Monday, August 18, 2003

What to do when the kids are away

Things that theoretically can be done while the Children are away for a few days visiting with Grandma and grandpa in NY.

1. Sex
2. Geocaching after or before sex
3. Cleaning, organizing and purging of clothing that is too small for them
4. Sex after all the too-small clothing is put in bags and dropped off at the Salvation Army
5. Renting Movies
6. Renting Movies with the F word said often and loudly
7. Having Sex during the movies with the F word said often and loudly
8. Get up early for work and make it there ontime, even though we just had sex
9. Sex

Alright, you know I'm totally playing up the alone-ness of our kids being away. Both children were taken by my inlaws down to Connecticut, where they took the ferry over to the other side and were met by my parents. Due to lack of program and/or adult supervision, both kids needed to be somewhere. I tried to find a sitter here, but the ones I was contacted back by through the posting board at my college each needed a place to stay for the whole week. And that place is not here. We don't have a guest room or place for a nanny, so each of them needed turned down.

The sad thing is, I even posted that they needed to supply their own transportation and made no mention of a place to stay here. It was sort of inferred by each of the two ladies who responded.

I'll keep their email addresses, both seemed nice. If they get cars, who knows, perhaps I'll have willing sitters. God knows we don't have one at this time.

Everyone was up early today. My mother in law packed this morning and that took her the better part of an hour. Everyone else was ready and she was rushing around putting things into orderly compartments. Her style of packing is the total antithesis of my style. I throw shit in the suitcase. She puts her footsie stocking knee-hi thingies into ziplock bags. Whatever woman, cram that shit in and throw it in the trunk!

They hit the road 15 minutes later than they expected to, and 45 minutes earlier than Doug predicted. Nice. They made the ferry an hour early, and waited around for my mom. Not sure why they didn't call her from Bridgeport, perhaps they were pressed for time. Regardless, my parents and Doug's parents could use a cell phone.

I miss my kids. We had a lot of fun this weekend, when Geoff wasn't throwing hissy fits and headbutting my arm. It's amazing that during a fit of rage he now willingly sits down to argue about things, and I tell him pretty much why he's mistaken and why he needs to rethink his stance, and I win.

I shouldn't have to negotiate with a six year old, but it really is the only thing that works.

Case in point. We went to the Arnold Arboretum on Sunday. Apologies to Xeraphas and the retro-redhead, we were within blocks of both of their homes and didn't call and invite ourselves in to impose. With my inlaws here, we weren't sure what they'd be cool with.

Geoff sees all the trees and instantly starts thinking "It's Climbin' Time." No. I explain to him that an arboretum is pretty much a tree museum, that he must respect the trees. Grudgingly, he accepts this stance. Until we see some fat bitch sitting up in a Japanese Yew with her two little branch monkeys playing around. So, if she's up in a tree, it must be okay for GEOFF to scale the tree.

Upon reflection, I should have just let him climb the one branch. It looks as if this tree is sat upon often. But, there was a sign. Right in front of the everlovin' boughs of this stately creature, saying "Respect the Trees. Don't climb on them" or something nice to that effect. So I removed him.




fucking SHIT.

I shot the fat bitch a look, and she rolled her eyes like I'm some sort of liberal tree huggin' nature freak. I'm not totally, but man, I know that museum pieces aren't to be sat upon any more than I'd pull Whistler's Mother off the wall and paint a telephone or microwave into the background of the painting.

Geoff is making an unholy scene. Doug starts to reprimand him, but I want to take this one, because I started it with him in the explaining phases.

We go through the basics: 1. Just because someone else near you is making bad choices that break the rules does not mean you should. 2. Respect the damn trees, ferchrissake! Stay off of them here. You have trees in your yard you can climb. Climb at home. 3. Be a good steward. Be responsible for the gifts given. People worked really really hard to build the arboretum. It is a gift to us to enjoy and love. It is our responsibility to take care of it. When we had arrived near the Bussey gate, there was a discarded newspaper on the ground by a bench. I picked it up. I carried it all the way to the next trash can. I told Geoff, that was an example of being a good steward. I wanted for him to be a good steward too, and that meant taking care of the trees.

And here's where it gets interesting.

Explaining these concepts of stewardship to Geoff, he latches on to the element of responsibility and care and becomes the Tree Nazi... He chastises someone for having their dog off the leash because it disrespects the grass. He told me that Doug was going to go to hell for picking a leaf off of a tree. Doug found the leaf on the ground, but Geoff was convinced that Doug picked it off the tree, was a "bad steward" and hence was steeped in mortal sin and would plummet straight to the bowls of Hades to be poked and prodded by burning Black Oak limbs for the rest of eternity.

He jumped to the concept that not being a good steward was a sinful act. I didn't tell him that. I'm sure this is how basic rules of guidance turn into Talibanesque law. My son was out to right the wrongs being done to the bark and branch. He became crusader to the chlorophyl. Doug wanted him to feel some bark on a tree. He would have none of that tree touching! Don't touch it.


Doug is definately doomed in Geoff's mind.

Eventually he let go of his strict adherence to the laws and we enjoyed the rest of our walk. But man. It was a challenge. Step by step. A challenge.

Highlight of the day -- hawk in the park. I was waiting for King Dawdler as he poked around in the pouring rain, and a hawk flew down over my head and then coasted up the path, six feet off the ground, and only I saw him. Later, in another part of the park, the rest of our party spotted him in a tree, listening to Jessica's bird calling device that she picked up at the gift shop, his head cocked to one side, one foot up off the branch... waiting.

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