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, December 08, 2003

Getting all medieval

As I mentioned somewhere way down below in the comments, I was allowed to sleep all the way until NOON on Saturday!! Noon, that is, in Great Britain. Here, it was only 6 a.m. Oh, well. Early to bed, early to rise and all that jibber jabber.

Up and out of bed, shave, brush teeth, frighten self senseless by looking in the mirror, go back out to put on jeans and sweatshirt and see that Miss Reba is sitting on the bed hiding a wiggling bundle of squealing giggletude under the covers.

"Daddy, have YOU seen Catherine this morning?"

"Why, no, dear Mommy--I do not know WHAT may have become of her!"

I then pounced on the lump under the cover, grabbed an errant (and unpleasantly fragrant) set of little girl toes and started biting them with the ferocity of a rabid badger. This caused much squealing.

"See, I TOLD you Daddy likes toes!!"

Heh-heh. Enough of THAT kind of talk, lassie!

I finished getting dressed while watching Weekend Today. Campbell Brown was on vacation or something so Kelly O'Donnell sat in. Boy, I sure miss Jodi Applegate. And Lester Holt, bless his heart, seems like a really good guy, but he also seems incredibly uncomfortable or embarrassed or something. For some reason, no one at NBC will answer me when I ask them why they can't just rehire Jodi and let me sit in a couple of weekends a month. Go figure.

Anyway, finished getting dressed as Mom and Tiny Girl rassled under the covers, walked back into the bathroom to brush down my hairs and heard much tumult and cries of agony--seems all the tickling and rough-housing, combined with a tiny, yet entirely full bladder, had conspired to produce a golden-hued reenactment of the Exxon Valdez spill, all over our bed.


Oh, for one of those big cartoon mallets, with which I would use to hit myself repeatedly over the head.

Well, now. Everyone's ready to get out of bed now, it seems.

Up, start laundry, help fix some breakfast, eat, clear the table, and it's time to start fine tuning the old trebuchet. WHeeeeee!

I had gotten the pouch and string fixed up Friday evening before we went shopping--the strings in particular gave me some problem--they needed to be something that would be sufficiently limber to hang right, but not so thin that they would break easily. I had a couple of different kinds of twine, but it was all too thick or too stiff to work right. I figured what I needed was...uhhhh...MINIBLIND CORD!! That's IT! It's light, strong, and flexible, and ALL OVER THE STINKING HOUSE!!

Of course, it's still attached to the miniblinds.

Hmmm. A procurement dilemma. How best to snip off a few inches of cording somewhere without being caught by anyone, and from someplace where it won't be missed. AHHHhhh, the blinds over the kitchen sink! Their cords are too long anyway, so shortening them is actually a GOOD thing. Snip, snip, reattach plastic pull thingies, and I'm now the proud owner of STRING!

So, after whip-stitching the pouch together Friday, I was left Saturday only to fix it to the end of the swing arm and start laying seige to the kitchen counters. A little bit of floral wire formed the peg on the end of the arm, and was also used to make a tiny trigger at the bottom. (The instructions say to use string wrapped around the arm, but that's just too much tieing and stuff to be easily done by a kid during class.)

Finally, it was time. I loaded the wieght basket up with five of my 586 grain, .73 caliber musket balls--total weight 6.7 ounces or so--and put a marble in the sling. Ready, aim, fire!


Some adjustment was needed--I don't think the marble was supposed to go backwards. Finally, after a couple of tweaks to the pin on the end of the arm, a perfectly lobbed marble was arced across the kitchen, landing with a gentle tap at the bottom of the cabinet doors. The kids were suitably impressed.

After some more tuning and fidgeting, we finally managed to start getting consistent launches, and some pretty startling power. It REALLY started to zing 'em when I added a couple of more lead balls to the load--the best shot was one that went from the kitchen table to the top of the wall above the cabinets--the wall was probably 15 feet away, and the marble would have still been climbing if the wall had not been there. The missile hit something up top with a loud crack--I couldn't tell if it was one of the decorative metal platters we have up there or something breakable, and I dared not look. Little Boy was my assistant at this time, and we both gave each other the pursed lip, "Oops, We're In Trouble" look. Heeee. Probably time to put the thing up before he and I both got in trouble! I was just tickled that it worked as advertised. Next project, WHEELS. (More power, you know.)

My siege was lifted briefly to allow us to get ready and go to Jonathan's end-of-the-season soccer party. As was the case the last time we had one of these parties at the Neighborhood Sports Grille, we were there early, and got served LAST. ::sigh:: At least they have a big screen teevee, and I managed to convince the waitress to change it over to the Speed Channel so I wouldn't have to look at silly basketball. Then again, all that was on was the Formula Ford Valvoline Runoffs from back in September. But after that was the British Touring Car Championship from the other Rockingham. This race was more interesting, simply because they had grid girls to stand there at the start of the race holding signs with the drivers' names on them. But that only lasted for a total of about five seconds.

Anyway, the food was pretty good, and at least it was hot when it got to us. The boys didn't care one way or the other, simply because they were trying much to hard to tear up the pool table and the foosball table.

After the dispensing of trophies and photos, I was forced to go next door to the pet store. I hate going to pet stores--sad little kitties and puppies really do get to me, but for some reason, Reba keeps hinting around about the kids wanting a pet. She knows we don't have a place to keep one, and that we don't have time to take care of one, yet...we wind up at the pet store. Thank heavens they don't have puppies, and all the kitties were somewhere else--it was odd, their bowls were all filled, toys in the cages, little blankets, but no kittens. It was like a tiny little alien abduction had happened. (And no, I'm NOT talking about the Chinese restaurant next door.)

On to the craft store for trebuchet wheels, then the drugstore and grocery store, then home, then Reba took Rebecca out to go Christmas shopping, while the rest of us stayed home and started the arduous task of folding laundry, further tuning the trebuchet, getting the kids all scrubbed clean for church on Sunday, and remaking the beds--with the surprise addition of Mr. Electric Blanket. (This was greatly appreciated by someone.)

Sunday itself was pretty good, although cold. We had our holiday dinner after morning worship, and were packed to the rafters with folks. I was very bad--I had a hunk of pecan pie, each ounce of which somehow managed to contain 98 ounces of carbohydrates. Sure was good, though! Back to home for a bit, and I read the paper and dozed while Mom took alternately Catherine and then Jonathan for them to go pick out the remaining gifts for their siblings, and then it was time to head right back to church. The guy leading singing managed to hack and cough only once during the middle of a song, and for once didn't do his impression of a pubescent Peter Brady. (It helped that there were a couple of folks absent whose joyful noisemaking is usually done at top volume, off-key, and right down front where it's easy to hear.)

On back to the house, where we had leftovers from lunch, checked backpacks for forgotten homework, wrapped some packages, and then eased under the electric blanket.

And then I had to get up and come here.

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