Apr 22, 2012

Exhaustion: A story about April vacation.

Though it technically started Friday,  I was too happy that vacation had arrived to note what we were doing.  We were vacationing, that's what!  The same held true for Saturday, that first glorious day of vacation.

Lucy and Mimi.
On Sunday,  Greek Easter arrived.  Now, having only married into a Greek family, this is not precisely a highlight of my year, especially on the years it comes a week after... well, Easter.  Still, we got together with my family-in-law, and that was nice.  We saw Elvis, our new puppy-in-law, who looks pretty much like a little black ball of fur.  He may or may not have one eye.  Soft though.  I agonized at the library about what to read next, chose Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man, read a few pages, remembered I don't like James Joyce, and put it down.

Monday:  The heat arrived.  We sadly (for her, anyway) left Kathy off at work, and headed down to Concord to see my mom.  went to the Great Meadow nature preserve to view an owl that is ALWAYS in a hole in a tree.  After a hike during which Lucy lamented her position at least 100 times, of course, the owl wasn't there.

We went from there to the Lexington Patriot's Day Parade. Let me summarize it for you.  First, they started a full hour late.  Thankfully, one of my favorite bike shops in the world, RIDEstudioCAFE, was right next door, and air conditioned. And they had rare cycling magazines, but I digress.  Oh, and both Lucy and I had caught THE COLD.  So that made the heat x-tra pleasant.  Anyway, to continue my summary of the parade, it went like this:  Fife and drum corps.  Military band.  Fife and drum corps.  Fife, drum, and bagpipe corps.  fire truck.  Fife and drum corps.  Fife and drum corps.  Fifes, drums, and bagpipes.  the LL Bean bootmobile.  Then fifes.  Then drums.  Then bagpipes.

the one and only.  better than a wiener, at least.

many cute animals within.  Green Elephant in Danvers.
Tuesday:  I (and thus the rest of the family) woke up early coughing my lungs out.  Since we were up, we watched curious george, a pleasure I don't often get to enjoy on weekday mornings.  After taking Mom to work, Lucy and I hit the toy stores (her only hope from Lexington, which we had been unable to do).  The first had an animal house.  Not like the movie, this was for those little superfuzzy, ubercute little forest creature families you may have spotted @ the toy stores.  Well, this one was set up free for the playing.  Lucy nearly went apoplectic.  We stayed there for a good long time, and even bought a 'hard animal' for her collection.  From there, we headed to Ipswich, to the SECOND toystore of the day.  Thank Heaven they had no animal house.  Then we took 133 through Essex to Wing Beach, where we played foxes on the sand bar.  The foxes were very concerned about death and adoption, and believe me, it wasn't my doing.  Oh, and fear of water.

We had stopped to get one of those cheap plastic kites, which instantly flew to its full height of string (a second minor miracle if you know my history with kites.)  I gave it to Lucy to fly, and I'm not pointing fingers, but the next thing I knew, she wasn't holding the handle, and the kite was flying away.  Thankfully, it flew towards the beach, and not the sea.  We climbed on some rocks, too.  (we did rescue the kite, but it was never the same).

Earlier this day we (thought we) watched them tearing down the old Salem Transfer Center.  We watched awhile until we figured out they weren't tearing it down but just moving garbage around with big machines.  We asked someone working there, who said, no- the building was just slowly falling down on its own as they worked beneath it.  I also got a motorcycle book at the library.

Wednesday  was our Chill day.  We had been going pretty hard for the first few days, so thought we'd lay low.  Lucy went to Library Yoga in the morning, which thankfully let out 41 minutes late. I browsed MetaMaus. If you've ever read Spiegelman's Maus books about WWII, this is a series of interviews and inside looks, and technical descriptions of how the books were made, how their fame affected his family, why he used cats/mice/pigs to represent the various players of the Holocaust, etc.  Enthralling.

