Busy weekend — productive and fun

Date June 24, 2007

Saturday morning, Benton got into “best big brother in the world” mode with Alana. Mostly, he built tunnels and caves for her with the furniture and cushions in the living room. Actually, the picture in the previous entry here was taken by Benton of Alana crawling through a tunnel he had made. The unintended consequence of this was that, when given a choice, Alana wanted Benton to handle everything for her for the rest of the day. This included diaper changes (he flat-out refused) and brushing her teeth (which he did, pretending to be somewhat miffed, but clearly pleased).

Backing up a little bit, actually… Julie and I had stayed up with Marilyn until after midnight on Friday night. But, we were both awake by 7:30 on Saturday morning. Since Marilyn and Gene were still here, we decided to sneak off for a walk. Some day, the kids will be old enough that we can do this any old evening or any old morning. Right? That day will come. Won’t it?

I managed to get the yard mowed and edged. And, I made a run to the airport with Gene so he could return their rental car before noon. Julie ran Gene and Marilyn to the airport mid-afternoon. She also made a run to pick up a birthday cake for Alana, balloons, and an Elmo chair for a birthday gift. We were heading over to Tom and Cherylann Campbell’s house for dinner. Their daughter, Angela, was Benton’s first real friend. And, likewise, Benton was Angela’s first friend. They were in daycare together and really clicked in an opposites-attract sort of way — Benton being the quintessential “sensitive child,” and Angela being the quintessential “spirited child.” Off and on, they’ve been at the same school over the years, and were at the same school (although different classes) for 1st and 2nd grade. For our part, we really like Tom and Cherylann, so we’ve been happy to find excuses to get together with them over the years. It’s touching actually, in that Angela is genuinely unhappy that we’re moving to Ohio. Tom and Cherylann are both from upstate New York, though, and have relatives in Cleveland. For various reasons, they’re actually thinking they might come up and spend a week with us for vacation next year, which would be great.

Yes. I digress.

Cherylann had called Julie a while back about having us over for dinner. Julie asked if we could make that Alana’s birthday party. Her birthday was last Sunday — Father’s Day — but Julie and I were in Ohio, and Alana is a bit out from knowing when her birthday actually is, so Julie rescheduled it for this weekend.

I sort of failed to mention that Julie and Benton are the only two people outside of Angela’s parents who have not missed a single one of Angela’s birthday parties. Their son, Ben, is a bit younger than Carson. It’s a formula for chaos, really, but a chaos that had Benton spontaneously commenting, “That was fun” after we left. We brought balloons, a cake, and Alana’s presents. The Campbells provided dinner. I don’t think we left until after 9:00.

This morning, I got up on the roof and did the requisite branch trimming as we’d committed to in the contract with the buyers of our house. That’s work that is a guaranteed formula for a sore lower back. Alana wound up across the cul-de-sac at Jerry and Judy Schaaf’s while Julie pitched in and helped me cut up and bundle the brush. After cleaning up from that, I did some more work on a little kitchen cabinetry project for our next-door neighbors that I’ve been plugging away at for several months. They pulled out their trash compactor when they tiled their kitchen, and I’m building a cabinet back into that space, including dividers for cookie sheets. They’re starting to get a little antsy that it won’t be done before we leave. And, since I’m doing it for fun, it’s not like they can withhold payment! The project has its challenges, as I’m having to make both sides of the opening somehow connect, even though they don’t really align with each other, and, through what must have taken some real effort on the part of the original carpenter, there is not a single 90 degree angle in the whole project. So, it’s got a nice dose of intellectual stimulation combined with making sawdust.

Despite standing on my anti-fatigue mats while working on that project, my back was tightening up by 5:00 or so. I knocked off, took a dip in the pool, then hit the hot tub. Aunt Kim is coming over for dinner tonight. In the middle of the other work, I managed to make a batch of pizza dough, and Julie squeezed in a run to the grocery store to get some gourmet pizza fixin’s.

And the dinner bell is ringing…

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