such incredibly beautiful things. In the past I’ve been obsessed with an artist named Jack Standish. His works are so intricate, but also welcoming. Every one of his pieces feels like a room that someone has just left, there is an open door (figuratively or literally), like you are waiting for someone to reappear, or perhaps to step into the scene yourself. One of my first purchases with my one day lottery winnings will be a Standish. Now they’ve added some photography that is also exceptional. It was fun to have a talk with the gallery owner about photographic compositions, and also the merits of frame choices. I always love stopping in at Northlight and having a conversation with Harry, but then I also find myself wishing I could do more than talk.

From there I moved on to his second gallery, True North Gallery. Also exceptional. And full of different works I covet. Jill runs True North and she is just about the coolest, most down-to-earth girl you ever want to meet. It’s fun just hanging out in there with her – fun conversation surrounded by amazing art hung in a comfortable, cozy room. Yeah, that’s fine by me. I soaked it all in for awhile, and once again saddened by my inability to take anything with me, headed off into some of the other shops. I picked up a few trinkets – souvenirs, hostesses gift sorts of things – and then met John & the kids at the candy store. And since what’s a vacation without spoiling your dinner, we had a late afternoon stop by Ben & Jerry’s.

The original post town plan was to go kayaking, as high tide was around 4:30pm yesterday. But it was so incredibly windy, that taking young, inexperienced kids out in kayaks seemed like a bad idea. The boating was going to have to wait. Instead we got in the car and headed out to a place we had visited last year, the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. Can’t be on the water in Maine? Instead take a walk in the woods! And this place is perfect for walking with kids, even kids in flip flops, because it is simply a flat, hard-packed, clearly delineated trail that winds around in a circle for approximately a mile. At one point I made Harper stop whistling so we could just stop and listen. We heard many different types of birds, the wind blowing through the trees, other wildlife scampering through the brush. It was pleasant. Harper startled at something in the brush, and I assured her that they don’t have snakes here the way we have snakes at home. And that is true. We’ve found at least two varieties of snakes that could easily kill us right in our own yard at home. But no sooner had my assurance that we were unlikely to even see any snakes today come out of my mouth, than we saw a snake. Non-poisonous, of course, but it was still ironic. He posed and I snapped a picture for posterity. We didn’t bother him, and he didn’t bother us. And Harper got to give me that “you’re not quite as smart as you think you are” look she so loves to give.

After a pleasant walk in the woods, we got back in the car for a pleasant drive. Windows down, just tooling along looking for the next adventure. We briefly considered the Ogunquit Playhouse. Shows didn’t start until 8pm, but they were putting on Grease! And then I saw the ticket prices. Gulp! Instead we settled on something we just happened to spot on the side of the road: Wonder Mountain Fun Park. Doesn’t that just sound exciting? Our original plan was to play miniature golf, but since we’re not yet in high season here in Maine, hours of operation are not as extended as they will be in another week or two. Since we were a little short on time, we instead played a bunch of arcade/midway style games for ticket rewards (which we then cashed in on assorted plastic crap we’ll have no use for), and then took a turn in the gigantic human maze. Oh gosh, I wasn’t really expecting it to be, but the human maze was unbelievably fun! And way more difficult that I expected, too! You had to punch a time clock on your way in, then find the four stations scattered throughout the maze to punch your ticket with different letters, and then stamp your time card again on the way out. There were prizes for fastest times, that’s why the time card stamping, but how those people did it is beyond me. We took like 10 minutes longer than the fastest time. But it was so much fun! Something we could all do, and it was funny to see how it brought out everyone’s personalities. I really can’t recommend it enough.

Once we navigated the maze we piled back in the car and looked for a place to eat. We ended up at Duffy’s Tavern & Grill in Kennebunk. It was a good atmosphere, definitely family friendly, and everyone enjoyed their meal. We also got dinner and a show because the couple next to us, a young couple in probably their early 20s, were arguing pretty much the entire time they were sitting there. Mostly about presidential politics. Which made it even more funny because they didn’t exactly look like the types to be arguing presidential politics. And their arguments were, well, let’s just say being impassioned about something does not automatically make one able to carry on intelligent discourse about the subject. But I was glad when we finished up and left because I’m guessing that either language was going to devolve, or they were the type of couple that was going to slap one another and then start making out at the table.

Back to the house from there, and kids directly into bed. It’s funny, I walked away from the house at approximately 1pm, not realizing that it was going to be 9pm before I returned to it. A long, but highly enjoyable day. Tomorrow: beach day. Explore, play on the rocks, possibly put the kayaks in the water at high tide beach day. And our friends are coming back to join us in the afternoon as an end of school celebration. Should be great fun for kids and moms!

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Day Ten: EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!!

