Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tait-Sakiches Touring Arkansas

This August we were the very happy beneficiaries of a visit from dear Vancouver friends Marty and Wendy and their son Aiden.  Here they are at the actual little rock.  As advertised.   Declan loved having a big kid around to give him some good ideas, like riding the roller coaster backwards.  Aiden is full of good ideas.

The Tait-Sakiches were all tremendously good sports about the horrendously hot weather.  I'm not much of a one for complaining about the weather, but this summer was just brutal.  It was so unpleasantly hot that it was very hard to see the sights of Arkansas, which is mostly an outdoorsy kind of place.  So we did things like drive around in our air-conditioned vehicle and admired National Historic sites from afar.  There's Central High School!  Do not exit the vehicle.

For variation, we got on the air-conditioned trolley and looked out those windows. 

Lucky for us, restaurants are air-conditioned. 
Marty at Doe's Eat Place, Bill Clinton's favourite restaurant.  If it has "eat place" in the title, you can't go far wrong. 

Huge piles of meat wasn't the only thing on offer in Arkansas this summer.  There were also a lot of bugs, plentiful and especially loud with the 14 year cicadas this summer.  Visitors from Canada are always impressed with the insect cacophony in our yard.   But more than meat and bugs, we also have guns, and as a special treat, Shane's dad Jerry took us all down to his deer camp to fire off all manner of guns. 
All of us Canadians, myself included, were firearm first-timers. 

It was everything I dreamt it would be.

The only surprise was how extraordinarily bad at shooting I was.  I mean, if you weren't there, it is hard to believe that anyone could be as bad as I was. 

 I was so bad that whenever it was my turn to shoot, Aiden would run up to the targets, because that was the only place to be that was really safe.  My father-in-law was quite flummoxed as he would move me closer and closer to the target to no avail.  It really reminded me of Colin teaching me how to snowboard years ago:   "Why can't you do this? What's wrong with you?"  Like I have some congenital snowboarding/shooting deficiency.  I sure enjoyed the heck out of shooting though.  It was fun to pull the trigger without any idea as to where the bullet would end up.   When Marty was teasing me about being a lousy shot, I retorted that I was a friend to the deer.  To which Marty replied "maybe the ones that are standing right in front of you."
I have a feeling I will be hearing about this for some time. Maybe I should take lessons on the D.L.

Marty of course, was terribly good at shooting right from the get-go, which is really no surprise.   Wendy was a natural too.  Wendy and I both liked this little gun best;  it had a surprising kick!

 That was surprisingly satisfying.

Aiden learning about ammo.  He was taking the shells back to Canada for show-and-tell.  I bet the rest of the second-graders are going to give him a wide berth this year.  He could be packing! 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Declan's first hard-core competition.

While Marty and Wendy were visiting, we decided to go to Leawood Pool for a cookout with some of our LR friends, figuring on having the place pretty much to ourselves on a Tuesday evening.  We were pretty surprised to find a full parking lot and a filled-to-capacity pool as it was the night of the neighborhood swim meet.  They were having races in all sorts of categories, including with some wee kids, so Shane asked  Declan if he wanted to compete in the Under- 6, 25 meter Butterfly".  To which Declan replied "I like butterflies!" which we took as assent.  It would be his first race ever, and he was excited and ready to go. 
He had his very own cheering section!

Unfortunately, the video footage of this historic race is lost forever, having been stolen by gypsies (more on this later). However, I did take enough still photos to give you the basic idea of what went down.

Declan is listening to the prerace instructions.  We are full of hope, envisioning medals and glory.

When the referee called "on your marks" and the other competitors bent down for a headfirst entry, I knew we were in trouble.
Here, Declan watches with interest from the sidelines as the other kids dive in.

With the other kids safely on their way, Declan turns to leave.

Shane did manage to talk him into finally jumping in and swimming the race, albeit after the other kids had already finished.  We gave him "A" for effort though!