This post is being brought to you courtesy of the good people of Disney and a DVD that we own but Patrick refused to watch - ever - called Little Einsteins and the Something Something. It has sat in dusty obscurity for years but Caroline could watch paint dry (provided the paint was on a television screen, a devilment of which I have no doubt she is more than capable) and Edward likes Rocket, who he calls Air-pane. So I have a few minutes and a pox upon anyone who doubts the solid worth of judiciously applied animation. Patrick finally watched this with Caroline and Edward the other night, by the way, and when the irritating nasal girl who sings flat said, "Met-a-mor-pho-sis. Can YOU say... metamorphosis?" Patrick replied "Yes but why would I want to?" He had a point. It's a very silly show (although the line "Let's all clap for Rimsky-Korsakov! Clap clap clap!" is awesome.)
I did not mean to stop communicating with the outside world but I now spend anywhere from two to three hours a day shuttling back and forth to/from Patrick's school and although I am pretty sure an hour of that is coming from time I formerly spent asleep, the rest of it is stolen directly from my stash of self-indulgence minutes. I miss sleep and sitting in a car for hours when I have guests coming and presents to wrap and phyllo to butter is enough to make a person weep... but it is not all bad.
As Patrick and I trundle along we get to talk about his day and my day and we listen to our book and that aspect of the commute is actually more pleasant than anything. After years of failing to understand the allure of recorded books I am now their devoted slave. This morning Patrick and I finished the second book in the Cressida Cowell Viking series (delightful - thank you for the recommendation) and after a few dull days in which I moped after Patrick had gone into school wondering why I had to wait for the boy to listen to the rest of the story I got the first of the Aubrey-Maturin series out of the library on CD and I listen to that in his absence. I am learning that books I like to read and those I like to have read to me are not the same thing. The O'Brian books, for example, I love but I think they are a little much to follow in the car. Something frothier would be better (suggestions appreciated) but the Regency with which I also idle away time is completely out of the question as I would die from embarrassment the first time the hero strips to the waist so maybe something less frothy than that (suggestions appreciated?)
On a normal day I should be able to drive Patrick and still function but the smallest setback - like Edward's four days last week of mysterious high fevers that resulted in his inability to nap and almost constant crying - leaves me surrounded by piles of unsorted laundry and pasta for dinner again. I'm sure we'll all adjust eventually but the last few weeks have been struggle.
In the meantime I have missed you and thought often of the things I would be telling you about if I only had access to space age voice recognition technologies or - failing that - a scribe. Like I have been dying to mention my amusment/irritation with these ridiculous midget traffic circles (or roundabouts as they call them in London and here in the eastern suburbs, also known as Littler Than London or the London of the Outer Edges of a Mediumish City in the Upper Midwest) that have recently been installed (erected?) all over our previously rural county. It's like Springfield and the monorail and I suspect some smooth-talking modern day Lafayette conned many a city council into turning four-way stops into the tiniest circles you have ever seen.
Two problems with this:
1. The distance between the spokes is at most ten feet so there is no way for a person to manoeuvre from lane to lane without squashing someone and;
2. This is Minnesota where people are not only nice but they need to be perceived as being nice; therefore it is a land full of drivers who are desperate to yield the right of way at all times
I grew up in DC (a well-circled city) and learned from my older brother that the only possible way to handle a traffic circle is as aggressively as possible, driving as fast as you can in the direction you want to go. I cannot tell you the number of times I have approached one of these itty-bitty farm circles during our new commute only to find all of the cars stopped - the ones trying to get into the circle and the ones trying to get out; all cheerfully waving their hands like idiots "You go ahead!" "Ohhhh no no, YOU go!"
I waver between wanting to pat their heads and wanting to smack the tuna salad out of them. Either way I take comfort in knowing that they'd get eaten alive trying to get onto the mean streets of Chevy Chase.
My family is coming tomorrow and staying for the week. I am very excited but slightly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of things I have left to do before they come. Beds need to be made and towels need to be folded and we have no cookies or fudge and I thought I might try my hand at a yeast danish for Christmas morning and I have made all sorts of fillings for things that I have not yet made to fill.
So I'll wrap this up with a couple of pictures from yesterday and my very best wishes for a happy end to your year.
Edward taking 200% more interest in football than Patrick ever did
Edward's preferred tantrum (amusing I think. he's so... Prussian)
Caroline plotting something
Finally, a virtual card - although all three of them look a little deranged when happy (is it unloving to think that the seven year old toothy and yet toothless grin is slightly unpleasant?): Merry Everything to you and yours from me and mine