July 14, 2008

Beach Days, Computer Fairs & Summer Camp

It's been a busy five days since my last post. On Thursday Jerry and I met some friends we'd made at the Life is Good Conference down at Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point--it was a half way point since they live in San Diego and we're in L.A. The kids had a great time boogie boarding, making sand castles, and playing the DS. We stopped at Starbucks after leaving the beach to prolong our visit.

On our way home Jerry and I stopped by my grandparent's house. It was a quick visit but we hadn't seen them since before we left for New Zealand. At that time my grandma had just gone into the hospital with pneumonia. I'd thought about putting off our trip but Grandma promised she'd still be here when we got back and somehow that made me feel much better about going. You might think she shouldn't make such promises because a person can't control when they'll die, but if you knew my grandma you'd think otherwise. She's not going until she's good and ready. No matter how sick she gets, regardless of the physical difficulties life throws her way, her fierce determination to live trumps them all. Go Grandma!
Yesterday was the day Jerry has been waiting for since we got the idea to build a PC: The Computer Fair. His friend Jackson came over early in the morning and Warren, Jerry, myself and Jackson headed out to the Pomona County Fairgrounds for what promised to be a computer parts mecca.
In spite of the terrific prices we managed to drop a huge amount of money on components. We ended up going with an Intel Core 2 Duo system and followed the recommendations for the value gaming system at SharkyExtreme.com. I made one decision that I'm not so sure about, though. We couldn't find the recommended motherboard so we went with one the sales guy recommended that's almost exactly the same but made by Asus instead of Gigabyte. I'm not sure why I bought it, to be honest. For everything else I stuck, religiously, to our shopping list (we made a stop at Fry's to get the case and I'm ordering one last part--the CD/DVD drive--online). But for the motherboard--one of the most important components!--I bought a different one. Dumb, huh?

After we left the fair (we were almost back to the freeway) I asked Warren to turn around so I could go back and ask the guy to check and be sure the specs were the same. He did and they were pretty close so I kept it, figuring I can always return it if we decide to go with another one. The one thing we got that Jerry can actually use before we get the PC built is an amazing sound system. It was only 55 bucks (with a subwoofer and surround sound) and we love the way it sounds! All in all it was just a really fun day.
Another boon to come out of the day was Jerry's decision that he wants to go to summer camp. He and Jackson went to sleep-away camp together last year for three weeks and they both wanted to go again this year. It's mind-blowingly expensive but it's such an amazing place we were happy to fork over a limb or two to pay his tuition. And then a couple months ago Jerry said he didn't want to go. But they don't do refunds. They could credit the money toward Family Camp or next year's kid's camp but there was no way that money was going back into our checking account. Needless to say this caused some strife. We definitely didn't want to send Jerry against his will, but we didn't want three thousand dollars to go to waste either. And I felt sure that if Jackson went and Jerry didn't, Jerry would regret it in the end.

Yes, we could have used the money for Family Camp but Warren can't attend since he's working and if the whole family doesn't go then it's just not the same. Luckily, on our way to the computer fair we spent some time reminiscing about Jerry and Jack's experience last year and by the time we arrived Jerry was looking forward to going again. I can't tell you what a relief it was! He had said before that he would go to make me happy but I was really uncomfortable with that. I wanted him to go, but I didn't want him to do it for me. So after talking with Jackson and being reminded of the fun and the friends, he says he's going because he wants to go. Not for me. Phew!

So that means that this week will be spent in a mad rush to get him ready to go. Saturday the three of us will fly up to Sacramento (yet again!) and drive him from there, to camp. Then he'll spend three weeks on the most idyllic ranch you can imagine. Meanwhile, I'll be visiting with friends, reading loads of books, organizing my office (yes, you will see before and after pictures!), going to the movies, spending time with Warren, cleaning out the garage, taking long walks on the beach, going to a writing conference, and just generally enjoying a rare few weeks of total freedom. I'll miss Jerry, of course, so I'll also spend time writing him letters (though not as many as last year--he said every day was a bit much) and sending care packages, and checking the camp website for photos of his smiling face. My boy is growing up!

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