So the weekend was really quite some time ago already — I’m having a difficult time even remembering back far enough to get to the beginning of the long weekend, but I suspect that’s an age-related thing, as Hubs was kind enough to point out the other day, “You’re old enough to remember when the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea put out his first album.”
It was right after we discovered fire and were able to ROAST the brontosaurus burgers, instead of just eating them raw.
On Friday, I worked in our church office, and I do have to confess that the day didn’t go down as one of my golden moments in history. It’s because the photocopier made me sin. I had a bulletin to copy, along with MANY inserts, and I needed that copier to work as God and man intended for it to work: Smoothly. However, the copier had a mind of its very own on Friday, so it was quite content to print ONE SINGLE PAGE and then JAM ITSELF UP. I spent a considerable amount of time taking my lone page of paper, setting it on the counter, and then opening the copier to dig for the rogue sheet, which was inevitably stuck in the rollers. And then I’d hit the START button again, and low! I’d receive one more sheet of paper, and ERROR CODE 19-C; PLEASE OPEN SIDE COMPARTMENT AND REMOVE PAPER JAM.
After fourteen jams, I looked like a vet who was busy preg-testing a cow, as my arm was shoved, clear to my shoulder, up inside the copier, and that’s when I sliced my index finger on SHARP METAL, PEOPLE, and pretty much left a chunk of skin the size of an M&M in the bowels of the copier. I began to think that the saying, “No pain, no gain” was going to work in my favor, because, even though I was missing a sizable piece of my finger, I had managed to locate a crumpled sheet of paper that I suspected was my arch nemesis, and I was quite pleased that I had, very possibly, FIXED the issue. I hit START, and I received one more page and ERROR CODE 19-C again.
And that, people, is when I yelled (Yes! YELLED! As in RAISED MY VOICE TO BE HEARD BOTH FAR AND WIDE!) a word that is completely unacceptable on the church premises, but which is okay when a beaver foreman looks out over the great river and instructs his crew of flat-tailed, big-toothed workers, “Dam it!”
And then I kicked the side of the copier.
And then I burst into tears.
And that, people, is when I finally admitted that I do handle stressful situations with all manner of grace and dignity and maturity.
After she’d quit laughing and dried the tears streaming down her face, Susan called in professional help, in the form of the Photocopier Repairman, while I sat down at my desk and ate four pounds of pretzel-filled M&Ms to try to regain my composure. About that time, Pastor Adam texted me to say that he’d be back in the church office in fifteen minutes, and he asked how the afternoon was going. Although a simple return-text of FINE would have worked and insured that I remained employed, I decided to confess, and I slammed out a long-winded text that told him EVERYTHING that had transpired, and that I would clean out my desk and simply head for home.
When Pastor Adam and Pastor John returned from lunch, they both made an enormous show of telling me, “We need to see you in our offices,” and I said, “You know, being fired is going to free up a lot of my week for coffee dates; I actually think this is going to be a GOOD thing.”
Unfortunately, they didn’t fire me. They both burst out laughing and told me to walk in forgiveness, and then they instructed me to get back to work, since the copy repairman had everything working like a charm once again…
…AFTER he’d performed a full exorcism on the copier and removed FOUR SHEETS OF PAPER that were folded like accordions into a slot the size of a quarter.
THAT, people, was Friday.
And then that night, Hubs and the boy and I had dinner at a restaurant with my parents, where I re-confessed the same story, and my mama shook her head, as if to say, “I thought I raised you better than to kick a copier and spew filth and tears INSIDE OF A CHURCH BUILDING!”
Thankfully, I’m pretty sure my mama still loves me. And so does Jesus.
On Saturday, the boy left at the crack of ugliness, because he was headed to Bigger Town, USA (some two hours away) with Enzo’s family, on account of the small fact that it was Enzo’s birthday, and they were going to an amusement park and a swanky restaurant and to a miniature golf course. Hubs and I kissed him good-bye, and then I spent TWO AND A HALF HOURS talking to Mika on the phone, which seemed to impress Hubs, because he had no idea that a body could hold that many words inside of itself without exoploding.
AND THEN! Well, with the boy gone for the day, Hubs and I gutted his bedroom.
And by gutted, I mean GUTTED. We took out garbage, in the form of saved papers and snack food wrappers, and we rearranged furniture, and I vacuumed enormous dust bunnies up from beneath the bed and dusted, and we hung a new bulletin board, and low! After many hours of labor, Hubs and I stood back and called it good.
At 8:00 Saturday night, Enzo’s mama called to say that they were just leaving Bigger Town, and could the boy just spend the night with them? Our eleven-year-old’s social life is stronger than ours are. Hubs and I granted our permission, and we kicked back with a DVD, delivered straight to our front door by Netflix.
It was The Tourist, which failed to impress me until the twist at the end. And then I really liked it, because of WOW! SURPRISE ENDING!
On Sunday morning, we collected the boy, and I hugged and pinched him, and hugged him again, and then we drove to church while the boy told us all about the hole-in-one he’d made on the miniature golf course, and how Enzo’s dad had whooped and hollered with delight when the boy sunk his golf ball with one swing, and how the golf ball had to ricochet off of a cliff and everything. That boy of ours! He is a golfer!
