Jay left town last Thursday. He went to NYC for the basketball tournament. He was only gone for about 30 hours but he did get to see what has been called one of the greatest college basketball games ever played.
While he was gone, I made myself a huge pan of crispy chicken wings. They’re covered with ground up Wheaties, seasoned with season salt and southwest seasoning. Jay makes wings a couple of times a month and he makes fantastic wings but my favorite are the crispy ones. Jay doesn’t like them that much so I make them when he’s out of town. I always make a huge pan because they’re even better as left overs: the seasoning soaks in and they get tastier every day.
I didn’t get to have them on Friday, of course because it’s still Lent. I did do something I’ve been meaning to do for awhile. I mopped the kitchen floor. I even did two coats of clean ‘n’ shine, to put the shiny back in it.
Mopping the floor didn’t take all day Friday, I also got a lot of work done.
Then I did something I’ve been meaning to do for awhile: I bought myself a new pair of black jeans. My old pair, which are torn out in both legs, are now my paint pants. They’re very comfy but I’m too old to wear jeans with holes in them out in public. I hate shopping but I know who carries jeans that fit me and what size I wear so I was in and out with new jeans in less than a half an hour.
The weekend was off to a roaring start: wings in the fridge, a new, shiny floor and new jeans. Woopee!
The plan for Saturday started early. Jay told me he’d be home ‘early’. In the past, this has meant anything from 3 am to 7 am. Josie, who had just spent four days of her spring break in Washington DC, was due to arrive back in town at 8. I had my phone next to my bed, awaiting her text to tell me she had landed.
I got her text an hour earlier than expected. It said I missed my flight. Booked the next one, will land around 10:30.
This was a problem. I had already told Tyler that I’d come out to his house in the morning and watch the kids while he got some stuff done. Megan was at a roping clinic. After lunch, the plan was for all of us to go see Beauty and the Beast.
I didn’t know how I could get out to Ty’s place and still pick up Josie. I’d promised her a ride home before I agreed to babysit for him but she’s the one who changed the plan so I guessed she would have to catch a cab home from the airport.
That’s when I realized that Jay was not home. Huh. Since his trip was so short, he’d driven himself to the airport and wouldn’t need a ride but I still checked my phone to see if he’d left a message giving me any idea when he’d be back. Nothing.
Before I could figure out what to do about the Josie/Tyler dilemma, the phone rang again. It was Mary Jeanne and she rendered my other problems moot.
Kent had wrenched his knee the day before and this morning it was so bad he couldn’t put any weight on it. She wanted to take him to Urgent Care and wondered if I would come by and watch her kids. I told her I’d be right over.
On my way to MJ’s house, my Mom called. She said she’d come and spell me as soon as she could, so the problem of picking up Josie was solved. I called Ty when I got to MJ’s house and told him I couldn’t come out to his place. He suggested bringing the kids to MJ’s house so Nanners, Bean, Tot, Xena and Babalouie could play together.
That’s a lot of kids crammed into a small house. Sounds like a party!
My Mom arrived shortly before Ty did. He put the kids’ car seats in my van and went off to do his stuff. I stayed at MJ’s since I hadn’t seen my Mom in weeks and the kids were all having a good time.
I left the kids with Mom to pick up Josie. When we got back to the house they were having a dance party with the birthday cd MJ had made for Bean’s party a week or so ago.
Growing up, my family was not into birthday parties. When there are 11 people at dinner every night, and your mom bakes cookies every day that are so good cake seems like a total let down, the idea of a ‘party’ seems redundant, especially when there’s a birthday to be celebrated roughly every three weeks. Three of my brother’s birthdays are within weeks of Christmas so my folks dropped the giving of birthday presents when I was about 11. We did get to choose the menu on our special day and the chances were pretty good that the birthday kid wouldn’t get sent from the table by Dad when bad manners (usually Joey’s) caused a ripple effect that would get everyone chucked from the room.
So birthday parties are not something we’re particularly good at, like or want to throw. But then we had kids, whose expectations are completely different. MJ had told her kids they could each have one ‘Friends Birthday party’ growing up but then she was done with it, so choose carefully.
This year, Bean turned 7 and wanted to have her Friends party. MJ invited the whole second grade to join them for a pizza party at our favorite place: Frankie’s Chicago Style Pizza. There’s a big party room for such events. Much to MJ’s horror, every single one of Bean’s classmates accepted the invite. She had 30 kids coming to the party. She enlisted the help of all of Andy’s (slightly older) kids to help ride herd on the event but even with Andy’s help, it was two hours of absolute mayhem at Frankies. MJ is just grateful that they all survived it and it’s over and she never has to do that again. Well, not until Tot gets his ‘Friends’ party. Instead of a goody bag stuffed with knick knacks and candy, MJ gave each of the party guests a party mix CD that she and Kent put together.
