Good news for you is that we ran out of Father Browns (I did not even know that was a thing that could happen, but we have been very committed), so all that is left to do is blog and finish my cross stitch cacti tonight. Yesterday I returned from Phoenix, where I was attending a conference. I usually have a great time at these, but MAN was this one exhausting. On Saturday morning I got an email asking if I'd mind converting one of my two posters into a talk, so that I could fill the spot of a scientist who couldn't attend because of the shutdown. Ever the team player, and ever the over-optimistic idiot, I envisioned myself putting together an amazing presentation on the plane, like a Rocky-style musical montage of productivity. I managed to write a really comprehensive outline in the airport, but there was a LOT of turbulence on the plane and I ended up having to finish my talk late into the night in my hotel room after stress-inhaling the first bar cheeseburger and fries I've had since I got my gallbladder out. My talk was the following morning and like twenty percent of my reference section was sitting in the audience. It went...fine. That afternoon I had two posters and then I had another talk the next morning. I also got to catch up with my conference friends, including my friend Teresa, who is always my conference roomie. She brought homemade lemon cake for our breakfast this year, and always makes coffee in our room. On Wednesday, a friend I met through blogging more than a decade ago, picked me up and took me to dinner on the way to the airport (Hi Kim!). It was so fun. But also, it was good to get home last night.
Today, we picked right back up where we left off, with a state-visit-level schedule of dropoffs, pickups, and appointments after school. I picked up everyone but Charley at the earlier, elementary school, pickup time, leaving Charley at the middle school to finish a project for one of his teachers, took James (and the other kids) to a doctor's appointment (ironically, the kid with the appointment did not get the message to come outside for regular pickup and had to be retrieved by one of the teachers while I waited in the parking spot of shame), then went on a quick, fighty sprint through the grocery store, back to school to pick Charley up, and then all the way across town to drop Charley off at swim, before returning home to slap a late spaghetti dinner together (not exactly together, as there were two seatings, the early seating and an elegant eight o'clock seating for Charley and Ryan).
The second we walked in the door, James ran to the kitchen and grabbed the Chromebook before anyone else could get it. Wes objected to this, because he always does, and ran over and LICKED JAMES'S EAR while he was trying to play a game. MUCH SCREAMING ensued and when James started throwing couch cushions, they both lost the Chromebook. BUT NOT THE TV BECAUSE I AM NOT INSANE.
It was a white knuckled dinner prep half hour, for sure.
Sending them back to school after the break just feels mean, somehow.
Charley's room is downstairs, right down the hall from the living room. If we forget to close his door at night, he often interjects things into conversations Ryan and I have while we are sitting on the couch, scrolling through our phones and licking our wounds after another epic bedtime battle. To wit, tonight I was telling Ryan that I brought home all kinds of contraband in my carry-on bag--a tiny screwdriver and some chapstick from the exhibit hall, a gallon-sized ziplock filled with key limes that my friend Kim gave me to take home--I told him "They probably said 'I don't get paid enough for this shit. No literally.'"and Charley piped up "I think if it's sealed, Mom, you can bring almost any kind of food on a plane." It reminded me so much of the house where we go in Maine where the walls are so thin that sometimes people doing the crossword puzzle at the dining room table call out clues to whomever is sitting on the toilet in the next room. So as a joke, I called to Charley "Six letter word for cat!" and without missing a beat, he responded "FELINE!"
Tomorrow we continue to let everyone adjust and rest by sending Ryan and Charley on a three day backpacking trip out of town. The rest of us plan to eat tacos and watch movies.