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, June 28, 2004


Blasted stupid stinkin’ clock.

Up, took a shower, shaved, brushed, got everyone else up and going, loaded the folding chairs into the van--hmm--looks like rain. Got us all in and headed straight out the driveway. I had backed in the night before to unload the table and chairs, so it was very handy to plop it into D and hit the road.

A little too convenient. When we got home, the garage door was standing wide open. Usually I always remember to close it, because usually the van is facing the house when we go anywhere. But, the combined effect of wanting not to be late, and the dimly-remembered words of Raul Julia as Franco Bertollini in the award-winning documentary Gumball Rally--“What is behind me, does not matter!”--caused me to drive on off without lowering the door. It wouldn’t have been so bad had it been the first time. Or even maybe the second, or third, or fourth. ::sigh:: To make matters even worse, no kindly burglars had come by to steal any of the clutter. It was all still there, just like we left it. Darned bunch of law-abiding Trussville citizens!

Anyway, the trip down to Northport was uneventful, and drizzly. Stopped at the rest stop so The Tiny Bladdered One could make her own rain storm. Checked the map on the wall to be sure I knew where we were going. I vaguely remembered it from last year, and we did have a little pamphlet with us of the schedule of events and a map. No problem. Figured I would go in on I-359 to keep from having to creep down McFarland.

Off again, take the 359 exit, drive, drive, hmm, drive--isn’t that…ummm. Hmm. There’s supposed to be a turn somewhere in here. I looked at the little map we had, and I should have a right turn…uuuuhhh…nope. Finally stopped at the corner of 82 and ran inside the big new drug store and asked how to get back to Rice Mine Road. (In case you didn’t realize it, rice does not grow in paddies in Alabama, but is, in fact, dug from large underground mines.) The girl at the counter wasn’t sure, so she got the manager, who sorta knew, and I found out there was a turn right there at the river I should have taken. Sure would be nice if there were handy signs on BOTH sides of the bridge.

Went back the way I had come, and found my exit, and at the bottom of the ramp I started to turn left. Because that’s the way I should have turned according to the map. I looked right, and finally saw the familiar historic Northport buildings a block away. Come to find out, the map I was using was drawn with north facing DOWN. Which would have been fine if I was driving to Australia or something. As it was, it was just another one of those things that added to my general confusion.

Made my turn, and got to the park with no further bewilderment. Parked, waited briefly on Reba’s folks, then decided just to go on and get registered. Unloaded the chairs, checked in, got a name tag, set up the chairs in the area close to the big inflatable obstacle course and the eating pavilion. I sat down, and immediately the kids wanted to go do things.

GO! Be kidful and terrify!

So Boy and Tiny Girl made a beeline for the obstacle course with Mom, and Oldest sat down with a book and Middle Girl just sat. Then Oldest decided to leave.

I kept asking Rebecca if she wanted to go do something--slide, obstacles, crafts, duck game, anything. Nope. Not yet. I think she must have just been waiting for the grandparents to get there before striking out. Because when they did get there, she was up and out of the chair as fast as she could. I continued to sit and watch Cat and Jonathan come screaming down the big slide at the end of the inflatable thingy and to guard Reba’s purse. The numbers looked down a bit this year, I suppose because of the continual spitting of rain that went on all day, so there weren’t a whole lot of people-watching opportunities. Everyone was just so…normal. What’s the fun in that!?

After a while, I noticed that the kids were no longer shrieking, and it had been more than enough time for Reba to come back and get her purse. Hmm.

Against my wishes for time just to sit and vegetate, I figured I might better go and see what was going on elsewhere. Not to mention the fact that one lonely-looking guy sitting by himself in the middle of six folding chairs looks rather pitiful. And abnormal.

So, I grabbed Reba’s purse--holding it roughly and uncomfortably man-like so everyone could be sure it wasn’t MY purse--and found everyone over on the other side of the restroom pavilion at the caricature artist guy. I told myself I wasn’t going to do this, but you know, you get all tanked up on Diet Coke and you just lose control. And it was free.

The guy was really good--sorta quiet, but quick. We were behind a few other folks, and when our time came, we found the most he could do in a group picture was four. SO, he had to do six individuals of us. Boy went first, with his big cute head on a football player body, then Cat, whose big cute head was stuck on an Auburn cheerleader body, then Mom, whose big beautiful head was placed neatly upon a Wonder Woman body (YOW!), then Ashley, whose big adolescent head was also placed on the Wonder Woman body (and I’ll have to punch you if you make any sort of catcalls or anything!), then Bec with a slightly different Auburn cheerleader body underneath her big cute head, and then finally me. The one person with a head actually in proportion to the relative size of everything else in the picture. My giant melon-sized head was plopped behind the wheel of a late-model Corvette convertible. Sadly, he didn’t have any of the ‘63-’67 body style. Even more sad, is that I am stuck with my own ’62 body style.

We wandered around a bit more--Cat got ahold of the cow-milking game--a plywood cutout cow with a bucket and four rubber teats underneath. Actually did pretty good at it. Then again, she didn’t have to worry about getting thwacked with a tail, or the cow kicking over her bucket.

Sometime in there, it got to be lunchtime, so we lined up for some food from Mike and Ed’s Barbecue. Now, I have heard good things about Mike and Ed’s, but the barbecue they sent on their catering wagon was an insult to dead pigs everywhere. Bland, looked like it had been chopped up in a food processor until it was the consistency of paste--anytime you have “barbecue” that can be served with an ice cream scoop, you know something’s not right. They also had some chicken that had been cooked up there with the poor pigs, and it looked a lot better. Reba got it and said it was pretty good. Beans and slaw filled up the rest of the plate. Not bad, but not something to write home about. (Oddly enough, perfectly good enough to blog about. Go figure.)

Afterwards, we cleaned up our stuff and started packing for the trip back to home. Gathered up the kids after a while and headed out, only to ONCE AGAIN get all turned around sideways and backwards. I usually don’t have this kind of trouble when I go places, but I was so befuddled from the morning’s misdirection that I left out of Northport going the wrong way. We got back to the intersection with the drug store, and I sat there trying to figure out what was going on.

“You didn’t go in THAT drug store,” which was a CVS--“you went into THAT one,” said Miss Reba, pointing to a Walgreens catercorner across the intersection. Hmm. Well, I’ll be! After several more minutes spent trying to figure out back from right and south from up, we FINALLY managed to get back going the right way and on to the house.

And then, it was time to make myself so sore that I can still barely stand up straight!

NEXT! Overdoing it, the Possum Way!

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