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, March 29, 2004


Oh, yeah.

Friday evening, as a special birthday treat for Oldest we went to eat at Palace, the up-market Chinese restaurant in the lovely Trussville Crossings shopping center, which also contains the lovely Wal-Mart.

Got there early, so we got a table right away, although it was one by the corridor to the kitchen. I imagine it was because we have children. I really don't mind it when they seat us in the less desirable spots--I sorta understand the idea of keeping the loud stuff together. And the bright spot was that our waiter was not the old guy who looks like Jack Soo from Barney Miller, but the girl who's a dead ringer for Ming-Na Wen. Rrrowwllllll. And she's always been a good waitress, too--always moving around at top speed, yet very patient with little children who will NOT. QUIT. CHANGING. THEIR. DRINK. ORDER. Grr.

It was all good--Mongolian beef, mu shu chicken (the leftovers of which I ate today for lunch), sweet and sour shrimp, and chicken with vegetables--and, of course, no trip to a fancy restaurant would be complete without --

eighty-eleven trips to the restroom. Which wouldn't have been so difficult, had the children not plastered themselves into the semicircular booth trying their darndest to sit beside Mom. They looked like BBs stuck on a magnet. And there I sat, on the outer edge of the table in a regular chair, looking like I must be suffering from leprosy or something. Not that I notice their cruel shunning of me. I know they love Mommy more... ::sniff::sniff:: Anyway, so since I was on the outer edge, I got to ferry them back and forth to the restroom. Whee.

Finish up, stop to take the tip money out of Catherine's hand and put it back on the table--why she grabbed it, I'll never know--then on to go do some SHOPPING. Aargh.

I stayed in the van with the kids. There was NO. WAY. I was going to try to ride herd on them while Mom and Oldest shopped for birthday clothes. It's just much less stressful to stay in the van and have to do guessing games and play I Spy. I Spy wouldn't be so bad if it was the Bill Cosby/Robert Culp version. But it's not.

On to home, and to bed, then up again Saturday for lots of fun. Had to get up to the church building for the kids to muddle around and waste time, then afterwards it was time to head to Shelby County for Jonathan's soccer game against Chelsea.

Entirely uneventful trip, except--we were in old Moby (seeing as how I still had not checked the tire of the Honda van to make sure it was still holding air properly) and Moby has about 158,000 miles on him. And has been acting somewhat odd in the old transmission department. Everything was fine until we started going up Double Oak Mountain. This part of Highway 280 is steep, and goes forever, and has a long drop-off on the north face that makes drivers skittish. Heck of a view when you get to the top.

If you get there.

As it was, both lanes were clogged with a clot of slow-moving people dawdling up the highway at about 45 mph. Too slow for high gear, too low for second or third, and so the van started wildly shifting up and down as it tried to keep pace. Thought it might be good to switch off the overdrive, so I punched the button, to no avail. (Only later did I realize that I had hit the foglight switch instead. Probably explains why the person in front of me acted startled. And why the transmission still acted up.) Managed to get over to the other side, but it sounded, and felt, like we wouldn't be able to get back. Just a tip for you drivers out there, but if you're not passing someone--GET OVER TO THE RIGHT, Mr. Magoo!

Anywho, Jonathan's game was a repeat of last week's--they lost 4-0 due to a failure to pay attention to anything. Jonathan played pretty good again--he gets so frustrated with his teammates, though. There are a couple of guys who're so wound up in themselves that they will fight with their own teammates to get the ball, which is never good. Obviously. And they wonder why they can't win. Also, they seem to believe that throwing themselves to the ground in a fruitless attempt to block shots is really cool. ::sigh::

On back to the house--up over the shorter side of Double Oak (the elevation change is not near so great on the south side, and the grade is less steep), and thankfully we got all the way home. Where I decided to get out my tire plugging stuff and make sure that whatever was in the Honda van's tire was taken care of.

Rolled it forward and backwards, and after about fifteen minutes finally found what looked like the shaft of a nail. Got it all in position by the garage door, got my glue, my sticky strips, my rasp, my hook, my pliers, my compressor and--nothing. The metal bead I found was just that, a bead. About the size of a pin head. So then, more minute examination of the tread surface and surprisingly I never found anything more than a thin sliver of metal and several tiny pebbles. Nothing that would have punctured a tire, and no evidence of tire goo coming out of a hole anywhere. Go figure. So, all the tire junk got put away, and I went and played with the kids in the backyard.

