Weatherwhine in Vane

Real Time Weather

The rains came back this weekend—I wish they’d give us time to miss them— and by Sunday evening, the stormwater drains on our street couldn’t cope any more.  A few of them even sent up distress geysers, to the awed delight of the neighborhood kids.

At least six cars stalled in front of our house and my husband had a great time offering advice from our front porch about how to get through the rapids without sucking water up their tailpipes and, inevitably, the phone numbers of tow trucks.  Eventually, he waded barefoot across the street to consult with the neighbors, taking Janie with him without mentioning it to me.*

In my defense, I was too busy looking around for Brad Pitt, Craig Sheffer, and Robert Redford to notice they’d gone—I figured if a river was gonna run through it, there should be some compensation.

Sunny, who had been left behind once again because of blatant size discrimination, promptly ratted them out and left button noseprints all over the windows, while giving running reports on her father and sister—“They’re still there!”— and also on the impressive lake forming at the bottom of the slope behind our house—“Can we have a pet duck, now, Mommy?”**

By Monday, everything had drained enough for Sunny to go rain-puddling in the late afternoon with her sister without adults worrying about undertow or sewer mutants climbing out for a breath of air.  Dry feet, though, were another matter—at one point, Jane took off a rain boot and upended half a gallon of dubious-colored water onto our driveway.  Her sister, or I’m told, tap-danced in it—squish-danced seems more likely.***

Eventually, my husband hauled them in for decontamination^ and we all had barbecue—from our favorite smokehouse restaurant, since it had started raining again.

My husband, it should be noted, is my hero.

But we never lost power and my MIL’s lower-level apartment—ie, our basement—was never at risk, and none of the kids are itchy around the calves this morning.  And I had naps and a pile of smoked chicken.  Sure, getting to work was tricky this morning—most of the towns between the kids’ school and the library were preemptively closed in case the river decides to go exploring again and not many detour signs were up—but it was more of an adventure than a cause for Road Rage.

So it was a good weekend, despite the weather—I can almost ignore this week’s forecast and the Armageddon-expression the sky is currently wearing.

Almost.

How’s the weather over there?

___________________

*This was a wise move on both their parts, since the idea of touching floodwater gives me the scrub-my-skin-off-squickies, but I can usually cope with what’s done is done when it comes to the rest of the family—before scrubbing off their skin.

** Stupid livestock ordinance.

***Or so I’m told; I’d snuck off to have a nap at that point.  I’d like to say it was so my hydrogermaphobia wouldn’t ruin the kids’ fun, but I’m not that altruistic.

^Thus ending the nap.  Why is it that kids who are incapable of passing by a shallow indent filled with liquid filth are so loudly allergic to clear water produced in a relatively clean bathroom?  And why does my husband seem to take such glee in using them as alarm clocks after his wife has only had her head down for a measly two hours or so?  Yeah, yeah, rhetorical, never mind.

Age is just a number that tells everyone you’re old now*

Wise old owl

I had a good birthday.

After lunch—technically a Father’s Day lunch for my husband at his favorite Mexican restaurant—Janie, Watson and I went shoe shopping.  I adopted three pairs:  a pewter pair that almost makes up for the deplorable fact that Rieker stopped making those red  and silver suede ones just when I need replacements, a black pair that Rieker can’t stop making because they are the shoe, and a pair that hugs my feet like lovely woven gloves.**

The only bad part is that I have to inter my old, worn-loved-and-abused-to-destruction favorites,*** but all birthdays have a touch of melancholy, right?

We spent the next hour looking at every single item in the accessory shop next door and saying no to Janie, which is good exercise and keeps me sharp for the pseudo-negotiation of bigger things she won’t be getting until she achieves financial and geographical independence.   But I did spring for a set or two of earrings–on sale–and two hairbows for Sunny.^

Because every birthday should be about sharing stuff, even if that stuff is made of tiny earrings shaped like fast food.  Right?

Tired and happy, we returned home and had lemonade and pie.  Okay, the kids had lemonade in front of the tube, my husband had iced tea, Watson went downstairs to take care of Jada Mae Swissie Dog and I hid in the kitchen with my laptop and had pie—chocolate truffle pie—while thanking everyone who sent me birthday wishes.

So, so worth the slightly sticky keyboard.  Because birthdays should be about friends and risking chocolate-coated, white-hot sugar death.  Right?

