Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Solar Eclipse of 2017

I never bought into the hype surrounding the eclipse. I love astronomy, and give me a new picture of Saturn any old day, but an eclipse? The moon passing in front of our view of the sun might be great if you're starring in A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court, but here in 2017? Eh.

Still, in the end it was a hoot to see.

The day before I'd taken Smiley and Ginger to a science and surplus store where they made free eclipse viewers.

When it came time for the eclipse, we headed back to the store, which was holding a get together in the parking lot to celebrate the event. My friend Tre and my Godson met us there.

There was heavy cloud cover, and save for a few minutes the homemade kits didn't work.

Thankfully, one of the store clerks slipped me a pair of (sold out) eclipse glasses during a handshake, and so we got to see some of the show.

We didn't get any good pics of the eclipse, as you'd expect. But in person, it was genuinely kind of neat; certainly more impactful than seeing it on TV or in a book.

It was  a good memory to make with the kids, and I'm glad I experienced it with them.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Doctor Who Products

These are some Doctor Who items I owned in the late '80's, having ordered them from my Doctor Who fanclub newspaper. Sadly, they are long since lost to time (pun partially intended). 

The Menard's Bird

Last month when I was shopping at Menard's Smiley and I came across an injured bird sitting atop a pile of lumber. 

We petted it for a moment, and then it went on my hand. 

For the rest of the shopping trip I walked around the store with the bird on my hand, like Mary Poppins! 

Just before it was time to go, the bird's wing seemed to straighten itself out, and it flew away!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The New Front Gate

I replaced the front gate this month, building it from scratch. Lulu even got into the action by helping me cut the boards. 

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Last Walk to School Together For the Younger Trio

With LuLu graduating the night before, but going to school the next day for a class trip, a milestone: 

the last day this trio of Team Slap would ever walk together to school. 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Smiley's Piano Recital

A whole crowd showed up to support Smiley when he had his piano recital. The weather was wet and gloomy, but not the performance. 

He strode confidently to the microphone, adjusted it for his height, and then played for the audience. 

For a single semester of rec division piano, I was bowled over! Great job Smiley!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Polar Bear Plunge - New Years Day 2017

For a few years now Lulu and I have talked about doing the Polar Bear Plunge, a New Years day tradition where Milwaukeeans dash into the ice cold waters of Lake Michigan at the stroke of noon. Talked about it, but never even tried to go. It's been so many years of "maybe next year" that she snarkily referred to *not* going as our actual tradition.

Well, enough of that. Today, we did it!

The kids were scattered between different NY Eve locations, so we scooped up Lu and our niece Stacey from my parent's place, then Junie from a friend's house, and headed down to the lake.

Alas, we misjudged the size of the crowd. I expected a few hundred people and difficulty parking. What we got were thousands of people (probably only a couple hundred who went in the water) and NO parking. I won't lie. I handled this stress poorly, and squabbled with Lisa. Eventually she just dropped us off and we had to hike the rest of the way.

Now, as January 1st goes in Wisconsin, this was a beauty. The sun was out, the temperature was about forty degrees F (by my reckoning) and the water a balmy 35 degrees F. What more could you ask for?

(the event did have medical personnel in the water in case someone went into shock)

Without Lisa, our plans for a  mobile changing station were kaput, so we threw our stuff in the sand and, when the horn sounded, waded in.

It wasn't that bad. Oh, it was painful, sure, a bit like a thousand knives thrusting into your skin, but most of THAT didn't occur in the water, but once you returned to dry land. THEN the pain hit, especially in your feet. But with the air conditions as mild as they were, the pain was short-lived and we dried off quickly.

So, naturally, we went in for a second round.

None of us were in the water as long the second time, nor were we as deep. But it was a lot more pleasant, probably because we knew what to expect.

Here's a video of me in the surf. 

Afterwards, the same quick pain, the same quick relief. But as we were getting dressed a local newsreporter from WTMJ showed up to do a report, and Junie asked to take a picture with him.

I didn't talk to him on-air, but we did chat for awhile. I told him only a few weeks ago we'd been in the Bahamas complaining about the water temperature there, and here we were jumping into a frozen lake!

It was a good time, and I'm glad we did it. It's something LuLu and I can scratch off our bucket lists. And who knows, we may even do it again!