Friday, June 19, 2009

Colorado Springs, CO

The campground (Famcamp) at the Air Force Academy is one of the nicest ever. We’re surrounded by the woods and beautiful Rocky Mountains. People are extremely friendly, and the boys keep busy by playing in the woods. They like to explore the woods, and name the nearby areas. A few days ago, Sam was shooting the BB gun and surprised himself when he actually shot a bird. What a lesson! He felt terribly guilty. The bird was still alive, but couldn’t fly. So Sam spent the entire day caring for the blue bird he named “Flapper.” He gave it water, peanut butter, and petted it frequently. By the end of the day, it was obvious Flapper was down to his last moments on Earth. Sam was so sad. When the bird had passed, Sam dug a little grave and buried Flapper, saving one blue feather for a memorial. Then Sam said, “From now on, I’m going to shoot cans and cups.”

Thom attended a job fair here in Colorado Springs for people with security clearances. He was disappointed that most employers (defense contractors) were in search of engineers and IT professionals (computer people). There are a lot of jobs here in Colorado Springs who appreciate and need people like Thom. They just don’t seem to be hiring at the moment.

Thom continues to send resumes to job openings in renewable energy, but so far nothing has opened up. If things don’t come together soon, we’ve decided we’ll head back to the Albany, New York area next. Thom grew up there, and many family members live just east of Albany. It would be nice to finally live near family. So Thom’s been on the job search in Albany, and a few interesting possibilities exist. We’ll keep you posted.

Great news….the boys are working on lesson 158 of Calvert! They are down to their last week, with lesson 160 marking their final tests and end of their school year. We’ve spent many days at the local library where we’ve all been incredibly productive. The boys realize all their friends are on summer break, and they can’t wait to finish their school year also.

Ron, Carrie, Clayton, and Spencer Bailey invited us over to dinner last week. They’re friends from Ft. Greely, AK who moved here in Feb. Their house is beautiful, and in a short time they’ve made it a warm home. We enjoyed a delicious lasagna dinner with Caesar salad. Carrie baked a coconut cake that could have been straight from a bakery’s window! Thom and I departed, while the six boys celebrated their reunion with a sleepover.

Later in the week, we visited the Kiraly’s, another wonderful family who we knew from Ft. Greely. They moved to Colorado Springs last August. Ruby and Mark welcomed us into their expansive home with a breathtaking view of the Rockies. The boys joined up with their old buddy, Zack who is now 10. Amen, now 3, joined them after his nap. I can’t believe how much he’s grown since we saw him last June! They all disappeared into the basement to play with the toys.

Ruby’s parents, Caled and Raja are visiting for 6 weeks, and their home is in South Carolina. They both grew up in Jerusalem originally, and it was fascinating to talk with them. They are Palestinian, and passionately shared their views on world politics. Once again, I feel fortunate to meet so many people from different backgrounds who can enlighten me in ways I never understood. Raja and Caled watch after Zach and Amen while Mark and Ruby work, so this is working out well for everyone. Mark continues to work in Missile Defense through the National Guard, just as he did at Ft. Greely. Ruby now works for Lockheed Martin, and she gave Thom great advice concerning the job search (resumes, interviewing, etc).

We’ve explored many nearby attractions, including a bikeride through “Garden of the Gods.” This is a large area of giant sandstone rocks, reaching hundreds of feet high. Seeing the towering red pillars, with blue skies and puffy white clouds was a sight to behold! The boys climbed some of the rocks, but with dangerous, steep drops, we held them back from climbing the “black diamonds.” We invited the Bailey’s to hike and camp overnight at Stanley Canyon Reservoir. This is a hike we went on last week, and loved. So yesterday, we geared up to carry sleeping bags, tents, food, etc and climbed over 1000 feet up a treacherous but magnificent hike. The views were truly spectacular. The kids led the way across creeks, over boulders, and up jagged edges. Carrie shared with us her good news that she accepted a job offer, and will start work on Monday! I told her I hope her good vibes rub off on us!

We arrived at the reservoir just as the sun was setting. The boys went for a quick and chilly swim, and then we set up camp to include 4 tents. Sam, Ben, and I rounded up firewood, and Will got the fire started. He’s working on his Boy Scout requirements to move up to First Class. After a round of too many marshmallows, the boys took off with their flashlights to explore in the dark. The adults hit the sack, and the kids returned to tell ghost stories around the campfire. Will stayed up late reading his scouting book.

Let’s see….sleeping in a thin sleeping bag at 9,000 ft when the temp drops down in the 40’s, oh and without an air mattress, is the perfect setting for a night of minimal sleep. Then about 3am, Sam came to our tent shivering to inform us he was freezing, and he’d thrown up in his sleeping bag! Ahhh (too many marshmallows!). So he jumped in with Thom while I went to check out the damage. (Why is it that Moms always get the job of cleaning up after these disasters?!) The good news is that Sam contained it all in his sleeping bag. The bad news is we had one less sleeping bag to keep us all warm. I finally fell asleep about 6am when all the kids woke up and went fishing, and then I rolled out of “bed” around 9am.

I soon learned that Will had taken a fall down some steep rocks when he and the other boys were rock climbing. Thom was nearby and heard him groan. Will twisted his ankle badly, and we were all wondering if he’d be up for the descent. Thom wrapped his ankle tightly with an ace bandage, and tightened his hiking boot laces. Although I know he was hurting, Will showed a positive attitude and climbed down cautiously. He’s not a complainer, and in fact, felt embarrassed that I carried his backpack. I’m proud of our boys, and can see that they’re all becoming independent young men. All in all, it was a successful camping trip into the great Rocky Mountains.

1 comment:

Paul said...

We always though the Springs area was much nicer than the area around Denver. I hope Thom's job search bears fruit soon...if not, there are plenty of places for sale in your old Hanover neighborhood!