Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Weekend Report: MLK Weekend

Anna June had a pretty good weekend, all things considered. Here is the rundown.

Friday night, we decided to stay in and eat frozen pizza, which was good because I had to run a few errands on the way home. In other words, because I had to go to the bank and the gas station and stop by my parents' house to take care of their dogs (Maggie, the younger one, had to have a hematoma removed from her ear on Thursday), Ben had to cook.

I went to bed that night very happy that we were having a three-day weekend. It had been a crazy week. (Don't I say that every week?)

Then, at 6:41AM on Saturday, my cell phone rang. It was my mother, so I knew at that hour, the news couldn't be good.

Of course, I did not anticipate the magnitude of what she was about to tell me.

Drew, my brother, had fallen from a ladder while at work that night, after the auction was over. He broke his leg badly, in multiple places. When she called, he was still in surgery - the doctors had to insert a titanium rod into his shin.

After a quick breakfast of cold cereal, AJ and I left the house. We went back to Mom and Dad's to take care of the dogs again, and then on to the hospital. Drew was just coming out of recovery when we got there. My big contribution was to bring the cell phone charger. They couldn't think of anything else they needed, after being up all night.

Drew will be in a cast for 12-16 weeks. Of course, with such a large area, the main risk is that of infection, so he'll have to be very careful. As the nature of his work involves physical labor, he will be very limited to what he can do work-wise for the next several months.

We went on to AJ's swim lesson and then after that, to meet up with Ben for lunch. Then, we went to her friend Lily's house for their big day out.

Lily's mom had asked if AJ could go with them to Gadsden, AL to the "Let it Snow" Exhibit at the Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts. Admission included a visit to Imagination Place Children's Museum.

AJ and Lily had been talking about it all week as if it were a cruise to the Caribbean. They were beside themselves. I didn't feel like going, honestly, but I am glad that we did. It was a challenge getting AJ's booster seat in the car next to Lily's and her brother CJ's, but we made it work.

They used a "unique material" that is often used in the movies to simulate snow - it was cold and sort of wet feeling. It was a polymer that shipped as a powder, but then when water is added...voila! The kids had a blast.

The moms had a nice visit getting to know each other better and chatting while the kids ran around. It was smaller than we had imagined, but the children had a wonderful time. It certainly held their interest, and they would have stayed until closing time, except a mean mama (me) declared it was time to go after about 3 hours. I didn't want our dinner time to get off schedule and it was a long way back. I could tell the kids were getting tired. The girls wanted one more turn in the snow section (where the kids could make snow angels), but just before they were about to enter, I noticed another mom cleaning up her child's vomit in that area. The Center was small, but the one staff person we had seen earlier was nowhere in sight at that point. I was done.

After dinner, AJ got to watch Ernest Goes to Camp, and she and Ben had fun laughing at the slapstick while I took a bath and did laundry. We needed a calm night after such a busy day.

Much to our chagrin, our scheduled delivery of our shed was postponed until Saturday evening, and then postponed again until Sunday. A complaint was lodged.

After lunch, we stopped by Harbor Freight to buy a few other tools needed for the project: an awl to punch out some holes (although we don't have any idea why these are not punched out during the manufacturing process), a screwdriver bit for the drill, etc.

On Sunday afternoon, we set out to begin the daunting task of assembling the shed. Actually, AJ set out with enthusiasm and Ben set out with trepidation, but I just sat out in the beginning, knowing that if laundry didn't get done, no one would set out with clothes on the next day.

Later, I assisted. Ben had assembled the base, and I helped raise the walls. I think that's where we stopped for Sunday - a shed with no roof.

While the assembly instructions were purportedly in English, we had a heck of a time deciphering what we were supposed to do. We had to undo a few steps to go back and do them a little better. There was an online video Ben found to help us. Tablet computers with Wi-Fi that reaches the backyard are extremely useful in these situations.

Complicating this was the fact that we live on the side of a mountain, and the "level" ground it seeks does not exist here.

