Thursday, July 03, 2008
The Days Are Just Packed
Nine days have passed. And lots has happened. And yet, nothing has happened. How existential.
We are well into the indulgent, semi-uncivilized schedule we tend to slip into during the first two weeks of Summer Vacation. We sleep late, swim in the pool, sit around playing video games and go to bed late. We do manage to run errands and get chores done, but with three of us in the house all day instead of just me, the chores take a lot less time so there is more time for swimming and video games.
And when I say video games, I mean Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga. Man-Cub got it on Sunday as a belated birthday gift and I estimate it has gotten at least 10 hours of action every day since. If they're not asleep or in the loo, the children are sitting on the living room floor, flailing wildly in front of the TV. I must admit it's a pretty cool game. Everything is made out of Legos: the characters, scenery, weapons, vehicles. You collect studs, the Lego form of coins, you build things out of Legos to help you along in the game, and when you blow something up it blasts apart into little Lego smithereens, even the people/aliens/droids. And did you catch Lego Leia in her legendary gold bikini up there? Hilarious. And, if you look closely, doesn't it look like Severus Snape swiped a lightsaber and snuck in there? The game follows the movies almost exactly, with short film clips between each level of play. Fans of the movies, as well as fans of Legos, will find great enjoyment in this game. I give it a thumbs up, even if it has induced my children to spend most of their waking moments trash talking each other instead of working together. Oh well.
Redheaded Snippet has turned into a teenager. Although it seems she's been slowly metamorphosing for several years now, it's finally official. To mark the occasion, I provided her with a full supply of quality cosmetics of her very own. We've allowed her to wear make-up in stages, a little blush and lip gloss, then darker lipstick and concealer as needed, and now that she's 13, the floodgates have opened and the last hurdle has been cleared: eye makeup. The only make-up restrictions left are that she can't look like a tart and if she looks absolutely ridiculous, I'm going to find a way to tell her so. My kids are free to make choices in their appearance that make them look silly if they so desire, but I reserve the right to gently point it out to them just in case they are unaware.
Having been caught up in all the birthday revelry and good cheer, The Viking and I completely lost our minds and agreed to let our Snippet have a slumber party. Seven of her closest friends came to our house with bathing suits and sleeping bags in tow and spent the night swimming, playing games, laughing and eating. It really wasn't bad. My mom came to remove Man-Cub from the situation by having him sleep over at her house and wound up staying and she and I actually joined in the games. There was slip-and-slide-duck-duck-goose, pizza, leg-wrestling, build-your-own-sundaes, boneless hot wings and endless rounds of an old favorite game, Murder. Everyone had fun, nothing got broken or set on fire and nobody threw up. Success.
Since then we've been laying low. We're relaxing on purpose. The next few weeks get busy and then, don't tell the kids, but there will only be a month of Summer Vacation left once the dust settles. So, I'm not making many demands of them until I have to. This is what the Summer is for!
Just so you don't think I'm exaggerating, this is what our Summer schedule looks like:
We wake, leisurely and calmly, anywhere between 9:00 and 11:00 am. Unless we have to be somewhere before noon (and I am purposely scheduling everything in the afternoon to avoid this horror of horrors), I don't set the alarm or wake anyone up. This is the biggest luxury in life, in my opinion.
Upon waking we amble downstairs, still in pjs, to grab a bowl of cereal and eat it in front of the Wii. Usually it's the sound of the Wii that wakes me up as the kids have graciously adopted the Don't-Wake-Anyone-Before-They're-Ready policy as well. I take my usual position on one end of the couch, Man-Cub plants himself front and center on the floor in front of the TV and Redheaded Snippet kind of rotates around the room from the recliner to the other end of the couch to the floor next to Man-Cub and back again. She just can't sit still, even for Lego Star Wars.
There are, of course, interruptions to this blissful idleness. Teacups must be refilled, ringing phones must be answered (I believe it's a Scientific fact that no one moves faster toward the sound of a ringing phone than a teen-aged girl), barking dogs must be ushered into the house, mail must be collected, and bladders must be emptied. But all is done as quickly and efficiently as possible so not a minute of idleness is wasted.
