Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)
Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.
This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.
Monday, October 27, 2003
Okay now—Friday night was mostly uneventful—I just sat there and watched Boy practice while studiously reading my Old Car Trader to keep from having to talk to the relentlessly peppy guy who plopped down right beside me. Yes. I am antisocial.
Got home and received the Icy Look of Doom for having frittered away precious time by being away from home instead of helping with the laundry. Miss Reba had a long week last week, and came home feeling unappreciated and put-upon, so I was placed on double secret probation for the rest of the evening. It finally got bedtime about eleven, at which time she stationed herself on the edge of the bed, wrapped up in the sheets like a mummy. I leaned over to give her some sugar and propped there on my elbow for a minute afterwards, poised to turn off the television. “Quit staring at me!”
Huh? “I wasn’t—I was about to turn off the TV.” I am very intuitive, though. “Reba, what’s wrong?”
See, I know better. I know that means I have been a horrible human being.
“I know something must be wrong—you would feel better if you tell me.”
I heard Alan Alda say that once, I think.
“Have I done something wrong?”
“Have I NOT done something I should have done?
No response. Ahhhh. Finally.
“Would you tell me what I didn’t do?
“Would you tell me what I didn’t do if I somehow managed to guess what it was?”
“Go to bed.”
“You’re not going to tell me?”
Now then. Let me just say right here and right now, I don’t ever want to hear anyone say that the problem with men is their unwillingness to talk about sensitive issues. Or is it listen? Oh well, I can never remember.
So I fixed the problem by pinching her repeatedly on the bottom and trying to kiss her on the back of her neck, which provoked her into much slapping at my nether regions and rather-less-than-convincing demands to be left alone. She kept trying to pout after I relented, but I am like what Steve Martin said about banjo music—just like it’s impossible to play a sad song on the banjo, it’s impossible for her to stay mad at me. For very long.
Anyway, off to slumber, then up again early Saturday to get ready for Jonathan’s soccer game. As an attempt to damp down any lingering ‘send ‘im to the doghouse’ sentiments, I thought since we were going to be gone all day for that silly game then for our silly festival at church, that it sure would be nice to come home to a big vat of homemade chili for supper.
Out with the crock pot, out with the tomato paste, in with the seasoning. We always use Carroll Shelby’s seasoning mix—it’s good enough, and he’s a real character, and when I hit it big I’m going to blow it all on a Cobra. I let that cook while we were gone, then browned up some beef and some Jimmy Dean mild pork sausage when we got back to put in it, along with some onion and some other stuff that I do not care to divulge. But no music fruit—no use tempting fate and setting off the smoke alarm with unregulated methane releases.
Everyone else eventually woke up and got ready, then it was off to the far reaches of north Jefferson County to Bradford. Way, WAY up Highway 79, and made even more frustrating by the fact that I had to make a detour. As is usual, we left no earlier than the slowest girl getting dressed, so we had no time to spare. Threw everyone in the van, set out and came to a dead stop going up Chalkville Mountain Road due to some fancy-pants 5k run. The police had the road blocked and instead of letting a car or two burn some rubber between slow-footed runners, they just kept everyone in place. So I turned around and went the LONG way around, killing about fifteen minutes of time, and arriving at the park about fifteen minutes late. ::sigh:: At least we got there.
The game was rather pitiful. The other team was not that great, and Boy’s team was actually passing and moving the ball around pretty good. And we STILL managed to lose by 2-0. Oh well, as I say every time, at least he has fun.
Back in the car, and onward to the search for breakfast—we had to leave without getting anything fixed, and with our unintended detour we left no time to get anything on the way so everyone was famished, especially Catherine, who has been battling a sinus infection/head cold which makes her alternately grouchy/tired/insane/deaf/intransigent/crabby and/or peevish. And she wanted to go to McDonald’s. And threw a complete and utter fit when we left the drive-through line at the first one. But it looked like it was going to take an hour, and I knew of one just up the road. Which turned out to be non-existent. Which meant we wound up getting all the way back to Trussville before we found one. And it was 10:34, and you know what that means.
That’s right—steaming hot tears of grief when we were told they were no longer serving breakfast. “WHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAA” said Tiny One. I was tempted to tell her it was not that big a loss since it’s nothing but the rendered remains of dead farm animal flesh, but I figured that would be pressing my luck, so we finally got her to calm down and accept a perfectly good alternative from Sonic.
Back to the house to let them eat, then some heavy duty cooking of other dead farm animals for my chili, then the derned doorbell rang.
A painter, it was.
The young couple next door had gotten their house spruced up earlier this month and the guy did a pretty fine job, so I asked him to give me an estimate. He left their job without giving me one, which I attributed to sheer painterliness. Turns out he had given my address to his boss to contact me, but the boss didn’t know my name or phone number. So he decided to drop by.
We walked and hunkered and pointed and talked football, as well as actually discussed what all would go on with this here paintin’ deal. Sounded like a great fellow, and one who understood how to do the job the right way. He’d better—it’s gonna cost me $3,900. The front of our house is brick, but all the rest of it is siding, and some of it had to be nailed back, and some of the trim has to be replaced, and the back is two stories high, and there’s having to move the Pretty Plastic Playhouse That is NOT a Storage Building, so I guess there’s probably enough in there to justify the price. I’m going to get another, just to satisfy myself that I shopped around, but I liked this guy. After all, he said he “had all that workman’s comp insurance and was a Better Business member and all that crap.” What more could one ask for?
