May Break – Day 2

Devil’s Lake

picture of the rocks and trees at Devil's Lake State ParkWe hit the pools in the morning and then, after Gamma’s nap and lunch in the room, headed out to Devil’s Lake State Park for the afternoon.

Devil’s Lake is a lake surrounded by hills and rocks and trees. Very scenic. The local DNR has done a good job renovating the lake, as there was no trace of any fire or brimstone. Not even any scorch marks anywhere. “Devil’s Lake” is quite the misnomer in this case.

picture of children playing on the rocks at Devil's Lake State ParkWe started with a hike down one of the easier trails. It’s hard to push a stroller on rough paths. Then the boys decided they wanted to try one of the steep paths (Pothole Trail, in case you have a trail map). Wife and Gamma hiked it for a minute, then decided against it and went back down. Alpha and Beta (and I) made it about 2/3 of the way up.

picture of people viewing Devil's LakeThen they gave up and went back down, where all 3 of them played on the rocks as we walked back to the lake.

My wife, always thinking ahead, had packed water and granola bars, so we sat by the lake and enjoyed a snack. The boys enjoyed seeing some minnows, and it was all rather peaceful.


Then we went back into the Dells. Some more hotel and some down time, then out to eat! Dinner that night was at a restaurant. The wife had planned ahead and we brought a cooler full of food. So until this point in the vacation, we had not set foot in a restaurant (or gone through a drive-through place either) (or drive-thru). She had seen an ad or something for Buffalo Phil’s. She thought it would be a fun place because the ad said that a train delivers your food. We got in there and, sure enough, there was a model train (of a larger scale) that went from next to the kitchen, past a few tables, and back to the kitchen.

However, the tables that were next to the train were full, so we sat at a table that was served by a plain ol’ waiter guy. I’m pretty sure the train does not expect tips, so it should be slightly cheaper to sit there.

The food was plentiful, as evidenced by my meal:
picture of a buffalo burger at Buffalo Phil's

That was a buffalo burger, which had buffalo meat for the burger part, and bacon, and pulled pork. I don’t know why they needed pulled pork on it, but I didn’t mind.

picture of a child drinking from a cup at Buffalo Phil'sWe learned something at the restaurant: restaurant cups with lids and without straws are an acceptable substitute for sippy cups. Albeit slightly messier.

Then back to the hotel, another round of waterpark fun, and then to bed.

Coming soon…Day 3

And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Revelation 20:10

May Break – Day 1

Continuation of a previous post

Note: Most pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.


After running the gauntlet of tollbooths that stood between us and Wisconsin Dells, we were ready to be done driving. It was a little over 7 hours of driving; with stops it took a little over 9 hours total. We arrived in the late afternoon or early evening. It’s hard to tell which was which because of the time change.

picture of the indoor waterpark at Wilderness ResortOur destination was The Wilderness. Orwell would be proud of this place (officially called Wilderness Resort), because there was not much in the way of wilderness at this self-proclaimed “America’s largest waterpark resort”.

picture of the arcade at Wilderness ResortIf you look up “wilderness” in the dictionary (which I did not do), you should not see that it means waterparks, arcades, golf courses, laser tag, and a spa. But they tried to have some rustic decor.


The person at the front desk did all the check-in stuff and we thought we were all set. Then he said “But wait, there’s one more thing. You need a parking pass.” Makes sense, so give us the parking pass then. But no, we needed to see the concierge for that.

The concierge did give us our parking pass, but not before she told about the local outlet mall, a couple local restaurants, and the condos available for sale. And to entice us to hear more about the condos for sale, she told us how we could get a few hundred dollars worth of gift cards and coupons. The real estate office is right next to the children’s activity area, so they can be occupied while the adults have the opportunity to listen to a sales pitch.

That’s right, the sales pitch for the sales pitch meeting is part of the check-in process at the hotel. Note: if your hotel/resort has a “real estate” section of its website, be wary.


picture of kids in the pool at Wilderness ResortAfter a quick tour of our area (there were 3 areas in our hotel and about 3 hotels in the resort), we had time to play in the pool (for which the kids were quite eager).

picture of kids in the pool at Wilderness ResortWe were closest to the Wild West Waterpark, but Alpha’s favorite was Klondike Kavern. That was because Klondike Kavern has the Hurricane.

What is the Hurricane?

Let’s start with the view out our window:
picture of a parking lot at the Wilderness Resort

And then let’s zoom in:
picture of the outside of the Hurricane at the Wilderness Resort

Do you see that 4-story green and white funnel? That’s the Hurricane. You walk up 4 flights of stairs, get in a raft, and then slide down 4 flights of adrenaline.

And then you repeat, because Alpha wants to go again. He hasn’t been on a roller coaster yet, but the Hurricane provides the exact same pit-of-your-stomach sensation, so I’m sure he’s ready.

Here’s the inside of the Hurricane. See that small yellow thing? That’s a 4-person raft.
picture of the inside of the Hurricane, property of Wilderness Resort


Our room was nice. It had two queen beds plus a pull-out couch, plus various other amenities. We got the room for under $100 each night. You may wonder how the resort can do that.
The answer has a few parts:

  • the “resort fee” is not included in that price. What is the resort fee? It is about $10 a day and helps cover expenses and keeps the listed room rates low (kind of like shipping and handling charges on eBay),
  • the outdoor pools and waterparks were not open, because the outdoor season does not start until Memorial Day. That meant we could use only half of America’s largest waterpark resort, which was good enough for the 3 nights we were there, and
  • the Wild Waterdome was closed for cleaning/sealing. That didn’t have much, other than America’s largest indoor wave pool and indoor tanning. But the kids don’t like wave pools, so we wouldn’t have been in there a lot anyway.

