Monday, April 8, 2013

Random Thoughts: Spring Break, Gnats, and Dog Walking

Do you hear that? That sweet sound of silence? My children are back in school after Spring Break. Now the fact that I'm enjoying the silence is not to say that I didn't enjoy the little darlings while they were home, because I did. But I didn't particularly enjoy the trail of kid garbage left wherever they went. If my kids were Hansel and Gretel, they wouldn't drop only bread crumbs, they would drop shoes, dirty socks, bath towels, candy wrappers, soda cans, water bottles, juice pouches, dirty dishes, jackets, blankets, and sporting equipment. They would have absolutely NO PROBLEM finding their way home, methinks.

We spent Easter weekend in my hometown with my parents and took a day to visit my beloved's mom and sisters just down the road. It was a strange Easter as my brother (Uncle Grumpy) and his family were in Florida instead of with us (where they should have been). That's the first time we've spent an Easter without their family. It was strange. And my kids were very disappointed as they very much wanted to pal around with their cousins. To assuage this disappointment I planned a different Easter egg hunt this year.

Usually the eggs are hidden by the kids over 13 for the kids under 13. Since the cousins were gone, the only ones under 13 were Sean and Mary. I decided that we'd have an egg scavenger hunt around town instead. It was a hit. Maggie, James and I hid eggs with clues (and candy) around town, then my mom drove Mary and my dad drove Sean to find the eggs. We had a good time going to different places that the kids knew and loved. It would have been even better if I was good at math and didn't have more clues than eggs. Ooops! Things worked out anyway and it ate some of the daylight that the kids normally would've spent moping about their cousins being gone. (Hey Uncle Grumpy's family?! Have I made you feel guilty enough now?)

Then there was the traditional beating of the pinata. As I've said before, nothing says 'He is risen' like taking a whack at a papier mache duck with a long stick. ;)

The day after Easter, we headed about 90 miles south to Saint Louis. (For the purposes of trying to sound like we vacationed somewhere exotic over Spring Break, we have been pronouncing that city's name with a French pronunciation. Think: Sahn Leweee. You are more than welcome to join us in this. I think if enough of us do it, it could be A Thing.) Even though we grew up a short hour and a half away, my beloved and I had never taken our children there. We decided to take a day and rectify that situation. We first headed to the Arch where we waited in line for security while embarrassing ourselves in front of our fellow line-waiters. One son was attempting parcourt on the sloped sides of the entrance, another was desperately trying (and mostly failing) to take panoramic shots of the Arch from underneath it with my phone, one was taking photos on her phone while being accosted by a strange man dressed like a '90s rap artist, and one was doing everything she could to aggravate everyone else by either mocking them or not being satisfied with things. We are delightful to be in line with.

Once we got in and purchased our tickets, we had just enough time to buy some salt water taffy and root beer barrel candy at the mercantile before waiting in another line to board the 5 seat tram/pods to the top. Then we split up (boys/girls) and took the 4 minute ride to the top with strangers (who we discovered, were from nearby places--hello boys from Sacred Heart-Griffin! Hello couple from South Dakota with family in Chatham where we have family!) who were probably quite happy to be shed of us once the trams came to a stop.

When we got to the top, we elbowed our way through the crowds to the windows and took pictures and oohed and ahhed. Except Sean, who is afraid of heights and decided that just making the trip up was enough for one day and who stood in the exact center of the milling crowd so he wouldn't have to see out the windows.

After the Arch, we stopped for some lunch and headed to the zoo. There we saw lots of animals--including Sean's favorite, the Somali wild ass. You know why it was his favorite? Because it gave him a legitimate reason to say the word ass. And like any 11 year old boy, he was very creative in finding ways to work it into conversation throughout the day. We also ran into friends from our neighborhood--causing everyone to muse about what a small world it really is. And then I had that stupid, insipid song in my head all day and willingly shared it with my family by singing it loudly and poorly as often as possible because I love them and I am a giver.

After the zoo, we dropped Patrick at his hotel (he was staying behind on business) and I drove the kids home to my folks' house to spend the night before heading back to Indy. And I only almost wrecked the car once because of a McConnaughay fit, brought on by my eldest son's Cartman voice and the town of Raymond. Now if we want to give something or someone particularly high praise, we call it/them Raymond.


Maggie, James, Mary, and I went to drum circle last week. Sean opted not to go as he didn't "see the point of having some dirty hippie* tell me about hitting a drum" when he could be outside playing with his dudes. We had a great time. It relieved our stress (but did make our hands a little sore) and had us laughing. The folks at the drum place said as the weather warmed, they'd move the circle outside. We have all agreed we are going back. Maggie even said she's going to go with a group of friends. It was an hour well spent.

*The instructors might lean toward hippie just a skosh, but were not in the least bit dirty.


I have been trying to teach the Dumb Dog manners. And part of this requires me taking her for leashed walks and teaching her how to be sociable without appearing ridiculous. This means that when people approach, I shorten that leash to nothing and often make her sit until the people have walked by. This is so hard for her, since what she really wants to do is bound up to them and wag them into submission, that while she's sitting her hindquarters quiver. Then when I give her the command to continue walking she does a full body shake. If you happen by when we are walking, you'll be able to easily identify us: I'll be the weary human with several loaded poop bags walking the yellow hound that looks as if she's suffering from fits.


I have floaters in my eyes. Nothing to be alarmed about, just the occasional black spots floating by. However, sometimes I think the floaters are gnats out in front of me and I wildly wave my arms about my face trying to clear the air. Then I realize what I'm seeing are floaters, NOT gnats, and I look around to see if anyone saw me.

This morning while walking the dog, I was walking and noticed the floaters again. Rather than embarrass myself in front of the neighborhood by flinging my arms about at nothing, I took a deep breath and kept walking, thinking that the floaters would settle in a minute. This would have been a great plan, if the floaters were really floaters. Instead they really were gnats and as I took a deep breath, one flew up my nose. So instead of waving my arms about my face, I stood there hacking and honking and snorting and doing a little dance because I was totally squicked out about inhaling a gnat.

That was so completely NOT RAYMOND!


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