And Then I Stepped in Gum . . .

Saturday, March 05, 2005

"Fond" Memories

Day 1 as Sole Maintainer of the Asylum:

The inmates are trying their best to drag me over to the dark side, and I am trying my best to resist. So far I am succeeding, having worn them out with physical labor and set them in front of the (purely educational, of course) television. Who knows how long I can hold out, though.

Dave is in Baltimore for four days, and I am playing single parent. It's not a role that either of us relishes, and there are many points racked up by the parent playing the role, no matter how long a period it lasts. So good, I have justification for going off in April for a fun girlfriend weekend. But in the meantime, I have to get through four days.

We started off pretty well. We went to the library's annual book sale and made out like bandits. Well, I did -- and there's no way that I needed more books, but who can resist 25-cent paperbacks? -- the kids only got a couple each. Katie kept gravitating toward the board books for some unexplained reason, griped about the chapter book I insisted on getting for her (Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon), and then proceeded to read a third of it on the way home. Ian got some "Mo-mo" (Elmo) books and a Bob the Builder, so he's happy. I couldn't face the nonfiction section, which was not at all organized by category, so I didn't get anything for Dave. Too bad.

My most brilliant idea during the sale was to have the kids sit under the folding tables while I browsed. They were out of the way, so they wouldn't be trampled in the crush of people, and they had fun playing stable under there and reading to each other. So the trip was a success all around.

From there we headed to Lowe's. It's 75 degrees and sunny today, and I have spring gardening fever. Our front gardens, done by the landscaper when the house was built, are an atrocious mess, and boring too. And besides, what better thing to occupy your kids than gardening with them on a beautiful spring day.

Ha! I hear you laughing now. The thing is, all Katie wanted to do was plant things, and there was a lot more work to be done than that. Dead plants and weeds had to be dug up, and then an attempt at soil amendment was made. I'm sure I did it "wrong," but I wanted to try to do something to break up the clay. (I never thought I would complain about dirt after gardening in the rock-strewn sand of Long Island, but this stuff down here is weird. Red clay that comes up in clumps and stains your skin where it comes in contact with you. I just hope the plants can figure it out.) And all that stuff is fairly backbreaking work by yourself. It's made worse by small children running around, stepping on the flowers, patting down the dirt, and getting underfoot trying to "help." I'm afraid I may have lost it a few times, though they did both get their chance to dig in the dirt and plant things -- eventually. I get through these types of things by maintaining a glimmer of hope/illusion that the recollections of these activities will somehow transmogrify themselves into fond memories of "quality time with Mom" instead of the nightmares of frustration and whining -- mine and theirs -- that I know them to be.

Anyway, one of the front gardens is planted and half mulched. I seriously underestimated our topsoil and mulch needs, and I think I need to return to Lowe's for 4 bags of soil and 12 bags of mulch. Good thing we've got the new van. Tomorrow is supposed to be another glorious day. Let's hope we all survive it.