sometimes things do not go entirely as planned... and sometimes that is just okay... sometimes it works out anyway

as it is one of those gaps in time where there is no mid-day summer camp and there is no scheduled family vacation
so the boys are home with me
all day

on this day my well organized wife scheduled my older son Dean for his 11 Year Old Check Up
on top of that... our neighbors were in a last minute bind where they needed an emergency coverage for their also 11 year old son, Alik
this worked out fine... Alik and my boys are the best of friends
so I would be taking our neighbor Alik along with whatever we had planned for our day

the morning began...
Alik was dropped off and mixed in smoothly to our routine
which involved pretty much nothing until we hustled out the door to get to the doctor by 10:15 for a 10:30 appointment
we all know the doctor loves to make the patient wait
but if the patient makes the doctor wait
that patient gets to wait more
because the doctor hates to wait

the doctor's visit went as smoothly with the extra kid as it would with both of my boys
we were in on time and out pretty quick
there were no issues and no complications
just some measurements, some piss in a cup, and the standard set of shots and vaccinations for the 11 year old check up

out the door and the boys... after a quick breeze through the bike shop in the same building as the doctor's office my boys were calling out for Parkway Deli
it seemed a tad early for lunch
but it would be lunch time soon enough
so... I abiged them on their post doctor's visit routine of the Parkway Deli for its fantastic pickle bar and its amazing Matzah Ball soup

to slow our day down a bit I drove around and tried to take myself down memory lane
the Bethesda-Silver Spring roads I went down were unfamiliar
either things have drastically changed or I was not where I thought I was
either way we got to Parkway Deli where the boys got their soups and Alik and I ordered breakfast for lunch

several things were proposed
but the boys selected something not on the list... the rope swing
well...  that seemed easy enough
the rope swing was on the drive home and we could still do something more significant in the afternoon

so... we drove and parked by "the rope swing"
when I parked I sent the boys up the hill as I stayed back to give them some space and be out of ear shot of the battles between brothers and friends
as the boys rushed off I told them to test the rope that it is as it should be
then to be safe and smart
not to do anything stupid

getting hurt or killed was not an option

the boys raced up the steep hill as I reclined the driver's seat
it seemed rational to give the boys some space
to let them go to the rope swing
I would join them for a few swings when I felt the need to usher them to leave

but before I could even get comfortable the three boys were back down the hill
each screaming something
nothing spoken could be understood
then I got the news from Dean... the first kid to the car

"it is gone... the rope swing is gone.... the must have cut it down... and the ladder... they removed the ladder too"

I knew who Dean meant... "they" being the National Park Service... we knew that this was an unofficial-unsanctioned activity... I knew that it would have a short life span
I was just glad we found it and took advantage of it
not sure what else to do I sent the boys on a quick up and back on the stoney creek that borders the hill

they were off without complaint
just as excited to scramble on the dry creek bed as to play on the rope swing

back at the car with seat belts on we pointed for home
we talked about the missing rope swing
all of us in agreement that "the man" had found the rope swing and removed it
I talked about how I thought the rope swing was awesome, but thought it was wrong for them to cut down the tree that was to the side of the rope swing

no matter... we may never know what happened
we never knew who hung the rope
we do not know who removed it
same goes for the wooden ladder nailed directly into the tree that had also been removed

as we drove home we spotted some deer just off the road
and I spotted what I thought to be some rain clouds
so when we got in the house it all seemed good enough to settle down in front of some Olympics
the boys played with some marble game and I slapped the keyboard of my computer
in front of us NBC displayed the Olympics

some time in the house and I started to get stir crazy
there was some time left in the day and the rain clouds did not gather as expected
so... I tried to rally the troops
first I "asked" the boys if they wanted to go fishing
then I "asked" the boys if they wanted to go for the bike ride
"asking" is a classic parental failure
don't ask... tell...

