Monday, January 14, 2008

Category Four Kill Storm!!!

Well, THAT was interesting. I tried to leave for work this morning and now I am back here in the house. The normally 2 minute drive to the end of my street where it joins up with the main drag that runs to the highway took me over 20. That is a bad, bad sign on a snowy day. If it took that long to get to that point, I could only imagine what Peabody and Salem would be like.

Turning around in the chinese restaurant parking lot to come home was the best decision I have made in weeks...

I heard a snow plow go down my street at about 5am and figured they'd have the roads really clear by the time I got out the door. I guess they didn't come back, or, that the snow is too much for them to keep up with just yet.

They canceled school, which is something they tend NOT to do in this town unless it is expected to be truly, evil, wicked, french toast alert level nuclear purple severe. So I guess the timing of the storm was yet again really significant - while all the humans were trying to go to work. With school being canceled, they weren't under pressure to have the roads cleared by 7am. Possibly, they were pacing themselves and only doing the really main roads. Our road is a main road but kind of secondary compared to the numbered routes that take people from town to town...

So a 40 minute round trip to the end of my street gets me back here to a microwave warmed up cup of coffee mixed with some hot cocoa, and some time this morning quietly with Geoff and Camp Lazlo.

It's been a pretty good week since last I checked in. I haven't had time to sit and write or anything. Jess started her mid-terms and she's been in this seat from morning to night most days writing and researching and doing notes. And, I'm sure goofing off for a good part of it but that's beside the point.

I have neglected some good stories, some that I will continue to neglect because I can't remember all the details and it's only been a week. Things happen so fast and furious that it all blends together and I see a huge tapestry instead of individual stories that I can share and if I don't sit down and record them then they are just woven in as memory for just me.

One funny thing that happened stands out head and shoulders over the rest. and it (of course) involves Geoff. When we were staying in Pittsburgh over New Years, our hotel was near the Airport. Some of you know, this is an area called Moon Township, and Township is, of course, abbreviated as Twp.

[Sidebar note] The Twp thing confuses the hell out of me. There are towns, and townships, and you live in a township, but you actually have a town name. Like the hotel we stayed in is in Coraopolis, but it is in Moon Township. Is there a downtown Moon, PA? Yes... somewhere ELSE in the state there is a Moon, PA and it is part of some other township.

Whatever. Confuses the hell out of me. I never know where I am. I can barely get around out there without a map. [End sidebar note.]

So we ordered pizza from a local joint that delivered to the hotel. The side of the box was emblazoned with the phone number and Moon Twp. The following morning, Doug's parents came to the hotel to meet us because we were going to the Carneige Museum of Art for the day. That's another story for later. But we were standing around the hotel room and my mother in law asked Geoff what we had for dinner the night before. Geoff gestures to the pizza boxes and says "Oh, we ordered pizza and they delivered it. It was really good. The name of the pizza shop is Moon Twip. I'm not sure if it is a chain. Do you have a Moon Twip Pizza Shop near your house?"

Moon Twip. Geoff reads things literally, and Twp to him was pronounced "Twip" instead of being the abbreviation for Township.


So my inlaws are dying laughing, Doug and I are trying not to laugh because we know how genuinely honest Geoff is being at that point... and Geoff is standing there, looking kind of shocked that anyone would find this funny.

You have to hear his voice as he's talking... he's being very adult, very conversational and engaging as he is explaining where we got the pizza. Gesturing nicely towards the boxes, running his finger along the name "Moon Twp" he thinks he is doing everything exactly right... and he is... almost.

Doug started to explain to him what "Twp" really is, and now Geoff is kind of embarrassed. He starts to argue that it isn't an abbreviation! Twip is a place!

It took us most of the rest of the day to teach him about Townships and towns and twips and Twp. I think he almost got it in the end. And we all had a good laugh.

But it is also kind of sad because I felt his embarrassment. I felt him crumble inside when the laughter started. Geoff doesn't like being made fun of, even when he does something extremely funny. And especially when he does something extremely funny that isn't supposed to be funny at all. And he will beat himself up for being stupid and making stupid mistakes how his brain doesn't work. I try and tell him everyone makes these mistakes (ask my sister about "Help Wanted" on the movie marquee in Danvers in 1985) and we should laugh at our mistakes.