The party was on Saturday afternoon. By Mass on Sunday morning, nearly every one of Bean’s class mates Moms had contacted MJ to say their child had had the time of their lives at Bean’s party and btw: that dance Mix is the greatest, funnest thing they’ve ever heard.
Two hours of birthday hell turned Bean and MJ into parish Superstars.
That’s what our kids were dancing to when Josie and I got back from the airport.
It was nice that they got to play together, though. They always have a lot of fun together. Now that Tot is running around, he and Babalouie can’t wait to get out in the backyard and play some baseball. This is going to be a fun spring!
But Saturday was cold and rainy and three adults and five little kids were too many people in that house. So Josie and I packed up the kids, said so long and came back to my house where we had lunch.
I still hadn’t heard from Jay. I’d heard a rumor that he was back in town but I hadn’t heard or seen word one from him. I’d sent him a couple of texts over the last few hours, culminating in an angry “wtfru?”
He finally got back to me while I was giving the kids lunch with a text “I’m at the Y, working out”.
Oh. So he did get back to town safely. Nice to know.
We’d only been home for a short time when Mom dropped by. Babalouie had left his monkey at Tot’s so she was returning it. She stayed and had some lunch with us. Kent’s knee was nicely braced and he was told to come back for an MRI if it hadn’t improved in two weeks.
Ty got back to the house about the same time Jay did.
Zack and Jay parked themselves in front of the telly to watch basketball, Katie came over (babyless) to hang with Josie and then Ty, the kids and I went off to see Beauty and the Beast, which was our plan all along. It was barely past noon and I felt like I’d already been at two parties. Sitting in a dark movie theater for a couple of hours sounded like a nice rest.
Babalouie had never been to a movie theater before. Xena had been to several movies and had also seen the live show of BnB at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater last winter, so she had a pretty good idea what to expect. Ty had no idea how Babalouie would behave. The plan was that if he acted up, Ty could take him out into the hall to run around while I stayed in the theater with Xena. I took the kids in to find seats while Ty bought treats. We found seats nice and high up, on the aisle so if Ty had to take Babalouie out, it would be easy.
The first problem we ran into was that Babalouie wasn’t heavy enough to keep the seat from folding up on him. We packed our coats into the seat to try to wedge it open but that didn’t really work so I just put him on my lap. That worked great. In fact, it worked so well he was sound asleep before the Title appeared. So was my arm.
The movie was really good. Better than I expected it to be. Here’s the truth: Beauty and the Beast is probably the most over rated cartoon Disney every put out. Yeah, the music’s good and the GCI back grounds are nice but the animation is bad. Belle’s body stretches in weird ways, her face slides around on her head and the Beast keeps changing sizes.
This version is much better! The costumes and sets are spectacular so the whole thing is gorgeous to look at. It’s funny and fast paced. The fellow that plays Gaston is great: he’s hot, funny and horrible. The Beast is funny and charming. This version plays up some of the goofier aspects of the story, such as the fact that Belle is considered a weirdo because she can read. She also reads Shakespeare, instead of the trashy romances that the cartoon Belle reads.
Xena loved it! Half way through, she was literally on the edge of her seat. At least once, she turned to me and said “This movie is so good!” Tyler had been a little worried that it would be too scary for her but our Warrior Princess loved every second of it. Babalouie woke up just in time to see the townsfolk attack the castle and the big fight between the Beast and Gaston. He seemed a bit put out that we were still in the theater but he behaved himself until it was time to go.
He was completely unimpressed with the movie. I’m thinking something more like The Transformers will be in his wheelhouse.
When we got back to my house, Katie was just leaving but the house was still full of people. I had thrown what I thought was a huge corn beef brisket into the crock pot before lunch. I tossed in the cabbage and potatoes after the movie and Ty and the kids stayed for dinner.
Saturday was hectic but a lot of fun.
I slept like a dead person.
Sunday, Jay woke up with a terrible cold. He’d been feverish half the night so Josie and I went to Mass without him. Josie had wanted to go down to the Basilica, so that’s what we did. Then we headed to Bunny’s for brunch. Jay had wanted to come with us but felt like total crap, so he gave me money and said “buy $20.00 in pulltabs”. So we did.
We won $104.00 before we’d even ordered brunch!
Breakfast was delicious, as usual.
I left a $17.00 tip on a $22.00 tab.
I’m using the winnings to buy a yellow Adirondack chair to go along with all the other colors on our front hill.
I had to get up early today to get Josie down to the bus back to school. Spring break is over but spring has barely begun.
The weekend was a blast but I’m so happy it’s Monday and I can have a little peace and quiet.