First of all, let me start by saying that the weekend’s mercury shot up in thermometers across Small Town, USA, until the tops of said thermometers burst.
After being outside in the heat, we would come inside our houses and crawl into the ovens just to cool down.
A ham and broccoli casserole, baked at 350, didn’t have it quite as rough as we did, when we stepped out the front door.
On Friday night, we celebrated the fact that the heat hadn’t killed us yet by dragging this nutty creature home with us:
He’s probably the only child on the planet (other than the boy) that I wouldn’t hesitate to dish a spanking out to, if he needed one. He has been at our house so many times, I feel like he belongs here.
All of that’s about to change, though, because Ben’s mom got herself married in May, and now she and Ben are moving to Small Ranch Community, USA, which is about seventy miles down the interstate from Small Town. For the first time, Ben and the boy won’t be in school together, as Ben gets to start the 4th grade in Small Ranch Community this coming Wednesday.
Our family is not pleased with this, but what can we do? Ben’s mom seems to love that new husband of hers (and I will say, he’s remarkably wonderful), so off they go, even though we tried to file the appropriate paperwork necessary to adopt her kid.
Because this was Ben’s last weekend in Small Town before school starts, we kidnapped him. He brought some clean clothes and his appetite over, and he moved in with us for a couple of days.
He hate four bowls of cereal at my house for breakfast on Saturday morning, and I changed my mind about having him around. Cereal is expensive!
Since the kid hadn’t seen Despicable Me yet at the theater, we loaded him up early Saturday afternoon and took him. It was one of our air-conditioned options for how to spend the day, because none of us were going to venture outdoors. We ran from our front door to the Suburban, and we cranked the A/C. Then we ran from the Suburban into the theater, and breathed a sigh of relief that their A/C was working.
And working well.
Maybe a little too well, because, goodness! It was sort of chilly in the theater!
In keeping with our weekend party theme, I let the boys buy large quantities of sugar-laced items at the concession stand. They were shocked. It was the first time that I didn’t encourage them to tell the manager, “It would sure be nice if we had the option to buy apples instead of Sour Patch Kids here.” They ate butter and sugar and slurped sodas, and they were happy.
And listen, people. Despicable Me was every bit as funny the second time as it was the first time we saw it. Ben howled and kept kicking the seat in front of him, he was so tickled. The boy threw back his head and screeched with laughter. And after the movie let out, they recited every funny line from the flick that they could think of.
They could think of a lot of lines.
Because of that, we had to giggle uncontrollably in the Suburban on the ride home, too.
“I said DART gun,” and “You poked a hole in my juice box,” and “Pipe down, Fish,” and “Knocked over!” Sentences that won’t make you grin at all, unless you’ve seen the movie, and then, look out! They’re seriously funny, if you’ve been to the cinema to see this one.
And then, because our options for the rest of the day included finding another climate-controlled hot spot that boasted of the air conditioning, or finding a large body of water, we opted to go with the water.
Our good friends, Jeremy and Nina, called and Jeremy asked, “Hey, does anyone at your house want to hit the reservoir?”
I felt like a first grader, as I frantically waved my hand back and forth in the air and screamed out, “PICK ME! PICK ME!” And when I was done, I had a craving for goldfish crackers as a snack.
We all piled on board Jeremy’s boat, and we hit the water. And listen, as hard as motion sickness has been known to attack me, I can totally handle a boat, just fine. The weed eater? Not so much. It makes me nauseated. Carnival rides? Absolutely not. I’ll pitch my partially-digested lunch all over you every! single! time! But the boat? On the water? No problems! No problems at all.
You’re not alone; I have no logical explanation for this, either, but, people, I can sail.
Jeremy cranked the boat up to a speed that sucked the breath right out of us, and we cruised all over the reservoir. After he finally stopped the boat, it took three-point-six seconds before the boys baled off the side and started swimming.
It was 102 flaming degrees outside, and they could not be held back.
There were cannonballs aplenty. Ben won first place in the Water Displacement category, as he could send splash waves over the side of the boat with his jumps.
Hubs spent some quality time in the front of the boat, soaking up the sun and looking like a Man of Leisure.
Five-year-old Alex won the award for Most Creative Dive Technique, as he proudly announced, “Look at me! I can put two fingers in my ears and press two fingers against my nose, at the same time! I can totally plug my nose and my ears all at once when I jump!” It was pure brilliance, people.
And then the squirt guns came out. I had no idea that a cache of weapons was stored beneath the floorboards of the boat, but out they came. The boys filled them in the reservoir and wasted no time shooting everyone on board.
Boys can work up an appetite just by breathing, so imagine how hungry they were after a good deal of time spent swimming in the water and staging squirt gun assaults on every human being they could lay eyes on. Nina had a bag of grapes that was large enough to feed a third world country, and the boy, Ben and Alex ate them all. When Nina received the bag back, it was filled with nothing but grape stems.
After the kids’ bellies were all distended by Massive Grape Consumption, Nina hauled out a package of chocolate chip cookies. Even though the boys all moaned and said, “Oh, we’re so full of sandwiches and grapes,” they still managed to inhale the cookies. Even Hanna got in on a little cookie action.
When the bellies were too full to eat another bite, and when the arms and legs were exhausted from all the swimming, Jeremy brought out The Tube!
Ben pretty much summed up the entire crowd’s thoughts as he said, “This is the very best way to end my last weekend of summer vacation!”
Here’s the boy, giving the universal signal for, “Faster, Jeremy! Show me what that boat of yours can do!”
I wish that Alex had been able to enjoy himself more on the tube. Look at that sad, depressed face he’s got.
And listen, Boy. We need to negotiate some terms for a haircut, I think. You’re starting to look like you LIVE this lifestyle of being on the water. You’re starting to look like you should constantly have a tube or a surfboard beneath you. I suppose you’re going to announce right directly that you’re looking at the University of Hawaii as an option after high school graduation.
Can’t you just hear Ben screaming out, “Look, Ma! No hands!” The little daredevil! I always try my very best to keep him alive when he’s with us, which is getting more challenging, the older he gets!
We came home on Saturday night completely exhausted and utterly happy. We took showers, we washed the grit and the sand off of us, and we slept like babies.
This morning, we went to church, and I’m pretty sure that Pastor John was preaching straight at me, even though the sanctuary was filled to the brim. Do you ever have those Sunday mornings, when the sermon seems aimed smack at your own heart? Occasionally, I do.
Late this afternoon, regardless of the heatwaves that were flapping up off the ground, the boy had football practice.
He spent a little time catching the ball.