Then we went to bed – a bit of a struggle with the kids all excited and everyone in the same room – and got ready for day 2.

To be continued…

He changes a wilderness into a pool of water And a dry land into springs of water;

Psalm 107:35

No-Maintenance AC

I need things that do not require maintenance.

I sold the lawn mower and now pay the neighbor boy to mow my lawn.

I buy disposable paint brushes because then I don’t have to clean them.

The central air for our house, though, is a different matter. We do not want to be without that, so I thought I would try to take care of it.

Some stores sell covers for the AC condenser. That’s the part with the fan that sits outside. Since the fan won’t work so well with leaves and snow in it, the theory is that the condenser should be covered during fall and winter. On the other hand, the condenser does have a screen to keep out leaves and the snow should melt before the condenser it used, so a cover isn’t necessary. But it might help it to last longer and a cover is cheap, so why not?

In the fall, I put the cover over the condenser. It did a fine job of protecting the AC from the elements. The condenser lives behind the house and we don’t normally see it.

Which means I forgot the cover was still on when I turned on the AC on the first warm day.

I remembered I had installed the air conditioner cover when I saw some fabric sitting in the side yard. It turns out that the fan inside the condenser is powerful enough to remove most covers.

I now avoid any maintenance items that I need to remember to undo.

And the condenser will have to learn to live with leaves and snow.

And as they were crying out and throwing off their cloaks and tossing dust into the air,

Acts 22:23

New WP Theme

It is now the start of the summer quarter, so I am changing my WordPress theme. Normally I change just the background photo to reflect the season, but this time I made a whole new theme.

It looks like a Lego WordPress theme. You might be tempted to refer to it as a Lego theme for my blog. It is, in fact, a generic brick-based building-system theme (compatible with all major brick-based building systems – Lego, Mega Blocks, umm…Lego, etc.).

I am still tweaking things, so you may notice things changing slightly over the next week or two.

This was the design of the stands: they had borders, even borders between the frames,

1 Kings 7:28

May Break 2010 – On Wisconsin

Really it should be “To Wisconsin” but “On Wisconsin” is more recognizable.

We already had our spring break trip to Idaho, and we have our summer trip planned and booked. But both of those involve visiting other families. When would we get a chance to go on a vacation with just our own family?

In the middle of May, during school, of course.

Alpha’s in kindergarten. No one is going to notice if he misses a couple of days. It is not going to affect his graduation or choice of college, so we told the school that he will be gone for a little bit and we went to Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Dells, to be specific – very high on the list of top tourist-traps in the nation.

We left early in the morning, which in our house is about 9:30 AM. Our route went through Chicago, and we were prepared for the toll roads – we had dimes and quarters and dollar bills. We went through a couple of toll booths with no problems.

Then we came to one that said “Cars: $.50″ I know we were in a minivan, but I consider that a car. It was an unattended tollbooth, and I thought it was taking a while. “Do those people not know how to put coins in a slot?” I wondered to myself. “And why are they gesturing at the machine? Just pay the toll and go on.” I got my $0.50 (pronounced “fitty cent”) ready, so I wouldn’t be that guy went it was my turn.
Read the rest of this entry »

Alpha the Shark

Alpha lost his first tooth on Monday.

It has been loose for a while. So long, in fact, that his adult tooth became quite impatient and decided to appear regardless of the existing baby tooth. Like a shark, he was getting two rows of teeth concurrently.

photo of adult tooth growing in before baby tooth has been lost

He was at school on Monday. It was writing time (or something like that), and he was absent-mindedly spinning his loose tooth. Of course, loose teeth can be spun only so much before they capitulate.

photo of a baby tooth that has been lost

The school was well-prepared for a situation such as this. They have little envelopes with a drawing of a tooth and printing that says “I lost a tooth today” so the teacher can send it home easily. I don’t know, but I could guess, that hockey teams are similarly prepared.

Alpha was pleased to have lost the tooth. If his mouth is closed, it looks like a normal lost tooth, with the gap. He inherited my widely-spaced teeth, so I may have to emphasize that it is the bottom center-right (his center-left) tooth that is missing.

photo of a mouth with a missing baby tooth

(having gaps between teeth is nice because 1. the dentist remarks how easy it is to floss and 2. wisdom teeth grow in with no problems)

Monday night, Alpha put his tooth (in the envelope still) under his pillow and went to sleep. I then exchanged the tooth and envelope for a dollar bill. In the morning, after my wife asked him if he checked his tooth, he pulled the dollar out and waved it around.

Look at that!” I exclaimed, “The tooth changed into a dollar!

Before Alpha could say anything, Beta piped up: “No, the Tooth Fairy did that!

I don’t recall sitting down and instructing the boys in the ways of the tooth fairy, but I know it is mentioned in a book or two that we have. But we’ll just let Beta hold onto that thought for a while.

And if he knocks out a tooth of his male or female slave, he shall let him go free on account of his tooth.

Exodus 21:27

The Biggest Number

Today’s post is a little quiz to see if you know the common names of large numbers.

I’ll start by stating that 1,000 = 103 = one thousand.


(hover the mouse over the blank lines to get the answer. Users of iPhone/iPad/etc. will have to click.)

  • 1,000,000 = 106 = one
  • 1,000,000,000 = 109 = one
  • 1,000,000,000,000 = 1012 = one
  • 1,000,000,000,000,000 = 1015 = one

That’s the end of the quiz. If you haven’t taken it yet, don’t keep reading, as the next paragraph will spoil the quiz for you.

For those who don’t get it: Jillian Michaels is one of the trainers on the Biggest Loser. So 1015 = a Jillian. There are some people who think that a jillion is not a real number. Maybe they’re spelling it wrong and it should be a jillian.

For You said, ‘ I will surely prosper you and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which is too great to be numbered.’

Genesis 32:12