Sunday, June 15, 2008

Screwing With Magellan

Great Father's Day weekend, thanks to the wife and our sea of offspring. I did have to wear a "World's Greatest Dad" medal from Lily on Saturday, and a "I Love My Dad!" shirt with a picture of Sam on it on Sunday, but I had such a nice couple of days I hardly even noticed everyone staring at my chest all weekend. There was all of the love and Hallmark moments of course, but the three things I'll most certainly remember from this weekend are a great find, a gift, and a story.
First of all, I found the Fisher Price Castle that I've been looking for for a couple of years. Not any Fisher Price Castle, mind you, but THE Fisher Price Castle #993 from 1974 that we had when I was a kid. I don't know what it is about this thing, but it's one of those toys that I remembered playing with for years... I remember all of the pieces - the pink dragon, the woodsman and knight, dining room table complete with painted drumsticks, and of course the secret room under the stairs - I don't even know how to describe it, but if any of you out there had one, you'll know what I mean. Sara, who didn't have one growing up, looked at it sitting in the hallway this morning and said that she thought the kids were too old, that they wouldn't play with it... of course, she underestimated the power of the #993, and by Sunday night they were completely absorbed... sucked in by the power of the castle....
When I woke up on Sunday morning - as if Sara could read my innermost thoughts and desires, even the stupid electronic-related ones - she gave me a GPS for the car. Amazing thing, this... On our drive into Jersey this morning, I asked for the fastest route, and blindly followed the instructions - and even though I wouldn't have picked the way it sent me, I was pretty impressed by how well it worked, and its route might have been a bit faster than mine. On the way home we were testing the limits a bit, and it didn't take much prodding to start screwing around. "Look, there are four cars lined up ahead of us, we should find an alternate route!" Sara said in as much urgency as she could muster. So we asked, and it gave us a detour... and I followed it - for a bit. Since I knew where I was, I simply ignored the next instruction and turned off to see what would happen. After a couple of beeps, a soothing voice comes on that says "Please make a legal u-turn at your next available opportunity", and when I continued on, I thought I sensed a bit of panic, "PLEASE MAKE A U-TURN AT YOUR NEXT AVAILABLE OPPORTUNITY". Two blocks later, "Please, just turn right here. I won't say anything, just go"... then some disappointed beeps, and then, "(sigh) Recalculating route..." No matter what I did, it found a way, but the coolest part was the ending. As we were pulling up to our house it gave us the last few instructions and then said, simply, "You have arrived". Of course, I thought, we live on the Main Line, I know we've arrived.
The icing on the cake of my weekend was Sam's book. He has a story journal of sorts, that he draws pictures in, and then asks us to write in the story that goes with the pictures as he narrates. So far he's finished chapter five of "The Spider and the Worm", and I've got to say, it's a pretty good read. Silverstein in parts and Joyce in others, but it's a work in progress. This morning, he started chapter six with a drawing of a couple of people playing and had Sara write out the first page. Just to give you a sneak peek, I'll share the beginning of chapter six that I think might be back-cover-of-the-jacket-quote worthy.
"Sam and Riley were playing with their balls, and then they got really tired and went inside for some juice."
I just can't wait to show his girlfriends in high school.

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