Monday, April 5, 2010

In our own backyard

April is shaping up to be a month of very few free-and-clear weekends for our family, as it happens. As usual my wife has to work two weekends this month, although one of those involves attending a conference which is not terribly far away (Baltimore) but far enough that she will actually be staying at a hotel for the duration, which will be the very first time she’s spent the night away from both me and our little guy since the child was born. And on one of her few non-working weekends, I will be heading out of town for my own first encounter with a spouse-and-child-deprived experience in the form of my Little Bro’s bachelor party. All of that being what it is, we had opted to make as few plans as possible for Easter weekend and simply enjoy a relatively sedate couple of days of family togetherness before a long stretch lacking the same.

And on the one hand I feel like we were reasonably successful in achieving that goal, but on the other hand we managed to pack an awful lot into Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday we visited some friends, which was in theory a chance for the grown-ups to catch up and also for us to show off our one little guy and our friends to show off their two little girls, but man, I forgot how easy it is for a four year old and a seven year old to dominate a get-together if you’re not the “go away and play extra-quietly” type of misanthrope, which (most of the time) I’m not. So the visit was less “How’s everything going vis-à-vis our adult commonalities and shared interests?” and more “DO YOU WANT TO HEAR MY BARBIE SING HER SONG??!?!?!?” but that’s really fine.

On our way home from that visit we picked up our newly-rescued latest addition to the pet menagerie, a two-and-a-half-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who was originally named Buddy but who needs a new name because I already call everybody Buddy, including and especially our first dog and our firstborn. It’s proving difficult to name the new pup, though, because it’s a toy-sized breed, somewhat twee and arguably somewhat girly (there was, in fact, a period of some intense negotiation about whether or not I would ever be fully all right with my wife adopting a CKC because it would inevitably become our dog and I would sometimes take it for walks and there is something ever-so-emasculating about walking a toy-breed dog) but nevertheless still a boy dog, so although a name like “Silky” might be descriptive it’s not really gender-appropriate. On the other hand a name like “Goggles” is nice and gender neutral, not to mention evocative of the dog’s slightly bug-eyed, looking in two different directions aspect, but my wife’s kind heart resists the idea of naming the dog for a bit of physical imperfection which is in no way the dog’s fault. (I assume, but have not yet verified, that this means if we ever rescued a dog who had lost its tail because a train ran over it even though the dog knew better than to keep playing under moving locomotives, I could name him “Stubs”.) Also I am kind of an Old World pain about NOT giving pets names that would be equally acceptable for human children, so that limits the options considerably. Anyway, the dog – currently going by No Name, New Dog, and the occasional Weirdo – is incredibly sweet and very accepting of his place at the bottom of the pecking order under the dog, the cat, and the toddler (in no particular order). I’m sure he will be fine with whatever name we end up settling on.

Cavalier head mug sold separately from dog.
Anyway, I was pretty convinced we wouldn’t have to leave the house at all on Sunday, because our only plan was to hide (read: scatter in varying ground-level terrain features) plastic Easter eggs and then let our little guy run around and pick them up and put them in a basket. I think I’ve mentioned before that the boy’s Virgo tendencies sometimes shine through with astonishing clarity, and his attraction to picking things up and putting them in a container is a pretty good example of that. So he had a ball with the eggs, so much so that we ended up re-hiding the eggs and letting him re-collect them a few times Sunday morning, which gave us plenty of opportunities to snap some pictures and even record some video, something we’ve been utterly slack about for the past six months or so.

So that was our morning and then as the afternoon rolled along, after we had telephoned and wished happy Easter to our various families, it suddenly seemed like a good idea to go shopping and look into buying patio furniture. This must have been verging on imperative because we ended up finding a lovely glass-table and cushioned-chairs set at Wal-Mart which we acquired and wheeled out to our car, only to find that even a good-sized family sedan does not really have the trunk space for a large box of furniture. Amazingly enough, though, while we were puzzling out what to do next (read: whom to call and beg for help) the woman in the parking space next to ours, who was driving a small SUV, offered to load up the boxes and follow us to our house, which was less than five minutes away but still, the woman gets full lifetime Good Samaritan credit by us. So despite our near-disastrous poor planning we got home in time for dinner and still had enough time before the sun went down completely to assemble the four chairs, which means I’ll have to put the table together sometime this week. But our backyard as a hangout space is really coming together, and that’s an unalloyed good thing. We won’t really be able to do much hanging out until May, as I mentioned when I opened here, but, you know, all in good time.

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