Cayden

All Before 9 AM

A few mornings ago, I got out of bed and found this on the kitchen table:

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There was no reason to doubt its legitimacy. I recognized Martin’s handwriting and he was up before me.

Plus, no one has time to pull a prank at that hour.

I surveyed the box — he could’ve weighed down the lid with a bowl or a plate — but the top appeared to be undisturbed….

So I shoved it aside and started packing lunches.

A short while later, the kids emerged. They gobbled down their cereal and carried the box outdoors.

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I later learned that Martin discovered the corn snake while mucking stalls. The creature was coiled around the pitchfork handle, attempting an ascent to a bird’s nest.

As punishment, Martin decided that the snake should spend time with the kids. So he placed it where it wouldn’t be missed.

After being stuffed in a shoebox, the snake was less than thrilled to be poked and prodded on the deck.

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When Cayden tried to detain him, the snake bit his hand.

So we released the reptile on his own recognizance, and he vanished into the pumpkin patch.

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After that we piled into the car, but pulled over within a few miles to watch Pigpen’s odometer hit the 250,000 mark. We shouted out the open windows. I photographed the event.

Hadley thought we should celebrate with ice cream.

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From there, it was off to camp.

But not before The Boy shed his braces at the orthodontist’s office.

And all before 9 AM.

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A Quick Tip

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I’m really too busy right now to post a post.

Too busy to bother editing a sentence with the word “post” in it twice.

But I don’t want to deprive other parents who are desperate to corral their kids and get some work done. It’s important to keep the community abreast of new ideas and solutions:

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I can’t take credit for this… this… whatever “this” is… I wandered out of the house and discovered the boy in this state of confinement. (Actually, this was Martin’s brainchild. The other kids were clambering to be next.)

Need I highlight the virtues of this invention?

It requires minimal supplies. It offers containment, yet ease of portability.

Just be sure to rest the child on his back, rather than face down… especially if you intend to leave the dollified kid unattended with siblings nearby.

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Irish Recap 2016

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As mentioned in my last post, for the 3rd consecutive year, I dashed off to visit my friend, Karen, in Ireland. This time I took all three kids with me.

And guess what? I bought all three home, too.

Today, I’m posting some photos from our trip. (Pixs from previous Irish travels are here and here.)

Three kids meant three dog walkers… which was good, since Karen has 6 dogs.

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Included in the pack are two Greyhounds. On Friday night, we got to watch them race on a track near Cork.

Here they are earlier in the week, exercising at home:

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Valerie won her Friday-night race by 10 lengths.

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And here’s Karen horsing around with one of the lurchers.

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Speaking of horsing around, Brynn attempted to train one of the ponies to be “kid-friendly.” He looked the part:

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But looks can be deceiving.

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For the third year we returned to Inchydoney, a hotel/resort along the south-western coast.

Inchy is a popular destination for Irish vacationers, but it’s not well-known to Americans. So we stood out. And everywhere we went, strangers stopped us to talk American politics. Specifically, about Donald Trump. Sometimes, about Hillary. But always about Trump.

One day in Galway, I fielded Trump questions more than a dozen times. At Inchydoney, Brynn was grilled by a parent in the children’s playroom. On city sidewalks, people would hear our accent in passing, and simply yell out after us: “Hey, hey there! Donald Trump!

It was bizarre.

Here’s Cayden, getting shelled with campaign questions:

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Over 8 days, we logged 1,200 kilometers in our rental car. I’m fairly familiar with the roads but on a few occasions, I found myself hopelessly lost. Why? Two reasons:

1. In small towns, villages and along rural routes, the Irish don’t believe in posting signs that provide street names.

2. And when they do post the rare arrowed signs indicating the direction of a town, locals love rotating these signposts 180 degrees. Just for kicks.

Here’s just one example: Tynagh’s actually the other way.

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Fortunately, the country has a thriving pedestrian population and folks are happy to dole out directions… in Irish fashion: “Where you going? Oh yes, you’re headed the wrong way. Turn around, go up the road a ways. Then turn right. Keep going, and when you pass a stone wall at the bend, turn left, and at the next road, go right. There will be a hump in the road. At the second hump, bear right. Go by a stone cottage and then go some more and you’ll see the road you want. Can’t miss it.

“Thanks,” I’d say. “You’ve been very helpful.”

And then they’d lean in to ask, “You’re American, are ya? What about this Donald Trump?

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At the end of our trip, the big kids declared their intentions to swim in the ocean. Cayden and Had picked a nice windy afternoon — with temperatures around 40 degrees — to don swimsuits. They bolted across the long stretch of sand to the water, where the waves barely splashed their shins before they beat a hasty retreat.

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So there you have it: our vacation slideshow.

Here’s hoping for an Irish four-peat in 2017.