so... I "told" the boys to get ready
I "told" the boys that I would get their bikes and fishing rods ready
that we would ride our bikes to Georgetown to go fishing
ice cream or frozen yogurt would be part of the carrot on the string

begrudgingly the boys broke from their screens and got ready

in not much time we were on the bikes and heading towards Georgetown
I felt good about our options
I smiled as we rode as a group down the streets of Mount Pleasant
then on through the National Zoo and onto the bike path

not far into our ride I just outside of the National Zoo Dean made an aggressive pass around and then between some pedestrians
while he made this pass he went off the paved trail onto the dirt path
over a little bump Dean did a little hop
then as he split the other trail users he rode over a stick

with the chain slapping the tire hit the stick such that the stick broke and flipped up
flying such that it got tangled in the rear deraileur and pulled into the back wheel
Dean's rear wheel locked up
at first I was curious why Dean was doing this controled skid in between these pedestrians
then I realized what had happened

we pulled over...
at first I thought I could fix it
then I saw the mangled deraileur and the broken replaceable broken deraileur hanger
it was not a trailside repair

as I tried to work things through I sent the boys with working bikes forward
telling them to ride the trail to the street crossing... NOT TO CROSS THE STREET.... then to come back
this giving me time to sort things out

being on my Frankenbakfiet I had the wheel barrow bike to carry the broken bicycle
I pulled the wheels and set the frame and its wheels with my bag and fishing rods in the wheel barrow

with things packed up we headed for home
I asked 11 year old Dean if he was confident if he could find his way home from here
then pedaled off with young Grant leaving Alik and Dean to travel home on their own

it seemed like a decent exercise
a little more freedom then the children usually get
we were not far... there would not be very many street crossings
it seemed like something that boys of this age should be comfortable doing

Grant and I rode the short distance towards home
at the base of the hill that would take us home I offered up to Grant to stop for a drink
with Honest Tea juice boxes in hand we scoped out the water of Rock Creek
Grant asked if we could fish here for a few minutes

I thought about it... then agreed...
our time on the bike was faster than the boys on foot
so... I sent Grant back on the bike path to retrace things such that he could find Alik and Dean and bring them to this spot

but no...
Grant returned a few minutes later
he did not run into the boys... they took an alternate route
which was fine... the rods were set up
we were ready for a short fishing session

although we had fished before... I am not sure if Grant ever saw a worm used as bait
so... I pulled out the fat earthworm and broke off a section
then showed Grant how to have the hook go through the worm at two spots
and then... we dropped our lines in the water

well... actually.... on Grant's first cast he caught a tree
that is not an uncommon fishing error... especially for an 8 year old
so... I traded rods
Grant made a nice cast and I pulled the line from the tree branches

it did not take long and Grant had hooked a fish
I was as excited as he was!

Grant pulled in a nice size blue gill
with the fish out of water I tried to show Grant how to calmly handle the fish
how to watch out for the spikely fins
and then to respectfully pull the hook from the fish's mouth

catch and release!

we were both stoked about our local fishing spot
we fished for a few more minutes
Grant got a few more bites
but we had to pack it up and head for home with the notion to return to this spot or another local spot with Dean and Alik

we packed up the fishing gear and the broken bike and rode the final hill for home

once home I tried to rally the troops to go fishing... but again.... "asking" is not as good as "telling"
their hesitation had be alter the plans
I wanted to take the boys shopping for rain jackets
that adventure also involved the promise of frozen yogurt

it was a good day
I was pleased with my efforts
although we did not get the ride I wanted or the fishing trip I saught
we still had a good day

lots was learned
I learned I should have swapped out that decade old Alivio derailer
it was a little bent and a tad flimsy
we also discovered that the local fish may not be as plentiful... but they are there to be caught

we also learned that things do not always go as planned
mishaps happen
equipment failure is a small part of adventure
all and all it was a good day

now I need to order that replacement deraileur hanger

enough on this
on with my day
no need to proof this
it is more of a diary entry than most BLOG entries

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