Hot Slides And Wheelchairs And Smoked Pig

We had a weekend.

Well, technically EVERYONE had a weekend, because… you know… FRIDAY, SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, but our weekend was stuffed full with fun.

Never mind that the grass in our front yard is officially long enough to bale into hay now; we couldn’t be bothered to stay at home and see to that sort of manual labor in all the heat.

And listen.  The heat.  It’s killing me.  Yesterday it was approximately 420 degrees Fahrenheit outside, and I wanted to fill a kiddie wading pool with ice cubes and just sit down in it like a boss and sob with relief.  I don’t know why expansionists in the SETTLE THE WEST movement ever decided to set up camp here, open up a saloon and just stay.  We have unbearable heat in the summertime, that makes you gasp for breath, and we have the kind of cold in the winter that would kill a polar bear.  But for some reason, part of the wagon train broke off and camped here, and… well… here we still are.

Personally, I’m sure it was a family who decided to stay in this spot.  I’m sure that they had three or four kids riding in their wagon, and when Abraham, Josiah, Charles and Margaret got to whining about ARE WE THERE YET? and HOW MANY MORE MILES? and fighting over whose turn it was to ride shotgun on the buckboard seat, over and over and OV-AH, Mama and Daddy just flat-out snapped and couldn’t take it any longer.

So the wagon was stopped.  And Daddy waved to the rest of the wagon train, as they packed up and kept heading West… heading for the land of ETERNAL SEVENTY DEGREES and OCEANFRONT PROPERTY… and he hollered, “I CANNOT GO ANOTHER MILE WITH MY CHILDREN IN THAT WAGON WITHOUT USING MY HATCHET TO CUT MY OWN EARS OFF!”  And then a tree or forty-eight got chopped down to make a cabin. And then when July hit, and the kids felt like their faces were melting off and making gross puddles on their shirts, I’m sure Mama and Daddy said, “It’s all your fault.”

I may or may not have traveled with children before, but Jesus knew that I would thrive in a time such as this, which is why I live in the age of unleaded gasoline and air conditioning.

No matter.

The boy golfed on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, because it’s what the boy does.

We also had a picnic lunch at the park with Mam and Pa on Saturday.  The kids attempted to play on the slides, but we kept hearing, “Ouch!  It’s hot!”

This is where Hubs and I interrupted and said, “Listen.  In OUR day, we didn’t have the luxury of PLASTIC SLIDES!  No, ma’am.  We had the real deal… the metal slides… the slides that baked in the heat to temperatures that would melt rocks, and sometimes a screw would be loose and sticking out a bit, which would rip a trench in your thigh bigger than the Grand Canyon, so don’t even start complaining about how a PLASTIC SLIDE burns the backs of your legs when you try to scream down it.  The pain of our own childhood will always trump yours.”

(Plus?  Well, we had the solid metal merry-go-rounds back then, too, so it’s amazing we’re all still alive.)

(The late ’70s and early ’80s were not famous for Playground Safety.)

IMG_6633 IMG_6629 IMG_6630 IMG_6631And here’s THE POSE.

Yes, the pose!

IMG_6632IMG_6634After skin was sufficiently burned at the playground from contact with the PLASTIC SLIDES, we packed up and went home.

And we told the children horror stories about Burn Units and Skin Grafts from METAL SLIDES IN JULY.

And then… well… a pig had to be tossed onto the barbecue.

Our church had a giant pig roast on Sunday, after services finished.  Hubs and Sister’s Husband and the boy and Enzo, along with our friends, Scott and Darrell, all volunteered to season that pig and smoke that pig and cook that pig up right.

Of course, this involved camping out at the onsite barbecue, because you just never know when the briquets might stop burning, and HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN NO MEAT FOR LUNCH TO TWO HUNDRED HUNGRY BAPTISTS?

Hubs lives for this sort of thing.  He watches barbecue shows so seriously, he takes notes during them, people.


On his phone.

So that he can always remember how to cook a rack of ribs or a steak or a 250-pound pig.

The guys were beyond excited for this adventure.  Darrell brought his camper out, so that naps could be taken during the darkest hours of the night, if the need arose, but listen:  Naps are for sissies.  Everyone was planning to stay awake all night long, and bring that pig up to temperature.

Not  long after Hubs left for the church, he sent this snapshot to my phone:


The briquets were lit, the pig was seasoned and pitched onto the grill, the lawn chairs were set up around the camper, and all the guys settled in for a fun twenty-four hours of becoming BBQ Champions.

