We had no intention of going. A night at home resting is always preferable to a night out. Until a friend who was managing the event pulled me aside to whisper in my ear. He was astonished at my change of heart but didn’t question me further. In the end I think it was worth it, I enjoyed it and think he did too.
They did this during PEO’s Family Fued fund raiser for friendly festival as a “commercial”.
His favorite magazine had a special issue out. Unfortunately his favorite magazine isn’t one that he gets, weird I know, but it is published in England and ridiculously expensive to have shipped over. I proposed a special trip up to Rapid, we could see if any of the stores up there had it in stock and have a nice little road trip. It was time to plant corn and road trips aren’t so nice with the small children. He was sad.
As the week went on everybody online had gotten the magazine with its special toy. They were doing cool things with it. The magazine was completely sold out, there would be no going to Rapid to get it. Copies were selling online for a small fortune, many, many times what it cost new. He read about these things and was sad.
I smiled. I laughed. I rejoiced in his sorrow. Not out of cruelty but because I had a secret. I had called my parents when he started mentioning the special edition, they live near book stores. One of the perks of town life. They stopped in and found only a two month old issue on the shelf. Asking the workers about it they were told that the book store wouldn’t have the new issue in stock for some time to come. European magazines didn’t arrive until much later than their American counter parts. They looked around, it’s a book store, how can anyone not linger? As they reached the doors to leave the helpful worker person ran them down. A new box had just been opened in the back, in it was the new issue of the magazine. They only bought one, in retrospect they should have bought many.
Unable to contain our great secret any longer I told him in time to forestall buying any of the well marked up magazines online. Once the magazine, a box really with stuff and a magazine inside, arrived he and The Goblin Child tore into it. Taking everything out and looking at it then carefully putting it back. Then it sat. It sat through corn planting. It sat through a crazy week at work. It sat and waited for the time to play.
Finally they took it out and put the puzzle together. In a magazine were the components of an AIY (Artificial Intelligence Yourself) kit. “An intelligent device you can talk to.” A cardboard device that uses Google assistant to answer questions. That’s as simple as I can make it. I don’t really understand all his computer stuff, I just know that it’s really cool. To use with one of his many Raspberry Pi’s, that didn’t come with the magazine, it supplied the components, card board box, speaker, push button, voice hat, and microphone board to make this thing.
He and The Goblin Child sat and put it together, they had to wait overnight for the soft wear to download but the next day they were back at it and had a great new toy. T.G.C. loves it and is always thinking of things she wants to ask it. Rosie technically, she decided to name “it” Rosie. Rosie is a little slow to respond with our slightly slow internet, in town she does much better. But even handicapped as she is, she has many of the answers, especially when she can understand what is being asked. Understanding can be a little challenging for her on occasion.
What is the purpose of this you may ask? I don’t have an answer to that, even less than I knew what to call her or explain what came with the magazine. I had to ask for a description. But they are happy and enjoying their new toy, that is all that matters. Thanks mom and dad, you guys are awesome!
Last time it was the batteries for the kids toys. This time it’s music for 8, and us once we saw how cool his was.
I wanted to have a way to play music for 8 as he goes to sleep. The Goblin Child has a computer in her room but there’s no room for that in his. We talked about ways to go about it and a Raspberry Pi came up. Next thing I knew he was fiddling around in there with some speakers and the tiny box that is a Raspberry Pi.
By bed time 8 had music.
In his free time my brilliant, hard working husband had found a Linux based audio player, Runeaudio, and installed it on the Raspberry Pi. Now from his phone, mine is not compatible sadly, and any of our computers we can choose music from what’s available on the NAS (network attached storage, a project from last winter). Now, run from the little box on his dresser beautiful music (classical and Big Smith an eclectic assortment) plays from the speakers.
It was pretty darn cool. By the next night we had one too! Music, different music, now streams from every room of our house. Now he thinks he’s found an alarm clock program for it. What more new and exciting things can he possibly find to top the wonders he has already worked?
