When we moved last year, the movers set up the crib, and they did it wrong. One of the bolts was put into the wrong place, and it left a small gap in the frame. I couldn't get the under-bed drawer to sit on its rails, and investigated, and discovered the problem. The bolt they used is just barely different from bolts used in other parts of the bed, and didn't fit into the nut well enough to pass through it, so it got stuck. They stripped the wood around the nut holding the bolt in place, so I couldn't get it back out; the bed was stable so I left it for the day when I needed to dismantle the crib. I wasn't sure how I would do that, short of a sledgehammer.
Well, I needed to lower the mattress, so I started taking out bedding, and then had a moment with no kids climbing on me and got all manic and Ms. Fixit-y, and started taking apart the bed one bolt at a time (I've disassembled and reassembled it before). Through enormous application of force and an ingenious (if I do say so myself) application of a screwdriver to brace the nut, I managed to pry the mismatched bolt out. I then took a guess at where the right bolt might be and removed one at a time, comparing bolts, until I found it (it took 2 or 3 tries). Everything went in nice and tight, hooray!
Movers of the world: if it doesn't fit together, you're doing it wrong. First rule of anything: don't force it.
Ok, so then I had the bed mostly put back together, sans the front rail. Well, it turns out the bed can be converted into a daybed, and since the other two boys were sleeping in a twin-sized bed by Xander's age, I decided, hey, let's try it! So we're front-rail-less now. Xan was concerned and asked for his "nap" (the missing bed part), but I moved it to the attic, showed him where it was, and talked up the big boy bed. So, here we go on the slow transition of the crib out of the house. Crossing fingers...
Just as they did last year, an enormous flock of robins and a few cedar waxwings descended upon the neighbors' holly trees this morning and picked them bare within about 20 minutes. They then retreated into the trees to digest, and then flew away, leaving nothing but colorful dappled sidewalks behind them.
I looked into the migratory patterns of robins and discovered that, while we tend to think of robins returning in the spring, this is only true of much more northern climes...like Canada. Here in the states, Robins are around throughout the year. We just don't see them as much in the wintertime because they flock together instead of being more evenly spread over an area. They also stay up in the trees more until the weather warms up. So the true harbinger of spring is not a huge flock of ravenous berry-eaters, but rather a lone robin or two, digging for worms. Hope to see that sight soon!
My parents had given us one adult and two child tickets for Peter and the Wolf at the Kennedy Center on Feb 14th, so Reese and I chose to be the ones to hang back in RVA and had a great mother-son day together. This kiddo has been mama's boy from day one and thrives on one-on-one time and being able to call more of the shots. Middle children so rarely get to inhabit that role - they were never an only child with their parents' undivided attention, and their time as the baby of the family ends when the next child arrives. He and I need more dates.
For this outing, he chose:
♥ a trip through the car wash - the one with the big rollers, not the touchless
kind ♥ a chocolate-banana smoothie
♥ mall pizza for lunch
♥ time at the play area in Short Pump Town Center (land of his infancy)
♥ time in the toy store downstairs
♥ hanging out at the train depot at SPTC
♥ buying a spinny LED toy at Target
♥ 5 Guys for dinner
*and* filled up with the satisfaction of somebody saying "yes" so much to him, he patiently tolerated me running some (quick) errands of my own.
While we gallivanted around the Far West End, we also spread our Lovable Project valentines. You can read about the project and our involvement in these entries:
As a Christmas present, I bought tickets for Dan to four Barksdale Theater productions. Four dates! He loves theater, we almost never have opportunity to dress up, and we seldom plan dates together (we mean to, but have trouble thinking ahead and organizing ourselves).
Last night we took in a performance of The Grapes of Wrath. As a date, lovely. Trusted sitter, fancy clothes, chance to chat together over dessert at intermission, seeing a show we haven't seen before. Dan escaped having to read TGoW in high school so the story was pretty new to him. I hadn't read it in 20 years, so it was pretty fresh to me.
I have to say, this book would not be my pick to adapt to the stage. Apparently the play won a Tony in 1998, and I'm not sure why (politics, maybe? pro-union support?). There's a reason the book is 500+ pages long. Actually, multiple reasons: character development, conveyance of the endurance of this family, giving the reader a sense of the endlessness of their plight, getting the scope of the westward movement across. I'm sure I could think of more. Let's just say you can't do it justice in 3 hours. I shouldn't be wondering what the hell is going on when Noah goes downriver. I should be sick and tired of Rosasharn's self-centeredness. I should have a clue WTF is going on with Connie. I should care when yet another character dies. And while the play wasn't long enough to adequately invest the audience member in story, it was too long to sit in theater seats. *yawn*. In defense of the cast: the man who played the role of Tommy Joad turned in an inspired performance and changed my perspective on the character. There were many fine acting moments. The play as a whole caused me to want to re-read the book, which is saying a LOT, since I suffered and dragged through it in high school. But still, this is not a story for the stage. Especially not if you insist on having musical interludes and include one in which the strolling guitarist starts singing about how the "grapes of wrath are growing" in the people. Oh, ugh. Please don't do that. Am I in a Simpson's episode? 'Cause that feels like the stuff of satire.
So, to sum up:
date night: good
Grapes of Wrath, the book: read it
Grapes of Wrath, the stageplay: skip it
I'm much more excited about the next show, an adaptation of Mark Twain's posthumously-published Is He Dead?
Look at that! Three boys in one shot! It's a miracle!
And look at all that snow still sticking around. You should see the piles in the parking lots all over town, they're as big as houses. It's going to take a month or more for the stuff in our yard to melt and probably more for the parking lots. Yikes. How do places that get more snow than this deal with all of it? I mean, where do you PUT it?
We have had a string of snow days as yet another winter storm has swallowed up the Mid-Atlantic. A lot of people are sick of snow, but I couldn't be happier. Ok, I'm sometimes a little stir-crazy, but a walk can do wonders for that - tromping in boots, catching some vitamin-D-promoting rays, and snapping pictures. Ahhh, good for what ails me. Once the winter blahs are banished, I'm totally content to have pajama days and marvel at all the white stuff. It's awesome to have a winter that is, for once, really wintery. Griff is ecstatic. I don't think we've ever had a year where he really got his fill of snow and ice.
There is nothing like a gorgeous ice-crystally snowfall to bring out the awestruck geek in me. Perfect convergence of nature, science, wonder, and photographic opportunity. I've created a gallery of photos from this year's images, with a few of last year's at the end. I recommend viewing it as a slideshow.
Almost forgot to post this! On Sunday 1/24, I went to get some photos off the little camera and found a pile of video clips made by Griff as he roamed around the house that morning. I had to put them all together into a long video. Griff is tickled that it's posted online and says he thinks he's probably the first kid to have a video on YouTube.
We tried the "look, Griff is wearing the mask, too!" approach. FAIL. Xander thrashed and screamed and ultimately I ended up holding the vaporous and fearful device to his face while trying to distract him with videos on totlol. I owe a major love-note to Nicolas Deveaux for his short clip of an elephant bouncing on a trampoline. We must have watched it twenty times today across three different breathing treatments. Thanks, Nic. Here's the transfixed patient inhaling his meds:
(lousy pics because they were taken with a 50mm lens at arm's length while my other hand held the mask to his face)
One ceftriaxone shot, three albuterol treatments, and one dose of omnicef later, and he doesn't sound cruddy when he breathes. All day his temperature was 99 degrees at most and while he was tantrumy this morning, he was pretty perky this evening. Dan noted that he hadn't heard him cough. Excellent progress, crisis averted!