Sunday, August 26, 2012

Guys' Day Out

A recent post over at Planting Pennies was talking about how Mom needs 5 minutes, and boy do how true do those words ring.

Beloved needs a day off as well from time to time. She is the primary caretaker after all (Before I get yelled at, it's her choice. She wanted to stay home with the boys while they are young and so while I am, and try to be an involved father, there's just only so much I can do with work) and so while I have times when I can leave the classroom and be fairly sure that my students won't follow me home (It has happened), Beloved lives with her work and they never really leave her alone.

The considerate (and wise) husband learns to read the danger signs in terms of wifely behavior and knows when it's time to suggest a day off. The signs include looking tired and a bit more worn than usual, sighs, and demands to get those kids out of her sight before she kills them and me with them while brandishing a kitchen knife. Given that she's both armed and the one who cooks dinner, it's time for a day off.

Thankfully, Nagano comes well equipped with places to take two small boys for a day off. In exchange for a day off, we get as many rice balls that can hopefully stuff two kids and off we go to Azumino Alps Park(s). These two parks are considered quasi-national parks and are run by Japan's central government. I have no idea just what a quasi-national park is or how it's any different from the national park up the mountain from us, but what I do know is that we are damned lucky to have them within easy access.

The parks are a great place to be a kid. The provide various events all year long spaced out with the usual on-going bits of crafts, cooking, and just play areas all set within as natural an environment that they can manage (And given that they are up in the hills leading into the Japan Alps, they manage really well.

The best way I can put it is that for a really cheap entrance fee (About $4 for me, the kids are free right now), we can easily spend the day just letting the boys run, and run, and run, and even better; run in nature as opposed to some hard dirt yard.

No matter what time of year we've gone, we have yet to be disappointed in the park or the day and the boys give it two enthusiastic snores (They always crash on the way home, another bonus).

The last day off was pretty much par for the course. The last day of the summer program, the boys got to met beetles up close and personal, catch a rainbow trout barehanded and then cook and eat him, climb through a 3D maze, bounce on a bounce dome, swim a pond, paddle a boat, play with some balls, and run through a sunflower maze.

And then were sound asleep about 5 minutes after we left the park. Daddy ended up feeling like a slice of beef jerky, true, but it was worth it. The boys were happy and Beloved got some much needed time off to get things done and relax sans noisy boys (Both the child and adult kind).

Of course, even though it was her day off, it didn't keep her from checking Facebook for pictures that I posed and emailing me from time to time.

Some people just can't leave their work at work.

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