After he left, some strange woman came out of the house and got in a car on the driveway—this turned out to be the mom of one of Rebecca’s friends whom she had invited to go to the fall festival with us. And it was time to leave—we had to get there early to help get stuff ready.
Got everyone strapped in and got to the building and started scurrying around trying to look busy. Helped tote some stuff, ate some stuff I wasn’t supposed to eat, and then got to play with the tractor. As you will note in the comments below in this morning’s first post, this is a mid-‘80s model Allis Chalmers (please, no jokes about her being Auburn’s homecoming queen—I’ve already heard them) with a 40 horse diesel that we use to tow a mower deck to cut the grass at our church building. And pull a trailer full of hay and kids all over the yard every October. It looks a bit like this one, except it doesn’t have a roll bar which occasionally gives me palpitations—the church property is mostly nice and flat looking, but does have several moguls that appear out of nowhere and cause you to feel more tippy than is absolutely required. I try to keep an eye out and figure out the best way to jump off to avoid being crushed.
Anyway, we got that cranked up about 2:30 or so, and I drove around for the next 2 1/2 hours. The highlights are going under our low-hanging cedar trees and knocking everyone in the head, the death-defying back hillside which is full of large hillocks and dips, and the occasional excursion into the parking lot, where I weave in and out of the covered drop-off and through the rows of cars at a blazing 20 miles per hour.
But, such shenanigans are awfully hard on the hearing and the glutes. As I noted earlier, the exhaust pipe exits right at ear level, and it being a diesel means lots of shaky-rattle gets transferred to the operator. I finally got a break along about 5, when I clumbered down to eat a hot dog. Felt like I was still on it. And not in a good way.
Finally got through around 6, then it was back to the house with a vanload of sugar-fortified squealers, all blabbering at top volume and velocity. Took our visitor to her house, and then had to wait as Catherine used their bathroom, and then had to wait more while everyone chatted. Finally got back up the street to our house, then scrubbed everyone down and went through the house resetting all the clocks and explaining in vain to curious children why it must be done. I told them it was Ben Franklin’s idea. “OHHhhh.”
Two microwaves, one coffee maker, one stove, two alarm clocks, two thermostats, two watches, two vehicle clocks, and two wall clocks later we had successfully gained an entire hour. Which was wasted, along with several more, listening to Auburn get thrashed by those evil Sabanites.
Off to bed, then back up Sunday, off to church, started my new class for the college kids (of whom, one is already gone due to a breakup with one of the other students), then on to preaching where I managed to stay very much awake for at least five minutes, then over to Ashley’s other grandparents house for lunch, then an emergency trip home when some sort of liquid-filled squishy toy was busted wide open by Demolition Child, spewing red goo everywhere. ::sigh::
Home, change, back up to the building, couple of meetings, then sit around and shoot the breeze with folks, then evening worship, where I was once again a marvel of stay-awakitude, then off to a new restaurant we haven’t tried yet. I can’t remember the name, but it’s the buffet and sushi place squeezed between the Mexican joint and the Big K-Mart. The sushi bar part really caused a lot of controversy.
Oldest: “I THOUGH SUSHI WAS JAPANESE!!”
Middle Girl: “It is?”
Boy: “SO, this is a Japanese restaurant?”
Oldest: “NO! IT’S A CHINESE RESTAURANT, SEE? CHINESE BUFFET!”
Tiny Girl: “Is sushi Chinese?”
Boy: “Sushi is Japanese.”
Oldest: “SUSHI IS JAPANESE!!”
Middle Girl: “Why do they have sushi if it’s a Chinese restaurant?”
Tiny Girl: “Do they got soup?”
Oldest: “THEY HAVE SUSHI!!”
You ever hear of “burst communication”? It’s the way submarines send radio messages—they surface, then send a quick, dense burst of encrypted communication to a satellite—all of it compressed down to a few seconds. That’s what it sounded like. Everyone talking at the same time—one at top volume, all at top speed.
Daddy: “Can we all please just HUSH and go inside and eat our food in peace and not try to outdo each other with our knowledge of international foodstuffs?”
Tiny Girl: “Do they make soup here?”
Inside we go, striking no small amount of fear into the staff, although they hid it well. The food was pretty good—I think we were a bit too late in the evening for the really good (i.e. hot beyond room temperature) food, but it was your normal selection of stuff, including the much-talked-about sushi bar, soup, various bits of meaty things with vegetables, as well as a pile of steamed crawdads. Sorry, just not that adventurous at 9 o’clock at night.
Not that it helped—last night’s postprandial dreamstate featured a splendid array of the vibrantly terrifying as well as the gloriously absurd. I can’t remember any of it in detail, although I do vaguely recall a frantic telephone call. And being cold. I’ll not do that again. At least until next week.
And then I woke up, and I was here. It’s been a long day, and it’s going to be a long evening.
Maybe some of that chili would hit the spot.
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