Monday, October 13, 2008

Good and Tired

It is 9:30 on a Sunday night and I am tired and cranky, heading rapidly toward bitchy, so I'd best be brief.

It's been a long, rather nice weekend, but I am in desperate need of some down time in which to decompress. We've spent lots of lovely time this weekend with some of my favorite people, but, as an introvert, even the most delightful social activities drain me after a while. I need to be alone and quiet in order to recharge. I'm going on three days straight of being constantly with people and it's beginning to show. I'm planning on taking a bubble bath or locking myself in the bedroom with the laptop as soon as I'm finished updating this.

I'll just share some highlights:

Wednesday I made the best chicken noodle soup I have ever, ever tasted! I think I mentioned I was trying the recipe I found here, did I not? Well, it was absolutely decadently scrumptious and instantly declared a new favorite by the entire family. That's right, the entire family. We all sat shoveling it in, making grunting piggy noises! We had it as leftovers Thursday night and everyone was so excited! Then the next morning, Man-Cub came down for breakfast and asked hopefully if there was any of that soup left. I am going to be making it constantly this winter! If you like chicken soup, I urge you, urge you, to go and try it!

Friday we had off from school. Oh for joy! Getting to sleep in while wrapped in flannel is my idea of heaven on earth. I've literally been falling asleep and waking up with a goofy smile on my face. Friday morning, Redheaded Snippet and Man-Cub woke to find, taped to the computer monitor (Snippet's) and the tv(Man-Cub's), individualized lists, printed in specially selected kicky fonts detailing the chores they were required to complete before certain privileges would be dispensed. Which meant I awoke to the sound of Man-Cub crying in my bedroom doorway with his list in his hand. I assure you the tasks were age-appropriate and in no way more than they could handle. But my children were scandalized. You would have thought I had asked them to whitewash the fence, dig a well and shear the sheep. But I remained resolute and they got their work done. The house looked great!

Friday afternoon, I went and checked out a Dollar General store. I've been hearing good things about this place, mostly from blogs run by other bargain-hunting moms with decorating addictions, so I decided to see what all the fuss was about. Aaaaaand, I have a new favorite place to shop! I was so very impressed, I wound up spending $50! Most of it was stuff we need, like deodorant, flossers, granola bars and pot holders, but I did pick up a bunch of unnecessary items as well. Scented candles for a $1? And not icky smelling ones, but ones that actually smell pretty good? A vinyl, flannel-backed tablecloth (okay, it's no oilcloth but beggars can't be choosers) for everyday for only $5? Sunglasses (mine were all scratched) for only $6? A pack of six stretchy plastic spiders for $1? Two hankies for $1? This is my kind of store!

That's right, I said hankies. I decided a while ago to give hankies a whirl. I became entranced with them for some odd reason and loved the romantic notion of pulling a dainty bit of embroidered fluff out of my (vintage) purse with which to dab my eyes, mop my brow or wipe a smudge off a child's face. When I saw them 2/$1 at Dollar General, that was all I needed. I sprayed a whiff of scent on one and stuck it in my bag. And it was good thing too because I was rather weepy in church today and it came in real handy! I felt so ladylike with my fragrant piece of linen clutched in my hand! Later, at the pumpkin patch, I felt the need to dab the dampness from my skin and remembered my handkerchief with a flash of excitement. Again, so handy!

More on the pumpkin patch in a mo'. Friday night we went out with new friends. They live in town, both their girls are on the hockey team and their oldest is Redheaded Snippet's best friend so we get to see them a lot. They are wonderful, laid-back, late-night kind of people who use good sense and sharp eyes to raise their kids. They took us to a Columbian/Cuban place in Philly. The food was amazing and the time just flew by. I really do think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Saturday I was able to make just a tiny dent in the Halloween decorations. I really am over-thinking this task. You just pick things up and put them where they look festive, right? WRONG! In my case, you stand at the table for 11 minutes, trying to decide which piece to place first. You pick one up, walk in the direction of the place you want to put it, but change your mind, turn around and put it back on the table. Repeat with different items about 7 times. Then give up and go check your email. Then whine to husband about "decorator's block" which is ridiculous because, clearly, I am no decorator. Progress has been made as of the publishing of this post, but we still haven't been able to reclaim the dining room table.