At some point, a midday meal is needed. After a bowl of rice, pbj sandwich or plate of leftovers from the night before, I throw in a load of laundry, begin folding the load from the dryer and direct the kids in a few cursory chores such as making their beds, bringing the dirty laundry from upstairs or tidying up the dishes that have accumulated in the living room all morning (I admit, I'm not good at keeping the dishes out of the living room). Then we usually take care of a weekly chore such as changing the bed linens, cleaning the bathrooms, dusting or sweeping.
As soon as that's over, the kids either go back to the Wii or head out to the pool, depending on how hot it is and how frustrated they are with trying to work together to complete levels of Star Wars episodes. I may read one of the many books I've borrowed from Daria as part of my Summertime Horizon Broadening project, give myself a manicure, or keep at the laundry. Once in a while the kids and I flip through the soap operas to make fun of them, being sure to turn the channel the minute things get dicey. I love that the kids think they're ridiculous. It shows they have good taste and good sense.
Sometimes we have an errand to run such as grocery shopping, orthodontist appointments, dropping off dry cleaning (which, CRAP! I forgot to do today and The Viking needs his suit cleaned by next Wednesday--must make that Priority #1 tomorrow) so we do that in the afternoon leaving enough time to make it back in time for me to make dinner.
The kids help me while I'm making dinner, setting the table, doing another run through the downstairs making sure it's tidy, assisting me with the cooking, and then they get more free time until it's time to eat. This is when The Viking comes home. He walks in, the kids run in to get a hug and a smile, the dog jumps around excitedly, and he goes up to change and go outside to survey his land until dinner. Unless he has something to do, which he has two nights this week. Or unless I have something to do which I did tonight. So far this week, we have yet to sit down to a meal as a family. The Viking had his night at the fire station on Monday and a band rehearsal last night. Tonight I got to drive a total of 75 miles in order to get Redheaded Snippet and her friend to a youth group pool party and back. I was gone for 4 hours. And used up nearly $20 worth of gas. But I just keep telling myself it's an investment into my daughter's well-being and character.
After dinner, if we are all together for it, we clean up and then gravitate back toward the living room. By now, The Viking's laptop, being the only functioning computer in the house, has been unearthed and battles for its possession have been waged. The victor settles happily with it while the losers console themselves with either the Wii or the TV.
Eventually, much later than the time they would be required to during the school year, the children are bade to pack up their toys and gadgets and get themselves ready for bed. They trudge upstairs as slowly as possible and The Viking and I indulge in a little child-free quiet time. Usually we just decompress in front of the TV for a while before The Viking finally heads off to bed himself.
That's when I get MY time. I fiddle around on the laptop, watch stupid TV and make my lists for the next day. Sometimes I update this here blog, but that takes an awfully long time so I don't get to do it as often as I like. Once my time is over, I pack up the laptop, turn off the TV, make sure nothing is left out for Nutmeg to drag all over the living room floor in the night and check the locks and lights before going up to bed.
There you have it. A Summer's Day of intentional relaxation, Wits' End style. It's not glamorous, it's not even interesting, but it's darn relaxing. It wouldn't be healthy to live like this ALL the time, but for a few short weeks, it's very nearly pure Heaven. In just a few days, Redheaded Snippet's hockey camp will start, then Dharma & Co arrive from Chicago for Lobelia's baby shower and Baby Bee's FIRST BIRTHDAY celebration. That's right, our Miracle Baby is already a year old. Then Man-Cub and I are going back to Chicago with them and somewhere in there Redheaded Snippet has sleep-away camp. See what I mean about things getting busy? Clearly, the time to be idle is NOW!
Well, I must be off to bed. I have another day of hard rest and relaxation ahead tomorrow. A day with NO ERRANDS, except for that dry cleaning, of course. That should be fun. The dry cleaner has a blanket of ours that's been in their keeping since about February. They hate when you do that and have no qualms about telling you so.
Ok, that's all for tonight. Must go get my beauty sleep...