Monday, June 27, 2005
Weekend gone Wild
I'm wrecked. Totally played out. This weekend had too many activities and not enough time to recover. I did get the lawn mowed on Friday though. The Mrs managed to pick up the kids at the 11th hour so I did not need to worry about keeping clean. I really need to have my Friday evenings completely worry free in order to get the lawn done. I end up breaking a sweat just pulling the mower out of the garage. Showing up at the Child Detainment and ReEducation Camp covered in dirt, grass clippings and smelling of gasoline is usually frowned upon. The kids and the Mrs arrived at the manor just as I finished the front yard and was beginning to start the back 50. Well, I had to stop. I can't stomach the risk that I might kick up a rock or stick and zing one of my kids. Now the dogs, they could take that kind of hit. Hell, Katie's favorite pass time is seeing how many times she can bite the front wheel of the push mower before Thor sneaks up on her and knocks her to the ground. No, I sat there and helped the kids pick peas until the Mrs became tired of swatting away insects. Speaking of insects, I found 3 large caterpillars munching away at some of my dill and thought it would be a great educational tool for the little ones. They were mesmerized by the 2 inch long pests so I put them in a glass jar and threw in some dill for food. Since then, they have started to form chrysalis and we will probably be seeing some interesting changes soon.
Saturday, oh ... the humanity! We headed up to NYC right after swim lessons. It was an easy trip on the way up. We saw miles and miles of traffic backed up on the NJ
Parking Lot, err .. Turnpike. It was the herds of NYC residents heading down to the shore points. You gotta leave in the middle of the night to avoid that mess. We got through the Holland Tunnel and over to the parking structure off Kenmare Street at shortly before 1100 hours. A quick walk and we were at the building where the Wholesome Brother in Law lived. Nice building. Most of the space was used for a Evangelical Christian group that the BIL is associated with. He lived on the 8th floor and the party that was in honor of his 30th birthday was being held on the 9th. Well, it was hotter than ever up on that tar roof. The Mrs and the other could handle it, but I thought that it was hot enough to fry rice up there. The tar was starting to melt and chasing the kids about in the blazing sun started to stress my internal cooling systems. I helped out with some of the food being prepared on the charcoal grills. I probably should have avoided that, but I seem to gravitate towards food preparation for some reason. Attack at the source, I suppose. In any event, I did not consume enough food or drink enough fluids to keep my system from crashing. I was headed for a disaster and I failed to recognize the symptoms. The party came to an end at 2-3ish and we cut out a little later after helping a bit with clean-up. It was nice, but the kids made it a bit difficult. They don't do well in enclosed spaces and were all too fearless when peering over the edge (fenced in, mind you). The visibility from that height in that part of the city is really quite impressive actually. Not many buildings exceed 5 stories so being at 9/10 was a real treat. This is where things get hairy. We went off to visit the Wife's cousin that could not make it because she was at work selling hand-bags and shoes for 500-1000$ a pop. Yesh! So we are going to visit Pretty Peggy with Caring Karen and Coffin-Nail Herbie with their two Micro-Hounds in tow. Well, I'm pushing the SUV-Stroller on the crowded streets of Soho and I'm finding that some people just don't know how dangerous it is to stop in front of a cranky daddy. This one Uber-Urbane Urbanite rushes around me and then stops cold to bend over and look at some knock-off handbag that a street-vendor is hawking. Well, this has happened enough today that I have become frustrated enough to not care anymore. I just keep going and run her down like the vermin she is. Heh, she gets flustered and gives me her best "I'm pissed" look as I mouth a shallow apology and just keep rolling. You know Miss, if you wore something besides flip-flops on the garbage strewn streets of NYC, you may have had a chance of not having your 300$ pedicure tarnished with skid-marks by the hated meat-eating Haupersaurus Reximus Maximus. I felt better after that, actually. Vindictive, petty, small minded ... yeah ... but I still sleep easy.
After our brief visit at the shoe-n-bag store, the Mrs and I said our good-byes and made our way to the parking garage. To make a long story short, we spent the next 90 minutes trying to leave NYC via the Holland tunnel. Grid-lock. We went spent a lot of time looking at a green light and the sides of cars 'blocking the box'. It was strange since all the traffic was heading to the tunnel but once we got through the sub-Hudson viaduct, it was clear as a bell. Virtually no traffic at all! Thank God the kids fell asleep shortly after we got into the Family Tank or they would be repeating some coarse language that is guaranteed to make the most grizzled sailor blush. It was a fairly clear shot all the way back to the Manor. A few crazy/deranged motorists on the roadways, but nothing outstanding.
I had a scheduled engagement with two people who have become rather close friends (Read: Hard-core drinking buddies) over the years and I was running late. Satish the Lady Slayer, KLG the Personality Collector and I decided to go to a local Japanese restaurant called Ooka that is no more than a 10 minute trip from the manor. Great location, competent staff, one major failing: No liquor license. After a quick but not entirely satisfying meal, we head off to and old haunt I used to frequent when I had nothing better to do (read: raise children). Low and behold, it is shuttered and the grounds have gone back to the wilds. It seems that after I left my stomping grounds, they left me. Oh, how the fickle tides of time have washed away all the endeavors of my youthful drinking and rabble-rousing. Good. That was for naught and taught me nothing but how to hold onto a toilet when vomiting. We go through a string of locations and finally end up at the Keswick Tavern in Glenside, right across from the Keswick Theater. It's loud, smoky, and full of youthful desperation or aging bar-flies. Just the place we are in search of. We talk, gossip, admonish, deride, congratulate, adulate and do all the usual things as we slowly slide into the haze of semi-intoxication. My dehydration, exhaustion, possible bad raw fish and poor choices in liquid libations quickly end my imbibing activities. It is the first time in years that drinking has actually made me dizzy. I was stunned enough to cease drinking my double cosmopolitan. The catalyst was probably my abysmal failure to eat sufficient starches before starting in on the scotch and vodka. It's quickly 0200 and we are roughly reminded that it is time to go by 500 watts of halogen mood-killers.
Fast forward to 0630 the next day. Ugh. Need I say any more than that. A blob of semi-organic proto-plasma would have been more useful within the manor than I. I could not even get up the energy to finish up the laundry duty I started on Friday. And here is the kicker, at 1500 I had another engagement WITH the family at the Victory Brew Pub some 45 miles away. Yes, because I certainly need to put more toxins in my body at that point. We are friends with the Brewer and his Mrs and have not seen them for what seems like years. I also had the chance to meet a bunch of other former associates and their rapidly expanding herd of children that I had not seen in quite some time. All told, there were 9 or 10 youngsters there and for some reason, I looked awfully similar to a jungle-gym to them. Oh yeah, I was feeling it BIG TIME. It was a good time actually. I'm starting to realize how many confederates I have accumulated over time and how many of them are in the same situation as I. We just need to cut loose every so often. Of course, it helps if you don't think you are still 21 and able to drink the world without consequences.
Final items to note: Alexis got car sickness on the way home from the pub. Just as we got off the turn-pike, she lost it. Rats. Second item, I got poison ivy somewhere. Think it is in the garden somewhere ... peculiar. Itchy too, dammit.