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Rampant Cynicism

31 Days

So I missed a couple of days. Bite me.

Yeah, I'm feeling a bit grumpy. The plane ride back is in two days, and while I am relishing a return to my regular rhythms and routines, the trip itself is making me a little broody. It went well the first time, sure, but that doesn't mean it will this time. For one thing, it's an early morning trip; Sam will be more energized, and Gabe might be less sleepy. For another thing, we have more stuff with us to haul back through the airports. For a third, I'm a little nervous about the airline; Delta and ComAir had some kinks with their computers over Christmas, and they had to cancel all their flights. Will they be caught up by now? Will the terminals be even more crowded with people having to take flights now?

I'm also a little down because (surprise!) vacation is coming to an end. Even a slightly stressful vacation is better than no vacation, and I'll miss the family. Every time we come here, Sam falls in love all over again with Hailey, and every time we go back, he spends the next few weeks asking for her. Rita's starting her new chemo treatment today (Eric's with her at her appointment now), and I wish we could be here to help her with that. I hate taking Gabe away from his grandparents, too; as fast as he's growing, even a few weeks - let alone months - is enough for him to change into a whole different child.

I'm not pouting or depressed or anything; I'm just in that post-holiday funk.

We took the kids to get their pictures taken yesterday. It was an adventure, I tell you. I got the boys all dressed nicely in coordinating blue outfits, and we piled into the car to go to Charleston. Gabe promptly fell asleep, and Sam was doing fine with the hour-long trip at first, playing with his little computer game. After a while, he turned it off and stared out the window; I thought he might be getting drowsy, so I took the game. He then started complaining. "My belly is too hot."

Now, in hindsight, I should have been more alert. In my defense, he was wearing his heavy coat and the heat was on, and he's been known to be a "backseat thermostat adjuster" in the past. I unzipped his coat, and he said he felt better. After a bit, though, he began to complain some more.

"Are you sick?" I asked him. No, he said, he wasn't. "Are you just tired of being in the car?" Yes, that was it. And so on we went, until we had just passed a toll booth, and suddenly...well, you know. I leaned over Gabe's seat to jam my hands under Sam's mouth as quickly as I could, but it was too late; his outfit was covered with everything he'd eaten that morning. The boy got some reach with it, too. He almost hit Rita, sitting in the seat in front of him.

Eric pulled over so we could do damage control. The coat was a mess, and his shirt was soaked. We toweled him off as best we could, tossed the coat in the trunk, and got back on the road with a towel draped over his lap. He was much perkier with his stomach emptied, and he happily claimed that his belly wasn't hot anymore.

When we got to town, we stopped at Bryan's new house. Now, I don't know about most people, but when something goes beyond what I could ever even imagine hoping to own myself, I can't be envious any longer. I can't covet what I can't fathom having; it's just incomprehensible. This new house exceeds my jealousy parameters in a big way. The only thing to which I can compare it is the time I visited the governor's mansion in college. Three stories high, massive rooms, four living rooms that I counted, plus a play room and a huge office, chandeliers, and bathrooms that look like spas. And it wasn't even furnished yet. Like I said, incomprehensible. Sam climbed up the stairs on all fours, like he was scaling a mountain, and he scooted back down them on his rear like he did when he was a nervous young toddler.

We decided to go ahead with the portraits since Sam was feeling better, so we went to the mall. I ran into Sears and picked up a clearanced sweater for him. (He needed one anyway.) Then we ran to the photographers, where Gabe began to fuss. I calmed him, but he adamantly refused to look anything but cynically dry in any of the pictures. Well, the older two kids were more cooperative, anyway. We left the studio and went to eat; Gabe fell asleep before we were even seated.

Of course, we picked a slow restaurant. Of course, they were crowded with post-holiday shoppers, and we didn't get served until we'd been sitting there for forty-five minutes. I was elected to leave, before the food arrived, to run back to the portrait studio and choose the pictures. Ordinarily, I have trouble in those situations, since the kids always manage to look adorable in every shot. Not this time; at least one child was looking silly in every take, and Gabe looked like he'd rather be anywhere else. The photographer went back through the negatives and found an acceptable shot there; I got that (Linda and we were going to split the package between us) and a couple of smaller prints of the one picture taken of just Sam and Hailey. I went back to the restaurant, had my ice-cold salmon boxed up, and we went home. Sam slept the whole way, oblivious of the plastic bag I had readied next to him.

I'll show you the portraits when we get back home and I can scan them. I'm thinking I'll take the boys out to a less-expensive studio later and try to get some better shots. Honestly, if I had the money, I'd just buy a really good printer and print and frame some of my own shots; they're as good as what we got yesterday.

Oh, and now Hailey's decided that she does want a little baby brother or sister. I swear, babies are like engagement rings that way; the weeks after Eric proposed to me saw a huge flurry of proposals among our acquaintances in college. Babies and rings are contagious like that.

previous one year ago:
Therefore, in the interest of fair play and honest representation, I give you: The Top Five Reasons Why Carrie Is a Sucky Houseguest.
two years ago:
You work so hard to care for our family, and you worry so much about whether or not you do everything you can for us, and whether it will be enough. It is.
three years ago:
Sometimes I wonder whether the scent of evergreen acts upon the little ones the way catnip does on those of the feline persuasion.
four years ago:
Finally she reached the very top of my uterus, an inch or so to the left of my navel, and we heard it: Thump, thump, thump.
five years ago:
At the big Christmas dinner at his aunt's house, he announced to everybody that we were in the actual process of trying to produce the newest Richmond.
In the ears:
Dead silence

On the Bookshelf:
A Wizard of Earthsea

Kid pictures:

Probably not until we get back, but I'm taking plenty


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