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February 6, 2006

Silver Linings

Despite the disappointment of missing our weekend in the snow, the weekend actually turned out pretty well.

On Friday morning, I took my two daughters to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, far and away one of the best perks of living here on the Monterey Peninsula. The Aquarium is a world-famous educational and research facility, and family memberships are reasonably priced, so we’ve had the luxury of visiting countless times over the years.

Our kids are as familiar with the exhibits of the Aquarium as they are with their own school or church or anyplace else they frequent. My oldest son and I have even spent the night there, sleeping with our bags rolled out right under the shark tank.

On this weekday morning, we almost had the place to ourselves, and it was all we could ask for. My two-year old is just discovering the wonder of all the ocean creatures, and my four-year-old was more than happy to act as her tour guide while we were there. Even the normally reclusive giant octopus played along, and went for a walk across the front of his tank just as we came by.

With our son in school and the rest of us at the Aquarium, my wife had some free time to make plans and consider materials for the deck we’ll eventually build. It’s telling of the kind of life she leads that simply being alone in a store constitutes quality time.

After school my son and I went bike riding in Garland Ranch, covering about 5 miles in the fading sunlight of what had been a 70-degree day. He doesn’t get nearly as much individual attention as he would like, and was appreciative for the time alone in our favorite place to ride.

On Saturday Grandma had recovered enough from the flu to take our older kids to a movie – they saw "Hoodwinked" and loved it. Their outing freed up some time for us to move along with work on our deck project, and by the end of the weekend we took two loads of old lumber to the dump.

Finally, I was able to do an early-morning, 20-mile trail run. I didn’t feel particularly strong, and I’ve got a couple of unusual aches to pay attention to, but it was a relief to get in a long run and convince myself that I can still be ready for a marathon in 4 weeks.

(Speaking of Napa, I indicated a couple of weeks ago that I would write about my past experiences there. I haven’t forgotten – those posts are coming soon.)

I guess the lesson we took from this weekend is that quality time isn’t about having everything work out perfectly, but making the best of situations as they occur. And sometimes vacations aren’t so much about where you go as how you spend your time.


BuckeyeRunner 2/6/06, 5:58 PM  

Sounds like you guys had a great weekend. You may have some budding marine biologists on your hands! How cool to spend the night under a shark tank!

Great job on your 20 miler - do you think running the 20 on a trail makes a big difference on your joints versus running on concrete?

Jon in Michigan 2/7/06, 8:59 AM  

Nice job on the 20. 20 on trails has got to be a real hard run. I was happy to have a nice flat path for my 20 last fall. I'm not sure how well it would have gone for me with sharp hills and rocks and things to contend with.

The aquarium sounds like it was a fun time. Seeing them makes me wish I was diving again. There its like one giant aquarium, although the octopi are harder to spot.

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