First things first--a weekend with family, or an out-of-town vacation, must always ALWAYS! begin with lots of procrastination.
Saturday morning was spent furiously cleaningcleaningcleaning the not-as-bad-as-usual house. I remembered to make sure the guest bathroom was presentable (I have failed in this duty numerous times, apparently because I have amnesia that there is a boy who lives at this house and uses that bathroom regularly).
As an added bonus, Ryan contracted a mild (thankfully) bout of Pukinson's Disease, so Morgan and Sean went with Brendan to collect Nonnie and Uncle T from the airport. I wasn't feeling super great either, but fortunately did not contract the yucky Pukinson's.
We hung around the house and caught up on all the latest news, played Beatles Rock Band for a while, and I may or may not have made mojitos for B and his mom. And me. My mother-in-law helped me make some chicken soup, as she had a cold and wanted said soup. Also, she is the best soup-maker in the universe, so I was eager to have some lessons.
Somehow on Sunday I managed to convince Brendan to mow the lawn, and, So It Is Written (Spoken? Nagged?)--So It Shall Be Done. Care to guess which of these I managed to avoid? Was it: marital strife over just how far back certain hedges ought to be pruned, or hives on my arms from trying to prune hedges myself?*
The kids played with their invisible ink sets from Nonnie, and toys they brought from a store up in Wisconsin Dells that sells stuff that changes color in the sunlight. M got a frisbee (goes from clear to red), and hair clips, and Sean got a shirt that changes lots of colors. Ryan got hunting gear (from a different store), including a hunting cap with built-in zillion-watt LED lights. Seriously, don't look at him while it's on; you will go blind.
Let's see, what else? We took walks in the neighborhood to look for snakes (Nonnie is SUCH a good sport about that) and they admired the smartiness of the kids and listened to the ENDLESS stories and made beer brats on the grill for dinner. There may or may not have been more mojitos.
In between family stuff, I tried to stay on top of email and laundry and AOS stuff and what was going on with my sister and brother (my parents visited each of them this weekend), and generally did not succeed. I blame the mojitos.
Monday afternoon saw us heading up to Chickamauga National Battlefield, which took longer to get to than I imagined. Partly it was longer because, well, it was actually farther away than I realized. Partly it was longer because Morgan and Ryan picked on each other and squealed and tattled and punched and complained and tried to make me die an early death on the way up. I actually stopped the car on the way up there to take Morgan out for a "moment" so that she could clearly understand A.) What Needed to Happen and B.) Why It Needed to Happen and C.) OMG It Needed to Happen Right the F Now. Despite my description of our talk here on the blog, I was perfectly composed and appropriately PD, yay!
While up at Chickamauga, we saw just an AWFUL hideous film about the battle (oh god, the horrors, and I'm talking about the acting and writing, not the casualties of the battle). Then we drove to Wilder Brigade Monument and walked around for a while. Right next to the monument was where Eli Lilly (yeah, that guy) and his guys from Indiana were lined up to meet the Confederates. Cool.
I let Brendan take R & M up to the top of the Wilder Monument (no elevator, only about 300 stairs) and then planned to go up with my mother-in-law. However, Sean decided he wanted to go, so up he went! He made it 40 stairs up when some dude let out a spooky Scooby Doo kind of laugh (it was dark in there) and freaked Seanie out. Hmph. Lucky me got to carry him the rest of the way up, and back down, too!
Then we left,
Then this morning I headed out to my doctor's appointment, thankful for convenient and willing babysitters. A mile from the house, one of those ominous engine lights came on, so I had to cancel my doctor's appointment and go to the car dealer instead (still thankful for convenient and willing babysitters!). $99 later, the diagnosis was "probably nothing wrong." Double hmph.
We met Brendan at Peachtree-DeKalb (PDK) Airport and ate lunch at the Downwind Restaurant, then played and watched the airplanes and helicopters for a while. Super fun to do with the kids, and fairly close to Brendan's office, which is nice, since he had to go be a computer peopleguy today.
I'm pleased to report that the Check Engine Light didn't come on once. Whew. Also, I did NOT have to pull the car over on the way there, or the way home, but I had separate conversations with Ryan and Morgan that centered around My Need to Concentrate While Driving on the Highway; How Distracting it is When Someone is Squealing and Punching and/or Trying to Climb out of his/her Seat; and How If This Doesn't Change RIGHT NOW then I Will Only Be Driving Them to Places *I* Need/Want to go to and Not Fun Things Like Chess Class or Playgrounds or Restaurants.
At home we played some games, including Mad Libs (heh), and Sean finally said "Nonnie" and "Uncle T" while looking at them (he'd been playing hard-to-get all weekend). We drove them to the MARTA station (since I couldn't, just couldn't, face Atlanta rush hour traffic given the way R & M had been acting in the car). Apparently, my words and actions finally made an impact, as they were very well-behaved and exhibited self-control and appropriate problem-solving behavior all the way there and back. Whew!
And I also wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times (with some kind editing assistance from Paul). Will let you know if I make it in.
So that was MY weekend! What did you do?
*Neither was avoided. Of course. But both were remedied. One with a panicked text message to Kelly, my personal OGardener, who had the nerve to be at Dragon*Con all weekend; the other with a little Claritin.