Tuesday, May 31, 2005
It has begun
FRIDAY: It has been quite a busy and relatively fruitful weekend. But like all grand epics and tales of wonder, it was fraught with trials and tribulations as well. I did manage to get the entire lawn mowed just before the Big Little Brother arrived on Friday evening. That was a good thing. The kids love it when he comes down from the Tundra of the Finger Lakes in NY. That, and I can be fairly certain that if I need something for any particular project, he will be more than happy to go out with the Mrs and pick up the hardware. It's like having a personal Home Depot/Lowes/Sears shopping consultant. If I sent the Mrs out for a left-handed smoke shifter with sky-hook upgrade (not that I would do that), she would be out for hours and come back home with adhesive bathroom hooks and some flower seeds. The hardware store is the last domain of man (except for that bathroom we like to use and smells like it). I collected significantly less clippings from this lawn 'harvest'. The weed count is much greater than anticipated as well. In spite of the various compliments from my neighbors, I believe it is time for the early summer fertilizer with a healthy dose of weed oriented herbicide. Front yard only. The back yard gets nothing but liquid fire from the hounds and a various sprinklings of spore. Next year, I'll put sod in the areas that have been the worse for wear.
Later on in the evening, the Grandparents arrived much to the amazement of the kids. They went into a flurry of activity while running back and forth between the slow moving procession of Joy Incarnate and the destination play room. I think they may love their grandparents, we will need to conduct more observations to make an accurate assessment. The Tumultuous Twins played into the wee hours of the evening and furiously resisted the idea that going to bed was for their own good. The mere mention of the concept was greeted with raucous cat calls of denial and disgust.
SATURDAY: We started out with the usual schedule. Swimming at 0830, Perkins Pancakes at 0930, BJs shopping at 1030, Lunch or Snack at 1130 and nap time at 1230. We had to add the BJs stop in so we can fill the 400 gallon capacity fuel storage unit in the Family Tank at a 2 cent lower price. It still hurts to see that many zeros flying out of the budget. As for the standard weekend clause, the big difference this time is that I put a few racks of ribs on the NG grill before we left and managed to turn the succulent swine flesh into blackened lumps of carbon. I had some beef ribs in the oven that I had set to 250 and they came out just fine. I think I've finally figured out why they burn on the NG ... direct heat. If I set them on one side and turn on the burner on the other side, they come out just fine. I'll have to put a note inside the grill to remind myself for next time. I tend to forget these lessons all to quickly. Oh, and speaking of burnt, the anticipated nap time for the children never came to fruition. No, their 5 minute cat nap on the way back home proved to be more than sufficient for them to completely recover. Must be the sugar fueled nanobot fusion reactor dynamos ... pancake syrup power.
While the kids were riding rough-shod over Grandma and Mommy, Hero Dad and I got down to business and put up the rock climbing walls on the Twin Towers w Anti Aircraft Artillery emplacements. We did the first one the 'wrong' way and had a bit of retro-fitting to do in order to fit the second story correctly. Nothing that could not be done without a bit of craftiness and a dash of using tools improperly. Power tools. With sharp buzzing blades. Yeah, no safety net either. Once we had completed the walls, Hero dad went on to power wash the siding on the mansion while I negotiated a price with a drive-by contractor to resurface the grand drive. It's been a few years since I last had the chance to put down sealant on the drive. I admit this failing, but time has been short. That, and it is the nastiest, dirtiest and plain unpleasant task which I do not relish undertaking. For a meager 200$ USD, this fellow would be happy to do it. You're hired. And yes, I'll pay cash. Want a beer?
After the flurry of activity, the Incredibly Patient Wife's relatives appeared. The inlaws like to come to the Mansion since they are guaranteed to get a filling meal no matter what hour they arrive. The first to arrive were Happy Guy Herbie and Child Charmer Karen. Jacob is enthralled by Karen's long hair and had no qualms about curling up in her lap the minute she arrives. We did not have much time for him to work his charms on her though. It was getting late in the afternoon and we needed to head off to the Air Show at the Willow Grove Naval Air Station so we could watch the Blue Angels do their aerial acrobatics at Mach 5. I knew it would be mobbed and was vindicated. I fortunately had the foresight to take a northern approach and parking in the commercial complex next to the base where there was a Movie Theater. We quickly found parking (even though it was awash with double parking and hordes of wandering watchers looking skyward. The twins were mesmerized by the jets racing through the air and quickly spotted the jets as the appeared and disappeared along the horizon. The first sonic boom they felt was a bit of a shock though. I could feel Alexis tense up and jump a bit when it hit. After that, it was a little attended occurrence. The show was over at 1600 hours, just in time for a torrential downpour. Fine by me since we will be returning the next day to go onto the base and see the displays and participate in the other assorted activities. Since the base and surrounding area was filled to capacity with idling vehicles, I utilized my superior knowledge of the region to escort the caravan to a little used road-way behind the theater and out of the parking lots at the north end. Quickly out and on our way to a meal at one of our favorite restaurants: Bertucci's. This is the same place where I proposed to the Mrs before she became the Wife. It is harder to seat 9 than 4, but we managed to get in and were handsomely rewarded with superior food and liquid libations that sated my craving for vodka martinis. Reasonable prices too. Sounding like I'm pimping the restaurant? Even Jacob was thrilled with the pizza dough supplied for him to play with. Of course, he felt that mixed media was more entertaining and mashed the crayons into it. That was good for at least an hour of unattended goofing off. He liked the cooked pizza too.
Back at the manor, it has become late in the evening and Jacob is performing his typical "I'm not depleted enough to fall asleep yet" routine. After escorting him back to bed, I revisit him to sooth his troubled mind and guide him back to dream-land. Poor kid has seen so many awe-inspiring things today, his limited experiences have been overwhelmed. He has a bit of sweat on his brow leading me to consider setting up the AC in the nursery. I'll do it on Monday. I'm not in the mood (attitude and financial) for turning on the whole-house AC yet. The evening dwindles away with the Mrs working away on the 'Big Iron' computer in sub-basement 12H ... all the while becoming more ill from something she picked up in combination with her seasonal allergies. It looks like my 'Sleep Whisperer' services will be required once more this evening.