A little sight-seaing trip

October 18, 2002

Ben uses a rolling pin to flatten down the tiles for his new bedroom floor. Photo by Glenn.
A little R&R was in order this past month as we took the last week of September and first week of October to recuperate from a busy summer and to prepare ourselves for the hectic holiday season that lies ahead. Lest you get the wrong idea as to what "R&R" means, we aren't talking Rest and Relaxation, although we did accomplish some of that. No, we are referring to Repairs and Remodeling, as in home improvements.

The Gehlkes' honey-do list is long, and while we would love to tackle every item on it eventually, there are some projects that seem more doable than others with a minimum of time and expense. We decided on a makeover of Ben's bedroom, starting with a new coat of paint for the walls and trim, and then some new floor covering. As usual, the "easy" project turned into a major ordeal which, while almost complete by the end of Glenn's vacation, has yet to be pronounced finished. Ben helped select the paint, a cheery green called New Grass. He even made a few passes with the roller (under Dad's watchful eye) and helped move his toys and furniture out of the way so Dad could work.

Roni gets to know her new iBook laptop computer as Ben looks on curiously (and hopefully). Photo by Glenn.
When it came time to do the floor we decided against carpeting, opting for something easier to clean and more decorative. For about $140 we picked up 135 square feet of linoleum tiles with a wood parquet design that Glenn was able to install in a couple of days while listening to the A's get bumped from the baseball playoffs. The instructions called for rolling the finished floor with a rolling pin, and Ben was more than happy to supply the labor. The project is mostly finished, although the closet area still must be tackled. That might have to wait for another vacation, however!

With the room project swallowing up the first week of vacation it was time to contemplate any traveling we might want to do. Disneyland had been casually discussed, but when it came time for action we decided it was too far and we were too weary to make that sort of trek, particularly less than three months after our Montana odyssey. So we chose to stay closer to home and headed for Monterey, taking Ben out of school for a few days and departing on a Monday so as to avoid the weekend crowds.

Glenn and Ben check out some of the critters in the tide pool exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Photo by Roni.
What's this? Ben has discovered a long strand of seaweed that refuses to go quietly. Photo by Glenn.
Here's a look at the hotel where we stayed in Seaside. You don't get much closer to the beach than this. Photo by Glenn.
This was a contender for our photo of the month. If you needed further proof as to why California is such a popular tourist destination, look no further than a Pacific Ocean sunset. Photo by Glenn.
Roni and Ben play on the beach the morning of Oct. 2. The weather was postcard perfect, although the water was typically chilly. Photo by Glenn.
You can call this a self portrait, I suppose. I shot this from one of the observation decks at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Photo by Glenn.
Nice to make your acquaintance. Ben looks a little unsure about the seagull that has come over in hopes of finding a bite to eat. Photo by Glenn.
Those waves can catch you by surprise. Ben makes a soggy dash for shore after being blindsided by the tide. Photo by Glenn.
Glenn holds up the piling on one of the boat launch ramps near Half Moon Bay. Photo by Roni.
Monterey was gorgeous, with temperatures hovering in the mid-70s the two days we were there. We stayed at the Monterey Beach Resort in nearby Seaside with a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean and a long strand of beach where we could stroll and play. Ben wasted no time in getting soaked from head to toe, and of course every shell and strand of seaweed made a useful projectile to hurl into the water. There was some convention of dog owners taking place while we were there, so the hotel was awash in canines, making for a kennel-like atmosphere at times. Fortunately we did enough sightseeing that the dogs didn't bother us much.

We visited Cannery Row on Oct. 1, spending several hours touring the Monterey Bay Aquarium and perusing the gift shops. We checked out a couple of used bookstores where Roni found copies of novels by some of her favorite authors that she picked up inexpensively. On Oct. 2, the last day of our visit, we walked along Old Fisherman's Wharf and stopped for the obligatory meal of clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl before heading north along Highway 1 to enjoy the coastline up to Half Moon Bay. The pumpkin farms were just starting to open for business and the fields were bright orange.

The Monterey trip gave us our first chance to test out our new iBook laptop computer, which we picked up Sept. 27 for said purpose of work-related mobility. In fact it is seeing use in Roni's work, but it proved invaluable as a repository for the hundreds of Monterey photos we shot with our digital camera. With virtually no limit on storage space we were able to shoot more freely. The three SmartMedia cards we picked up for the entire Montana trip barely lasted the afternoon at Cannery Row before we were offloading the images for another round. Had we been using the laptop on the drive to Montana there's no telling how many shots we would have brought home.

Roni is happily using the iBook as she begins preparing for her November noveling project for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Yes, it is that time again, and being the gluttons for punishment that we are we have both decided to sign up for another bout at the keyboard. For those who might be new to this, NaNoWriMo challenges participants to author a 50,000-word manuscript in 30 days, starting at midnight Nov. 1 and ending at midnight Nov. 30. During November you will be able to track our progress at www.nanowrimo.org. It's not too late to sign up to participate. If we've somehow inspired you to give it a try we'd love for you to drop us an e-mail to let us know. Just don't expect a speedy reply, as we'll be so immersed in our novels we probably won't be doing much corresponding until December.

With vacation over it is back to the "real world" of work and school. Glenn's first task upon returning to work at the newspaper was to wrap up production of the November election preview section. Several marathon days culminated in completion of the project Oct. 17. Everyone on Glenn's project team seems pleased with the results, but none of them wants to see another election story until 2004.

Ben found it tough going back to school after four days of sun and sand in Monterey, but he was excited when Mom and Dad both came to his school on Family Day to see his classroom and check out the school's book fair. He also enjoyed the Sunday outing we took to see the Rock and Gem Show at the Antioch fairgrounds last week, where Ben tried his hand at rock painting and carving. He came home with a grab bag of polished stones that he is eager to identify. No gold nuggets, but they might as well be to an eight-and-a-half-year-old.

Enjoy your Halloween, and don't forget to vote. We'll see you again next month.

Glenn, Roni and Ben

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