Friday, February 28, 2014

Caving In

Peter’s school had a field trip today. Because Peter is a virtual school student, field trips work a little differently. Basically, every virtual school student in the state is invited to attend. That means they have field trips all over the place. If you want to go on the field trip, you get yourself there. Most of the field trips are not convenient to us in Tallahassee, but today’s adventure was a mere 75 minutes away. The destination: Florida Caverns State Park. I’ve never toured a cave, so I was excited that my schedule allowed me to go. My helping hands also made it possible for both Eddie and Creegan to attend. Eddie got a day off of his regular school, and the whole family made the trek. We were supposed to be there at about 9 a.m., so we got up early and rushed ourselves out the door.

Melanie and I were a bit unsettled when we noticed a road sign telling us that we had crossed time zones. We did not know there would be a time change, and now we didn’t know if we were going to be getting there in the nick of time or with an hour to spare. Most of Florida is in the Eastern Time zone, so we figured we couldn’t possibly be the only ones making a mistake (if indeed we were). Depending on which side of the line you were on, you’d probably be heading to the park at a different time. We lamented the possibility that we could have slept in, but there was nothing to do at this point. We pushed forward. When we arrived at the state park, there were several cars waiting to get in, pulled to the side by the entrance. A park ranger was approaching the vehicles, telling them something, and they all went in. It was then clear that we, and several other people, had arrived early due to the time change. We pulled up just as they were finally letting people go into the park.

We weren’t too bothered about being there early, but it felt a little bit like salt in the wound when we realized that they would only take 25 of us at a time and space the tours 30 minutes apart. I thought we would be done with our tour by 10:45 a.m. Eastern Time., getting us back to Tallahassee around noon. Instead, we were scheduled for a tour that started at noon Eastern Time. Fortunately, Melanie packed snacks. And although it was freezing outside in the morning (yes, it was literally below freezing), the kids had fun running around and being crazy. The gift shop / visitor center was almost like an old-fashioned fort, and the kids enjoyed standing atop it and pretending to kill passersby with everything from bows and arrows to rocket launchers.

Eddie, with a bow and arrow.

Peter with a rifle or something.

The cave we toured was very cool. It was surprisingly warm. Not uncomfortably so, but not the least bit chilly. I had expected to be freezing, but the tour guide informed us the cave stays 65 degrees Fahrenheit all the time because it’s naturally insulated. It was slightly humid. They said our glasses would fog up when we walked in, but they didn’t. Our camera lens, did, however, and so some of our photos weren’t great. I didn’t realize right away that the lens was foggy, and it fogged up a couple of times. Add to that the fact that we were always snapping pictures rapidly as we tried not to get in the way of other people (a lot of the time, you’re walking through narrow passageways), and the photos leave something to be desired. The cave was much cooler looking than the photos suggest. But I’ll share the few we took.

A friendly young man offered to take a family photo.  Creegan wasn't so sure.

Me at my most beatific.

Descending into the cave.

A photo of what the tour guide called "cave bacon" growing on the cavern walls.

Again, Creegan makes his anti-photography sentiments known.

Watch your step!  For the record, I only bonked my head five times during the tour.  F'reals.

After the cave tour, we played at a nearby playground for a few minutes. We then climbed into the car and headed back to Tally. We had planned on making lunch a part of the deal, but it became something of an early dinner. At 3pm, we ate at El Jalisco. It was a nice way to end the excursion, and a nice finale to February.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Potpourri No. 38

Life made little…

Blog? What’s a blog?
I do believe this is the longest I’ve gone between posts in quite some time. To be honest, I haven’t even thought about my blog recently. Not until a few moments before I started writing this entry. I’ve just been too busy and overwhelmed. This post will make some of the reasons clear.

Market Fresh
I have now officially entered the job market, having submitted an application for a philosophy job much closer to my hometown (as mentioned in my previous post). It’s been nearly two weeks since I submitted my application, so I could be hearing back from them within the next week or so. That’s not guaranteed, but it’s a “typical” response time according to the email receipt I got for my application. I have no immediate plans to apply anywhere else. I can’t imagine a job that I would be more excited about, but that’s not why I’m hesitant. It’s merely that there aren’t a lot of job postings right now. They usually appear in the fall, so it’s slim pickings if you’re hoping to apply to anything in the immediate future. Anyone out there who’s keeping their fingers crossed for me, please keep them crossed for another few weeks, or until further notice. Thanks!

School Crossings
As I also mentioned in my previous blog entry, Edison has crossed over from virtual school to “normal” school. He’s been going to a brick-and-mortar school for a few weeks now. He loves it. Melanie and I were both amazed at how quickly he adapted. I thought for sure he’d come home after his first day saying he didn’t want to go back. He always seemed so apprehensive about going to a normal school before. But nope. He was fine and dandy going on his first day, and he came home a very happy child. For the first several days, he beamed. He was thrilled. That excitement has waned a bit by now, but overall the attitude remains very positive. It’s awesome, and not as strange feeling as I had expected to have him gone several hours a day. I realize it’s not as significant a change for me as it is for Melanie, but I am around the house enough that it does make a difference. I’m just glad it’s turning out to be such a wonderful thing for all of us.

Can You Hear Me Now?
I’ve been writing the occasional post for the Mormon-themed Exploring Sainthood blog for several months now. Exploring Sainthood also has a podcast, and a couple of nights ago, I participated in the making of one of those podcasts. It was going to feature me and one other person discussing the February “First Presidency Message” contained in the LDS Church’s monthly magazine Ensign. And that we did, but due to a technology glitch, the entire discussion was lost. It’s regrettable, but as it was my first time participating in something that would have been disseminated in audio format to hundreds of listeners, I’m not entirely disappointed that it didn’t work out. I rambled more than I would have liked, so the technical difficulties have probably saved me at least a little embarrassment. That being said, I will be participating in the so-called “home teaching message” podcast for March. That could be up within a couple of weeks. I’ll let you know.