Amid much publicity and hoopla, Grand Rapids became home to what had been billed as “the world’s largest inflatable water slide” over the weekend of 21 & 22 August 2010. This community event was organised by Rob Bliss and was free, with the costs of setting it up apparently covered by various sponsors. Thanks to Susan Dmytrusz who happened to be standing near the top when we got there for our turn, to whom I gave a card with my eMail address on it and asked her if she’d mind taking a couple of pictures of us and then eMailing them to me – Thanks Susan!!!! (I hadn’t taken my camera as I couldn’t think of anything to do with it while going on the slide).

The Slide - Looking Uphill from the Middle

The Slide - Looking Uphill from the Middle

The Slide - Looking Downhill from the Middle

The Slide - Looking Downhill from the Middle

Things got off to a slow start on Saturday, with the start delayed from 9 AM to 2 PM for technical, and weather reasons, and once running things seemed slower than expected. People were waiting up to 6 hours for their ride. One of the bottlenecks was the tubes needed for sliding – a “chain gang” was in place to return them from bottom to top, as can be seen in the two pictures above, but the reality was that people walking up the hill were actually travelling faster than the mis-thrown, dropped tubes were.

Lisa and I decided to head down earlyish on Sunday morning to see if we could get a ride with a shorter wait time. We got there right about starting time of 0800, only to find things already behind schedule. We had to line up below the bottom of the slide on Lyon Street, in what turned out to be very nearly a 4 hour wait.

Lined up waiting our Turn

Lined up waiting our Turn

Thanks to Nathan Vandenbroek for taking the above photo on his cell phone and eMailing it to me.

As we slowly made our way up Lyon Street to the start, the slide ran, then stopped for repairs, was delayed waiting the return from the bottom of the needed sliding tubes, etc etc

A description of the mornings events might have gone something like this…

Waiting, chatting, waiting, idle chatter, waiting, “why don’t they do it this way”, waiting, waiting shuffling slowly up Lyon St, waiting, “oh the sun has come out” waiting, waiting….

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Thok!!

$10 Tee shirt

Been There Done That 🙂

A photo gallery with a few more images is below.

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How to remove the spark plug boots from a 2002 GM Chevrolet Camaro V6 engine without losing all your knuckle skin.

Our 2002 Camaro has now done 99,000 miles, so with a trip “out East” coming up I figured it was time to change the spark plugs since they’re supposed to be changed at 100,000 miles.

Of course nothing is as easy as it used to be, and the spark plugs are buried “way down there” on the sides of the V6 engine, half back under the windscreen on the car, with the spark plug boots sticking out through the exhaust manifold enough to see them, but barely enough to grip them. I did manage to pull one off “by hand” with the loss of only a small amount of skin, but couldn’t even move the other 5.

So off to AutoZone (I had to buy the new plugs anyhow) to ask if they had a tool to pull these things off with. The only tool they had would have require removing the engine to be able to use it, at which time it wouldn’t be needed anyhow.

So, with some Kiwi Ingenuity™ I devised the Kiwi Spark Plug Boot Puller, which worked amazingly well, and allowed me to pull the remaining 5 spark plug boots off in about 5 minutes.

Kiwi Spark Plug Boot Puller

A shoe lace wrapped around the metal shield that is over the rubber spark plug boot, ready to pull it off.

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Tuesday 9 March 2010 was the day of the Spaghetti Dinner at First Christian Reformed Church in Byron Center. This was to raise funds for the “Relay for Life” that is coming up on 7-8 May 2010.

There was spaghetti with meat sauce, salad, bread sticks and Pavlova. There was also a Bake Sale table selling a variety of cookies, cup cakes, and of course ANZAC Biscuits.

It was fairly successful – we made nearly $500 from it, so that will be a great start on the Friends Team fund raising effort for Relay for Life this year.

 

Today is 8 years since the attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon.

Where were you 8 years ago? I remember it all very clearly because of the unusual, and as it turns out very fortuitous situation Lisa and I were in.

We had been up in the Rocky Mountains at Estes Park for the Clan Moffat Society AGM that had ended on Sunday 9 September 2001. We spent Monday 10 September driving up to the top of the Rocky Mountains above Estes Park and then back down and just out of Colorado into Denver.

I had driven out to Colorado and Lisa had flown out, with me meeting her at Denver Airport. I was to drop her off at Denver Airport early on the morning of September 11 and then set out for the 2 day drive home while she flew back. But up at Estes Park I hadn’t been so well, suffering perhaps a bit of mountain sickness, with a bad headache much of the time, so we decided Lisa would come back in the car, incase I couldn’t handle all the driving myself.

Tuesday morning I was down in the car park cleaning the car windows, talking to a biker dude from Texas who was readying his Harley for the day’s riding when Lisa came down and told me a plane had hit the World Trade Center. We went upstairs in time to see GMA show the second plane hitting live.

We spent all of that day driving 700 miles to the outskirts of Chicago, listening in stunned amazement to Public Radio from Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois all day. We endured a massive line at a petrol station and paid some artificially inflated price to refuel as everyone panicked about what the price of oil was going to be.

Got to a motel about 9 PM which was the first chance I got to see anything on TV to put pictures to what we had been listening to all day, so watched that for a couple of hours.

During the afternoon, somewhere in Iowa, with the news from NPR that President Bush who had been shuffling around the country in Air Force One was on his way from Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, which we had passed earlier in the day was on his way to Washington DC, and we saw this – unfortunately not taken quickly enough to capture the best we’d seen, or Air Force One with its F-16 fighter jet escort heading to Washington DC. They were of course by then the only planes in the air.

Air Force One 11 September 2001

Air Force One 11 September 2001

We were of course extremely thankful that the fates had seen Lisa travelling with me in the car – had we stuck to the original plan I would have dropped her off at Denver airport early on Tuesday morning, and headed east. She would have ended up stuck in Denver airport, while I would have been who knows how far away before I even found out what had happened, and that all flights were grounded. Neither of us had  a cell phone so it would have been very hard to contact each other again.

My brother from Australia was not so lucky. He had been in Louisiana at a computer conference and was due to fly back to Australia 11 September. So he was stuck in the US for quite a few more days and then had a very long chaotic series of flights lasting more than a day to get across the US to Los Angeles and then on to Australia once the planes did finally start flying again.

 

So it seems I’m behind on things – I have several posts running around inside my head, but committing them to electrons seems to be more difficult, although 2 posts managed to escape my cerebrum this afternoon…

I hope over the next week or so to post more pictures and commentary from our trip to Bar Harbor and Mount Washington, and I’ve got the pictures from Thursday’s arthroscopic surgery on my knee scanned, but that’s as far as that got…

And I have plenty of back posts to attempt to make on genealogy and travel matters and yard and garden…

Having published 2 posts today I have to say I’m even more in awe of those who publish mulitple posts every day than I was before!!!!!

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