And then . . . I napped.

It was a good, long, prodigious nap.  There may have been dreams of swordfights with garlic breadsticks.  This isn’t as weird as it sounds—partly because it’s my subconscious, and garlic breadstick swordfights aren’t nearly as odd as it gets in there—and mostly because when I woke up, the house smelled of roasted garlic, meatballs, pasta sauce, and toasted bread—Janie and Watson made me dinner for my birthday.  It was amazing, and ended as all fabulous meals should,  with a slab of my MIL’s famous Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting^^ and a quick change into elastic-waisted pants.

And then we had presents. Because birthdays should be—well, you know.

My kids gave me a hair dryer, which is exactly what I’d asked for, since I’ve been playing Russian Roulette with my old one for two weeks—sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes it waits until my hair is half-dry and at even funnier angles than usual. This new one is bright, shiny, and aggressively magenta—if it were  shoes, it would be clogs (see**)—but it works, it has a retractable cord,  and it’s quiet.  I spent some quality time with it this morning and I think we’ll get along just fine.

My husband gave me Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows on DVD, which I’m still loudly kicking myself for missing in the theater every time I’m reminded of it.^^^  He apparently bought it the day it  came out in an effort to stop the kicking, or at least the loud, and has been living in fear that I’d buy it for myself, which I’ve only done . . . a couple timesand usually, in my defense, books.   So I want at least partial credit for my restraint.°

But the Gift of the Day award—don’t tell the kids—goes to my MIL, who gave me something I’d stared at for a solid twenty minutes at the Art Fair last month before tearing myself away with thoughts of my Discover Card bill:

His name is Blaug.  Isn’t he brilliant?

It was a very good birthday—because birthdays should be shared with the people who know you best and love you anyway.  Right?

Right.

___________

*Thanks so very much,  Siobhan.  You’ll be delighted to know that I’ve marked your birthday on my calendar, too.  In red.

**I’m so disappointed that clogs and I don’t get along.  I hated the pointy shoe trend, because I do not have naturally streamlined toes and do not feel the need to cripple myself for fashion, but the overly-rounded backlash currently in effect makes me feel like I’m a clown dressing as a duck in an effort to look like a clown duck in my early hipster twenties, which wouldn’t have been a good look for me when I was in my twenties and is exponentially bad now.  Especially in that pair that looked like someone had cracked a blood-red pearlized bowling ball in half and shellacked it.  There are some shoes so fundamentally ugly, you have to try them on, just once.

***Sing it with me:  The Ciiiiiiiircle of Liiiiiiiife . . . .

^Who told me I was the Best Mom Ever and  promptly clipped them to the head of her stuffed duck, whom she had dressed in a play jumper originally owned by an entirely different species of doll.  In retrospect, the day had an odd, secondary duck theme to it . . .

^^I still can’t believe I rated this cake.  I’m sure she also made it for my husband, but I don’t care because it’s that good.

^^^According to certain members of my family who have started to join in chorus as I whine, I’m reminded of this a lot.

° While duly giving credit for the distractions offered by television—more specifically, the second season of BBC Sherlock (nabbed it) and the fourth season of Leverage (pre-ordered).  But it could have easily gone the other way.

Energy is wasted on the young . . . .

Humorous Pictures

Since Janie is at Fun Camp today and my husband had an early class, Sunny and I spent the morning together.

We played with her new dollhouse, went to the postal place to mail books,*  and tore  around the Family Museum, followed with a nice, heavy lunch with Daddy and Grandma.   The object was to tire her out  so she would take a nice, long nap—and I could spend an hour doing a little research and typing up some notes.

And it worked.  Sort of. 

Sunny is napping . . . but my nose is about to hit the keyboard for the third time. 

Instead of applying caffeine to the problem, I’m going to try something radical—a forty-five minute strategic retreat to the couch.  I know fighting the sleepies with actual sleep is a bit counterintuitive, but what the heck.

I’ll let you know if it workzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

____

*Note to glasseye and Richard:  check your e-mail!

Family Visit Random Recap, now in 3D!

My parents are leaving early tomorrow to trek back to Ohio—if they figure out where the kids and I hid their car keys.  Here are just a few highlights of the holiday week:

Sharper than a serpent’s tooth is a clueless child . . .

