Wednesday, February 20, 2002


There is nothing wrong with playing 8 hours of Tiger Woods 2000, right?

I mean, not consecutively. In the course of a 24 hour day. Nope. Nothing wrong with that. Doug just played about 8 not quite consecutive hours of a game I bought him last year for Christmas (2000, not xmas 2001) that he has shown little or no interest in. So there's nothing wrong with that either. I'm expecting our PC is going to implode any second now.

It is official.

We're bored.

February and football season is over. Normally there is a ton of snow on the ground, but the yard is simply a muddy mess that one can barely walk upon without squishing in up past the ankle of the muckboot. So outside is no fun either. There is nothing good on TV... except Kids in the Hall, and I can't watch that with the Kids on the Couch... if you catch my drift. I'm bored. Hopelessly, pathetically bored.

My friend Scott's mom used to say to him when he'd complain at a young age that he was bored, "you aren't bored, you're BORING." What a complex to give your kid, eh?

And we are. We are boring. I used to be a dynamic, fun loving, ready to have tons of action and hilarity ensue on a daily basis kinda gal. Now. I'm old, frumpy. Tired. Bored and Boring.

I have gone to bed at or after 2am for the past three nights, and laid about in bed until noon, pretending I was reading a book when really I was asleep. As long as the children weren't strangling one another of raiding the cabinets, I felt relatively happy. But what a crap way to spend your life, no? Two nights ago I cleaned our fishtank out at 1am. Geoff had put a peanut butter chip cookie into the tank, and while I'd swapped the water out that morning there was still some chip-debris in the tank that just wouldn't fish out, and it repolluted the water... so rather than have our last lonely fish die a horrible Reeses Peanut Butter chip induced death, I drained and washed the entire damn thing. Made tons of noise too... but the family didn't wake. How pathetic and life-lacking is that?

Yesterday we packed up the family, dog and all, for a walk on the beach at Plum Island, (by the way, the website to which I link here is their 'official' site, but it is 'officially lame in my opinion) which stradles Newburyport, Newbury, Rowley and Ipswich in its 9 mile long run, but only the northern end of the island is human inhabited. The southern end of the island is the Parker River Wildlife Refuge. It is a summer community which over the years has become a year round community.

We almost bought a house out there when we were house shopping. It was a lease to own set up, I was pregnant with Geoff and it was a 1 bedroom house which we thought was a steal at 80,000 (indeed 6 years ago it sure was). We wanted to buy it and expand it, add two more bedrooms on a second floor. There used to be a house located on the plot beside this cottage, but it had been demolished, so the owners purchased the land and it had a huge yard. Come to find out, you can't expand the footprint of an existing property at all (island bylaws) nor can you add a second story to an existing structure. So, we'd have to make do in a tiny structure with two kids and a rottweiler, and possibly build a second town approved house on the other plot of land, move into it, and raze the existing cottage.

Screw that.

But I digress.

We had intended to take a long walk on the beach with the dog, the kids and ourselves... enjoying the 60 plus degree day it was. There are signs posted all over the place saying "No Dogs Allowed on Beach," so we opted to hang out at the playground and let the kids play. We took the sign seriously... meanwhile about 20 dogs came and went with their owners... I told Doug that I thought it was probably okay if we went for a walk, but he kind of shrugged his shoulders and Meh'ed at me... he walked Kinger around the area where the lighthouse is, and up and down some of the roads.

Geoff and Jess played on the playground they have there, which was crowded and put to fabulous use by islanders and visitors. Geoff made good friends with a kid named Leo, and Leo started this fantasy game where they were all monsters of some sort. Geoff was the Vampire, half bat half human, and sneaky. Leo was the Minotaur, half bull half human and eats people. That's his special trait or skill, I guess. Two other boys were Lizatron, a half lizard half human combo and the last boy was half snake half human. There was a little girl in there too, Leo's sister... I think her name was Kayla. She was a mermaid. We all know what she's half of.

They went to the monster cafe, and placed an order. Kayla played waitress... I played cook. Leo complained that the service was too slow so they left. It was quite funny.

We had a nice time. Geoff did his usual 5 year old meltdown when it came time to leave, as is his wont and as we are accustomed to... but it didn't stop. He kept it up for over an hour.

We had to stop at the market to grab a few things to go on the grill (gotta love the grill) and Geoff insisted on coming in with me. He was horrendous. First bad thing he did was insist on popcorn when I wasn't there to get popcorn. And he spazzed out. I calmed him down and told him that I'd get him a small bag to eat on the way home, but that he had to put the 900 pound bag of Smartfood back. He was irked... but followed my instruction, gave me lip and we proceeded through the store to the produce area. I wanted to get apples to bake an apple pie with so we could take it to A&Ms this weekend on our Northern Hospitality tour. He didn't want an apple pie, he wanted pumpkin. I told him no. He freaked out old school. I tried to give him a time out by having him face the wall, but he picked up an apple and tried to throw it... so, I put my basket down and hauled his ass back to the car where Doug and Jessica were waiting.

You don't screw with me at the market.

So Doug ended up giving him a spanking in the car, because he went APE like we've never seen him do before. To make matters worse, I got chocolate bars for Doug, Jessie and me, and told him he couldn't have any. I wanted him to be clear that his behavior was bad, so the consequences were bad. Doug, Jessie and I ate our chocolate bars and gloated about it.

Well, it didn't go as I planned. It made matters worse. Geoff got punished and sent to his room when we got home... no chocolate, no popcorn, no nothing.

And then he twisted his glasses up.

I mean, you'd think a kid would break down after the chocolate part... but he just keeps going and going.

Eventually he calmed down, insisted he wanted to apologize. We let him out of his room and he was contrite, sorrowed at his circumstance, and repentant. I let him sit on my lap facing me and cuddling, while I played Tiger Woods (okay, I played 8 hours today, and about 7 hours yesterday ... I'm entitled!)

I'm not sure what his temper triggers are. Hungry? perhaps. Angry about leaving the park? certainly. But normally we can get him to understand that he'll eventually come back to that place to play... or to that museum. But man. It was the worst freakout in recorded history.

In the morning we depart for the great northern woods to A&M's home for what I'm billing the "Northern Hospitality Tour, 2002" seeing as the Western PA hospitality tour got buzzkilled. Sleepin' bags, dogs, futons, cold floors, cold beer, tons of snow... I'm so looking forward to it. But unlike other planned trips, such as Equirox, TikiFest, and Lostercaust, I haven't made print invitations in photoshop to self-glorify our gatherings.

It'll take us about 4.5 hours to get there. On the way we're going to stop in Portsmouth to turn a box of used books into used book credit at a great used book store, and we'll meander our way up I-95 to the shores of the mighty Penobscot.

A&M have a beautiful view of the top of Penobscot Bay from their kitchen window... I'll be sure to snap some pictures. Aaron told me he was sitting at the computer in the 2nd bedroom on the top floor and a hawk was in the tree right outside his window one day, watching him. I love that about their place. Views, wildlife... happy.

Alright. This is it for a few days. My house is full of the warm toasty aroma of apple pie and gingerbread candles. My son is snoring softly, such a treat compared to his freaking out... Jessica's learning something useful, and I'm going to shower and then read some P.G. Wodehouse.

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