I should be working (I have several job jackets on my desk giving me the hairy eyeball) but nothing is due immediately, and sometimes on Monday I have a hard time getting back into the groove. This is especially true this morning. I blame The Scientist.
See, Macey started to fuss at 5am, so The Scientist got up and brought her into bed with us. Which is fine, she settled down immediately and went back to sleep, as did I. But there was something about having one of our children in bed with us that made it feel like a lazy Sunday morning to me, and my wife finally poked me and said, “It’s six-thirty. Get up!” my brain was all, “What the fuck? You tellin’ me it isn’t Sunday? Shiiiit!”
So here’s a bunch of unorganized things of note that have happened lately:
We had a garage sale.
Actually, our entire street did. Or rather, the non-stick in the mud families did. This was organized by our garage sale veteran neighbor, who had the 4-1-1 on everything you needed for a successful garage sale in our town. Like, a permit.
I was a little horrified that our city requires you to pay five bucks to get a neon green piece of paper with your address on it to confirm that your garage sale is “legal.” Along with the permit came four sheets outlining what you can and cannot do at your garage sale, heavily weighted to the “can’t” side of the equation.
I humped a bunch of crap out of the basement and lined it up neatly in our driveway and let the invisible hand do its magic. And it was very successful! We got rid of all the big crap we no longer wanted (and only moderately wanted in the first place) and made a few bucks in the process.
It helped a great deal that everything was Priced! To! Move! The gigantic bulky end tables? $8 for the set! The dirty snow blower that desperately needs serviced? $10 (but I actually took $5)! The 1980s-era stereo with speakers? $5! The tiny black-and-white TV? Fifty cents!
The basement has never looked better.
We took a vacation.
A little one. We just ran up to the cabin (I’ve mentioned my family’s cabin before, right? Ah, yes I have) for Saturday and Sunday morning. We brought up some friends, and Mom met us up there and it was a good time. The girls are getting old enough to appreciate it, and I always enjoy my time up there. The Scientist’s severe allergies to mold and mildew make it… challenging… at times, but we’ve figured it out, for the most part. There was hiking and drinking and over-eating and poker and it was all-in-all a very fun weekend.
That is, until the trip back home.
We always dope up the girls with Dramamine, just to be safe, since the roads are a little twisty-turny. Well, we didn’t on the way home. About an hour into the trip, Macey let out a big burp that sounded more than a little on the wet side. The Scientist and I exchanged terrified glances and looked back. Macey was still just watching the portable DVD player, seemingly happy. Whew, we both thought. Glad she didn’t--
And that’s when the puke flood gates opened up.
The Scientist was driving, and I was still looking back at Macey when the dam burst. It’s always funny to watch little kids puke… unlike adults who look around in desperation for something to yak into, little kids just let it come. All down the front of her, all over her car seat.
We pulled off into the nearest gas station. She had started to cry, and The Scientist took her into the bathroom to comfort her and clean her up, leaving me to deal with the puke-splattered car seat. Which actually cleaned-up fairly easily. Lily took the opportunity to remind me several times that she didn’t get car sick, for which we were happier than she could ever know.
We dosed both kids, waited about a half hour, then got back on the road. Fortunately, there were no further incidents. But the car did smell like puke for the rest of the trip.
I parked cars and took a leap of faith.
Right across the street from our church is a catholic church. Every year in July this church has a little festival on their property with rides, games of chance, fried dough, that sort of thing--I’m guessing here, I’ve actually never been to it.
Anyway, this church pays our church some amount of money to allow fair-goers to park in our parking lot. And here’s the thing: there’s nothing tricky about the parking lot, you don’t need a pass-card to get in or anything like that. It’s asphalt, flat, marked by lines. So you might think that the church would say, “Fantastic! Give us that check, and have at!”
But it doesn’t go down like that. Rather, the parking is this amazingly over-orchestrated affair with signs, roadblocks, 2-way radios, flashlights, parking cones and a bunch of volunteers.
All of this is run by one little old lady at the church, whom we will call Sue. The parking lot deal is Sue’s baby. It’s her territory, and you are wise to tread softly when entering her territory.
I got a frantic call from Sue on Tuesday night. One of the guys scheduled to work the parking lot had been hit by a tram (apparently he was time-traveling in the 18th century) and had sprained his ankle. Could I fill in? Sure, I figured… I hadn’t been the best parishioner of late, so I figured I’d better jump on any opportunity to get good with God. My shift was the final one of Thursday night, 8-11pm. “I’ll mail you the instructions,” Sue informed me. I reminded her that I had actually volunteered for this parking lot duty before a couple years ago, and wasn’t sure if she needed to waste a stamp. She assured me she did, and that was that.
Two days later my instructions arrived (the morning of the duty--Sue must have been sweating bullets worrying that I’d get them in time) and, honestly, I never opened them. It wasn’t until after my shift that I opened the envelope to review the five pages of instructions. To say that these instructions were thorough is to bad-mouth the gods of thoroughness. Everything was covered… how to hang the signs, where to place the signs, where to block off certain parking spots, and with what, and for how long… and so on. When to close the lot. How to operate the radios--because you needed a “front lot” person and “back lot” person, and it was critical that they be in constant communication. I mean, what if you didn’t block off the lot when it was full and someone had to--I shutter to even imagine it--drive through and not find a spot and have to drive out again?
But in all fairness, I suppose all the rigmarole isn't completely superfluous. I mean, if there’s actually people from the church there, I suppose any troublemakers would be less likely to, I dunno, key cars or try to break in to the church or whatnot. But is this event of such a scale that it requires five pages to properly explain? I guess Sue wasn’t willing to leave anything to chance.
And just to reinforce this, Sue was there herself to review the policies with me again when I got there. In the course of discuss the night’s clean-up, she noticed that whoever had put the FREE PARKING sign over the usual Church Parking sign had neglected to first cover it with the protective plastic sheeting--which is clearly outlined in the SET UP section of the instructions. “Oh boy,” I thought. “Somebody fucked up. Sue isn’t going to like this.” Sue seemed to take it in stride, although the look on her face was clearly a long-suffering “Why do I even bother?” I suggested I could go put up the protective sheet now, but Sue told me that “it’s too late, now.”
Luckily there were no parking shenanigans on my watch, and I spent most of the time texting stupid things to my wife.
But one thing did happen at the end of the night that’s worth noting.
Around 11:45pm we started to tear down all the parking materials (because if they stayed up all night--well, that just would NOT do) and I had to remove some signs from the rear lot. As the lot is designed, it does downhill a bit before it exits to the street. And it winds around a corner. So it happened that I ended up on the top of an eight foot tall wall, in the dark, looking over the edge. I would have taken about a minute and half to walk around. Or! my brain suggested for some unknown reason, You could just jump down! I shined by flashlight (Please make sure flashlights are OFF!!! and return to the box labeled “Flashlights And Batteries” at the end of your shift”) on the ground, didn’t see any rocks or glass and jumped.
Now, I’m a 200lb. guy, and don’t make a habit of leaping off walls or, well, anything. I think my brain had the imgine of me lightly springing to the ground like a cat (or a ninja!), but the reality was somewhat different. I landed hard on my feet, which immediately slid out in front and deposited me rudely on my ass.
Of course, it was at that moment that my brain spoke up and said, “Jesus, dude, that was stupid.” Damn you, brain!
Anyway, my ankles hurt for the rest of the evening, but I didn’t manage to do any lasting damage. Which is nothing short of miraculous.
And on that note, I must now return to work before someone notices I'm blogging and not working and I again land hard on my ass.