It Was A Long Weekend, Because Columbus Discovered America For Us

So Columbus Day isn’t one of those REALLY GOOD holidays, where we exchange gifts, and sweet mercy, someone gives you a Starbucks gift card, which helps take the squeeze off of the checking account each month.  But still, we’re thankful at our house that Mr. Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492 so that we could have a day off from school.

Except I always get sailing the ocean blue in 1492 mixed up with in 1814, we took a little trip, along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip.  Apparently, I was a lost cause in American history.  However, I’m pretty sure that Christopher Columbus never filled a ‘gator’s head with canon balls and powdered his behind.

(I’m sorry.  If you’ve never heard the song, because you’re not married to a man who listens to Pandora’s Outlaw Country channel nonstop until you want to beat your own head against a brick wall and just be done with it, you probably have no idea why we’re mistreating alligators around these parts tonight.)

No matter.

There was no school today, and the boys (BLESS THEIR HEARTS!) slept in until 7:00 this morning.  I have never loved either of them more than I did at 7:01 today.

Kellen has been at our house for the last two afternoons, helping the boy reconstruct the Death Star.  If you’ve never seen one million Lego bricks gathered together in one space, you’ve never visited the boy’s bedroom on a building day.

Eventually, that’s going to be a fully-operational battle station, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Of course the boys took periodic breaks, because child labor laws state that they can only work for two consecutive hours before they must rest, rehydrate and drain my pantry shelves of all food staples.  They also entertained Thing 2 during their union-approved coffee breaks.

Thing 2 never really understood why the big boys locked him out of the bedroom, but their construction insurance didn’t cover babies choking on miniature plastic bricks.


That was today.

And then, in a complete reversal of directions, without a decent transitional phrase, I’ll just tell you that we split town this weekend and hit Major Thriving Metropolis.

I drove.

If you can envision giving an orangutang a venti-sized cup of espresso and then asking him to just go on ahead and crawl behind the wheel of your Suburban in HEAVY TRAFFIC WITH SIX LANES SPINNING ABOUT HIS HEAD, you can sort of imagine what it was like to have ME in the driver’s seat.

Thankfully, we had Doris, the GPS, with us.  In the past, Doris and I have never really gotten along, because she has shown a tendency to yell at me during stressful situations for not understanding how to maneuver a round-about without breaking down in tears.  And let me tell you… after failing to get out of a round-about and onto the right road and THEN having Doris bark out at me, my emotions were usually on the brink of a full volcanic meltdown, the likes of which no case of PMS has ever seen.

This weekend, though, Doris and I forged an alliance.  I wouldn’t really call what we had going on between us a FRIENDSHIP, but we agreed to respect one another, and I even decided that occasionally she may know what she’s talking about.

We ended up at an appointment in the heart of the city, where we saw every manner of human life imaginable.  It was quite educational for the boy, because we were able to point and say, “THAT is what drugs will do to you, Son; stay off of them.”  And the boy, being completely overwhelmed with the screaming man in seven layers of clothing outside his passenger window, just nodded and chanted, “I’ll never do drugs; I’ll never do drugs; I want to go home.”

So, you know, it was an educational trip.  The boy learned that crack kills, and it may be the cause of severe screaming while you’re sitting on a street corner.

With the help of our friend, Carrie, who just happens to live in Major Thriving Metropolis, we were able to navigate the interstates and exits, point out the Pepsi Center, where the Avalanche WILL NOT BE PLAYING HOCKEY for a while, to Hubs, and find a Lego store for the boy.

He was so enthralled, words escaped him.

(The boy was enthralled; not Hubs.  Hubs is flat-out brokenhearted over the hockey strike.  I thought I should clarify.)

The store was wall-to-wall Legos, with nothing else for sale.  The boy spent nearly two hours in there, touching the boxed sets with reverence and respect, before he finally made a selection for his purchase.  Hubs and I sat at a little table outside the store, where we kept Thing 2 busy, because neither one of us could function for two hours in there.

(Two hours in Target?  Piece of cake!  I accept the challenge!  Two hours in a Lego store?  Kick me in the head and get the pain over with.)

