Saturday, September 17, 2005

Rodents and Rockets: A love story...

So, there we were. Two dads, three little girls, eight R.O.U.S's and not a walking stick among us. Luckily, we had some rockets.

Wait, let's start back a bit. Earlier this week Clark called me up with an idea for an adventure. He had found a park along Cypresswood that is filled with all sorts of interesting wildlife and he wanted to check it out closer. Sounded good to me. This was in the same ritzy neighborhood I had had the flaming canoe experience, so I was looking to return under somewhat more sane circumstances.

Heh heh heh. Yeah, "sane".

This nature park is somewhat overrun with ducks, pigeons, squirrels, Chinese Geese, regular geese, turtles and nutria (aka Rodents Of Unusual Size), all of whom had lost their fear of man. We thought this would be entertaining since we were bringing our daughters, Miniwether and the Clarkettes, along. We were thinking fresh air, daddy-daughter bonding, and perhaps some rocketry if the weather held. It started out quite tamely. Some swinging, some sliding, some bouncing on a bouncey thing. Then we decided to follow this path into the woods...

The pond was quite large and the bank we stood on was a root-tangled mass about three feet high. Below us some ducks swam about quacking and preening. Bread was tossed and quickly snatched up, the girls laughed while nibbling on apples.

Then the twelve-pound water rat showed up.

And then his family showed up.
He had a very big family.

Did I mention we had rockets? Unfortunately, they were harmless foam rubber rockets launched from a slingshot-type device. Mostly useless against R.O.U.S.'s. It was time for Plan B: bribery with food! Soon the rodents were happily munching away on bread, apples, and cauliflower and we made our escape from the Fire Swamp.

"Well, I'm not saying I'd like to build a summer home here, but the trees are actually quite lovely."

Oh, THOSE R.O.U.S.'s...

Plan B.

Escaping the Fire Swamp.

Well, we escaped. Enough said there. Of course, blocking our way out was a new challenge, geese. Many large, hissing, beady-eyed, killer geese.

Okay, maybe not killers, but they could certianly taking a painful nip at us. Miniwether was less than thrilled about this new threat.

Luckily, my years of Jedi training finally paid off. The weak-minded geese were no match for my formidable Jedi powers.

We finally made it to a nice clearing and the rockets came out. These things were so cool! The rockets were made of foam rubber and were launched 100 feet into the air with a surgical-tubing sling-shot-like device. They went up high and fast. They came down gently enough catch with one hand, assuming you had more coordination than a three-year old. Sidenote: the spongy nose cones absorb a nice amount of gasoline. Lighting it is a bit tricky...

Clark, the Clarkettes, and Miniwether out to launch.

After ten minutes of chasing rockets the girls were ready for a snack. Clark and I found a nice shaded spot for a snack, but Miniwether and the elder Clarkette found something even better. Truely the apple does not fall far from the tree. Adventure, exploration, and excitement calls them more strongly than Fig Newtons and apple juice.

It was a good day to be a dad.


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