Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Adventures in Florence

Do you ever find yourself being a bit too stingy with your time and realize that you are on the verge of missing out on a great opportunity if you continue being stingy. I had one of those moments today. I was determined to stick to my schedule no matter what. I had lots of things to do today and, by george, I was going to get them done!

I got up early this morning so I could be out the door and on the way to the nearest fabric store (over an hour away) in Florence where my son lives. I also had a huge "wal-mart list", home depot items, banking, bill paying, etc...

He had class until 10:30 so we planned to meet at IHOP for brunch at 11:00. I had done some baking for him the previous day and I also found a coffeepot for him at an estate sale so I was excited to see him and give him his goodies. Brunch was great and we had a wonderful time catching up, since we hadn't seen each other since Christmas, and that was a brief visit then because he had to work on Christmas day.

I really wanted a picture of us together, but I managed to sneak one in of him - he hates it when I do that! :)
So we chatted about the latest events in his life.  He asked me if I ever heard of "geocaching".  Geo-What??
Here is a description offered by the official geocache website

"Geocaching (pronounced geo-cashing) is a worldwide game of hiding and seeking treasure. A geocacher can place a geocache in the world, pinpoint its location using GPS technology and then share the geocache's existence and location online. Anyone with a GPS device can then try to locate the geocache."

In other words, people all over the world hide little boxes and containers and then post the clues to finding them on the internet.  Inside the box is usually a trinket of some sort and a little log for the finder to sign their name and the date they found it.  The geocacher then goes online and logs in their find there, too.  Jeff says there's over 200 just in the Florence area!  You can visit for more information.

"So, Mom, do you want me to show you?"
"Well, I guess so, but I really need to be back here by 12:00 (that's in about 20 minutes)"
He turns and looks at me with a look that says "'cmon, Mom!"
"Yeah, but I still have shopping to do, and I have to go to the bank and I have to get home to make daddy a pie for his birthday and blah, blah, blah......"
(insert record player scratch sound here)
Then I realized, this is my moment - am I going to stick with my stingy schedule and live by the clock or do I take this opportunity to just "hang out" with my son.  I took the latter - What the heck!  He has class at 2:30 so let's just have fun until then.  Besides, this geocaching thing has got me intrigued.

He took me to Freedom Park in Florence where he says there are 5 geocaches listed on the internet.  He and his roommate have found 4 of the 5.

This cache was called "Freedom Fruit"

He parked my truck in the middle of the parking lot and gave me the clue (this came straight off the internet, only he had to decode it first):

Four cool looking trees. Check the largest one.

Hmmm...there's four over there....

I searched and found nothing - Jeff said to remember that it is always within reach and to think about the title of it...freedom fruit

Hmmmm....what about those trees over there?


I was absolutely giggling with excitement at my find!  It was hanging from the branches, just like fruit!!  Superbly camouflaged!!!

I opened the tube, pulled out the paper and logged in my name and date!
Ok....let's do another one!

This one is called  "Austin's Little Box" and here are the clues:

Behind the Baseball fields near the pond
At the base of the tree between the rocks
There were several trees nearby with rocks at their base, but I eventually found the right tree.
This "cache" was loaded with goodies.  The general rule in geocaching is if you take something you have to leave something.  Most people don't ever take anything and usually end up adding to the goodies in the container.
I again signed and dated my find.
Two down, two to go.
This next one was called "Freedom from..."  and it had a lot of clues and descriptions.  Most geocachers use a GPS but we didn't have one and I think it's more fun without the machines anyway.
There are two elevation changes. The first, from the parking lot to the pond, is the more significant one. The second, from the packed dirt trail around the pond to the softer, leaf covered floor of the hide area is smaller and shorter.
Uphill from the most obvious place.
Jeff pretty much told me where to go for this one as I would've taken forever since I'm not familiar with the pond and it's surroundings, but I did find the actual cache myself.  It was a much larger container with even more goodies.  The hider of this cache asks the finder to log on the internet what finding this cache gives them "freedom from..." they said that geocaching gave them freedom from work and the stresses related to their job.  I'll have to mention when I log my find that I found freedom from a stingy schedule!
This funny looking fellow found us on the other side of the pond.  I wish I would've had something to feed him.
OK, my feet are really hurting now, so I asked Jeff to show me the last cache.  Glad he did because it was the hardest to find.  It was a magnetic container stuck behind the scoreboard at the baseball park!
It took me a while to see it even though he was pointing me directly at it!  Can you see it?
So, I know now that geocaching is a lot of fun and I've already looked up a few caches in my local area and perhaps I'll make time to search those out soon.
After our treasure hunt, we had about an hour until Jeff had to be in class, so we decided to head to his house and visit the dogs (all three of them!)
Here's me with the newest puppy, Leia.  She is so sweet and so very soft!  She also likes to jump up and bonk me in the nose!!
I also got a quick lesson in Guitar Hero - I played electric guitar to Michael Jackson's "Beat it" - it was a riot!!
Anyway, I didn't get home until after 4:30, but I was SO GLAD I took the time to "play" with my son!  I realized that I may not have many chances to do that in the future and I would be a fool to let it pass me by!
Let me just take this opportunity to urge you to do as I have done today - slow down and take the time to do something fun with someone you love!  You may never get the chance again!
Come back tomorrow and I'll tell you all about the pie I still haven't made for my husband's birthday (today), although I did manage to pick him up a present while I was shopping  - have I mentioned previously we don't buy gifts for each other....?  Got you curious now, don't I?


Pokey said...

You know what you did today, Jenn? You created a lasting memory with your son. Priceless.
Thanks for sharing, what fun!!

Red Shoes for Rwanda said...

Awwww! You totally made the right choice! It was a no-brainer, anyway, right!?!? :)
I LOVED the first Geo-cache Jacob and his buddy found! :) They put in a tiny heart shaped rock I gave them, and were not happy w/me because I wouldn't let them have the gum someone left in there. (I'm sure it was fine, but, ya....I'm a mom)....They are pretty nifty. :)
What kind of pie? I am planning on making a ice cream dessert this weekend out of ice cream bars that looks so good I just keep dreaming about it :)
Love you & I am so happy you and Jeff had such a great memory made. xxoo Priceless! always come up w/the most clever blog post titles! I'm so proud of you! :)

Homemade Quilts by Granny said...

Enjoyed your post.Just never know what kids can come up with.They have to have something to do these days.

Leslie said...

geocaching is so much fun!!! my little kids love it. it was so fun to read your story about your day of adventures with your son. it is never know what life will hand you so you have to take the opportunities and not let them pass you by.

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