Sunday, August 5, 2007

Bonding with Daughters

Pictures from this year's Diamond States Regatta can be viewed here. For the men's boats, I'll be the one in the stroke seat (i.e., closest to the stern). Please ignore the geeky one were I'm pushing my glasses back up on my nose. As you can tell, the weather wasn't nearly as nice as two years ago.

Practice on Thursday and Saturday were a nice break from our usual routine. About half the club was preparing for a race in Philadelphia (Thursday) or actually racing (Saturday) so those of us not racing had to mix in with our Recreational rowers and the few novices not racing. The rec coaches put together mixed boats - mix of abilities and mixing men and women. Thursday practice was mostly drill work. Necessary, but boring. Saturday they put together a race. We had enough rowers for two mixed 8+s. We rowed up to Fountainhead Park, spun the boats and raced the Head of the Occoquan course. HOTO runs over 3.2 miles from Fountainhead to the flag pole at Sandy Run. I was selected to stoke our 8 and I got a great boat. Having three college age rowers ( 2 girls, one guy) didn't hurt and we won with about 12 boat lengths of open water. It was a fun practice to say the least.

Daughter#2, her husband and the Black Demon came for a visit this weekend. This makes back to back weekends I've had the opportunity to bond with my adult daughters. They came up to visit/party with friends and crash at our house. There was a bit of a scramble to rearrange Daughter#1's old bedroom, which now doubles as a guest room, to get it ready for them to sleep in. We had stripped out the box spring to take up to Connecticut last weekend so we had to drag one up from the basement to replace it. I swear after having three kids in college, we can outfit several new houses with the leftovers from their various dorm rooms and apartments. Lord knows how many microwaves, vacuums, and various mattresses, etc. reside down in the basement these days. I've lost count.

This morning I woke up bright and early to the sounds of the various furry kids begging to be let out. Since the Black Demon requires full time attention, I got up at 6:30 to help Ann with the dogs. Our dogs are pretty old and we don't take them for very long walks. The Demon is only 5 and is a Lab/Border Collie mix and needs lots of exercise. So after our usual walk for our dogs, I took the Demon on a two mile walk before either of us, the Demon or I, had breakfast.

Daughter#2 and I had talked about taking a bike ride when she came up, but I wasn't sure she'd be up for it after partying with her friends the night before. She surprised me by getting up before 8:00 and wanting to ride. We decided to stay closer to home and ride the bike path up Rt 123 to Fairfax. The pictures at the beginning of this post document our ride. From top to bottom: 1. Loading the bikes 2. Unloading the bikes in Lorton. 3. Stopping for a water break at Burke Lake Park 4. Taking our pictures with George on the campus of George Mason University. During Mason's run to the Final Four in 2006, the students adorned George with various Mason attire like t-shirts, hats and signs. Please shield your eyes from the sight of me in my bike shorts. 5. Breakfast at the Main Street Bagel and Deli in Fairfax. 6. The Black Demon 7. Enjoying some Thai food for lunch with the rest of the family afterward. The Son treated us all to lunch which we all very much appreciated.

There was some excitement during our 24 mile round trip ride. On our way back, we again cut through the George Mason campus. Upon exiting the campus, we were waiting to cross Braddock Road. We were at a traffic light waiting for it to change. The traffic on Braddock finally got a red light and the traffic on the side opposite us got a green. When the lone car there had turned on to Braddock, we started across figuring our side would now get the green light. Wrong. Just as I started across the far lane, I heard Daughter#2 yell, scream actually. The light on Braddock had turned green. Braddock is a 4 lane divided street at that intersection and impossible as it sounds, none of the drivers had noticed us crossing and were starting to move. I slammed on my breaks and did a slide stop in front of the nearest car. Luckily my bike and I both survived although not without a scare. Another lesson learned yet again.

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