17 Jun

“Everything is awesome! Everything is cool when you’re part of a team. Everything is awesome, when we’re living our dream…”

Everything *is* awesome when you’re living your dream. And that seems to be what I’m doing on this vacation. This morning I rolled out of bed late, had a piece of sourdough toast and a cup full of blueberries, then herded the children out of the house because my appearance downstairs coincided with low tide. Low tide means we can walk from our beach across the mud flat and about 10 feet of maybe ankle deep water to a nature preserve known as Vaughan’s Island. It was time for our Lobstah Hunt! Two years ago my kids met a local teenager who showed them how to find baby lobsters in the tidal pools on Vaughan’s Island. Nothing difficult, just flipping over rocks, but there is a bit of a science as to which rocks are most likely to yield lobster underneath. And these are tiny guys, most are fit in the palm of your hand size. But for kids who have only seen lobster in the tanks at our local grocery store, this is something amazing. Frankly, I find it amazing too. This morning it took us a bit of time to find one, but once we got into the deeper, colder tidal pools, the lobster abounded. The first one we found almost managed to take a chunk out of my toe. Luckily my lightning quick reflexes had my foot retracted from the water as soon as I felt him scampering near my toe. That and the fact that my high pitched shrieking like a little girl with her hair caught on fire probably scared him back into his hidey hole! We also spot lots of other great things on our tidal pool adventures – sea urchins, tons of hermit crabs, many other varieties of crabs, sponges, etc. And never fear, no lobster are ever injured in our great Lobstah Hunt. We flush them out, sometimes pick up one or two for a photo op, but always put them gently back into place so they can grow to become delicious, er, I mean, adults.

Another great part of Vaughan’s Island is the outcropping of rocks on the near side of the island. This morning after we had exhausted our tidal pool interest, the kids clambered up the rocks and proceeded to play a very detailed imaginative game. I was nearby, but not involved – in fact, made a quick trip up to the house to retrieve my book and a beverage – while they all three played together cooperatively. One time I looked back to see Avery and Harper scaling a rock wall that must have been 10 feet in height. It took my breath away to watch them, but kids need to be kids, and if there were pieces to pick up afterward, then that was just what I was going to have to do. So I turned back around. Put my back to the action. And irony of ironies, no one was hurt on the huge outcropping, by leaning over rock ledges or scaling rock faces that were directly above pointy boulders; instead it was literally the last step off the beach onto the tarmac road where Avery slipped and slammed her shin into a pointy rock. Sigh. Many tears and a bag of frozen vegetables later she was exclaiming with great joy that her damaged shin was purple and pink, some of her favorite colors! I think she’ll live.

After returning from our island excursion, Harper and I once again played another game of Qwirkle. I tell you, I am flat out obsessed with this game. Luckily Harper is a puzzle enthusiast as well, and the game appeals to a visual learner, so I have a partner whenever I want to play. The funny thing is that it takes quite a long time to play a game when there are only two players, but she always stays engaged to the very end. Probably a bit because she enjoys it, but also because she’s so competitive. Wonder where she gets that?

After our game Harper wanted to be the one to make lunch. As you may know, patience is *not* my strong suit. I could have had those sandwiches made and distributed within 10 minutes. But, I need to let my kids do more things for themselves. I know that. I do. But it’s so damn hard. But I waited this one out. She took orders, Avery assisted as sous chef, and five sandwiches were prepared, chips and fruit put on plates, and distributed. It only took 45 minutes. And I did not rip out my hair. At least not all of it.

Beau’s dad had promised him that the boys would take an afternoon kayak adventure once the tide came in. Realizing how important this was to both father and child, I decided the best thing to do to keep the girls from arguing and demanding that they too wanted to go on a kayak adventure, was to get them out of the house. So we had a girls’ only excursion to – where else? – Target! But there was a very specific purpose for this trip. Today is June 17. And for anyone paying attention, you know that Tuesday, June 17th is when The Lego Movie was released on DVD! Yep. We got our copy, and I anticipate it will see a lot of use. I think I’d like to watch it at maybe half speed just to get a better look at all the details hidden in the background. Harper was also pleased about our outing because she scored the next book in the series she is currently reading. It’s another of Rick Riordan’s mythology based series (something of Olympus?), and the darn thing is like 800 pages. But a very reasonable price considering, and I’m a sucker for buying books, so….

Once we got back to the cottage it was time to head down to the creek for a bit. I just wanted to sit in the sun and read. And that’s what I did. Harper started out with her own book, just standing out on the rocks reading, but then she put her book away and played nicely with her sister for quite some time. Eventually the boys returned from their almost 2 hour kayaking excursion – I imagine Beau may have trouble lifting his arms tomorrow. We headed up to the house to get cleaned up, but not before asking some locals we had overhead talking about pizza where they recommended. They suggested a place called Lower Village Pizza just across the bridge in Kennebunk. And I am SO thankful they did. Wow. Some of the best pizza I’ve ever had. Crust – Amazing! Flavors – Terrific! Truly some exceptional pizza. And the nicest people you ever want to do business with. A great experience, a wonderful dinner! We watched The Lego Movie while eating our pizza (but of course!) And after our long day, Avery was asleep on the couch with her dad before the movie was over, and the other two trooped dutifully off to bed without a single argument by 8:15pm. Ah, summer!

Tomorrow: Getting my windshield replaced! Just like two years ago when I had to have my windshield replaced in the driveway of this same house, but this time it’s a different Honda Odyssey. My only 14 month old one. Sigh. It’s supposed to be thunderstorms around here sometime after midnight, so here’s hoping those clear up in time to make this mobile windshield replacement a possibility. I don’t like driving around with a huge crack in my windshield.

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© 2010 Krista Lindsey Willim