Tuesday, May 31, 2005
It has ended
Sunday: It's early. Much too early. The Mrs is not well and I've got to go let the Hounds out before they chew a hole in the brick wall. That, and the kids are starting to wake. I'll have to redirect them to go harass Child Charmer Karen or the Grandparents. We all need to get our act together so we can head off to the 1000 morning mass, but not before I throw together a hearty breakfast of toast, eggs and, of course, bacon. I mean, what self respecting Minnesota Son would have breakfast without bacon. Now, I did sin and fail to provide coffee, but since I'm going to church to attend the 1000 mass, I'll consider it a form of fasting. Speaking of sin, the kids were a disaster during mass. Not the usual screaming mess you typically associate with unruly children, but the 'Stuff your face with snacks till you gag and spit out all the masticated matter on the pew' type of mess. In an attempt to placate them, Grams gave them suckers near the end. Yes, the big ones. Not the little dum-dums but the 'Oh my God how did you get that all in your mouth' kind. If I were writing this in German, it would probably be described as Kopf-Kreig-Verboten-Sussigkeiten. Jacob dutifully worked on his without loosing a single savory drop while Alexis made it her mission to crush every last sliver of solidified sugar into a saliva paste. About 10 percent of Alexis' stick borne payload ended up as a cherry decoration down the front of her shirt. We are looking at a wardrobe malfunction that a parent is not appalled or outraged at, just resigned to pick up the pieces and move on.
We left quite abruptly to go to the Air Show for the other events that we did not arrive in time for the previous day. There was enough planes, artillery and vehicles to sate any war-monger's appetite. Except mine. The Wart-Hogs doing dry runs with accompanying music of 'Flight of the Valkyries' and pyrotechnics (napalm burning off) was something else. I could feel the heat and pressure shock wave all the way across the tarmac. We ended up buying a couple of die-cast collectible planes for the kids who promptly began mimicking the flight patterns of the aircraft we had been watching. I hope they don't get the idea that this is how all planes fly, our first flight on a commercial craft will be mightily disappointing. That and the lack of fiery explosions will certainly make them yawn. Jake even went for a tour in one of the larger anti-submarine hunter craft. With the addition of Dove bars (ironic, eh?) and m&m ice-cream cookie sandwiches, we found the whole experience rather affordable. They even had free water, what a country! The only downside is that either the brilliant high pressure front with accompanying sunshine or the napalm explosions gave me a bit of a sunburn on the forehead and nose. No biggie, just a precursor to a little melanoma.
Back at the manor, I was cranking up the grills so that Amish Dad could flip a few prime beef burgers and I could grill up a dozen foot long hotdogs (HUGE) and just as many brats. A quick dinner, but still very satisfying. A little salad on the side with a few radishes and the meal is complete. Of course, there is more than enough to go around but leftovers are what makes this household great. Never any shortage of delectables to fill your gullet with. Dinner was a bit of a challenge with Jake, but nothing we have not come to expect from him. His meal-time shenanigans are easily met with a bit of persistence and a load of bribery or overt threat. Yeah, eat your dinner and you get desert, fail and you go to bed. Pretty standard stuff. Later on in the evening, after all the play-mates are 'played out', we send the kids to bed. Now the little ones would like nothing more than for this unfettered play time to go on forever, but they (mostly we) need the sleep. But not Jacob ... noooo. It might have been the smores he and his sister made (and devoured) but Jake is up for quite some time pleading for mommy or daddy. Eventually, we crack and the Mrs goes up to lay with him for a few minutes. That's all it took, he became comfortable and passed out. Good thing too, because I had a surprise waiting for me later in the night. It turns out that the last of the family of cousins that were visiting needed to be picked up ... from Philly. At midnight. On a Weekend night. Argh ... I'm exhausted and need at least a 15 minute nap before going on this extraction mission to fetch Pretty Girl Peggy. It goes off fairly well. I make it there in no time and make no wrong turns. Right down to parking on Walnut and 10th in front of the fire hydrant. Philly style. She is hanging out with a friend (Ivy) who is going to nursing school at Thomas Jefferson University. I think that's the place ... it was late and I was wearing nothing but slippers, shorts and a t-shirt. I didn't look out of place either. We had brought Happy Guy Herbie's dog along and it apparently did not like the ride. After a few moments of waiting outside the dorm for Pretty Girl Peggy, the micro-dog yacked up 55 gallons of whatever in the quad. It was a nice, clean space till we got there. People coming and going would look down at it and grimace before stepping over. I guess they thought it was the usual Weekend Night Sidewalk Decorations. We made it out of town rather quickly and got back to the Manor shortly after 0100 ... Monday. And the crew was hungry again. No problem, I laid out the leftovers and found that they quickly were demolished. Talk about descending locust! Well, now I have a defense when the Mrs complains that I cook too much food. Hey, hon, you never know when your family might show up! ;)
Monday: Morning rolls around and the Mrs is not feeling well again. The allergies are really pounding her into the sand. She sleeps in while the kids entertain themselves with pounding on the inlaws and grams. All the while, Amish Dad and I are out working on the Twin Towers of Dooooom. It's time to put up the tarps for the roof and being 12-15 feet up in the air on a ladder is by no means an easy thing. Especially when you have the business end setting on loose sand. We managed to get it up with eye-hooks and snaps with no falls or bodily injury. While we were at it, I also put up a pair of gymnastic rings between the swings. That became very popular with the kids. The roof was intriguing to Jacob. I just have the roof on Alexis' tower and then the construction will be finished. Only the blocks and additional sand need to be done and I am certain that I'll be able to finish that this summer. It took a bit of time to get what needed to be done finished, but it was time for the inlaws to start drifting off. First it was the Mrs's cousins. Then it was my Big Little Brother. The Grandparents stuck around a bit longer to have dinner. Gramps grilled some chicken on the deck while Grams made some potato salad that the Mrs loves. Some more greens from the garden and dinner was served. We took the kids out back to play on the towers while the Grandparents snuck out the front. The departure is always heart-rending so this is the best way. Yes, the kids have been asking about the raft of visitors and play mates ever since. Soon enough, we will see them again. To ease them into bed, I set up the portable air-conditioner in their room. The Manor seems to collect heat and funnel it into the sleeping quarters. Nice in the winter, not so nice in the summer. It is summer now after all. Let the simmering begin.