Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

Avast for the Black Mast


In a plan whipped up by my brother and me on Thursday, I got the second half of Friday off and whisked Benjamin away for his first cousin’s birthday party weekend. A six-hour drive later we arrived, and only after shaking off his nap did LC realize Ben really was right there in the same room with him — not just in an online video clip or in his dreams.

DSC_6482_sm_blog.jpgIt would be a tragic miscarriage of justice to state that the party had a pirate theme. Pictures convey the feeling only marginally better.

Early on, Benjamin channeled Errol Flynn as he leapt from one waterslide pool to the other. Seriously short on damsels in distress, he settled for saving his own skin.

DSC_6514_sm_blog.jpgArmed with foam swords and foam guns, the little ones created a few dust-ups, but surprisingly few conflicts arose considering they were a bunch of sea-faring scallywags. Up and down the inflatable waterslides they went, soaking up the water and the sun on an oddly cool August day. Splashdowns often were followed up with a few thwacks of the sword.

DSC_6500_sm_blog.jpgAt first the huge pirate ship my sister in-law built sat largely ignored. Usurped by the more modern water toys, the galleon “floated” patiently, her spooky black sail looming over all who passed. Ultimately the kiddies climbed aboard and sailed the seven seas in search of innocent boats to plunder.

DSC_6522_sm_blog.jpgOn their treasure hunt (my sister in-law’s specialty) they uncovered spoils to make every pirate proud — eye patches, spying scopes, earrings, and gold! The leader was awarded sweet bread for his boundless courage and reckless abandon. Unlike most captains, who would hoard the reward for themselves, he shared with his crew that and the candy freed by one of his bigger, stronger mates.


The only crying resulted from an accidental head bonk. And, of course, when I didn’t get a corner piece of that very cool cake.

DSC_6460_sm_blog.jpgThe party was not the only thing we did. We rode bicycles, went to Chuck E. Cheese’s, and watched our sons further develop their relationship. None of their spats was ever enough for them to stop playing together, although Ben threatened it a few times.

Their occasional shouting matches were not much of a surprise coming from two five-year-olds who (1) do not like to be told what to do, and (2) sometimes tend to be bossy. Nevertheless, except for once or twice, they always worked it out without our intervention.

Benjamin tends to be less touchy-feely than his cousin. LC has a hard time coming to grips with the rather boisterous response he gets when hugging Ben outside a, “Hello,” “Goodnight,” or “Goodbye.” He started catching on pretty well this time. There also might have been a tiny bit of a teasing factor at work; the flashbacks to their daddies’ childhoods never seem to stop. For me, anyway. But I’m working through it. Hold me.

DSC_6545_sm_blog.jpgBoth boys lit up when my parents arrived. I wanted for only two things that weekend: that Shannon could have been there, and that Benjamin could see my folks more often. They are big things, yes, but I still managed to have a great time.

Amid all the family action, we watched Michael Phelps set a new world record in the 400m individual medley. For our part, my brother and I showed our competitive spirit by smoking a few aliens in Resistance: Fall of Man, on his Playstation 3.

7 Responses to Avast for the Black Mast

  1. Gee, who is this Michael Phelps fellow you mention? He’s NOWHERE to be seen on ANY Olympic coverage.

    ? ? ? ? ?


    It’s probably pretty nice that it got a little bit cooler for you, eh? Srsly, your high temps would have turned me into a congealed puddle of maple syrup after the first day or so.

    Awesome that Ben and LC got to see each other and hang for a while. All my cousins (and so my boys’ second cousins) are, like, all the way across the other side of the country. Plus, the portable water slide thing is super fun!

  2. Seems pirate parties is the way to go these days. I almost hesitate to throw Norah a similar theme for fear of being compaed to these awesome blow-outs. That pirate ship is great.

    I assume you’re over the disappointment with the cake, Mark. But if not, just let me know. i can package up a corner piece and ship it off to you. I make no promises as to the condition upon arrival (nor that there won’t be a bite taken from it.)

    Si – The temps here in the central US has been much better of late. My air conditioning bill heaves a sigh of relief.

  3. Great pictures Markus. It was GREAT to have you guys here. There’s never enough time, but at least we managed to get in a few of the many things we had planned.

    Nice recap of the pirate party. I think everyone had a good time, and luckily the thunderstorms held off until later that night. Having that many kids INSIDE the house for that long would have been a NIGHTMARE.

  4. I wish I could have been 2 places at once – I was so bummed to miss out on the family fun!

  5. Simon – Wow. Until I had the Olympics on TV today, I didn’t know the Phelps Fever was quite that high. The announcers were saying he’s just like Tiger Woods. “If Phelps weren’t around, these two other guys would be winning all the golds.” Duh. But he is, so just stop.

    Moksha – Benjamin was saying he wanted to have a pirate party by the time it was over. Kind of shoots the three birthday themes he already had laid out for 6, 7, and 8 (Spiderman, Transformers, Incredible Hulk).

    Charles – Indeed, we could have filled at least another couple days. Maybe a camping trip is in our future for this fall.

    Shan – We know you’ll be along next time!

  6. Have you guys seen what Michael Phelps eats in one day? 12,000 calories!! Holy MOLY!!! I couldn’t believe when I heard on the news this morning what it entailed.

    Ahh… those innocent days when “booty” meant candy.. *chuckling*
    Sounds like the boys had a great time.. and I hope they remember what their parents did for them. *S*

    So, what does anyone think of the Chinese Gymnists controversy?
    They look about 12 to me. One even is missing a baby tooth! Good grief…. and the IOC won’t do a thing about it.

  7. Dave…it’s hilarious to me in some respects. I guess as the host country, you have permission to break the rules.

    The part that gets me is the swimming. China didn’t have anyone anywhere near world class even last year at the world championships. Then mysteriously….they are vying for golds in many of the swimming events that Phelps isn’t in, and particularly the women’s side.

    Something fishy….

    I don’t think the IOC will do anything on the gymnastics thing either, which is wrong for our girls.

    Can you imagine how you would feel after years of giving you life to something, only to have the rules be broken KNOWINGLY, and losing? I would have wanted to run over there and pull a Tonya Harding on them!


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