While we finished our day's work, AJ played with the cardboard box the shed pieces came in. She took various pieces of cardboard and made a "slide" and "swings" for a playground. Then it was a beach house. Then it was a playhouse at the beach. She was having a blast.

I let her wrap the gifts while I got ready, and she did ok with the responsibility. I may make her my new gift wrapper - she can't be worse than I am. Our friends Bernard and Terry were each celebrating birthdays, so we went to their party. We had a nice time - AJ played with Jackson and Isabel. They played "police" which we have surmised is like cops and robbers. She had a great time. I sat with the old folks and we mostly told stories about injuries - everyone was very sorry to hear about Drew.

We left the party and went back to the hospital, where some of Drew's friends were visiting. It was nice to see he looked better and things were going as well as they could be. Our cousins were in town from Dothan, so they got to see him (although we didn't). 

I rushed back so we could see the season premiere of Sherlock. Ben thinks it was not worth it, but I thought it was pretty good. I can handle a show that only has like 3 episodes a season. He had to pause it while I was reading with AJ. Among the selections that night was a book called Everyone is Special and Unique. AJ commented that we could have saved this for MLK day, which I thought was a pretty good observation.

On Monday, we had the day off. I could not help but remember the MLK day we had five years ago, when our home was burglarized while I took AJ to my parents' house and to the mall. It's hard to compare one sucky weekend to another, but I think this one was worse because someone ended up hurt.

After we went to breakfast, where AJ claims she tasted gravy for the first time (and didn't like it),  we went home to tackle the monster again. The shed was ridiculous, but complicating things was our neighbor's dog, Evie, who decided that we needed our help. We kept telling her to go home, but she was content to follow us from one side of the yard to the other, jumping up on us at first but later calming down. She frolicked in the woods, she laid down in the warm sunshine (temps were in the 60s! Ben was in a T-shirt!). Unfortunately, Evie jumps on AJ, so AJ decided she was just content to stay in the house and occupy herself (and keep Radar calm) while the long-haired Chihuahua had her own fun.

AJ played with her dolls, petted and brushed Radar, made a potholder on her Weaving Loom, and more. Of course, our living room still looks like a kids' play area, but she did great with us only occasionally sticking our heads in.

We started looking around for the awl and couldn't find it. My response was my usual - "This place is a mess. How could we find anything?" and I started organizing the tools we had left here and there. Still no awl. It had a blue handle - how could we be missing it? We were stressed, yes, and there were lots of places for things to hide in the detritus from the project, but as I was taking a deep breath I saw Evie with the handle of Ben's favorite screwdriver in her mouth! Thief! I got it from her, but then we were left wondering where the awl was. I texted her owner and he found it, so I came over to retrieve it. She had chewed up the wooden handle of this brand-new tool! I am just glad she didn't try the other end. Ouch! The owner has offered to buy us another.

We took a break for lunch and got our second wind. Ben (with a little help from me, on a ladder - which was now just about the last thing on earth I wanted to do) got the shed together. There was a tense moment when we couldn't get the doors to close properly, but with some shimming with dirt and cardboard, we have gotten it somewhat steady. We'll see if it can hold out the wind and the rain.

We went out to dinner to celebrate and run a quick errand, (who would have thought we would have run out of band-aids?) and then it was on to studying for Ben and bathing for AJ, which I think was something we hadn't done all weekend, except to rinse the chlorine from her hair at the gym. AJ read for her required 20 minutes, and I fell asleep while she was reading.

Photos of everything to come, one day.


Anonymous said...

We were VERY sorry to hear of Drew's accident --- that is a devastating injury. We hope that all goes well for him as he recuperates. How long will he be in the Hospital ? ( sigh , sigh , sigh )
Wow, next shed will be a pre-fab, I bet! What an undertaking! Who would think that a Chihuahua could cause that much disruption ! Did your neighbor catch on , and finally take him in ? I would love to see one of Anna Junes pot holders!Take care!

Anonymous said...

Altho that snow destination playdate sounded fun for the kids, I couldn't help but feel a bit sorry for you Southerners who need to play in fake snow.( wow )

Laura Gallitz said...

Update: the fake snow was more fun than the real snow.