Belated Panto update, general updates, and SNOW! Jan 2014

Panto debuted to raves!

The panto of last month went really well.  It was a take on Robin Hood written by Fiercely, Mr Fantastic, and another crazy father-daughter homeschool dynamo.  Robin Hood and her Merry Girls charmed their audiences with sword fighting, cross-dressing, slapstick, and the mysterious, hooded, evil S.N.L.S. – who turned out to be the formidable Sheriff of Nottingham’s Little Sister.  All of the Fantastics, save yours truly who had to go to work during most rehearsals, did very well onstage and I did help a little with the scenery and costumes so we can all be proud.

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clockwise from top left: swordfighting SNLS in black and Fiercely behind in silver, Cleverly at Right and the twins on knees with brooms, dancing in front of a tree at a faire, and the chorus singing (Fiercely, L of center in green tunic + hat, Really in front of her)

Snow on the East Coast

Yes!  It is wonderful, almost a real winter around here, or completely miserable depending on who you talk to.  We have taken full advantage of the cold and snow, going out sledding and staying in cooking and baking.

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Downhill Skiing

We also have gone several times skiing as a homeschool group to avail ourselves of the superb deal for school groups at a ski resort around here.  Ten people minimum and for $25 per person they give us rentals, lift tickets, lessons, and LUNCH!  They even let you snowboard and ski the same day if you want.  It is worth looking around for deals like that for such an expensive sport.  I myself had not skied in over 15 years until we went on a deal like this last year.

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Snowboarding

I gave it a try, so did Mr Fantastic.  This snowsport seems to have developed over the 15+ years I was off the slopes, and it looks so darn fun.  I know people my age who enjoy it, so I thought why not?  Well, for starters, people say it takes about three times as long to get comfortable snowboarding compared with downhill skiing.  I always thought downhill skiing was a challenge and I was kind of proud I can do it, but it looks a downright cinch next to snowboarding.  Guided by a surfer dude instructor half my age, I went down the baby hill, the one you walk back up in your skis/snowboard, five times.  Each time I was scared just looking down that minuscule, snowy grade as toddlers around me whooshed down, carefree.  I fell backwards and hit my head so that my hat and glasses flew off, not once but three times.  Once I fell forward, and once I didn’t fall at all.  Fiercely, 13 and pointing at her own helmeted head, opined that maybe I should wear head protection.  After maybe 40 minutes, I gave in to the twins who wanted to ski and needed a parent.  It was my out, I’m not gonna lie.  Mr Fantastic soldiered on but said he was ready to burn the snowboard after another hour or so.  That said, we both want to give it another try.   Brave? Stupid?  Discuss.

Budget

OMG the refinance went through TODAY!!  We started back in October and after abundant snafus and several almost-dealbreakers, we got a bunch of checks today.  Unfortunately, all but one are to our creditors.  The upside is that we have been eschewing the credit cards for several months at this point and hopefully can stay on target to budget for RTW 2015.  Or at least Not Losing our House 2014.

RTW update

Unlike yours truly, Mr Fantastic is a bit of a reluctant traveler.   These days, he is so happy teaching physics, hosting games nights at our house, planning events with the homeschool teens, teaching a model airplane class to the younger homeschoolers, managing his properties, and getting involved in neighborhood issues such as new businesses and plans for vacant lots.  Planning to leave for two years makes him a bit nervous.  We had a big talk a few weeks ago during which he realized that a one-year RTW trip felt better to him, ideally two one-year trips spaced a couple of years apart. While I worry about budgeting – two trips are sure to be more expensive than one longer trip – I have to admit the benefits are many.  Easier re-integration for us and the kids after just one year away, less issues with the houses being rented out and managing from afar, time between trips to better plan the second one, and Mr Fantastic’s comfort level.  So, my next planning will be about how to organize our time for 12 months rather than 24.  From my research so far, the main factor affecting the trip is how we get from place to place, such as cruise from Vancouver to Tokyo vs. fly or cruise to Europe to begin and how to go from there.  Crossing oceans is a big expense and will determine how and where we go.  Stay tuned!

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