Monday, September 01, 2003

Mystic Seaport and more Geocaching

Yesterday we ended up taking a day trip. We planned for it on Saturday night, went to ole Mystic Seaport and had a grand ole time. A ye olde time as a matter of fact.

When we told Geoff where we were headed and what the place was about, he ran into his room and got his pirate hat. He wore that thing all day. People smiled and laughed, and he said "Aaargh! Matey!" to passersby and did a bunch of outrageously cute and funny stuff that will hopefully stay with my mental faculties longer than his one massive hissy fit.

Aaargh! Cute but Deadly Piratey Geoff ready to pillage Mystic Seaport, mateys!

We hit the road early made it there around 10:30ish. Bought a membership instead of just tickets in (aaargh! mateys!) and entered for a day of pillage. The weather was gorgeous, sunny, not too hot -- perfect all around.

We boarded and toured three ships: Charles W. Morgan, Joseph Conrad and L.A. Dunton. My favorite of them was the Joseph Conrad. It was smaller (built for up to 80 boys in training) and just had a prettier wood coloring and style to it. The Dunton is a fishing ship, so it's beat up and not so shiny, but I felt the strength of a lot of years worth of labor in her deck. And the Charles Morgan is a whaling ship, famous for being the last of its kind.

They did a cool demonstration of how they got the smaller side-boats back up onto the rigging, and the kids enjoyed the wheels of each vessel. Here are the obligatory photos. We missed the presentation on whaling and whaling tools/weapons.

Geoff was somewhat surprised to learn what came out of whales and we told him an untruth that it doesn't happen anymore... that most of what they used to use whale blubber for we now have synthetic/petroleum solutions for. I know there is still whaling that goes on. But he doesn't have the mental faculties to grasp that concept. So the little exposure to whaling history that they gave him was just enough for him to understand that it happened. End of conversation.

You know how he latches onto things and becomes Nazi about them. Remember the Arboretum? I sure do.

These four pictures here are different views of the Charles W. Morgan. The rigging and ropes at the masts are impressive.

Geoff was especially impressed with the bathrooms. "There's no flusher." He noted. "There's no water. It's got a hole that goes right out to the outside of the boat"

You betcha. And mercy on any souls in the cabin below should you wash out while ship is tilting to the right.

Left, looking through the opening behind the wheel of the ship, the rear view into town. Right, the dining table is right under this glass window. There's an office above, which I didn't see a staircase to. Behind where I'm standing is the captain's quarters. I imagine a pirate swinging through onto the ship and crashing through this glass, right in the middle o'dinner. Arrrgh! Stand and Deliver!
The very first thing inside the park is this little boat.
Made me think of Brooks Williams' "Inland Sailor."
"I'm an inland sailor miles from the sea
I'm way off course not sure how I can to be here...
I've a boat in my garden, it lay upside down
Sometimes when I stand real close
I hear the gulls cry, I smell the sea salt
I feel the waves going up and down..."
Hah! Snarf. Too damn funny.

There was a class on pirate myths and legends. They loved that Geoff showed up in his hat.

After they dressed a volunteer (not Geoff, but he was a willing crewmate) up, they invited the kids up to look in the "treasure chest" to see what pirates would hoard/steal/sell.

In the box? A jug for rum, sticks of cinnamon for spices, and fabric.

Geoff? Mad.

No "gold," nothing he was interested in. Oh well. The reality of piracy is sometimes hard to accept.

this house and every single building we went into was "abandoned" in Geoff's mind. "Oh! An abandoned Doctor's Office!" No honey, it's an historic recreation to show us what a doctor's office would look like. "NO! It's abandoned!"

So he was shocked as shit when he found a woman sitting at the hearth knitting. "You live here?" The woman had no sense of humor and tried to explain as we had the concept of historical recreations.

"Oh. So it IS an abandoned house..." Sure honey. It's an abandoned house. Whatever.

A view of Geoff & sky on the Joseph Conrad. Complete with pirate hat.
The Joseph Conrad from the pier.
It was my favorite ship (oops. I typed shit. Bwah!)
The soprano Jenny Lind immortalized as a masthead. Her actual portrait is in the display in the forefront. It would be the historical equivalent of slappin' Britney or (eww) Christina on the bow of your ship, I guess.
The planetarium, the one building we didn't get a chance to go into. The sundial on the outside was amazingly accurate. I was impressed!
The outside of the oyster shack.
A view of the Ole Mystic Downtowne.

While it was fun, it was a long, long day. A very draining and exhausting experience. By the time we left there, I was tired and stressed out. The kids were tired and stressed.

There were way too many smarmy French people there.

I hate crowds, and the bookstore/giftshop was the most crowded place since Amistad's below deck. I wanted to run screaming into the depths of the harbor, especially after the guy walking around inside with his French Bulldog aimed the business end of the damn thing as it farted making the most horrible stench in olfactory history. That set me on edge for the rest of the ride home.

We had talked to Aaron's mom at lunch time and were going to head over to their house, but getting into the car, Doug and I knew we had to hightail it home and get the dogs taken care of before Kinger (in a fit of "I'm being abandoned" fear) crapped and pissed all over the place. We knew from the parking lot it was 2 and a half hours to home, and a visit at A's parents would have been nice but we wouldn't have been the best guests...

