Saturday, July 21, 2007

Rain On My Parade

Hello everyone,

Yet another week has flown by.... You can tell we are back in survival mode when my cooking adventures have been along the lines of Hawaiian Haystacks, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Top Ramen, Burritos and chicken nuggets.

After a lonely weekend with Dave in Asia, Susan arrived on Monday, bringing peace, calm and Great Harvest Bread with her. We picked her up at the airport that evening and then went to Sweet Tomatoes on the way home. Between stopping for dinner and the kids using their very best bedtime delay techniques on Grama, it was almost 10:00 pm by the time they got to bed. =] On Tuesday I had an OB appointment-- I scheduled my ultrasound for next Tuesday-- and then the kids rode bikes to the park with Grama while I started getting the master bedroom ready to paint by taping, removing hardware, etc. I finished in time to go to the last hour of hour RS drop-in quilting day, and got there in time to tie two whole stitches in the last quilt before they finished. Oh well!

Wednesday dawned bright and.... rainy???? Wait a second, the rule in Portland is that you can count on it being sunny from July 5th onward. Well apparently that rule was just broken and we had clouds and rain, which unfortunately lasted most of the time that Susan was here. Susan took Camryn out to breakfast by herself (Camryn was so excited to get to do something BEFORE Jared) while I started priming and painting. Then Susan took the kids to a free showing of "VeggieTales: A Jonah Movie" at the movie theater (the things you have to endure being a Grama....) while I finished the first coat of paint.

That afternoon, we set off on Jared's activity of choice: going fishing at "Horning's Hideout," where his kindergarten class had gone for a fishing trip. After driving out into the middle of boonieland and going a mile or two on an unpaved road, we finally came to the place: a beautiful lake with a ramshackle house in the front of it. We went to the house and a lady came out and handed us fishing rods, nets, hook tools and a cup of worms. Then she started explaining... "When you get a fish, you use the net to pull it out of the water, then use the hook tool to slice through it's gills and take the hook out, then you clip it onto this chain. You don't want to put a whole worm on the hook or the fish will just eat around it instead of biting, so just use your fingers to pull off a small piece of worm and put that on the hook. Then when you're done, you come back here and you can use this space for gutting the fish with a knife." Susan and I gave each other looks of disbelief. I never realized until that very moment how much of a city-girl/wimp I am. Where the heck were my latex gloves when I needed them? She wanted us to break off a piece of live worm with our bare fingers??? This was downright barbaric and we hadn't even gotten to gutting the fish.

[Warning: The following contains scenes of graphic violence that may be offensive to some viewers.] Susan and I took all of our fishing equipment and the two kids to the edge of the lake. Then came the getting the worm ready for the hook.... I managed to get myself to touch the worm long enough to brush it out of the cup onto the ground. Then I used a piece of the chain to cut through the worm and break off a small piece, leaving two pieces of worm wriggling frenetically on the ground. I managed to stick the hook into the smaller worm piece without touching much of the worm with my fingers and scoop the bigger piece back into the cup.

Now we were finally ready so we dropped the hook into the lake without tangling too much of the line. Jared informed us impatiently, "No, mom, that's not how you're supposed to do it. You're supposed to cast off." Sure, enough, the other people fishing in the lake were sending the hook and line flying gracefully over their heads into the middle of the lake. After moving the kids sufficiently far enough so they wouldn't get skewered, we gave it a shot. The hook and line flew awkwardly for about 3 feet and then fell into the lake at our feet. We were obviously missing something. After trying unsuccessfully several times and then standing around and feeling utterly incompetent, we went back to the house and ran into a different lady who worked there and asked what we were doing wrong. She instructed us in the art of casting off (there is a piece of the rod you have to move for the line to keep flying) and then directed us to a good spot. We did several extremely elegant looking cast-offs (and quite a few not-so-elegant ones that involved massive tangles of fishing line) and waited with our hooks in the water, but no fish seemed to bite. We did manage to catch a lobster-looking crustacean that fell back in the lake. After spending about two hours with no luck, we finally gave up. Jared was disappointed that we didn't catch trout for dinner, but he bore it well. As for my part, I wasn't exactly broken-hearted that I missed out on the chance to gut my first fish. Some firsts can wait for another time.

