Before we left Ohio and went to Florida we used to have book club meetings with some of our friends, but when we left the book club kinda broke up. Some of our friends wanted to see us while we were in Ohio so they offered to host another meeting of book club and we got to choose which book we would read. For the book club we always read G. K. Chesterton and since we didn’t have time to read a long story so Mom and Dad decided that we would read the Club of Queer Trades. The Club of Queer Trades is a collection of six short stories about strange mishaps which occur because of entirely new businesses which in the end become part of the club. I really like Chesterton and I really liked the story. It was funny, it was like a detective story, and wasn’t very long either.
Not too long ago we went on a vacation to Ohio. Before any of us (the children) were born Mom and Dad had gone to the Biltmore Estate and had always spoken of it with extreme pleasure and had wanted to take us to see it as well. So the first stop we made on the way up to Ohio was of course the Biltmore. I of course knew the Estate would be big, but it exceeded even my wildest expectations. We drove through along for at least five minutes on the Estate just to make it to the house. The house may not look like much there, but believe me I was surprised the people who lived in the Biltmore could find anything without a map. Sadly, I have no pictures of the interior because you are not allowed to take pictures of the inside (for… some, reason). I will try, however, to talk about all the high points of the trip. Inside the house they had a garden a bowling alley, and a swimming pool. All of the rooms were huge, the house was at least three stories tall, and there were 42 bathrooms in the house. One of the funny things we noticed was that the beds were all really short made for a person no bigger than 4 feet. We looked at all the house we could (the floors after the second floor and select other rooms were off limits), and all in all had a great time.
This is a short story that Stephen wrote for one of his English Classes.
He’s Often Flying
Mitch Weldon floored the gas pedal and the formula 1 car ripped forward with a lurch, as if it were spurning the asphalt under the wheels. The car seemed to be trying to fly off the track and it would have to if the air flow over the wings on the side didn’t create downforce, forcing the car down on the pavement. He stared intently at the track in front of him constantly guessing and second guessing the distance of the track before him. His car came up on the tail of #58. The spoiler grew larger and larger until Mitch thought the nose of his #46 almost had to be tucked snuggly under the rear axle of #58. At the last moment he jerked his dial and button covered wheel right taking the outside curve. Mitch knew that the outside curve meant he would have to drive longer, but he also knew that his #46 was eating the track far quicker than #58 whose driver was having trouble seeing under the parabolic reflectors used during the nighttime portion of the Coca-Cola 600 to reduce the glare.
“See you later Dan,” Weldon muttered to himself through his helmet as he whizzed past the bright blue car.
As Mitch saw the track open into the straight stretch ahead of him he opened the throttle as far as he could and listen to the engine behind him roar like an angry lion. #46 lurched forward once again. #46 flew by a group of spectators to them it sounded like an enormous mosquito buzzing louder than any rock band.
At 176mph Mitch buzzed past #36.
“Fourth,” Mitch muttered. His heart started pounding; his day had begun that morning at 11 o’clock at the Indianapolis 500. He had won the Indy 500 and if he could only pull off another win this evening he would not only receive the honor of being the only driver to win both, but he would also win the $20,000,000 prize Bruton Smith, owner of Speedway Motorsports, Inc, was offering to the first person who could pull off such a feat.
He past #12.
His wheels burned on the asphalt. The smell of petrol fuel and burning rubber filling the air around him. He zoomed past #98.
He rounded the final turn drawing up next to car 7. The cars came out onto the straight stretch neck and neck, but car seven was fighting. Suddenly the unthinkable happened. The cars wheels brushed together and #46 sailed off the track.
As his shiny green, fiberglass car literally flew over the finish line. Mitch shouted in ecstasy, “I win! If I live long enough.”
A little morbid perhaps, but funny all the same.
Last week must have been van breakdown week because last week Friday Nicholas had to fix the cruise control. To get to the cruise control Nicholas had to take this off. He had to do this because the front of the van is very small so part of the engine is in that compartment. Besides the cruise control, today Mom made new seat covers for the van. Pretty snazzy huh?
Yesterday Nicholas and I replaced the shocks on the van. We did this because the van has been bouncy, to increase stopping power, and because the shocks just needed replaced. To get to the shocks we had to jack up one side of one of the ends of the van to take a wheel off. We only jacked up one wheel at a time because the van is just so very BIG. When we pulled the shocks off I realized how badly they needed replaced. I, by myself, could compress the shocks and then they wouldn’t decompress themselves. See that shiny yellow part behind the spring? That’s the brand new shock.
The little boys and I had to do some “gardening” in the front flower bed last week because it had gotten kinda overgrown, and some of the bushes had died. So while Christopher mowed the lawn, Robert and I weeded the flower bed. And weeded. And weeded. And weeded until it was finally all weeded out. This is what it looked like afterwards. Mom says I should plant something there, but I think it looks fine.
The folding video for the Origami Raptor at the back of every H.A.T.S. #1 is up on YouTube at Angry Raptor Origami.