It was a beautiful day today. And we had no plans. This, naturally, sent me into a complete panic. Our general pattern for week-ends all year has been Matt and Angus out at hockey Saturday and Sunday, then showing up tired and napping or watching a James Bond movie, while I do course work or read or clean and Eve colours or plays with the girl from next door.
For some reason, my impulse with a day like this is always to try to get together with someone else. The kids like to have other kids to play with, and whenever there's more than two adults I have this hope that margaritas will magically appear. But who the hell is going to be around at short notice on a beautiful Saturday? I made two or three calls (nobody home at the first place, nobody I liked at the second house (kidding, it was the husband), sick at the third house). I faced the fact that we were going to have to do something as a family -- alone.
I informed the kids that we were going for a walk at the Chapman Conservation Area. They weren't overly impressed. I said if they did this for me, nicely, then we'd go to the park and Angus could play baseball and Eve could swing after. And we could ride there in our new van. And I would refrain from calling them ungrateful wretched ingrates for the rest of the day.
Angus loves being outside as soon as the weather turns nice -- preferably with some kind of ball involved. Eve can go either way. In truth, she loves fruits, vegetables, and playing outside. But she's a little sh*t-disturber, so for my Mom she delights in saying "I love salt!" and for my Dad she trots out "I HATE the smell of fresh air". We sweetened the deal today by giving her Angus's old sunglasses, which she declared made her look crazy cool.
Eve being crazy cool:
As soon as we got there, it was nothing but good omens:
We were walking on a boardwalk set directly on the grass and Eve wanted to know why there was a 'bridge but no water'. Matt said it was because it probably got swampy, and they wanted to protect the vegetation. Eve said (happily), 'oh, so this is a nature place?'. I said yes. Then she grabbed my arm and said:
'BUT I'M AFRAID OF NATURE PLACES!'
She did, however, like the bulrushes.
Eve with her cotton candy bulrush (it was broken already):
Angus: 'Eve, come look at the swan'. Matt: 'It's not a swan, it's a duck. The ones with the green heads are called mallards'. Ten minutes later -- Angus: 'Look, there's another swan'. Matt: 'It's NOT a SWAN'. Angus: 'I know. I'm just saying that to annoy you'.
Then the walk came to a rather abrupt end, unless we were planning on going for a swim (Eve: "I am!")
On the way back we saw a bird. If we were good parents determined to give our kids a thorough natural education, we would have looked at our bird book when we got home and figured out what kind of bird it was. But we're us, so we forgot and now if I go looking for the bird book I'm just going to wake everyone up. Here's a picture of a bird in a tree:
You don't even want to know how many tries this took:
On the way back to the van we saw a guy swinging a kayak up onto his head. Eve said "Is that a kayak?". I said "That's Mr. Canoehead". Eve said "that's a canoe?". I said "no, it's a kayak, but there's no Mr. Kayakhead". Matt said, with a considerable degree of scorn and impatience, that it was called portaging. Eve said "is that French for carrying on head?"
I was almost at the van, and I yelled back at the kids "thanks for coming on the walk you typically ungrateful wretched little ingrates". Angus laughed, and Eve said "What about ME?". I said "I was talking to both of you wretched little ingrates", and she said "oh, good. I didn't hear that."
We went to the park and swung and played baseball (I got nailed in the boob by a wild pitch. Ouch. Then we went home and did yard work, then we barbecued chicken and watched Fantastic Mr. Fox (brilliance, sheer brilliance). Then we played an uproarious game of Yahtzee (no Yahtzees tonight, but a freakish number of full houses). It was fun. My family doesn't suck. About tomorrow, though -- anyone wanna do something?