We stayed with Keith and Carrie, because they clean their floors and bathrooms, and, unlike motel rooms, contracting Athlete’s Foot never even crossed my mind while I was at their house.  Plus, it was 100% safe to plop Thing 2 down on their floors, and Motel 6 can’t claim that in their advertising campaigns.

And another thing… We were seated in the dining room for dinner on Friday night, before a meal fit for the princess that I am.  We had a pot roast that made our mouths water, and real salad (as opposed to the bagged salad that we eat at the Jedi Manor, because Mama is too lazy to actually chop vegetables and assemble them into a bowl of greenery).  There were mashed potatoes and gravy without the lumps like we’re used to at our house.  AND… there was beer bread that made me want to weep with all the goodness.

Not even the Beverly Hills Hotel could have topped that dinner.

Our boys joined Keith and Carrie’s boys in rolling around on the floor, as boys will do, until Oliver brought out the lightsabers.  He handed the most dangerous weapon in the entire galaxy to Thing 2, and Thing 2 immediately put it into his mouth.

Hubs and I don’t think that the Force is very strong in this one.  He treats the sacred lightsaber like a cherry Popsicle.

Naturally, you cannot have a living room full of boys and lightsabers and NOT expect a battle to break out.  Oliver made short work in engaging Thing 2 in his first lightsaber fight of ever.

When the battle had wrapped itself up, Thing 2 went to bed, while the rest of the gang watched a movie.

And if you can look at that picture from above and not have an enormous desire to pinch Kellan’s cheeks because of all the cuteness, then you’re a stronger girl than I am.

Because I could barely restrain myself from all the pinching.

While the boys were laughing like hyenas over Puss in Boots, the grownups sat around and talked and talked and talked, and then we talked some more.

And look who turned SEVEN MONTHS OLD while we were out of town?

His green T-shirt says CAPTAIN DROOL.  I think it’s spot-on true, and I have the photographic evidence to prove it.

So yes.  Our baby is seven months old.  Wow.  Babies have a way of growing up very quickly.  Every time that Hubs and I look at the boy, we are reminded of this.  One day they’re sitting up on the carpet, drooling, and the next day, they’re twelve.

The boy also gave Kellan a piano lesson while we were there.  I think they’re both ready for Carnegie Hall.

Of course, we couldn’t NOT herd the gang onto the sofa and get a group shot of everyone together. And really?  After four hundred snapshots, I don’t have a single one where someone isn’t yawning, blinking, stretching, kicking up a foot, shoving his fingers into his mouth, or falling over onto someone else.

Keith and Carrie’s boys are ALMOST as cute as ours are.  They’re cute enough to snuggle and pinch and tickle, at any rate.

There’s Oliver…

…and Kellan.

It’s really a shame that they’re not more photogenic.

And the answer is YES.  Lightsaber training courses for Thing 2 was a daily occurrence.  Oliver’s deepest desire was to turn the baby into an accomplished Jedi before we left their house.

Hubs and I aren’t sure whether the training was successful or not, or whether Thing 2 has any Jedi potential, but we still ended up heading out.

We stopped at a museum that morning, along with seventy-two thousand other families.  Apparently, museums are all the rage in big cities on rainy Saturday mornings!

Poor Thing 2.  He was stuck in the stroller for most of our time at the museum.

This was some kind of ancient, wild, tusked pig.  All I know is that I’m glad they’re extinct now, because if I had to run into one of these on the highway, I’d probably scream and wet my drawers.  Hubs just announced, “I’ll take one of those on the Traeger grill.”

They probably just taste like chicken.

And then, after the price of admission and more things to see than we could see in a single day, do you know what ended up being the boy’s VERY MOST FAVORITE feature at the museum?

The escalator.

The poor kid.  His parents don’t travel much, and he’d never encountered one before.  So… Hubs and I pretty much turned him loose, and he rode and rode and rode.  It was like being at an amusement park in the middle of some reassembled dinosaur bones.

Eventually, Hubs and I said, “This is THE LAST time that you ride the escalator,” and we really meant it.  And then, after eighteen more LAST TIMES, we pulled the boy off, and I got to navigate traffic again.

It’s why I don’t live in Major Thriving Metropolis.

I doubt even Christopher Columbus could have navigated those interstates.

Y’all have a happy Monday night.

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