i made my second attempt to drive on down to the bowels of south dallas to see that house i was falling rapidly in love with. i couldn't stop imagining myself cuddled up in the solarium or scrubbing the black bottom pool or arranging furniture under the cathedral ceiling or setting a framed photo above the white brick fireplace. the want! it hurt! i had to expel it!
i had tried on thursday to head down there, but someone had decided to get crazy over the trinity and wreck and cause the whole kit and caboodle to be shut down and i couldn't remember the back ways across the river. which is one reason i don't want to move to oak cliff (south of 30). it is one big spaghetti bowl mess at all times down there. a confluence of highway interchanges designed to unwrap your cool. and there's no whole foods down there. it's just that up and coming hip.
so friday. oliver's unwrapping his own cool because he sees we're sliding past the starbuck's without slowing down for apple juice and i distract him as we're entering 75 by pointing out this awesome belt of clouds at the front edge of the cold front. it dumped this belt-shaped patch of rain on us for a couple of minutes. after one million years driving down hampton road through the barrio, i finally reached that house. shit. we were almost down to I-20, for cryin' out loud. this was just not acceptable. the patches of neighborhood told me our choices of entertainment down there would be kentucky fried chicken or an automotive repair shop. granted, the trees were lovely. found the house. felt totally isolated. drove away and looked at another area farther north that was super depressing. the kinds of neighborhoods where you can see all that former glory falling straight into a heap of decay with a set of bars on the window.
i listened to OK Go on NPR and continued on the long way home, accidentally. the on-ramp tries to trick you and trick me it did. i found the back way over the trinity that takes you by the belmont. it was a nice drive home. went through downtown and deep ellum and up the back way on skillman. an hour and a half round trip.
it started sprinkling as i pulled cranky children from the car and herded them upstairs. brian arrived, arms filled with burritos.
saturday was one sandwiched carefully between two days of inclement weather. brian's college friend's husband emailed to see if we would like to meet him and their daughter at the museum of science and nature to see the dinosaur exhibit. i let brian and oliver go. at the last minute, the friend's husband phoned from the pancake house to say his daughter had said she was considering throwing up. and then they decided to skip the dinosaurs. oliver and brian proceeded as planned. oliver had a bang up time, though he was a little nervous before. he asked me if the dinosaurs would be alive in a way where i could tell he hoped the answer was no. i showed him video and photos of animatronic dinosaurs to help calm his anxiety. i'm told he enjoyed pushing buttons to make the dinosaur wag its tail or open its mouth to roar. there was a side trip to the butterfly garden.
after taking violet for a harrowing trip to whole earth provision to buy a sticker book for a birthday present, i spent time driving around the lake sipping coffee and eating an apple fritter. why not.
we reconvened for lunch and then headed out to the afternoon party of classmate owen at lindsley park. it was chilly and we asked oliver if he needed a jacket. he responded that he was wearing his jacket underneath his shirt and we eventually discovered this meant he had a long sleeved unbuttoned button down shoved on underneath his sweater. these are things that happen when your child begins choosing his own clothing. it's not always pretty. blue with brown with grey. why not. it's like that time i let brian dress oliver.
not far into party time, brian picked violet up to put her into a swing and oliver lost it. tears gushing. wailing. refusal to indicate what on earth the problem was. after he started throwing himself against my legs trying to avoid the well-intentioned mother of the birthday boy, i sat him down on a bench and asked if we needed to leave the party. he finally said that he wanted to swing. well, good grief. so we put him in a swing, for cryin out loud.
it was somewhere in there, i guess right before, that brian told me he had been watching the kids playing tag and oliver ran after them and it appeared the birthday boy said something to oliver that made oliver turn and walk back to brian with a serious hang dog look on his face. and that shredded me again. a shredded cherry on top of the shredded sundae.
he spent most of the party by himself and i watched him wandering around on his own and wanted to cry. cake time came and oliver was wolverining a piece and we were sleeping on our feet and missed the passing out of ice cream and as brian and i were quickly indicating one of us needed to go over, the father heard us and grabbed it up. and it was a world war three of tears again, this time with chocolate frosting. it was pretty obvious SOMEONE had skipped his nap.
we brought him over to the table with us and birthday boy's mom brought over some "very special juice" and was kind to him. i kept thinking how he was totally ruining his street cred with all this superfluous crying, but didn't say so. he eventually calmed and eventually joined everyone out in the grass for tag before returning in yet another fit of tears. i asked if we should leave and he shook his head no. i asked where he wanted to go and he meekly pointed the other direction at the playground, so that's where we went.
i chatted with landon's mom for awhile as brian entertained our two children and we decided it was time to leave when violet had long since started turning violet. some people slept in the car and we went to visit our friends at the roti grill.
sunday, the weather was glorious and it was our second weekend to postpone going to okc so brian could work, so i took the children to coffee park so brian could work. as he had yet to work by that point, going so far as to tell me saturday night, "what's the point? i can't get anything done in an hour." oh, the work ethic.
oliver was a little confused by the name of the park and was hoping to actually see coffee there and commented that it's silly (another of his new favorites) that someone somewhere was named coffee (the boy from paradise, as the plaque at the park states). after we'd been there awhile, oliver found a friend on the double slides who was taller, but appeared to be much younger. they were flopping around and running all over the place. the little boy shared his matchbox cars with oliver so they could shoot them down the curly slide, where violet would retrieve them and hand them back. there was also a spiderman child running around and they would stop periodically to stare and point at him standing on a rock or wherever. i stayed extra long hoping to let him get a little of his confidence back. assuming the whole story about the lonely boy was true in the first place.
piper and her brood of men showed up for a playdate with the woman i was standing next to just as we were trying to leave.
upon our return, oliver decided it was a good day for an oliver-style picnic. which means he spreads out his cloth napkins and we sit on our empty balcony on the painful new balcony surface in the glaring sun and eat our lunches in front of the university place community.
we rounded out the day with an exhausting, full-family trip to whole foods. the children were working some nerves.
this is the part where i was throwing together that batch of shells vodka and watching the other three dance around like adorable fools.
you're saved from an onslaught of photos as they're all trapped on brian's iphone in an office cubicle far, far, far away.