We were recently given two little cars for the kids. To be exact, a pink and purple fourwheeler and an airplane. The kids loved them. They sat on them for hours, in kid time, in adult time that means whole minutes at a time. They pushed the buttons to make them honk and lights flash and propellers whirl. The only problem was that they didn’t go. Not a problem for the kids, they didn’t know they were supposed to do anything more. It was only us older folk who thought there was anything at all amiss.
My always brilliant husband looked at them and discovered that one needed a battery, the other a charger. That’s not what makes him brilliant we all mostly knew that much. What makes him so darned cool is that upon discovering the ridiculous prices of accoutrements for kids toys he figured out a much better alternative.
With a little further research he found fixes better than the originals. The fourwheeler got a new bigger battery that charges on the tiny car battery charger that works for the plane. Perfect, and less than half the cost to replace the original equipment. He’s so awesome.
The kids are loving them just as much now that they go and are adorable trucking slowly across the yard.
When we ask what she’s done in school she shrugs and says ” I don’t know”. We have received a few papers and evidence that they have worked on a couple of letters, A and F. Not sure why F followed A instead of B but hey, what ever. She already knows her alphabet and all her letters though so it doesn’t really count as learning something new.
The other day we had some friends over for supper. Both our friends and hers. During conversation she broke into song, loudly and with lots of hand movements to accompany. She sang it over and over again. After the first few times our joy that she had learned a new song at school and even remembered it! began to be overcome by a wish that she please sing it later maybe? She finished and refused to sing it again afterwards when we asked to hear it.
I was able to get her to sing it for me one more time and caught it on video. I know, and am glad that, she enjoys music class, the teacher is excellent, and it’s the only class she’s learned anything in apparently.
She keeps telling me that she doesn’t like horses, I’m the one who likes horses. But when 8 headed off with his father in a tractor this morning she thought maybe we could go for another ride. I jumped at the chance.
We got going bright and early, stopped for Starbucks, then ran back for forgotten things. Shortly before noon we were going for real. West through Illinois, I would move there. I couldn’t handle any closer to Chicago but north western Illinois and most of Wisconsin I’d take in a heart beat, humidity mosquitoes and all.
In high school my brother had a friend, farmer Bob, who’s family had farm ground out that way, they spent a few wild weekends four wheeling the old Toyota, climbing grain bins and filming cows at night with the night vision. Much funnier than it sounds. We spent time out there with the horses. My old boy Nate went over backwards with me at an endurance ride with a very large audience. Before the ride of course, it made for a long ride. My family still hauls out to Lake Le-Aqua-Na to camp and ride. Galena, of course, is a stunning little town. It rained off and on and mist was rising from the hills. Beautiful drive.
Iowa is far prettier than it’s reputation would have one believe. Of course so is Nebraska. All these supposedly flat ugly states, glad people think that hope it keeps them out. Other than lots of rain the drive was uneventful. Except for grouchy children who refused to sleep. Then got woke up shortly after they finally cried themselves to sleep. I might have been a little grouchy.
We stayed overnight in Sioux City And finished the trip the next day. There were lots of bikers everywhere heading home from Sturgis. I may have spent some time laughing at the big, bad, dirty, scruffy looking bikers checking facebook on their phones and discussing their businesses back home. It was the living version of Wild Hogs.
We were all very glad to get home the kids missed their Lala, I may have missed him a little too. My parents wussed out on sleeping in their pickup and got a room in Chadron for the night. The Goblin Child went with them for her last night with her beloved Grammy and Different Papa. We went home and slept.
They came back the next day and we rode, the girls, and worked on a lawn mower, the boys. We also took a fourwheeler for a spin around the block. It was very exciting. The kids fell asleep. We were sad to see them go that evening but they had big plans and lots of miles ahead so it was with some excitement for the trip that we said good bye.
It was a great trip, so glad we got to go. We came back exhausted and happy to have seen everyone. Now it’s their turn to come see us!