We drove back to civilization and the kids went to Safari Sams with Grama for jungle gym and mini-golf while I went to a meeting. After I came back, we had some pizza together and negotiated exactly what prizes you could buy with 11 tickets (3 army men or a plastic bracelet and a mini-koosh-looking ball, in case you were wondering). Then we went home and put the kids to bed.

Thursday morning I painted the final coat of my bedroom while Susan took Jared to breakfast. I finished just in time to go to my cooking group, where we assembled over 40 freezer meals in 2 1/2 hours. Whew. We spent the afternoon swimming at the YMCA. Susan accomplished the astounding feat of swimming for 45 minutes with her camera in her hand and not getting it wet. I kid you not. It was quite impressive. Then we went to Burgerville and completely ruined our appetite for dinner by getting a fresh raspberry milkshake and a huge (not semi-huge) order of Walla Walla Onion Rings. Yes, it was a fine day. We spent the evening less pleasantly engaged in trying to put my bedroom back together. It would have been fine except that we encountered EXTREME difficulty getting up the hardware for the window blinds. Despite my confidence in wielding an electric and cordless drill and my sheer brute strength at turning a screwdriver manually, we had a dickens of a time trying to get the hardware back in. We spent over an hour and a half standing on bar stools struggling with screwdrivers before we finally got the blinds up again.

Friday morning we set off to go berry picking, hoping to get some raspberries for Susan to take home to Grampa Bruce. We were out picking for about five minutes when it started to rain. Yes, in July. Jared left his post of trying to get everyone to dump their berries into his bucket and went to the car for the umbrella. Susan and I put on coats and kept picking berries while Jared and Camryn argued over who got to hold the umbrella. At least we didn't have to worry about sunscreen.... After we got home, the rain got worse, so we went to the YMCA to play "basketball" on the sport court. We stopped by Rose's Deli to pick out a special cookie for the kids and pastry for the adults, then we went home and got ready for Susan to leave.... =[

Despite the fact that we left at 3:00, we hit horrendous rush hour traffic. We got Susan to the airport 40 minutes before her flight. Miraculously, she still made her flight. I decided to burn some time to avoid traffic, so the kids and I stopped by a bakery in Portland to pick up a loaf of handmade artisan bread. The kids saw a store called "Saint Cupcake" (sometimes you wish your child couldn't read...), so we had to go in and let them pick out a cupcake. Then we braved the freeway. The traffic was horrible. By the time we got back within 20 minutes of our house it was already 6:30, so I decided it would be a good time to go out for dinner. I was thinking of getting some pasta or driving through Wendy's, but when I started to list options to the kids, Jared protested, "No, mom! I don't want to go there. I want to go to the Thai place that we go to with daddy and get the sweet pork." Camryn chimed in, "YEAH!! And I want to get the yummy noodles." I was shocked, really. The kids were lobbying to go someplace besides McDonald's? They wanted to go to the Thai place?? Despite the fact that I didn't really feel like Thai food at the moment, I thought it was so cute that they wanted to go there (or maybe it was sentiment because that's "where they go with daddy"), that I said, "OK. Why not?" Major lapse in judgment.

