Monday, April 03, 2006

#122 - Training for Vacation

It's finally quiet here. We have had a meeting of the cousins here at Grandma's house, and the energy levels were reminiscent of Manhattan Project forces in the desert. Apparently, when you get boy cousins in the same room with girl cousins, the mix can be explosive. And these cousins aren't even old enough to be of the hormonal variety. They're just ENERGETIC.

The boy cousins have gone home for the evening. It is, after all, a school night, and the boy cousins aren't on a nice, relaxed homeschool schedule. Our Woodyettes are, sorta, but this week it's v-e-r-y  r-e-l-a-x-e-d. This is homeschool on quaaludes. Technically speaking, Daddy is on vacation this week. We left last Friday on the Sunset Limited. The Sunset Limited used to run from Orlando, Florida to Los Angeles, California. Thanks to Katrina and about a hundred other natural disasters last year, the Limited now only runs from Los Angeles to New Orleans. We only needed it as far as San Antonio, Texas. Mrs. Woody has tried a few times to get the Woodyettes interested in a little school work, but so far their output has been, well, Limited. I mean, limited. Too many distractions, I'm afraid, to have them get serious about doing even a few pages in their current unit studies so far.

The boy cousins belong to my sister, AnoelleB of BurrHouse. They are three high energy bundles all under the age of seven. Since moving to Texas last year they don't get to play with girl cousins too often. There just aren't any living within hailing distance in any direction, so this is a real treat for the kids. My sister brought them over to Grandma's house today so they could play while she made dinner, including a beautiful Almond Roca birthday cake for Grandma. Happy Birthday, Grandma! Happy twenty-ninth! Again! Grandma and Grandpa Bob were on their way home from a visit to the Pacific Northwest and had no idea of the devastations being perpetrated on their humble abode. They will be picking cake crumbs out of the carpet for a week.

In the meantime, Woody was trying to remember what he was supposed to do on vacations. Relaxing just feels so... so... unnatural anymore. I read a short book, feeling guilty all the while that I wasn't doing dishes or vacuuming a room somewhere. I got over it, however. Besides, the kids were building up to a pitch that nearly required inserting sharp metal objects in my ear canals or risk having my drums burst on their own. They were being awfully cute for the most part, but there was the occasional flare up.

SCENE: The living room of Grandma NanZ. Woody is sitting on the couch, reading. Suddenly, a blood-curdling screech, followed by the sort of wail that requires long, rasping intakes of breath between howls.

Boy Cousin 1: Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! [inhale] aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

Boy's Mother: Oh, now what?

Boy Cousin 2: Mommy! Joseph fall down! Hurt head!

Boy's Mother: Oookay. What really happened?

Doodle Woodyette: I wasn't there!

She said that because of a similar incident earlier in the day, wherein the smallest boy cousin (he of iron lung) fell off the guest bed. She had been playing a game with him, and figured it was her fault he got hurt. That's probably true, but it's also probably true that he would have gotten hurt some other way whether she helped him or not.

Aaah. Vacation.

So we have another few days in town here before we get to jump back on the Limited and head back for Los Angeles. Grandma and Grandpa will have their home to themselves once again, and their floors will be clean. They will visit my sister and her family frequently, on my sister's turf to minimize stress on the carpeting. But everyone will miss our girls, and we, in turn, will miss everyone here. We frequently use vacations to remember just how precious our families are, and how much we enjoy their company. Of course, each family has its own dynamics, and it's always a relief when we can be on our own, where the rules of engagement are familiar and we can enforce (or relax) them as needed. Then we'll go back to missing our family.

That's when we plan the next vacation.

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