No Rest for the Weary

Despite whining his way through the hike, the Boy found endless creek energy…just when the rest of us wanted to get back to the car.

I’m in the mood to blog again, and it has been a long time since I’ve given an update. Of course, this being a whim, it’ll be a short post.

Let’s see…about three years ago, I left the warm embrace of the nonprofit world to join the world’s largest defense contractor. I went from writing about targeted therapeutics to…targets. So, I’m not quite a science writer any longer, except for what I do on the side or for my own personal enjoyment. It took a bit of getting used to, and I’ll never feel quite as “corporate” as some of my colleagues. The pay, of course, is a bit better, but so is the sense of accountability–from my communications colleagues as well as everyone else.

Hmmm. How can I explain it to my friends working in the academic research world…if you’ve ever felt like nothing changes; like the needle rarely moves. Now, things change all the time. I still work with scientists and engineers, but now I feel like their results are a bit more real, as it were. Probably because I can actually see the results in action.

Also, while I’m still personally invested in my work, I’m no longer emotionally invested, which is actually quite freeing. I feel better about taking time off. I feel fine with working from home when I can (which is not nearly as often as my kids would like).

So, there’s that. On the homefront, things are going well. Stinkbug Manor still stands as the focal point of Lstrlnd. I finally built a fence to cover the ugly chain link on the school border. The backyard feels like an actual place…I still feel like we don’t use it enough.

The kids are great. Boy and Girl are 9 and 12, respectively. They present their challenges, but have yet to turn to evil. Even the 12 year-old, on the cusp of teenhood, is genuinely sweet…with mood swings. The boy is all energy and gusto.

We are in a small midsummer lull. Girl did her first week away at camp about a fortnight ago. She did shockingly well.  I went with the Boy to Cub Scout camp again, on the tail end of the Girl’s trip. He’s a Webelos Scout now. Not quite as independent as I’d like (he was grateful to hear that we weren’t doing the Webelos-only sleepover during camp–where the Scouts go off for a night of extra-roughing it away from camp).  We tried out a new place this year, as our local Council’s new camp arrangements screwed us out of our favored week. The new place felt a bit smaller–and the counselors a bit less experienced–but it was still nice.

As is tradition, the weather was crummy the first two days before a night of torrential rain led to a glorious spate of cool, sunny days. As is tradition, I barely slept the entire trip. Despite his crankiness about staying in a tent with a bunkmate (not me), the Boy did me proud by jumping into all the activities enthusiastically, without the peevish cynicism of some of his peers. Much pride.

We followed up camp with a family trip to the Jersey shore. Each year, we tell my parents we’re not making it down to the home they’re renting for a week in Sea Isle. Each year, we cave and go for a bit. Our big trip is coming later in August, so I decided to save vacation time and commuted between Sea Isle and my new gig in Cherry Hill, NJ.  That’s about an hour and a half ride, for anyone keeping score. I took the Thursday off, but it was still exhausting. It is amazing how quickly children come to love tradition. The second half of any beach week involves a trip to Gillian’s in Ocean City, which is where the new header originates. Girl was deeply disappointed that the Swinger was missing, which was a big ornate affair much like the carousel, which we didn’t ride this year either. Boy went three times in the Gravitron variant (the Alien Abduction, which makes sense because these things are very flying saucer-y) and he apparently hit his limit. Didn’t puke, though. Much pride.

So, this past weekend, we chilled. Except for a brief trip yesterday to Washington’s Crossing. We crossed the river to the Jersey side and hiked a bit through the woods and down the canal path. The picture at the top is everyone poking at minnows in Steel Run creek.

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