Later, Lucy found this really slow and calm cooking game on the computer and played it for awhile while I cleaned house as best I could.  It was actually a very relaxing day.  The heat had finally gone away, and it all fit together very nicely.

Thursday was set to be a big day from the very beginning.  We did some coloring, Lucy went on a playdate at the bike path playground with her friend Abby, but the main event for Thursday was Lucy's first rock concert.

A little background is in order.  When I was about 16, I discovered a band called Youth Choir, who would later shorten their name to THE CHOIR.  I was listening to music before this, but they were the first BAND I listened to, with instrumentalists whose names you memorized, and with a group ethos.  Does that make sense?  Anyway, their album from that period that absolutely changed my life was called Chase The Kangaroo (a reference to the fact that the band's lyricist was making money at that time by digging ditches- "toward Ausralia" on the other side of the globe- chasing the kangaroo).  Well, CTK turned 25 this year, and the band celebrated by doing a short tour where they played the album in its entirety, along with a few newer songs.

If it wasn't enough that these two things worked out (Lu's first show/ CTK re-tour), we were nearly late and because it was a small venue (a church), "backstage" was actually the front doors.  So, as we arrived, the band members opened the door for us.  I stammered out some handshakes and recognition, and as we were taking our seats, and the band was heading up front to play, one of my lifelong musical heroes told me that he'd seen my post on the concert's facebook page, and that yes, they'd play a song for my daugher.

Mind spinning, I sat down and watched the concert unwind, half-sure I was dreaming.  They dedicated a song to Lucy that I've spent literally half my life living out vicariously, associating it with various teenage crushes and college sweethearts.  Had her stand up in her seat and everything, the lead singer, whose hair was once red, commented on her hair being 'the coolest color'.

Quite a night.
Friday my lovely wife was off work so Dad got some time to himself.  I went from Winter Island on a  Kayak Island adventure which involved building a large fire and battling waves whihc were, in retrospect, a little intimidating.  Lucy and Mama were at Web playground during this time.

Saturday, I finally found Sorry!, the old board game  @ a yard sale. You see, one of the grandparents had given some faux-Lego version of the game to Lucy at Xmas, and it was frustrating and impossible to decipher, especially remembering all the games I'd had with my own grandma playing the classic version.

So, we brought my $2. treasure home, and a marathon game ensued.  I won, but it was by no means a foregone conclusion.  In fact, just one move before my conquest, Lucy had pulled the move of all moves, sending both Kathy's and My nearly-winning pawns back to the starting blocks and suddenly putting herself in the power position.  Perhaps the single greatest board game move I've ever seen.

We spent the rest of the day (and I mean all of it) with Aunta Shannon & our friends the Shimers.  Thankfully, this all ended at Qdoba, where we soothed our tired bones (or was that just me?).

And today is Sunday, the end of our break, where real life comes knocking at the door to visit.  Taxes are (over)due (don't even start with me- you don't even want to know) and need to be done before the work week hits, Lucy and I are trying to psych ourselves up for school, Kathy is (I think) laughing at us, since she's only been off for 3 days.

And we're waiting for the torrential rain that everyone says is coming.  Maybe there'll be a rainout day tomorrow?

I hope you all had as good a week off as we did.  Tell us about your own adventures in the comments section!


  1. Hi Rob,
    I was cleaning out my email and just noticed yours with a link to this blog. I kinda feel the same way about The Choir (and being able to host them at our little church). I was so impressed with the music when I was a new Christian (and when most of the Christian music I was around seemed to bubble-gum for me).
    I'm so glad that Lucy got a song just for her, that is so cool. Those guys are so talented and so down-to-earth as well.
    My core-group at DBC has already decided that we want to have them there a third time if possible (I've spent the last two times more in shock and awe that I could get them that my promo efforts have been lackluster).
    Here's hoping that we see that SoCal Indy group (via Nashville) again. Blessings!

    1. Hi Greg,
      thanks for your comment, and thanks for hosting that concert!