Tuesday, August 04, 2009

I'm back

Sorry for the absence--had to head up to Lake Huron for a week-end of wreck diving and shooting with Aaron of The Shekel. I had a good drive up, and we got in plenty of great diving and some shooting. Now I'm back, and I'm blessed (or cursed...I haven't decided yet) with the presence of my ten year old nephew whom I shall call "Spud".

Now this will be the first time that I have had a kid around for a whole week with no other adults around to foist him off on. We'll see how this goes. I have one week to turn him into a man and/or make him into a little "Mini-me", and I'm not really sure how to go about it. I have been looking to R. Lee Ermey for some pointers on how best to motivate him, but I'm not 100% convinced that it's the right way to go about it.

On the way down, we stopped in Cleveland for a few hours.

I took the boy on a tour of the USS Cod, a World War two Gato class fleet submarine. It's moored off E. 9th Street just east of the Science Center, and of all of the surviving museum subs I've seen--and I've seen most of them--this one's probably in about the best shape.

Here's the Spud climbing down the ladder into the forward torpedo room. He was totally in awe of being able to do this. He had to touch and see everything--he was so fascinated. Seeing him have an actual interest in something that's actually real and not a video game was terrific.

And here's the Spud in the crew's mess. He looks like a natural, doesn't he? FOOD!!!

After seeing the whole interior from bow to stern--and seeing what happens when his uncle flips the switch to activate the still-functional "Dive" alarm (a staff member comes forward from the engine room and demands to know who is monkeying with the alarms when you do this, just so you know when you visit.)--we went topside and he got to spin the cranks and traverse and elevate the deck gun.

He loved this submarine and wouldn't stop talking about it and telling me how "cool" it was...at least until we got to the next thing to see...the Great Lakes ore carrier William G. Mather.

This beautiful ship worked the Great Lakes as part of the Cleveland Cliffs fleet from 1925 until 1980, when she was retired. Now moored at the Cleveland Science Center, it's a fantastic example of what shipping on the lakes used to be like.

Here's the Spud, trying his hand as a wheelsman.

And here's a shot of the engine room, showing the massive diesel that the Mather finished her career with. The engine room is larger than a typical house and is four stories tall. And when a volunteer asked the Spud if he had any questions about it all, Spud just pointed to a nearby drinking fountain and asked "Does that still work?"


But apparently I tired him out, because he slept much of the way back after that.

And Lagniappe? He was just happy to be rescued--Uh, I mean "retrieved"--from Nicki's house and brought back to the Lair.

So now that I've got a kid for the rest of the week, what am I supposed to do with him? Any ideas?


  1. RESCUED???? You ungrateful sod! He loved spending the weekend with me! Hell, he pretty much ignored you when you came over. Just lay at my feet and licked my toes - or did you forget that? Next time, I'm keeping him!

  2. Aww, what a cute kid. And your nephew is adorable as well :-)

    Hey, if you don't know what to do with the "spud", maybe let Nicki watch him so she can help him expand on his colorful vocabulary....He'll be the most popular kid in the school ;-)
    (Psssst...just don't let her take him for any walks because someone might end up peeing on his head..:-))

    Sorry, Nicki, Could not resist. :-)

  3. Take him to the Arsenal at Harper's Ferry, and to Arlington National Cemetery, if nothing else. Maybe take in a Washington Nationals baseball game?

  4. Good luck with the kid!!! Um, yeah...not sure what to to tell ya on that one. Ain't got any and don't want any. :)

  5. Anonymous2:00 PM

    Air Force Museum at Wrighht-Patterson Air base. More planes than any airport I've ever been at and I'm from Chicago.

  6. you should check out uss batfish.
    being on land since 1970 or so preserved her very well.
    supposedly destroyed more submarines during service than any other ww2 sub

  7. Hi Jerry,

    I saw the Batfish in Oklahoma when I was out traveling there some years back, but alas, I got there just before closing time and they wouldn't even give me a few minutes to take it in.

    But it's on my list the next time I'm out that way.