That's always fun. More fun than cutting grass, that's for sure. Messed around with them and some cat that wandered over from one of our neighbor's, then did the tour with Miss Reba to reestablish the Honey Do list from last year. Once again decided that I needed to get the ladder out and re-attach the dangling floodlight at the corner of the eave. Thought long and hard about getting a different trellis. The wisteria sure is pretty right now. And the biggie--having to dismantle the swing set. The step on the glider part is broken completely now, and it looks even more ratty and trashy than it did last year.

It will break my heart to take it apart and send it to the dump. I think I might just take off the broken parts--the glider and the slide, and leave the swings. I'm doing it for The ChildrenTM, you know.

Then it was time to head back up to the building for my teacher's meeting. Grr. FOUR guys showed up. I have a feeling there are going to be questions next Sunday morning, and I have a wicked temptation to throw my hands up and ask, "where were you when we discussed this?!" I won't though. I suppose.

Back home, and off with the family to do some more birthday stuff, including staying in the van with a whiney little girl who was inconsolable at not being able to draw a strawberry. I showed here how she could use her reeking Strawberry Shortcake air freshener (that my lovely wife purchased for her, and I'm HOPING she didn't know it stank like some kind of--well, you just never mind what it smelled like--I suppose I should just be glad is wasn't the Darryl Strawberry Shortcake version) and draw an outline and then fill it in. "WHHHHAAAAAAA," she said. Loudly.

So then I showed her how to make a heart and a star together that almost looked strawberryish. She seemed to like that one, and climbed into the shotgun seat for more art fun. Fun that went on entirely too long for the occupant of the driver's seat, but hey, at least she was quiet. Home, baths and shampooing and fingernail clipping, bed.

Snore. Except for one feverish moment when I woke up thinking the roof was leaking. It was just the sound of my little fountain downstairs, happily splashing along in the middle of the night. Gotta get a timer for that thing.

SUNDAY, up bright and early, breakfast, then off to church. Had yet another teacher decide she just couldn't find time in her schedule to teach. Would have been nice to know that a bit earlier than the week before the new quarter. Especially since the schedule has been posted for a YEAR. ::sigh::

And the nursery teacher was twenty minutes late again. ::sigh::

Oh well.

Worship was very nice, and I didn't have to contend with Catherine clambering over me to go to the restroom, which was a welcome change. She even sang a little bit, and stayed right on key and right on tempo and right on the same song. That little sweet voice tends to make up for a lot of clambering and fussiness. At least for a few minutes.

Time then to go meet Reba's parents for lunch--they took us out to the Olive Garden in Irondale, made notorious by some English cricket-writer poof (yes, yes, abundantly redundant, I know), and redeemed by James Lileks. Got right in and found a big table to wait on the grandparents, and ate loads of salad. And some bread. Sorry, Dr. Smith. But the bread paled in comparison to the plate of canelloni al forno I ordered! MEAT! And STARCH! HAH!

We finished up and Grandpapa picked up the tab, which was awfully nice of him. Especially since it was REAL 'spensive. And they even took the younger two back to their house, so Reba and I and the older two could go--

shopping again.

I went in with them and briefly sat over in the shoe department, but decided I felt too much like a security guard, so I went over to Books-A-Million and read for an hour. If there was one store I would like to have as my house, it would be Books-A-Million, or Barnes and Noble. Add an indoor firing range and it would be perfect.

Gathered up the girls and headed back toward our home, stopped and picked up the little kids, stopped by the house and dropped off leftover Italian food, went on back to the church building, messed around with stuff, had worship, and then visited one of the families who had signed up to host one of the afterworship devotional meetings for the 3rd to 6th grade kids. I am usually pretty antisocial, and this was another one of those things I really didn't want to go to, but after it was over, I actually had a good time. Other than not getting home until after nine p.m.

AND SO, that there's your highlight reel of this weekend. This afternoon, the kids were supposed to have soccer practice, but it has started raining and the fields are closed.

Good. I may go home and rest.

As if.

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