On Saturday night, the wives (me and Sister and Christy and Melanie) took dinner out to the church parking lot.  We had cheap pizzas and fried chicken.  We had tasty side dishes that had been made in a deli and bags of chips and bottles of carbonated, sugar-filled soda and homemade lemon cookies.


The kids played and played and PUH-LAYED.  They ran miles and miles around the church, while the grownups sat in lawn chairs and on truck tailgates and talked.  We discussed everything from using VITAMIN C TO PREVENT WRINKLES to COVER YOUR EARS, BECAUSE WE ARE NOW TALKING ABOUT OUR LADIES’ DAYS OF THE MONTH.  We howled with laughter.  We inhaled entirely too much smoke from the barbecue, and we were very nearly carried off by biting mosquitoes.

And… don’t tell the pastor… but the kids used the church wheelchairs for competitive racing.

IMG_6641 IMG_6642 IMG_6643 IMG_6686 IMG_6687 IMG_6695 IMG_6702 IMG_6703 IMG_6704 IMG_6710Teams were formed.  Rules were set.  Race lengths were established.  Sweat happened.  And those kiddos pushed those wheelchairs around our church for all they were worth.

The winners wanted T-shirts printed up to commemorate their athletic endeavors.

Some of them were so exhausted, they just toppled over.

IMG_6689Which is when we had to offer them Hydration Hour.

IMG_6692Thing 2 dished out some hugs to Cousin H, too.

His happiness over pizza just has to be shared with others.

IMG_6644 IMG_6645 IMG_6646 IMG_6647 IMG_6649 IMG_6650 IMG_6652 IMG_6661 IMG_6653And then the little Hulk did some pullups off the truck’s tailgate.

And by some pullups, I mean about one hundred and nine before he paused for more pizza.

IMG_6659Thing 2 found a balloon in one of the vehicles that he wanted blown up, so Sister’s Husband got busy on that task.

IMG_6663 IMG_6665And then this is what happens when your uncle over-inflates the balloon…


IMG_6666 IMG_6670This is Janie.

Janie is two.  She belongs to my darling friend, Christy.  I am head over heels in love with her.

IMG_6667Janie’s daddy, Scott, kept tossing her into the air on Saturday night, and her grins were HYSTERICAL!!

IMG_6676 IMG_6677 IMG_6679 IMG_6680 IMG_6681 IMG_6682 IMG_6683 IMG_6712 IMG_6711And look!

I think Thing 2 is in love with Janie, too.

IMG_6714 IMG_6723 IMG_6724IMG_6726 IMG_6727 IMG_6733This is how cousins sometimes treat one another…

IMG_6730And there’s the entire herd… minus one.  I have no idea how Sydney didn’t make it into this snapshot.

IMG_6735 IMG_6736Sydney might have been the only normal kiddo, because look at Deed’s pose on the far right.

And look at Enzo and his paper cup on the far left.

And Taylor has an enormous DEER IN THE HEADLIGHTS look.

And in the top snapshot… what is Cousin L doing, dead center in the pink?

And look at Gage, in the white T-shirt…

I think Sydney probably made a wise choice when she didn’t make it into the group shot.

IMG_6737 IMG_6738 IMG_6739 IMG_6740 IMG_6742Finally, at some point past o’dark-thirty, the moms packed up the smaller children, because baths needed to happen and teeth needed brushed, and bottles of warm milk were wanted.

The bigger kids decided to spend the night on the BBQ Crew.  There was talk about Big Foot being down by the creek, and wild mountain lions coming in… lured by the scent of the smoking pig… and ghosts.

We just told the dads, “Good luck with all of that!”  And off we went.

And those dads?

Well, they’re kind of hot.  They could easily have their own barbecuing reality show on TV.

10543606_701669473202923_56545625192813103_nIn the morning, when I showed up at the church early with a box of donuts, THIS is what was happening:

IMG_1345The BBQ Crew was busy cutting up all that smoked pork for the giant church potluck.

No one had really slept.

Big Foot didn’t show up.

And they were all RIDICULOUSLY HAPPY.  Because?  You know what?  Cooking a giant slab of meat all night long just makes boys happy.

So we went to the big potluck after church.  Hubs and Sister’s Husband and Scott and Darrell and the boy and Enzo all smelled like Professional Pit Masters.  They were all covered in pig grease.  They all kept talking about how they needed to bottle a cologne that would smell exactly the same.

It was approximately 693 degrees outside on Sunday afternoon, but Christy baked these ANGEL FOOD CAKE meets LEMON PIE FILLING dessert bars, so somehow I mustered enough strength to eat one during the heatwave.

And then we all came home, people.  We came home to our showers and our air conditioning units.

And we all went to bed incredibly early last night.

The end.

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