So the update for the past week or so is that we had family time, visitors, in school suspension and planted some plants. It's been busy here at the Way Out Inn. My update -- let me shows you it.
Linda and Ronnie came up to visit with my parents. It was a horrible spitty rainy day, so all we ended up doing was going out to dinner at The Tap in Haverhill. We wanted a day of walking around the Newburyport Waterfront and shopping and enjoying early May in all its glory... but ... meh. We just sat around the house, ate dinner, and talked about the WaMu TV commercial where the guy is surrounded by puppies. That's pretty much my brother in law.
Yup. Pretty much.
Geoff and I planted daffodils and pansies in the front of the house, and started up some morning glories and marigolds from seeds. Those are coming along nicely. He was funny as we were planting the flowers... he had to work hard and was on his hands and knees digging holes for me to put the pansies in, and he looked at me and said "This is HARD! I don't think I could do this professionally like for a living." So I told him to keep that in mind and learn from this. It's nice as a hobby, but when you have to do it to make money, you either HAVE to do it because you're not qualified to do anything else, and it is hard, back-straining work to be a landscaper. We talked about options in life, how some people do it because they love it, others do it because they have no other choices... and where he would hope to find himself one day... we also talked about how one should appreciate that kind of hard work when others do it. Like when you see a beautifully landscaped garden and lawn... a lot of hours and work go into professional gardens, and people work hard at it... so he is mindful that there is a great deal of effort that goes on with this kind of work.
I told him there was more opportunity coming down the pike for more hole digging and plant planting. Doug started planning what we are going to do with the island on the side of our driveway, and ordered a mess of meadow-style perennials so that it'll just kind of take care of itself forever once it is in the ground. Geoff is willing to help, but I think if he had to do this every summer he'd balk and run.
We found out the ground bees that we have are individual bees that are out for the blossoms on the local trees... it isn't an infestation of hive proportions, so they do their "blossom slut" (as Doug calls it) thing and move along. So the island should be okay to turn. Doug started to turn it and then said "screw it!" and decided he'll hire a guy to rototill it. It'll go much faster.
This past weekend, Michael and Jon came to visit us. We had a nice time hanging out, talkin' Shakespeare, drinking cheap shiraz in the middle of the afternoon, eating Chinese food and getting licked by one neurotic puppy (Brodie).
We haven't seen them since their wedding in June of 2006 so it's been a sorryassed long time and it was fun to be with them for the day.
Mother's Day was rather uneventful. Geoff didn't make me breakfast in bed, which kind of surprised me and to be honest made me a little sad. But he did greet me with "your mom" jokes in honor of the auspiciousness of the holiday. Some of them were good. Others made no sense. But in his own little way he probably worked that up for a while and put some effort into it finding the jokes so I give him credit.
We went to church and a 17 year old boy wished me a happy mother's day, and I said "Happy mother's day to you, too!" Quite stupid.
Geoff has outgrown his and hasn't been going on his daily rides even though the weather is nice, because it's just no fun to go ride when your knees hit the handle bars. Jess needs to learn how to ride a bike in the next few weeks before she goes to Germany.
Yes, I just told you that my almost 16-year old daughter does not know how to ride a bike. Let me 'splain.
Back in the day when she was like 7, she wiped out while trying to ride and just washed her hands of the situation. She refused to get back up and try again. Part embarrassment, part injury, part wounded pride, she just wasn't going to have any part of being on a bike. No amount of support, encouragement, cajoling or sassback (mostly from her dad) would get her ass back up on a bike seat. She was done. End of conversation.
So here we are, years later, and in one month she's heading to Germany where all the kids ride their bikes to school. And she needs to be able to do this.
We've known about this forever. In the fall, she shrugged her shoulders and turned her back on us when we brought it up. Doug had basically written it off and didn't see the point in bothering.
She got back from England and said that she needed to learn and get on it now. Doug's head basically exploded and he said "you don't just learn this overnight and then are an expert who can toodle all over Deutschland on your bikey!" So they had a massive argument about it and we determined that we'd buy her a bike and by gum, she'd learn how to ride it.
It was funny because in the back of my head I heard my mother in law saying "You can't plan a wedding in five months!" and I took that as a personal challenge, and I did it, and it was great. I think Jessica has that same attitude...
I told her when she learns to ride it without killing herself, I will buy her an "Aoooooogah!" bike horn. They had them at the bike store and she was coveting them... so that will be a reward for her.
Sunday she tried for two hours. And yesterday I came home and she had been home for almost 2 hours trying again. She can't quite get that second foot up on the pedal and get going... she panics and slams on the brakes.
When Geoff was learning to ride (I blogged it here, I think he was 7 or 8...I'd have to check my archives) he rode in the backyard at our old house to be on the grass nice and safe. Ruined the grass, but hey -- injuries were kept at a minimum.
He fell a million times. Got up, got on, fell again. Weeks and weeks and weeks of this.
Doug pointed this out to me, that it took Geoff forever to do it. Thing is, Geoff has learning disabilities, visual spacial disorder, problems doing more than one thing at a time (like balancing AND pedaling AND steering all at once!) and Jess doesn't have these problems. I think her problems are different -- lack of confidence and sheer terror.
That said, I think she can pick it up if she can get past those two things. What I love about her is she can be awfully tenacious. I pointed out to him that she figured out how to use chopsticks by relentlessly working at it, and then she only used chopsticks to eat EVERYTHING for months after that.
Pray for her -- this is going to be challenging. I am hoping this is her new chopsticks, and she'll be master of the cruiser bike in no time. Cross your fingers. And -- if you have advice or tips on how to teach a grown up how to ride a bike, I'll surely welcome any tips and pointers.
And, I must say I like this bike myself... it's nice.
I feel all PG Wodehouse country lane "what ho!" waving at the neighbors as I cruise along the promenade. It is a nice, easy ride... and I have bike envy. Only I would have gotten the green and white one, not the black and white.
Yesterday after school I picked Geoff up from guitar class and we went and worked with the boy scouts cleaning up some trails. The boys raked like mad, and I didn't have to do much work... just kind of follow along and point out where stuff was missed. There were a dozen boys and two adults... and the senior patrol leader. He (the PL) ran the show, and as a grown up I pretty much needled the tenderfoot scouts (my own and his friends) and tried to keep them from goofing off too much. It was a lot of fun. And we got community service hours, which are awfully nice.
There is nothing I like more in the woods than a nice, clean, well maintained trail. And now I know part of who does these kinds of things. Huzzah!
What else... Oh -- Geoff's got a band concert tonight. Last one of the year. Full chorus, full band and his guitar class will show off their stuff. I'm looking forward to it.
And on that note, I need to get him out to the bus and get to work. Yesterday I made it to work in record time. Let's see if we can repeat that!