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, May 24, 2004

So then,

It was time to wash some more clothes and get a quick shower and head back out to the wilds of Branchville for a cookout at the house of one of our elders. Every year we try to have something for our Bible class teachers to let them know we appreciate their hard work. We’ve had dinners at the building, and had dinners at restaurants, and in order to do something a bit different, this year we decided to have a cookout. That was not attended that well at all. Not for lack of announcing it and trying to get people to come. Which, if you are the person hosting it, tends to make you a bit disappointed in certain folks. He had cooked up a ton of ribs and hamburgers and had a big spread of side dishes, and after those of us there had our fill, there looked like almost exactly as much left over as when we started. But at least the ones of us who were there had a good time. And the standing joke was that this time, I managed to get out of cooking. Seems like every time he has a cookout, I wind up getting volunteered to tend grille. But that’s okay, I don’t mind, as long as no one else minds eating stuff I’ve sweated on. Anyway, this year I managed to get away with not having to do that, and must say that the ribs were mighty tasty.

We all sat around and talked for a long time and watched the kids make the circuit around and through the house, alternately ignoring and bothering a dachshund puppy one of them had brought. It started getting toward dark, and we were tired, so we took our leave and headed back to the house to get everyone cleaned up for church the next day.

Up early, off to church, had a good class period (forgot to mention in last Monday’s recap that when I taught the adult class last week it went very well, and got lots of compliments from the older members, which is always nice) and worship, which I stayed awake for very well. Boy was down for the count almost immediately, and right before the closing song he perked back up. After leaving a big wet drool spot on my left leg. Little rat.

Off then for some Chinese food at the Golden House of Inexplicable Anglo Waitresses, which was okay. The hot and sour soup was missing something. I’d rather not think about what, exactly, it was missing. Back to the house, and started trying to make some headway on cleaning up the den, and then Ashley’s other grandparents came to pick her up to spend the week over there, which always leads to a rotten attitude upon her return. ::sigh:: It just goes to show--never mind.

After she was away, more stacking and putting and filing and throwing away, the effect of which was barely discernable, and then it was time to head out again for Jonathan’s soccer party.

The dad of one of the kids is somehow involved with the new bowling alley/arcade/meeting venue/billiards/ family entertainment/dessert topping/floor wax complex that just opened up last month in our little hometown, and graciously footed the bill for the boys to have their party there. We’d never been there before (it has just opened, after all) and it is a mighty impressive looking--several million bucks will do that. Of course, being what it is, it relies heavily on high schoolers for help, which always has its pitfalls. Looking good in tight jeans only goes so far when someone is expecting you to answer questions with something other than, “Huh?” Just saying.

And despite having more room inside than most mid-sized Gothic cathedrals, it was jam-packed with people, none of whom seemed quite sure of what they were supposed to be doing. Could be because 98% of them were kids, all running around, all needing a big dart full of tranquilizers thunked into their haunches. After several long, long minutes of trying to figure out what the plan was (our team mom having not been filled in on this vital bit of information beforehand) it was finally determined the boys would bowl from 2 to 3:15, then have pizza, hand out trophies, and leave. Jonathan went and got some shoes and grabbed a ball. “Son, have you ever bowled before?” “NO! But they showed us in P.E.!”

Hmm. That must explain why the ball he chose had a thumb hole the size of a pencil. “Son, can you get your thumb and fingers into those holes?” No. We looked around and finally found him a ten-pounder with big enough holes, and he got with his buddies and started slinging balls. As they did that, I took Catherine and Rebecca back to the arcade to waste some time and money, which I am happy to say we did successfully. By the way, the “Popcorn” game is a danged big rip-off. The idea is to move a little basket back and forth and try to collect ping-pong balls that come blowing up out of the funnel. Get enough, and you get tickets. Yet, despite getting as many as was humanly possible, the game stopped and a certain small child was looking up at a big screen that said “0 POINTS,” and then down at the slot where the tickets come out, which was empty. Such is not the way to endear yourselves to the tiny set. Or their parents. So we went and played Hammerhead, which is a version of Whac a Mole, except with six sharks that pop up. Catherine took the middle row, Rebecca one side and I the other, and pretty soon we had racked up a stunning string of tickets that almost made up for the disappointment of Popcorn. After spending our entire two dollar allotment, we went back out to see how the boys were doing at bowling.

Actually, not too bad.

The lanes had bumper rails, making gutter balls AWFULLY difficult to manage, and Jonathan managed to do okay. Most of the other boys had played before and were somewhat more skillful in form, but being that none of them have attention spans longer than about four seconds, it was difficult for them to keep their minds in the game. (Gee, just like soccer!) So although Boy didn’t win, he also didn’t come in dead last, either, so he was tickled pink.

As they bowled, I sat there in one of the booths so I could people-watch. Saw several young ladies for whom rolling a 16 pound ball down a hardwood lane was the LAST reason they showed up, as well as lots of young guys for whom strength of throw and noise produced was much more important than score. Fascinating. Also saw Phyllis George Mom and her kids and husband there for their baseball party and swapped pleasantries with them. Nice folks.

After the boys had slung their arms out of joint, it was time for pizza, so they all ran back to the Blue Room, notable for its glass block mosaic of a giant bowling pin set into the outside wall. Spiffy. It was also notable for its twenty foot ceiling height and ten foot width, giving it the feeling of being in the bottom of a very tall pencil cup. Pizza, trophies, and time to go.

To Target! Hooray! Jonathan had gotten a duplicate copy of a book for his birthday, and so we scooted down the hill to Target to return it. “But what if I don’t want to GET a book, Daddy?”



Yer gettin’ a book.

He has a bad habit of wanting to buy more of those crappy Yu-Gi-Oh! or Pokemon cards whenever he has to make a return. But not today. Got some vitamins and Benadryl and then it was off for evening worship.

Which we did, all without benefit of massive doses of caffeine. Not that it sure wouldn’t have hurt to have some. Then it was time for the monthly get together for the younger kids, which includes supper and a devotional, and this time the added benefit of a giant Great Dane in the back yard who pounded up and down the wood-decked patio like an elephant. That is, when she wasn’t joining in with every other dog in the neighborhood to howl at the fire truck when it went past. Our hosts seemed reluctant to say the dog’s name, and then we found out it’s name was Reba.

If you think I’m going to say anything remotely related to that particular coincidence, you’re crazier than I am.

Finally got finished up at NINE-THIRTY PEE EM! Exhausting sort of weekend. Went home, sent the kids to bed, and collapsed.

And then I came here! Whee!

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