Monday and Tuesday we had contractors in the house. On Monday Lisa minded the store, but Tuesday was my day off, and so I was stuck at home with the kids keeping an eye on the work (aka reading a book cover to cover). The sucky part for the wee ones was that, for safety reasons, they were prevented from going in the back yard or upstairs, and I wasn't leaving the house unattended so they were confined to the first floor all day. But they actually took it in stride, and somewhere along the line Ginger fell asleep on the couch. Even in dreamland, she refused to release her hold on her yellow balloon.
She talks like a champ by the way, and the way she says "OK" is the cutest thing ever.
Later that day LuLu wanted to impress (disgust?) the family by showing us how she could scratch her ear with her toes.
Smiley tried to repeat the trick but failed. Meanwhile YaYa, who is seemingly always in an over dramatic, sour mood lately, was actually happy and smiled for the camera.
I should mention that last week Thursday we grilled out for the first time EVER at our house. Keep in mind we moved in in the early months of 2007, so it was a full FOUR years since we pulled out the grill. I'm not sure why that is; we grilled out constantly at our old flat. I think we were too busy in '07 with the remodel and move to fire it up, and by 2008 it was buried in the shed. Pathetic.
Anyhow, I won't lie and say it went smoothly. It was rather chaotic, with kids running around trying to toss paper into the fire and Lisa claiming that I tried to set her hair ablaze.
That last bit is, of course, categorically mostly untrue.
Oh, speaking of firsts the day before the contractors arrived I finally got around to installing the handle on Smiley's sunlight, which meant he was able to open it and get some air at night!
* * *
Weird how the kids are a mix of their parents. Take the following:
YaYa: my complexion, Lisa's nose and hair. My passion for reading, her Mom's flair for the performing arts. My dramatics, her Mom's temper. A bit of a hoarder. Naturally outgoing but held back by a desire not to look the fool; as most adults know, that's just about a guarantee you'll wind up playing the part. A good sense of humor but sometimes unable to translate that into a joke or prank that 'works'.
LuLu: My gorgeous hair, Lisa's pale, quick to burn complexion. (Lack of) height that seems a throwback to an earlier generation. Sadly, my asthma, but no great love of books, although she's become a heck of a reader. "Not my thing," she told me last week. Very kind, if quick tempered.
Smiley: size from both of us; my complexion, Lisa's hair. Super sweet. Very concerned with eating healthy ("it heal-ty?" he'll ask about *everything*, even though he has a weakness for hot fries). Super diligent about following rules and maintaing social order; at present, on pace to be a cop. Loves being read to and helping cook.
LuLu: my eyes but with Lisa's great blue color; Lisa's hair and nose with a complexion that's a cross between us both. Easily the closest to Lisa in appearance. A known hoarder who often falls asleep with a dozen stuffed animals and as many books; a great love of stories and books like her Dad. VERY very independent and a quick learner; possibly the greatest natural intelligence of the lot.
All of them have my dimpled chin.
* * *
Last week I finished a drainage ditch I was working on and the 70ish neighbor across the alley stopped and asked me if that was to correct for my (downed) gutter, which he bluntly said "looked like shit." I told him truthfully that I'd had trouble getting someone reliable out to do a job with so little income potential. (I don't have a ladder tall enough, nor the interest in learning the job while 20 feet in the air).
He volunteered to do it, having worked construction all his life, and for the rest of the afternoon we rehung the fallen gutter and braced two more. He wouldn't take payment but I did buy him a pack of cigarettes, and he seemed genuinely pleased by how ecstatic I was with the results of his efforts.
Anywho, as we made small talk I asked him how long he'd lived in his house. The answer? Since 1941, when he was two years old. Nineteen forty-one, while the USS Arizona was still afloat and well in Pearl Harbor and Hitler owned half of Europe. Wow.
He went on to say that the neighbor beside him was moving in part because the garage on that house was built to accommodate a Model T and was unable to house anything larger than a compact. Fascinating stuff. Can you imagine how much change he's seen in the neighborhood? And he pays attention, because he remembered the very day my current gutters were hung (before I bought the place) and judged the workmanship poor at the time.
* * *
I'm still stuck with the vivid dreams. As a for instance I dreamnt that I was in Mexico City as a hurricane brewed, and yet the population wouldn't heed my warnings. Fearing it was a language problem I hired a young man as an intepreter, but he simply spouted a poetic version of my words that did little to arouse attention. When the storm hit the city was pulverised.
A moment later I was in a dark hallway with two Skittles vending machines against the wall. A quarter was in both machines, and I remember thinking how grand a gesture that was; how I should pay it forward in the future and brighten someone's day for the cost of mere pocket change.
Then a man appeared out of the blue, and announced he'd released the tiger. Sure enough, behind them a fierce wild tiger appeared.
In another dream I was in a grocery store trying to find/buy some Nutty Bars, and for some reaosn it was a very elaborate process, as if they were illegal to own. Soon I was in a prison that was more like an elaborate dormitory, and there was a crooked and sadistic guard who made sport of some of the prisoners. I tried to avoid him but got into it over - you guessed it - the Nutty Bars.
Sweet stuff huh?
Now I don't read anything into this stuff, and I sure don't believe it to be any reflection of my mental state, so please spare me the psycho-babble.
The bad part of this is my sleep is interrupted quite often; the good part is instead of having six blank hours a night, I now have a mini-movie to look forward to while I sleep. It feels, honestly, like I've gained extra hours in my life.
OK, way too long of a post. Have a good one!