the day had turned from being sunny and surprisingly chilly to sunny and just chilly enough to keep you from getting warm. i explained to oliver this was perfect weather, followed by a brief description of the usefulness of vitamin D synthesis. he pressed each number on the gate's keypad as i spoke it and we marveled at the motor pulling the chain to open the gate. we turned left and crossed the street.
once we got around the corner to the right and alongside the back of the complex, i pointed out the massive, old trees commanding the new stone and wrought iron fence to box its way behind it. i explained to him the money-grubbing ways of real estate developers and how they tried to pay us off so that we would change the rules for them and we said no, but others said yes. but, oliver, we won on the trees! they couldn't cut down the trees! ... followed by a brief description of the usefulness of trees and plants for cleaning the air. as luck would have it, oliver is rather amenable to these types of conversations, the rabbit holes of which his mother enjoys tumbling.
we turned left to twist our way back around when oliver began spotting clear, green plastic beads turning neon in the sun. as any child would be, he was quite anxious to collect them all up. six, initially. he just knew that if we walked back by that spot, we would find hundreds more. i offered to give up my looping path and turn us back around and he excitedly accepted. we found another in the muddied water sitting in the gutter and i requested a pass on that one. there was a smattering more, making for a lovely hunt. he grasped them tightly in one hand.
after witnessing the hood of an suv driving its bag of garbage to the dumpster, we came up the far side of the complex and commented with a tsk tsk tsk anytime we located errant dog poo. i provided a brief description on the importance of maintaining community spaces and shirking selfish behaviors. dog poop all over the grass is pleasant for no one.
the jogger we had passed after initially beginning our walk was now passing us again, running in what seemed an almost frantic-styled jog.
as a gate opened, oliver noted this one was made of two pieces, each with its own motor.
we found ourselves at the front of the complex, along car-laden university blvd. i continued a previous explanation about why there were balloons tied up out front... to let people know, hey! we have built a lot of homes here and now need to fill them! since we had received some balloons from wesley's bday party at the self defense studio the day prior, one of which had descended from the ceiling overnight, we were ripe for a discussion regarding the properties of gases.
shortly thereafter, i noticed the tiniest colonies of fluted mushrooms inhabiting the border plants. we knelt down. oliver plucked one up, squished it, and quickly flung it back to the ground, giggling a squicked out giggle. i dared to press on one before noticing the gorgeous acorns which had been falling from the tree above us. honey-colored striations that would have made the most amazing hardwood floor. i tried in vain to pick one that didn't have a small, precise hole already bored through its side. one of which was already spilling out tiny, white maggots. we squickedly giggled again while i dropped it back down to the ground. oliver could not be stopped from collecting after finding two with roots already emerging. i stopped him when he pulled the third from the mud.
we rounded the final corner, with both of oliver's hands clutching his treasures. two young men were unloading a large mattress from a small moving truck and filling the foyer door of one of our buildings on amesbury. we crossed the street, but a car on its way out beat us to opening the gate.
oliver took the liberty of announcing the number of each and every parking spot from one end of our complex all the way to the other.
we gently folded the two acorns into the loose dirt of a pot on the balcony before oliver took to quietly assembling his snap circuits in his room. but first, he built a tinkertoy sculpture, based on a symbol on the side of the can. he asked if i could find the surprises. i did. the flashing green of the treasure beads was peeking out from secret tinkertoy spaces. we added a few non-tinkertoy items to the structure. a couple of old curtain rings and two plastic screws from his tool set.
we eventually pulled violet from her bed. i packed up a frozen pizza and we went to our third birthday celebration of the weekend (we had spent the first part of saturday at my sister's, making and eating cabbage rolls for her 43rd before schlepping back through uncomfortable amounts of rain to wesley's party). this time, it was barry's turn. arriving at four he was. out of all the parties i have been to since oliver entered the primary class, this was only the second being held at the child's home. so brave, so brave. i watched juice, cake, mud, pizza, and piss each have their turns on the floor. i scraped up chocolate cake with my bare hands as much as i could. a child sat on a step eating pizza, his pink cupcake, naked of any frosting, settled on the bare floor next to him. children were treated to backyard toys like a miniature bouncehouse, a miniature fire engine pedal car, and a miniature, yet driveable, escalade. it was madness. i was served a beer.
an elderly man in engineer-striped overalls and cap had assembled a train out in the road. everyone piled in and he would drive back and forth a couple of blocks each way, much to the ire of motorists navigating the narrow roadway. brian and i rode with violet in a car. i sipped my beer and waved to children playing on the elementary school playground. it was a good time. aubrey's mother, who was originally going to ride in our car until the engineer made her ride in the caboose, ended up stuck with four small children and i would wave happily at her and make a face saying oops! so sorry! sucks for you! a child in her car hopped from the window after we had stopped, and i bet i could correctly guess which it was. i heard him say, "i just jumped from the window!" and boy was that the wrong declaration to make. the engineer was in earshot and gave that child a stern ear full. words about falling and busting his head open.
after enough rides had been given, he came around the front yard and kindly shook all our hands.
the cake was so delicious, it made me ill for three and a half minutes. i had asked for a very small piece for violet. i deemed what we received still too large and criss cross applesauced myself into a spot on the wood floor to help her out with it. with her hand sharing the fork with mine, she gently and graciously took turns feeding herself and then me.
it was late when we arrived home. going on seven. i made some mommy macaroni and burritos. i believe shit eventually started hitting fans. fights over party-sized, loosey-goosey gumball machines, i don't know. we put them in beds.
today was winter break. presidents' day to some of you. brian did not celebrate, except by going to the solitude of the workplace. i took the children to whole foods for winter provisions. i placed them in an airplane cart, so as not to have worry about fighting over riding in it. i am very wise. there was some kind of scuffle with the seat belts and violet decided that oliver had trespassed on hers, though he hadn't. but she wasn't listening, as she was busy holding handfuls of his hair and clawing and shrieking and i calmly removed her and set her down while she screamed even louder, right there on the OUTSIDE of the whole foods doors. people gave looks and i considered scratching their eyes out. but i was remaining rather calm today, somehow. must be the calming phase of my monthlies. i spent a lot of time singing to children, instead of hollering. you can't do much hollering when you're singing.
violet was inconsolable over being removed. i explained to her fifteen ways that we would go inside for a banana from the snack station and she would eat her banana from the ground floor and then be up for consideration for being reinstated to her previous position. two year olds don't understand nothing they don't want to understand. i managed to get us over to banana town and even though she could clearly see me approaching the banana bin to retrieve some for them, she was just losing her shit ten ways and wailing BANANA like she was just up and dying a banana death. and i was like, dude, you see me right here getting you a banana. and she was like, oh, okay, that's cool. and she took the half cracked banana and proceeded to lose more shit because she wasn't going back in the basket. i tried walking us down the main thoroughfare, but it turned into her trying to impede my progress physically and carrying her hadn't really worked either. and i said, motherfuckit, and hauled that airplane back over to the banana tarmac and tossed us all on the escalator to the parking garage and said something about them systematically destroying just about every trip to the store.
violet screamed and turned shades of magenta like she was being remote-control driven by an unflaggable crying machine, for 25 minutes. she only stopped because she became unconscious. as luck would have it, so did oliver. i drove around and located this old house we found on trulia in our price range that strongly resembles disney's the little house.
only, happier. okay, like this:
it lives between apartments and a pub.
since i had time, i then drove by this house, which is a bit out of our price range and lives on an entire street of similar gigantic and beautiful old homes.
then i came home and made delicious shepherd's pie.