We hightailed it out of town for the mountains right after church, because Sister and Sister’s Husband, and Christy and Scott, and Lisa and Rick were all camping up there for the weekend. Although they had all extended numerous invitations for us to join them, Hubs and I were determined to get some work done at home, and we turned them down. Every single time they asked. But we did go up for Sunday.
On the way up the mountain, the hang gliders were having a bit of a convention and jumping, one by one, OFF OF the mountain, so we stopped to watch them.
And THAT, people, was when I told the boy to get back into the Suburban, because NO WAY and NO HOW was he going to jump off of a perfectly good mountain and scare his mama to death, and then I immediately regretted the fact that Hubs and I had INTRODUCED HIM TO the hang gliding, because that’s all he has talked about since Sunday. Why can’t testosterone appreciate the gentle sports in life that do not cause gray hairs for the mamas?
Cousins L and K were on the mountain. I just want to be VERY CLEAR that the Huskers chair DOES NOT BELONG TO HUBS OR ME. We do not wear red and white clothes ON PURPOSE during college football season, so that we’re not mistaken as a (gasp!) fan.
(Do not try using a knife that large at home. Deedan is a trained professional.)
Sister spent the afternoon giving rabbit ears to everyone. I’d say that Sister is QUITE MATURE, but that no longer seems like the thing to do, after I’ve just admitted that I spewed filth and kicked a photocopier in a church building on Friday.
And then they played in the fire some more.
And then they lit EVEN MORE sticks on fire.
And then they played in the dirt, and they carved sticks with knives, and they chopped logs with an axe, and then they rode a homemade swing back and forth until Cousin K was popped in the mouth with it, good enough to split his lip open.
Big knives and fire and dangerous swings. Where is the Department of Family Services when you need them?
Sometimes children leave me speechless.
Eventually, Christy and Sister and I squeezed together for a snapshot, and… BEFORE YOU JUDGE… just remember that Christy and Sister had already been on the mountain, in the dirt and the dust and ALL THE NATURE THINGS, for forty-eight hours. I had been there, in the midst of all of that, for six hours when this photo was taken. Dirt and dust and all the nature things will work against a beauty pageant queen, and a scraped-back ponytail is ALL THE FASHION RAGE on the mountain.
After forty-eight hours in the grime, Cousin L still looked adorable. We were going to nominate HER to don the gown and the sash, so that she could represent us and claim the beauty queen’s crown.
These girls are absolutely darling, people; I love them deeply, and we laughed until our sides ached on Sunday together. We laughed until our facial muscles cramped up; we laughed until we had no breath left.
We had to.
Laughing kept us warm.
And then Christy played a game where the kids had to try to stay on the broken tree stump while she tickled them.
And then, after hugging everyone good-bye, I made one last attempt to wipe the melted marshmallow off of my hands (and failed at it… again!), and Hubs and the boy and I headed back down the mountain.
Down the mountain to our FURNACES, our SHOWERS WITH LOTS AND LOTS OF HOT WATER, and our SLEEP-BY-NUMBER BED.
Because I think I LOVE not camping.
On the way down the hill, we joined all the tourists on the side of the road and let the boy take thirty-seven pictures of the moose in the marsh. All thirty-seven snapshots look EXACTLY like this one.
However, UNLIKE the tourists, Hubs and I made the boy stay INSIDE OF the Suburban to take his pictures. We DID NOT let him walk to within eight feet of that cow moose, like the gal with the Virginia license plates did. Hubs and I grew up in this big state of ours, and we do know that THE MOOSE! They can getcha in a big, fat hurry.
Yes. Our children play in fire pits with sticks, but when it comes to approaching wildlife on foot, we PLUM KNOW BETTER.
On Monday morning, I took ANOTHER hot shower and immediately wondered what condition Sister’s and Christy’s hair was in, while I used the common luxury known as a blow dryer.
And then I met my adorable friend, Nicole, for coffee at Starbucks. We talked for two entire hours. When I came back home, Hubs asked me this question:
“Where did you go AFTER you had coffee?”
I said, “Nowhere. I’ve been at Starbucks with Nicole all this time.”
And Hubs said, “You sat at Starbucks and talked for TWO ENTIRE HOURS?”
Girls sort of confuse Hubs with all their abilities to talk. He made sure that I knew that he wouldn’t even KNOW HOW TO KEEP A CONVERSATION GOING for two entire hours. I made sure that HE knew that I’d have no idea how to draft fantasy football players.
I guess we’re even.
On Monday afternoon, Hubs and I rearranged some more furniture, and I made him hang some new canvas photos of the boy; it was EXACTLY how he wanted to spend his day off. The new canvases turned out incredibly well, and I’d snap a picture of them hanging on our wall to show you, but that would involve me getting up from the computer, yanking the memory card out of the back of it with all of our camping snapshots on it, loading said memory card into the camera, and taking the picture of the pictures.
And that, people, isn’t going to happen, because WOW! It’s a lot of work to invest, and I’m beat down tired tonight. When you’re old enough to have remembered Flea when he was NEW, you tend to get tired a little earlier than your college-aged counterparts.
Happy Tuesday, y’all.