We went to the Thai place. I ordered the yummy pork and the sweet noodles, as requested. I was going to get a stir fry with peanut sauce, but Jared said "No. I don't want that." I asked him if garlic sauce was better, so we got broccoli beef with garlic sauce. When our food came, sure enough, Jared gobbled down the pork, but he wouldn't touch the noodles (which he usually eats). He wouldn't eat the broccoli beef either-- which I had ordered in the hopes of the kids liking-- because it had sauce on it and he doesn't like broccoli with sauce. When I made him try a bite (in order to get his cupcake for dessert), he gagged like he was eating fried larvae in worm sauce. Camryn ate very slowly as usual, coming over to my seat in between each bite to give me a huge hug with sticky hands just as I was about to take a bite. The final insult was that because I got the extra (untouched) broccoli dish so we would have a vegetable, the bill came to $30 with the tip. I can't believe I threw away $30 on a dinner that I didn't feel like eating just because the kids "wanted it" and then half of it didn't even get touched. OK, that was downright stupidity--- and that's the last time I let the kids pick where we go to dinner.

Meanwhile, Dave is in Korea. He flew to Korea to help with the installation of a new tool for a customer (he worked on this tool before he got transferred to his current project). After spending several 12+ hour days in the Samsung cleanroom (with no-padding shoes, steel floors and not a chair to be seen), he flew to Singapore for a customer meeting. He had been in Singapore for a whole two hours when he got a call from his boss telling him that they had a serious problem with the Samsung installation and he needed to go back to Korea. So as soon as he finished the presentation he got on the next red-eye flight to Korea. Back in Korea there were big problems, plus, while they were trying to fix it, every so often the local team would interrupt them so they could precision-tune the machine flow. Flow is important, but not if half your machine is in pieces on the floor. As Dave put it, it's kind of like scrubbing the baseboards over and over while your kitchen is piled with dirty dishes and dead rats. Priorities anyone?? Then once they got the machine put together, working and a good baseline for the film, Samsung decided that they didn't like the film layer and wanted one with totally different properties... in 24 hours. Yes, it's been a fun trip for Dave. Last week when I took Camryn to a friend's birthday party, the dad asked me, "So, I hear your husband is going to Korea and Singapore. Does he really enjoy the chance to travel?" I didn't really know how to answer that.... "Well, it's not exactly a pleasure trip..." I said. That's the understatement of the year. What am I supposed to say? "He really loves cleanrooms with flat shoes, no chairs and too-small face masks." Or maybe "It's given him the chance to see lots of Korea: from the airport to his hotel, from his hotel to Samsung and the inside of the Samsung cleanroom." At least he's gotten to eat at Mr. Pizza, "The only pizza designed specifically for women." Yes, I'm not making that up.

Today we went to the parade for the Sherwood Robin Hood Festival. Despite ominous clouds, it didn't rain while we watched the parade. The kids were ecstatic because each got a lunch bag full of candy. We went home for lunch and then went to the festival itself. As soon as we got in the car to go it started pouring. (Did I mention it's July????) It let up a bit once we got there but then poured again and sprinkled at intervals. We made good use of our umbrella, got snow cones and Robin Hood hats for the kids and had a good time despite the rain.

Now we are anxiously awaiting news of when Dave will come home. The Taiwan part of his trip was cancelled, so hopefully it will be soon!!! Hope you are doing well.



Quotes of the Week:

Camryn: "If we walked-ed to Bountiful it would take 100 days and 100 nights. Well, it's easier to use a car."

Jared: "Camryn, do you want a China Chip?" (handing her a tortilla chip sprinkled with ramen seasoning)

Jared: "Do you know what I want to be when I grow up? A race car driver. So, I'll have to save these [referring to his Hot Wheels sunglasses]. [putting the sunglasses on] How cool do I look?"

[please pardon this one, it is a direct quote] Me: "Are you excited to find out if the baby is a boy or a girl?" Jared: "Yeah. I want it to be a boy." Camryn: "I want it to be a girl. If the baby is a girl it will have the same bottom that I have; if the baby is a boy, it will have the same bottom that Jared has."

At the Thai restaurant, there was a sign that said, "Pregnancy and Alcohol don't mix." From the drawing next to Jared he made the following deduction: "Mom, that sign says if you have a baby in your tummy, you shouldn't stand and carry a drink."

No comments: