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Sam-a-rooni returns!


A few years ago, Sam came out to visit me. Honestly, I've lost a year, because I thought he visited me two summers ago, but the blog says 2005, and the blog never lies. Well, that's not true either, so the blog was lying there. It mostly speaks the truth, and it matches well with the photo time stamps, so, there we go. 2005.

The following year, I stayed in Phoenix with Sam, to spend my week with him in Mom and Jackson's company. That was a disaster, since the two of them are thick as thieves and never seemed to form separate identities when the other is close by. That, and I had other personal issues I was trying to deal with at the time, that prevented me from being able to take care of him in California.

I have no idea what happened last year. I think maybe the grandparents trumped the aunt last year.

This year, though, Sam is heading on out, and I have the free Southwest ticket to prove it, since it'll cost me enough to fly him out. I think he's old enough to fly out as an unaccompanied minor, but his parents are freaked out by this prospect, so I'm flying out to get him, flying back the next day with him, flying back at the end of the week, then back home again. Phew! Lots of flying. Too much flying.

So, what do we have planned this year?

In no particular order, we're going to

  • figure out a Father's Day present for Chris
  • learn to program using Alice
  • learn to throw a disc, maybe learn to play ultimate
  • ride bikes, if I can find one for Sam
  • go on a hike, or two
  • garden, like we did last time he was here
  • cook, or at least bake
  • walk the dogs
  • swim
  • and Great America! Because Sam loves coasters now. Booyah!

How we're going to manage all of that in three, maybe four days, I have no idea. We might have to remove one or two from the list, depending on how interested he is in some of those.

For the programming part, oof, might be biting off more than I can chew on that one. Having seen Randy Pausch's Last Lecture video (of course, you've seen it, right? of course you have), I took a second look at Alice, and decided, well, we'd give it a try. The idea of teaching programming through storytelling is compelling, but will an 8 year old be able to learn it? I think so.

Besides, how cool would it be to say, "I started programming when I was 8." ? I mean, really! I can't say that, though I can say I started programming in the 8th grade. Might have been the 7th. I don't recall. Jessica, can you help me out here? When did I have Mr. Osborne for math?

So, we'll try the programming lessons. Of course, this means that I'll need to take time to learn Alice before helping him along. I bought a book, which should help, but, gee, finding the time? Right. Focus.

Time, and the right computer. I suspect the program is a Windows program. I doubt it'll work on my Linux box. Maybe on my MBP, but, well, do I really want Sam using my laptop? Nah.

As for cooking, Mom suggested making waffles, ice cream and cupcakes: lots of stirring and putting stuff into the fridge, less so chopping and the like.

Maybe we'll make bread, too. Oh! And something that uses the food processor. That'll be fun: using the kitchen power tools.

I'm looking forward to the visit, though, very much so. I wonder where I can find a couple kids to practice with...