I get his point, and have to give him all the credit in the world for HAVING conversations, and trying.

And now, we will all laugh when we see "Twp" on something, and hopefully someday Geoff will laugh too.

While we were at the Carneige Museum of Art, Jess went off on her own and spent the day running (or strolling is more like it) around the joint. It was the first time we've really allowed her that kind of freedom in a huge, open, public space. I knew my in-laws look at things at a different pace than she does, or I do for that matter, and I knew she would find things more interesting if she could pick and choose what to go look at.

We kept Geoff with us and he wanted to see the dinosaur exhibit. Much to my dismay the T-rex area was closed off, but it was a beautiful exhibit to see nonetheless. The problem with the entire place was it was packed to the gills with people. And children. And strollers. Oh my GOD I hate strollers in public places. I hate when people let their toddlers push the strollers in public places, because you know what happens. They run right up my big fat ass. Hate that. Control your damn kid.

I have decided that I'm so DONE with museums and crowded places. I'm not sure if I am developing a phobia or some sort of social disorder, but when I see a line, or if the wait for something is longer than 10 minutes, I'm so out of there. We got to the museum and the parking lot was full, which (if I were in charge) would have red flagged the situation and I would have said "hey, let's go into the Cathedral of Super Knowledge and check out the classrooms decorated for Christmas time!" instead of "Let's park a couple blocks away and then walk back and stand in line for an hour to get into the crowded museum!"

Yeah. I would have left. But I wasn't in charge.

I was on edge the entire time. I wasn't enjoying myself. I don't go to museums to sit in mob scenes.

It wasn't until the very end of the day when we went up to the Scaife Gallery that I felt relaxed. The Scaife Gallery is where all the paintings, sculpture and real old fancy art is kept. It seems no one goes up there.

Primarily, it is filled with American and European paintings, stuff by dead white men and a couple of old dead white women. There was a temporary exhibit of photography, mostly of portraits and childhood from the early 1900s, and then the gilded iconography of the 14th century welcomes the viewer ... and one can walk through all of art history through time, up to today.

When we got to the early 20th century, Geoff said "This isn't art. This sucks!" which I thought was the most amazingly astute thing anyone has EVER said in the history of museums, so we turned around and went back and sat in front of Monet's "Waterlillies" to enjoy the quiet solitude without strollers and children screaming and parents yanking their kids.

There is a couch opposite the painting... and Geoff and I sat there for a really long time. I was astounded by how HUGE the painting is, having only ever really seen it on postcards and slide shows and TV, without a person standing in front of it to give it the concept of scale. I thought it was a normal sized painting. Sitting in front of it, I actually sighed and said to myself "this isn't as over rated as I once thought..."

I told Geoff that this was a very famous and important painting. He pondered that a minute and asked, "So, am I now famous and important for sitting in front of it and looking at it?"

No. But you're infinitely cooler than you were a few minutes ago, I think. Try and remember you've seen this in person when you have to take an art history class someday.

We enjoyed the Scaife Gallery the most, and should have spent the bulk of the day there instead of fighting the crowds in the gem rooms and dinosaur land. We saw a really interesting exhibit on the different types of "Carnivale!" throughout the world. Doug and Jessica both agreed that "Carnivale!" masks, traditions and celebrations that surround it are just plain disturbing. I have to agree to some extent, but I did really enjoy the Spy vs. Spy death masks of the Basel Switzerland's Fasnacht. Those were the best. Never has the plague been remembered with such coolness.

Anyway. I'm babbling now. I've not had the time to sit and finish going through my photos from New Years, and I've got dishes to do and dogs to play with out in the snow, so I'm going to go do that. Before I do -- I must say that if the Super Bowl ends up being NE vs. Green Bay my heart is going to break. I love the Pats, but I also would LOVE to see Brett Favre win another Super Bowl before he retires... and this very well could be his last year (we say that every year, don't we, sports fans). So ... with heavy heart I say... Go Giants. Beat Green Bay so I can cheer against you and feel good about the Pats.

Alright. That's it. More later.

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