Monday, September 21, 2015

Busy Brits

It's been a busy couple of weeks since the airshow, and indeed, this is going to have to be quick, since I do not really have time to write anything long.

What has happened of suitable import for diary notation?

We've been back at work now for four weeks. We are now back in a routine. Roo even likes her childcare. To begin, she cried and cried, but has gotten used to it.

We had an infestation of stable flies in the house. Pretty nasty, actually. There were hundreds of them hovering outside the garage and deck doors and you'd inevitably let a few in when you opened each door. They went away when the humid weather did. It's now officially fall outside. Aimee got mad at me for swatting them annoyingly.

We put up another few quarts of roasted tomatoes, then started giving them away. We have way too many tomatoes, and way too little time to do anything with them now we have a baby to look after.

The pigs went to the butchers and then came back all packaged for the freezer. I made the usual deliveries to pig club members. Bacon and eggs and ham have already been sampled. All very good.

My sister is Somewhere in New England and due to materialize in Jackson, Maine today sometime.

Now I have to go to work.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Air show

This Sunday, for an early birthday treat, Aimee bought us tickets to the State of Maine Air Show at the former US Navy air base at Brunswick, Maine.

Actually, back in the day, this base originated as a training unit for Royal Navy flyers during World War II, but that's a whole other story.

A former Royal Air Force aircraft engine fitter or "sumpy," I like aircraft, and always have. We toured the static displays for the first half-hour or so, and that was fun enough for me, but then the flying began, with a display by the P 51 "Mustang", one of only 150 or so still flying.

I was impressed that the commentator got the history right. The Mustang started out as an RAF plane, designed for that service by the North American aircraft company in 1940.

Here's the Mustang taxiing in front of a couple of "Blue Eagles."

Roo loves to point at things, and recently has been pointing at airplanes as they fly over the farm. We are on the flightpath from Bangor International Airport and get aircraft flying low overhead while landing and taking off. Here she is pointing at an aerobatics aircraft.

She seemed to like all the smaller, piston-engined planes.

The highlight of the day was the F22 "Raptor," the USAF's new "stealth" fighter bomber. having worked on F4 Phantoms during the 1980s, I knew what to expect in terms of engine noise. This kind of aircraft makes an enormous amount. We had ear defenders for Roo, but it was still a bit much. 

Here's the Raptor with bomb bay doors open.

And here's Roo in a model jet.

Unfortunately, all the noise from the Raptor was a bit much, and we had a good cry. then Mommy and Daddy decided enough was enough and took us home.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Back at work -- kind of

The college year started at 8 am Monday, when I greeted my sophomores. I thought, "Oh well, that's that, then," a brief requiem for the joys of summer. But then time rapidly reversed itself, and by 9.30 am I was sitting with my darling daughter drinking coffee and eating a very early lunch sandwich. However, by 11am I was back in my lab alone working on internet assignments and physics lab prep and getting ready for my 12.30 pm juniors. And the whole week was like that. Aimee and I handed Roo off to one another like a package all week.

This was primarily due to the dearth of childcare services in these parts. It all works on the principle of "dead man's shoes." We discovered this fact in the spring, when we began touring childcare providers, and none were able to properly answer our question about whether or not they had a spot.

They might have a spot. When there's a "r" in the month and if Jimmy gets into kindergarten or Jane goes back to her grandma and if the creek don't rise. But they don't know for sure. Ask us again in late August.

We actually felt lucky that our nearest provider, who came recommended, might be able to accommodate us, but not until the current occupant of the place graduated to the local elementary school, which wasn't until two weeks after our fall work would begin, and after the first whole week of classes. And so, without the prop of formal childcare, we would have to manage on our own resources for those first two weeks, with what help we might cadge from friends.

Aimee, needing the security of hard facts, developed a schedule for us and uploaded it to our computers, so that the specific times of the day when each of us ought to be minding Roo were all worked out ahead of time. And lo, miracle of miracles, it worked, mostly. We were able to cadge a couple of half-days from our friend Eileen. But it was still stressful. Particularly for Aimee, who is very committed to her work. There were more than a handful of times when I could see her temper begin to fray because she wasn't able to do something, or do it properly.

Me, not so much. I enjoyed having Roo to watch instead of working. I like my job, and am always sure to try to do it as well or better than the next guy, but I don't tend to lose sleep over it.

While I do lose sleep over my kid's welfare.

Case in point: It's just after four am on a Sunday and said kid just woke up.

I knew she would do this because, although it's early, there's a toy, one of those noisy ones, sounding off in her room. More than likely it was left on and other toys piled on top in the toy box and things slowly shifted and whatever button makes the noise happen was pressed. It has a child's voice saying something, then a fake dog barking, and it seems to repeat every couple of minutes. I first heard it, reverberating in the background of the baby monitor feed, about 2.30 am, but I knew that if I went into her room to turn it off, more likely than not I'd wake her up, while somehow the toy was not itself doing so. I couldn't sleep under these circumstances, even if Roo could. So I had to get up.

No great loss. I'm sure there's some work I should have done last week that I didn't get to.