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 15, 2003

Let there be Saturday!

Rolled out of bed again early, but not as early as I had originally dreaded. Originally, we were all going to have to get up and go up to the church building so that Ashley and Rebecca and Mom could study their Bible Bowl questions in advance of the big competitive shindig Sunday afternoon. This would then lead into the gift box assembly time, scheduled for noon, which would then subsequently run into the time allotted for the Christmas party planned for the little kids. Quite the day, eh? Thank goodness someone named Mrs. Oglesby suggested that maybe she should just go up to the building with the older two kids, then I could take the younger two on their promised shopping trip to buy gifts for Mommy. When it got time to go to the building, I could then swap them out for Oldest, and take her to buy stuff since she didn’t want to be caught DEAD at a little kid’s party.

I at first demurred, then started whacking myself with my internal brainhammer—“But, I guess it would be good for one of us to stay here and get some laundry done…” We had a huge pile, and if it didn’t get done Saturday, it would have to get done Saturday NIGHT, with the attendant lack of sleep later on in the night from having to fold it and put away. And, if I got the laundry done, I might actually have time to do some shopping, which would be a good thing. So, that being settled, we had a quick breakfast of instant paste (your choice of cinnamon and spice oatmeal or cheese grits) and then she was off.

I set to work sorting and loading. And baking more cookies. The other 3-pound tub was beckoning, and we needed something to take with us to church on Sunday for snacks, so back out with the metal trinkets and into the oven with more little therapeutic dough balls. Also had to make room for more dirty dishes, requiring the unloading of the dishwasher then reloading it. Let’s review—washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, and oven. We were probably using half the power in Trussville.

Finished up the cookies with only about an hour and a half to spare before time to leave. Which meant that something was going to get left undone, and it looked like it was going to be shopping. (It will get done, though. I promise.) In the mean time, I got Cat and Jonathan to get themselves ready and grabbed up the stack of Christmas cards and the box to be mailed to my brother- and sister-in-law and niece and off we went on our long journey across the county—first stop, the post office at the foot of the hill.

What a line.

Of course, length is a relative concept in this case—there were probably only about ten people in front of us, but it sure LOOKED like a long line. It snaked past the two empty clerk stations, past the countdown clock from a past promotion (it has now been stripped of its original cardboard graphics so that it’s just a big black plastic LED clock on a tattered cardboard backer), past the rack of packing material, turning back at the somewhat bedraggled nylon barrier posts, on past the form-filling-out table, out the service lobby door into the box lobby.

I stood the box up on the floor and tried to keep Boy and Tiny Girl from being too rambunctious, which they managed to do pretty well. We discussed the slots for the letters, and what “metered” meant—“Well, you see kids, the postal service is in the process of going metric, and so all the metric-sized envelopes go in that slot.” (I didn’t really tell them that. But it is a pretty good lie.) We talked about Santa Claus, and snow, and New Jersey, and boxes, all the while as they tightly clutched their respective stacks of envelopes. We would move up, I would slide the box, they would chatter, and we would wait.

We finally got to the head of the line, and Catherine started asking about something—I can’t even remember what it was now, other than the fact that she was being deliberately intransigent. “No. Because we have to go get Mom. No. No, you can’t. NO, Catherine. Because I said so, that’s wh…” “Sir? SIR?”

Grr. I was one of THOSE people—the line-holder-uppers. I had gotten so wrapped up in philosophizing with a tiny someone that I had not noticed that it was my turn.

Sorry folks.

On up the counter, plopped the big box up there, paid for some insurance, and asked for a hundred Christmas stamps. “We only have four books of 20 left.” Wow—they must be made by the same folks making the flu vaccine. I got what she had and then another 20 “Love” stamps. I know it’s irrational, but I just can’t stand those Love stamps. In fairness, I suppose “odium” stamps wouldn’t sell very well at all.

Thus unencumbered both of money and our package, we went out to the lobby to start sticking stamps. I gave them both a stack of letters and some for myself, and we set to work. Not a SINGLE stamp out of place, folks! A minor miracle, considering how fidgety and whiney I can get. The dropbox in the lobby was full to the brim, so back into the van and off to the curbside box, and then it was time to go get some lunch for everyone. (As I suspected, no time for shopping.)

We stopped by our favorite purveyor of Scottish delicacies, then went on up to the building where the kids had already made good headway in packing boxes.

Stopped for a lunch break and then it was time to finish up the box packing. While they did that, I ran stuff off for my class, which would make it the first time all quarter I’ve actually been prepared ahead of time. Boxing gave way to decorating for the party, which was going to be pretty small, seeing as how we don’t have a huge gob of small kids to begin with, and made smaller still by the fact that it had begun to sleet, and even more smallerer still by the fact that two different sets of kids suddenly had other things to do and would not be attending.

Fair enough, but you would think that the ones who were complaining about not having anything to do would try extra hard to show up. But whadda I know?

It got time to kick off the festivities—I had sat down at one of the tables and started stringing clear and red plastic beads onto a pipe cleaner to make candy canes, much to the amazement of all. There were other activities, too, variations on the pipe cleaner/bead meme, but it was time for me to abscond with Oldest so as not to emburden her with having to be around CHILDREN! Finally found her sitting in a rocking chair in the nursery talking to one of the few other older kids who had shown up, all of whom had been tasked with playing games with the little kids.

”Do you still want to go on and get Christmas presents for Mom?”


Suddenly, having to endure being around little kids wasn’t so bad.

Suddenly, going SHOPPING didn’t seem to be so important.

Suddenly, one of the boys in the ninth grade is talking to you...

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