Saturday night we had a family dinner to celebrate my father's 60th birthday. He didn't a big to-do so we decided to send him to visit Dharma and Baby Bee in Chicago and take him out for a nice dinner that hewould thoroughly enjoy. Now, a quick word about our typical family dinners: EGOD usually railroads every one because she won't eat anywhere but an Italian place. And for some reason, my parents accommodate her (probably because she can be a real witch--and not in a good way--when she's pissed about something). This time, however, I was determined that my father would get to decide where hewould like to eat and EGOD could just go eat a hat. I asked him what he wanted and he said lamb so I decided to find a good Irish pub.

Long story short, we found a pub that turned out to be fantastic in every way: food was fabulous, ambience was nice and authentic and everyone had a great time. And I got all the credit! I ran interference for my dad with EGOD so he had a thoroughly relaxing and delightful evening. There was lamb, steak, ribs, lots of beer and even a shandy for me, something I haven't had since I was in England. We got to spend the evening in Philly, we sat in an alcove with a refreshing breeze blowing in on us, Lobelia and Lenny were there with Vantastic and it was just about the perfect evening! Dharma, Vance, Baby Bee and Daria couldn't be there on account of Dharma's pregnancy, and The Viking was doing a job in North Philly (sounds like he's in the mob, doesn't it?) and didn't make it, but otherwise, it was perfect!

Today, I got to spend time with my new boyfriend. Have I mentioned him? Perhaps not. It is a bit embarassing. It's a May-December relationship, you see; he's quite a bit older than me. His hands are gnarled and worn, but he still knows how to use them believe you me! His hair may be grey, but his technique is flawless. I just can't say enough about him!

I speak, of course, of the divine Jacques Pepin, Master Chef and King of the "What's Cooking" block of cooking shows on the NJN network on Sunday afternoons in the Delaware Valley. The Viking and I watch his show together and we just shake our heads in amazement at the wonder that is Jacques. Even Redheaded Snippet has started saying, "WWJD: What Would Jacques Do?" whenever we have a culinary dilemma. Today, The Viking walked in on me glued to the television in rapt silence while Jacques whipped up a lamb stew in about 12 minutes flat. Don't even get me started on the lobster rolls. Do you know what I think my favorite thing about Jacques is? He drinks wine from a tumbler. Oh yes he does. How can you not love that?

After my afternoon tryst, we packed the station full of kids (Redheaded Snippet brought two friends home from church this morning) and headed to our favorite farm for apple picking! The weather was just so agreeable we decided on the spur of the moment to do it! We were planning all sorts of appley delights in the car on the way over only to discover upon waiting in the longest line I've ever seen to go pick your own produce that they were out of apples! I guess the trees were all picked clean? We were so disappointed! But, since we were there, we decided to pick pumpkins instead. We cautioned the kids to only pick one as we have plans to go pumpkin picking for real with Lenny and Lobelia in two weeks and, of course, Redheaded Snippet picked out a 42 lb pumpkin and, of course, The Viking let her have it. It took the Snippet and her two friends to carry it. And it cost twenty-six stinkin' dollars! We're going to need a chainsaw to carve it!

After our party in the patch, The Viking agreed to help me with the Halloween decor. Thanks to him, both porches are done! Yay! I didn't get any photos because we finished after dark and I got cranky and tired, but I will get some soon, and will get The Viking to help me post them. We slung cobwebs all over the place. It looks good and creepy. Now all I have to do is finish the inside of the house.

So, now the house is tidy again, the weather is crisp enough that the tip of my nose is numb, my porches are done and we have another day off tomorrow! I shall sleep blissfully indeed tonight!

Now, where's my flannel?

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