Thursday, June 09, 2016

Memorial Day

In Germany, holidays fall on a certain date and don’t change. Many times a state holiday would be on a Thursday and then all would need to be back at work and school on Friday. Except on the occasions when we took “bridge” days, bridging the holiday to the weekend. In the throes of homework and no sleep, all kids have asked where are American bridge days? Well, we finally found them! They are unused snow days! Our school district had three unused snow days which were tacked on to Memorial Day Weekend to make a very nice six day holiday. Practically a bridge week.
The time off was just what we needed. We happily joined our neighbors for dinners. We joined our local outdoor pool and got over there a couple times. The twins were pleased to learn that 13 year olds can go to the pool on their own, without a parent present. They went many many times. Tori went less often but perhaps because she is tired from many late nights taking a lifeguarding course. She hopes to be employed by at our pool in the very near future and we can already tell she is looking at the pool with new eyes. Dollar signs in her eyes rather than flips of the diving board. Probably a good safe thing.
The kids had wide ranging games with neighborhood kids, most involving the trampoline and water balloons, all week long. Most times, weekend or otherwise, when you look out in our yard, the trampoline is in action…kids and our dog! During this weekend, a neighbor popped by to let us know our kids were on the roof and running and lobbing water balloons. We think the concern was for our roof, as our house apparently has a tree fall on it during Hurricane Sandy. And we appreciated it!
While our kids are definitely wild, wild New Jersey continues to surprise us. Just beyond our house is the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. Someone told us that thirty years ago this area was considered for Newark Airport. Community leaders banded together, founded the refuge and pushed the airport to Newark. And we are appreciating it. While walking the dog, we commonly see deer, wild turkey, fox and all sorts of birds (barred owls, hawks, red winged black birds, woodpeckers, swallows). Less desirable, to me, are the huge prehistoric looking snapping turtles and the snakes and the dreaded ticks. And somewhere in the middle is the black bear. Neighbors have been telling us of bear sightings all year long. And over the weekend, we found bear scat in our backyard! Silver lining of the kids’ loud play; the bears stay away when we are outside! We will let them remain loud and proud a bit longer.


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