Mom and Dad arrived Tuesday night and it took a long time for the kids to settle down enough to sleep.  Unfortunately, Janie and I both had to get up at our usual time on Wednesday to go to our respective half days of school or work.  Janie griped and sniped through the morning until everyone lost patience and I finally got her loaded into the car with her Grandparent Day props, homework, and Angel Shoe Tree gift.

I belted myself in and calmly informed her that she was going to have to remember that other people didn’t know how sleepy she was and that she was going to have to be very careful not to lose her temper and try to be aware of what was going on today.  Her grandparents had come a long way to see her in her skit and she needed to make it a good day for them.  I extracted an agreement, opened the garage door, put the car in reverse and promptly backed into Mom’s car.  Wham.

I drove into the garage, made sure Janie was okay, checked for car damage (there was none*) and went inside.  “Could someone please move the car that I just backed into so Janie and I can leave?”  Because, you know, it wasn’t my fault I hadn’t used the rearview mirror to see if Mom’s bright metallic orange Element was lurking out there.

Mom leapt for her keys, ran out in her slippers, without a coat, and backed her car into the street along the curb.  I backed out, waved in thanks, and left . . . not realizing that I’d automatically closed the garage door as I pulled away.  To get back inside, Mom had to walk all the way around the house to the front door and ring the bell.

Did I mention it was 28°F ?

Thanksgiving Dinner

Garlic turkey with roasted garlic cloves, mashed potatoes, steamed green beans, scalloped pearl onions (thanks, Grace), homemade bread, salad, corn pudding, pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting, cinnamon and pumpkin ice creams, and what I’m told was a very nice Zinfandel rose from a local winery (thanks again, Grace!).

And turkey soup tonight, which will kill all the leftovers.   Boo-yah.

The Arts & Crafts Show

The day after Thanksgiving, my family heads over to the local Expo Center where we wander from vendor to vendor gazing at all the handmade gifts made by other people’s hands.

The kids were allowed to choose an outfit for one of their dolls and persuaded me to buy them each a scented candle for their rooms—Janie picked birthday cake and Sunny chose peppermint.  I bought one that was labeled snickerdoodle, but smells more like pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting—though I might be projecting, there.

And in one booth, I found this little guy:

Yes, it’s a snowman made of Minnesota fieldstone and iron.**   Just look at that little face!

I adopted him on the spot—and then left him on that spot to pick up later, since he weighs about 30 pounds.  Dad ended up carrying him to the car, since I had Sunny, who was being knocked off her feet by the wind.   I think Dad got the better deal—my armful sneezed in my ear.  Twice.

My mother-in-law says he looks like a pile of ugly potatoes, but I love him and will never take him for granite . . .

The Virus Strikes Again, or a Tangled web

We were going to add to the family tradition by taking the kids to a movie after lunch the day after Thanksgiving.  The kids have been begging at least twice a day each to see Tangled since the first preview hit Youtube and I said, “Oh, wow!  You guys have to see this!”  That was . . . five months and a lot of begging ago.  Rookie mistake.

But I want to see it, too, and it’s the kind of movie we all love.  And it sounded like a good alternative to our usual naps.

Except the virus we all had last week finally hit my mother-in-law Thanksgiving afternoon, so she decided to skip both the holiday dinner and the movie.  And then my Dad started feeling icky the next morning . . and Janie started looking green at the restaurant.

I wasn’t sure if the green was caused by Dad trying to ease his queasy stomach by eating baby calamari,*** her overlarge serving of stir fried mushroom noodles, or the virus . . . until she refused dessert and asked me if we could go to the movie next week.  My little instant gratification junkie doesn’t do next week, so we sped her home with a plastic carsick bag in her hand (I’m not an actual rookie) and put her to bed with the bucket.

And then we all took naps.

Guess you can’t beat tradition.

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*Probably because we both have Hondas.  Say what you want about Honda—they don’t screw around when it comes to bumpers.  I was once rear-ended by a full-sized Buick.  The impact threw my Honda Civic Wagon all the way across the intersection, which luckily had no cross traffic at the time.  I drove away with a chip in my right tail light.  The Buick had to be towed.

**Francis Metal Works usually makes remarkably graceful waterfowl in various sizes—two baby geese came home with us, too—but they make special holiday items as well.

*** . . . Yeah.  I know.