I'm blogging this on the Shinkansen. How cool is that? Some Shinkansen cars have power outlets and Wi-Fi (even in the standard class cars) and of course I am taking full advantage. It's not as fast as at home or at work, but it's free. It's great for passing the time. The only problem is that it's only available between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka.
I'm on the Shinkansen because I'm on my way back from a conference. I presented about some stuff I did at work, and got lots of compliments on my presentation skills. I guess I have my high school speech teacher to thank for that. I didn't realized I didn't like her until after we parted ways, I don't think she liked me very much either, but to this day I use the stuff I learned in her class. It gives me an edge that most people in my industry don't have. I think it just goes to show you don't have to like someone (and vice versa) to learn something from them.
Speaking of the Shinkansen, I realized I forgot to write about taking the kids on it a couple months ago. I think it was the first time for the Pumpkin Prince. The Pumpkin Princess rode on it when she was three. She claims to remember, but I'm not quite sure that's true. Anyway. We were headed for…
TOKYO DISNEY SEA!
The kids have been to Tokyo Disneyland/ Disney Sea before, but they were all overnight trips by car. We needed a hotel room in or at least close to the park to crash for naps and to store the multiple changes of clothes and large packages of diapers and baby wipes. But now the kids are older and they don't need naps or diapers. They can not only walk by themselves (no strollers!) but carry their own backpacks. Mom's bag no longer bursts with two extra jackets and hats and water bottles!
We got to the park just before it opened, and stood in line for about 10 minutes to get inside, which was what we expected. We knew the wait was coming, so we told the kids in advance it was going to happen. As soon as we got in, we all gave our Passports to the Pumpkin Daddy, who drew on his marathon training to dash to the Fast Pass Machine for Toy Story Mania, the most popular attraction of the park. The last time we went to Disney Sea, he made the dash but he realized he didn't have our Passports until he got in front of the machine, so he came back for them and dashed back, but by then they'd issued all the Fast Passes that day.
I took the kids to Mermaid Lagoon and we rode some of the attractions there while we waited for him.
About half an hour later, I got a text from the Pumpkin Daddy saying he'd got the Fast Passes but that 1) they were for six in the evening 2) he needed a beer after all that running. Fine and fine. We rode some more attractions at Mermaid Lagoon.
Hey, it's C-3P0! The plane, that is.
The day wasn't perfect, of course. There were the occasional bursts of sibling bickering but they were quickly stifled by threats of going home early without riding Toy Story Mania.
We rode it and got back on the train and got home late, but the kids managed to get up the next day to leave for school in time, because they knew that if they didn't, this was never going to happen again.
So, yaay for older kids who understand risk and reward and consequences and responsibility! I think.
The kids started summer vacation as of yesterday. The Pumpkin Princess's report card was not nearly as good as last term's. We're not sure if she's actually having trouble in math, or is having trouble focusing on the test questions. The Pumpkin Daddy will have her do a little bit every day during vacation (both "little bit" and "every day" being important aspects of this plan) and we'll see how it goes.
The Pumpkin Prince was selected to read his essay in front of the whole school at the first assembly next term. The teacher fell in love with his essay that said what he liked about first grade was that they got to clean the school, and it feels good to work hard and the floor gets clean (apparently this part is true, so we must set him to work with the floors at home also), and that he ran a local marathon (he didn't, that was the Pumpkin Daddy, we just went to cheer him on). The Pumpkin Daddy clarified the latter, but he's still got the essay reading gig because of the former. He's supposed to go to school next week (a lot of the kids go to school an hour or two for the first week. They get help on their summer homework from local volunteers) and his teacher will help him edit the essay, and then we're supposed to help him add things about what he does during summer vacation, and what he hopes to do next term.
It'll be the first time the kids are mostly at home during summer vacation, since last year the Pumpkin Prince was still in day care and the Pumpkin Princess went to child care too. I know it's going to be rough on the Pumpkin Daddy. Hopefully we can farm them out to his parents and mine every so often so he can get a break or two.