Saturday, March 08, 2008

Now I Remember

Sometimes you need to do something you haven't done in a long time to remember why you vowed never to do it again. Like the Polar Bear Swim. Or drinking grape soda.

This morning I remembered why you should never, ever, under any circumstances, go to Mustafa on a) a Saturday morning after 8, b) with children, or c) on Saturday morning after 8 with children.

Because it sucks.

Some of my friends might think I'm crazy for going to Mustafa at 5:30 a.m. on Saturdays, but having the freedom to shop alone (and I mean totally alone) is worth so many hours of extra sleep. Mustafa, under the right conditions, is a glorious one stop shopping experience that I'm sure has saved me hundreds of dollars during my stay here. Under the wrong circumstances, it's right up there with heavy dental work on the torture scale.

What amazes me is how many people are willing to endure those conditions. Don't they know it's open 24 hours a day? I propose a country wide schedule where people can sign up for a time, thereby spacing out the number of shoppers. But no one can sign up for Saturdays from 5:30-7. I have dibs.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Pine Wood Derby

They say a good story needs conflict. If I may be so bold, this is a good story.

The annual Cub Scout Pine Wood Derby was today. Ethan's worked hard on his "Legomobile" (could it have been anything else?). He is a "Wolf Scout" which means one step up from Tigers, but below Bears and Webelos. We drove the long haul up to the Singapore American School in time for the Wolf Rank registration from 10-11. As we neared the school, Erik said, "Do you have your car buddy?"
To which Ethan replied a meek, "No."

Quick, think. It's 10:25. Registration ends at 11. The race is at 11:15. It takes about 1/2 hour to get here. We can't possibly go home and back in time.

I suggested we call our neighbor and ask a giant favor. Erik hesitated until I insisted that we had no other choice. Mark was willing, and he grabbed the car and headed our way.

Inside, the Derby was running late. Good thing because the car showed up at 11:10 still needing to be weighed. The cars can't be over 5 ounces. Ethan's was 5 ounces at home, but there it weighed just over. Get the knife! Erik frantically scraped chunks of wood out of the bottom of it. Weighed again - still over. Try another scale! Perfect.

We slipped our "late entry" car into the mix just in time for the first heat. Ethan's car was in it, and he won! Each car races three times. Second heat, 1st place! His third heat wasn't until the very end, but he easily pulled another 1st place finish.

But wait! The timers were broken today, so the cars were given points rather than times. There was another car who also placed first three times, so they had a face off. Ethan won by a nose.

Now as great as all that was, it meant we had to stick around another hour for the grand finals. Unfortunately Ethan didn't place in that race, but he was happy enough to be the Wolf Champion.

Erik does the last minute whittling to get Ethan's car down to the right weight.

Ethan's car is the second one in. We used magnets to make the top look like a Lego. I'd like to take credit for the Lego idea. As usual though, Erik gets full credit for the engineering.

We like to call this one, "Eat my dust."

The tie breaker for 1st place in the Wolf Rank - Ethan won!

Last year Ethan got an award for Best Design. He had no idea what it was for, but he was thrilled. This year he knew what he'd won and he was pretty proud!