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Drilling With a Kid! Dave and Jake are on their Dream Train Vacation!

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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Drilling With a Kid! Dave and Jake are on their Dream Train Vacation!

Greetings from South Carolina again!

For the first time, I brought Timmy with me on a drill weekend to South Carolina.

Dave and Jacob are with a group of Pennsy N-Scale Model Railroaders in Central PA, folks he's had many conversations with via his Railwire discussion group. In fact, here's a post discussing what these guys were up to today, with special mention of Dave making the trip up from NC.

While Dave had kindly offered to take Timmy along on the trip also, we both realized that even if both boys were angels together this weekend, having Timmy along with have been more work. He needs help going potty, cleaning up after meals, etc.

In the brief conversations I've had with Dave, this weekend has been fantastic for him. He said it was like the train vacation I'd been encouraging him to take for a couple years now.

Dave and Jacob had dibbs on the Prius, DVD player AND the GPS for this trip. I guess they deserved it since they drove twice as far, huh?

Back to drilling with Timmy. When I was working for Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, VA, I routinely took Timmy (and Jacob) with me on drill weekends. My Mom would watch the boys while I worked, and it wasn't so traumatic for the boys to not have to see me for 8-10 hours per day, instead of missing me for 48 hours straight.

Last week I asked a couple of the full-timers in my unit to inquire about babysitters for the weekend. Younger Airmen would suffice, although I would prefer a teenager to whom I would feel more comfortable paying an hourly wage.

So a Master Sergeant in my unit has a teenaged daughter who kindly offered up her weekend to take Timmy at their house, where her father and 4 siblings were also to be home. Based on my meeting the kids before, and stories of what great times all the flight member's kids have at their house, I felt trustworthy enough to bring Timmy with me this weekend and give it a go.

Friday night I met up with the family at Sumter's local hotspot: Chuck E. Cheese. Addie (short for Adeline) immediately took charge of Timmy and let me tell you, my son was in LOVE! She taught him how to play Skee Ball, helped him accumulate his tickets on that and many of the other games, then showed him how to cash in the tickets for prizes.

So this morning we switched off Timmy at a midway point between the base and Addie's house and Timmy took off running with barely a "goodbye!". I guess that's a good thing, right?

I was able to have a pretty productive day at work.

This afternoon, the active duty weather squadron had their annual spring picnic; we reservists were cordially invited, which was very kind of them. The gang Timmy was staying with today all came in around 3pm, Timmy arrived quite exhausted from playing all day with his new friends, but after a meal of a couple bites of hot dog and a ton of potato chips, he was off and running again. Playing in a bouncy castle, blowing bubbles, running in circles, etc. He and one of his new friends enjoyed pretending the sand in the volleyball pit was a beach and the sand was "water" in which they "swam".

Translation: What a mess!

He even got involved in a game of kiddie tug-of-war. But when I saw Chief Tinglehoff helping his 3-year-old daughter's side, I jumped in and helped Timmy's side! I think there were pictures taken of that little disaster, we'll have to see what ensues when they get posted.

Timmy was very friendly to everyone most of the afternoon, and I received many nice compliments of what a friendly, cute kid Timmy is.

This is MY SON? Wow, I was very flattered.

By the time Timmy and I returned to our on-base lodging room this evening (8pm), all his exposed skin was caked in sand, dirt, Kool-Aid, potato chip crumbs, melted chocolate chips, Cheeto residue and Skittles food-coloring. As soon as we walked in, I had him halt in his tracks and strip down. Straight into the tub he went!

He was quickly bathed and bedded. He was asleep by 8:45pm.

Phew!

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