We got home before a canine explosion, grilled some brats and crashed. I feel bad we didn't go to Aaron land. But ... sometimes you just gotta know when the time is right to not do something. Know what I mean? Now I know why my parents didn't take us all these places all the time when we were growing up.

Sitting around the house is so damn much easier!

Today we got up early, the dogs were in need of outdoors and the neighbors were making use of the holiday to work on their projects, at 8 friggin' am. We ended up going out geocaching but only hit one of the seven we intended.

We did Where's George(town) because our not too far away neighboring team Fismo put that one out a couple weeks ago... and we hadn't hit it yet. A Fismo cache is a good one, they always put a lot of effort in. We got to the first coordinates with great ease. I entered them into the GPS and we headed to the next set of coords.

I must have mis-entered the coordinates.

We got to a point in the trail where it said we were 300 feet or so away from where we wanted to be. Doug wasn't sure if we were to continue down trail or cut into the right and bushwhack. I knew from the clue that the the coords were supposed to be right off the side of the trail, but the GPs said... 200 feet, then 100... we were bushwhacking and getting closer.

Into someone's backyard. Uh, Hi. Sorry. Sorry... we're just passing through. Cough.

I told Doug that Fismo would never send us off trail like this. They're better than that. They are seasoned hiders and finders, and I didn't feel good about where we were headed. He was tenacious. So I screw up the coords and he is relentless in pursuit.

Both our dogs, especially Jack, were in the creek, in the mud, enjoying themselves greatly. Jack is a freak in the deep woods. He just goes and goes. We walked the deer trails, I told Jessie to think like a deer, would a deer continue straight through here or zig to the left AROUND the pricker bush (duh?). We continued on, through their deer blind and hunting spots, and wandered around crossing the brook and walking through dozens of prickers before we finally said screw this, we're outta here. We turned around to backtrack our exact steps. Jessica was very angry but we told her it was the only way out of the area, to go back exactly the way we came.

We got back up to the trail, and the coordinates were tacked to the tree which fit the description of the clue DEAD on, but I 'd ignored because I was sure the coordinates were right. I had stood right next to it saying that it sounded EXACTLY like the clue, but it couldn't be the one. Nah.


So I did screw up. But there we were. Muddy, filthy, bugbitten and scratched but we had the next set of coordinates and were good to go.

The final hidingspace was a piece of cake. We inserted our Travel Bug Cartier, and started the trek back. We saw the saddest thing in the world on the trail. No, not any sort of sweet little dead animal. The most saddest. The penultimate paragon of sadness.

A batch of stray balloons, deflated and dead, hanging on a bush in the deep woods.

Think about it. Someone buys balloons for a party. They're happyassed balloons, full of joy, full of life. Suddenly, something happens and the balloons go flying. Up to heaven.

Oh, the humanity!

They eventually end up somewhere, don't they? The relentless pull of gravity combined with helium's inability to last and latex' thin skin, they burst -- they plummet. They land.

In this case, we found their sad little bodies, clumped together in the woods near the path.

A batch of sad dead balloons is sadder than a good clown turned evil. There were hopes in them there balloons -- well wishes. Happy Birthdays. And... oh. I'm too sad just thinking about it.

Jessica felt the same way. Oh, the poor children, they had to witness this! Oh that I could have protected them! Look at that poor child's face! Can you feel her pain??? Oh, I can't bear to look! Oh! The Calamity! Oh! The Catastrophe!

Oh, the humor of it all. Saturday we see the chair of the devil at the crossroads and today we meet balloons in their demise. Too damn funny!

Anyway, while we were contemplating dead balloons and the significance of their tales... I looked at Kinger and he had two big yellowjackets on his head, stinging him. Jack had run ahead, and I noticed he was chewing at his backend, and there was yet another yellow jacket.

Holy shit. Not AGAIN!

I told my family that we need to leave quickly and why. We all start running. This time though, only I got stung. There was a yellowjacket on my abdomen, I smashed it with my fist after it stung me. The dogs were both freaking out, Jack especially, and we made it to the bridge about .30 of a mile from where we found the cache before we stopped.

I swear, I'm so not happy with geocaching. I'm surprised as hell they didn't chase our asses. We didn't have the added siren of Jessica screaming this time, which hopefully helped. They weren't extra agitated by her screeching at the top of her lungs and stampeding through the woods this time. I think I may want to avoid heading out again until well after the heavy frosts of late October.

And I'm especially glad no one but me got stung. Oh, and the dogs. I feel bad for the dogs. We thought about doing another cache near our house. There are 3 that are extremely close to our house that we haven't done. But. We figured we'd be pushing our luck. Round trip the hike we took today was close to two miles, what with our woodsy excursion and all. So we needed to come home and drink Lynchburg Lemonade, make dinner and just be home.

That, and it started raining. Sorta.

Doug grilled up a great big huge pork roast on the Weber tonight. I made potato salad from scratch. All told, we had a meal that couldn't be beat. Life is good.

I'm not wanting to go back to work tomorrow. I feel like I need another day to fold laundry and do dishes what with our having barely been here for 3 days. Oh that I didn't need to work.

Anyway -- I have to get lunch ready for the kids for tomorrow. Hopefully Geoff will EAT his lunch instead of charging lunch. gah. Have a great night all.

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