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, January 10, 2005

You’ve heard of the Summer of Love?

Well, this past weekend was the Weekend of Intense Anger! Or maybe the Winter of Our Discontent. Or something. Something LOUD. And full of much exasperated sighing!

Setting the stage for the weekend was the inexplicable decision of Miss Reba to pick up the kids from her mom’s house, and rather than head home with them, take them with her to Michael’s to find some junk for Oldest to do her school project with. (“The story of which is coming up later,” he said ominously.)

I don’t know why she does stuff like this--four kids, each one tired and hyper from being at school all day where they had to sit still and listen, let loose in a crafts store with approximately one hundred million craft items within reach to grabble and insult with their clumsy fingers, or, alternately, about forty different aisles down which they could disappear. All with one lone parent. A parent, who despite being somewhat strict, is much more likely to discipline said child-horde by angry scolding and assorted attempts at provoking guilty feelings. The U.N., as it were.

It always leads to terrible stress for her, because they know they can get away with it, which makes Mama angry, and as we all know, if Mama ain’t happy...

But I digress.

I can go places with them by myself, but then they know that should they get crossways with me, it is only a short, quick, jaunt to the woodshed for a discussion of proper public behavior. It’s just as stressful for me as well as it is for Mom, but at least my way, they do what they’re told and act more or less human around decent folks. In any event, it’s always better if we go together when we go shopping, because we can at least mount a more effective zone defense.

Anyway, the trip to Michael’s wasn’t a good one, and it didn’t help any for me to remind the driver that she should’ve come and gotten me so we could all go together, or alternately, so that she and Ashley could have gone by themselves. I should know better by now than to make such helpful suggestions ex post facto, but whadda I know?!

Luckily, she was able to get what she needed for the project. A project about the Greek goddess Atalanta, Goddess of Coca-Cola and Stone Mountain. (Not really.) Anyway, Ashley and another girl were supposed to be doing a “group” project about Atalanta and Hippomenes (as an aside, I do wonder if the project had been about Biblical literature, how much of a stink the Establishment Clause folks would have raised) and at first the plan was for the kid to come to our house and for them to work on it on one of our computers.

“EEK,” I said. Two reasons: one--our house, sixteen days past Christmas, STILL looks like a Wal-Mart hit by a tornado, and two, the idea of letting loose two 14 year old girls who don’t know how to type onto my machinery is not my idea of a valuable learning experience.

Somehow, thankfully, Oldest and Friend decided to work together independently, one on the girl half of the duo, the other on ol’ Hippoman. Apparently there is some kind of an extra point thing here, and students were encouraged to make the presentation interesting. Asking 14 year olds to be creative without offering any guidelines is a bad idea.

Let’s just say that the idea of various costumery was put away back into Pandora’s box, and the story was to be told using various artworks (call me crazy, but I don’t think Atalanta looks like she spends much time on the track in this painting) and verbiage printed out and put onto your standard folding cardboard backdrop. In addition, there were also the visual props of some gold-painted apples purchased from Michael’s--your choice for cheesy Greek mythological accouterments.

Reba, despite constant protestations that she needed to study for her test tonight, still decided it would be her task to find the various artworks to paste on the board. Since it was computer stuff, though, I felt compelled to show her how to search for images using Google, rather than wandering around all over the place, and she worked on it the rest of Friday evening.

That mostly done, Miss Reba got ready for bed and told me she wanted to get up early Saturday, go get some breakfast at Cracker Barrel, and then go get groceries. I have no idea why--Cracker Barrel is so slow you could use Stonehenge to measure the time it takes to get your food, and after the previous trip with all of the kids to Michael’s, a trip to the grocery store seemed very odd indeed.


I wasn’t about to question the reasoning.

Sleep then, snore loudly, awake to a houseful of kids abusing the peace and quiet with cartoons and loud laughter. Urgh. Tell them to be quiet, drift back off, Reba gets up and takes a shower, kids continue loud cackling and gleeful mayhem, voice tells me that it’s nine o’clock and we need to go. ::sigh::

Up, check to see that kids aren’t ready to go either, issue directives to get dressed so we can go eat at CRACKER BARREL! YEA!, and then go take my shower, get dressed, shave, brush my hairs and my teeth, walk out of the bathroom about 9:30 and see that everyone is in the exact same position and state of dishabille as when I first got up. I summoned up the spirit of Gunny Hartman and in a little while they were ready to go.

Restaurant, park, walk in, told there’s a 20 minute wait. Of course. Look at bricabrac, watch Ashley beat Catherine in a game of checkers and then watch her in the process of losing to Rebecca when our name is called. Probably for the best that Rebecca didn’t get to finish the game--the veiled taunting and not-so-veiled screaming response would not be a good thing.

Sit down to eat, and Oldest begins process of being a turd--“Let me guess--we’re not going to eat LUNCH today, ARE we?!” At this time, it was approximately 10:45. “Well, I can tell you we’re not going to eat lunch at ELEVEN!” She’s a lot like Reba’s dad, in that she believes she must eat three meals a day, and at the appropriate, proscribed by law mealtimes, or else she will starve to death and blow away. In her mind, to do something like have brunch and supper means we HATE HER and SHE NEVER GETS HER WAY and is a PERSONAL INSULT and other such claptrap.


And sure enough, had we already eaten breakfast and had been ordering lunch, it would not have arrived at 11. Or even 11:30. It would have been at noon, like a real lunch. That’s some slow service, even taking into account that it took the indecisive amongst us about TWENTY FLIPPIN’ MINUTES to make up their minds. Not that I’m complaining. Gave me plenty of time for people-watching. Some very interesting people eat at Cracker Barrel. Present company included.

Finally finished up, and then it was time to head to the grocery store. ::sigh::

More about that in just a little while!

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