We miss you, Mary, Iain, Finlay, Mia, Craig, Claire and Dylan (and other Kretzdorns). A fie on Heathrow and its inability to handle three and a half inches of snow.
It took until yesterday to get into the groove of not being in Scotland, and to wind down. We had to remember how to be all together -- for both of us adults there is some letting go of control that has to happen.
Telling Iona we weren't going was hard, and she was disappointed. She had watched and listened to me worry about it Monday, so she was prepared, but it took a trip to the Children's Museum Tuesday and ice skating with her friend Siri on Wednesday for her to feel better. Even Han and I got on the ice. I wonder what he thought when we put him atop two sharp blades, then put him on a slippery, cold floor to move in circles with a hundred and fifty other unsteady people. He didn't complain, though. The two of us lasted fifteen minutes, then were off in search of lunch. Iona could have stayed on the ice all day.
Thank you, nice lady who offered to take our photo
Then we dragged Siri to the east side to the British Store for staples like Branston Pickle, treacle cake and sausage rolls. Then to a nearby farm for one of their few remaining Christmas trees. The farmer said they'd been closed since Monday, but since they live on the farm it's not difficult for him to sell to last-minute people like us. We got to talking, the farmer and I, and his son was among those delayed in Amsterdam on his way home from Dublin.
Yes, I messed with the color on this one
I did nothing to this, shot by Ewan with his iPhone
Our tree is a grand fir, and so fat and majestic I feel it's a shame it was cut down. It smells wonderful.
Yesterday we had lunch at Thirteen Coins, with so many leftovers it wound up being dinner too. We shopped for a long time for turkey and Brussels sprouts and pie and Molly Moon salted caramel ice cream with caramel sauce for Christmas, and because we had no food in the house. Then we went home and napped. We got up and decorated and then watched A Charlie Brown Christmas. Boy, does that show stand the test of time.
And here we are on Christmas Eve morning. I stayed up too late last night reading on my new Kindle (a gift from Ewan). When I rose at 7:45 it was so dark I thought it was six. It is supposed to rain buckets today, five inches they say, so we were surprised that there was a beautiful sunrise. Today I have a list of things I would like to do that is long and we shall see how it works with what others want to do. My list is:
Read Night Before Christmas out loud to the kids Get some exercise With Iona, make a gift for Ewan Read some more (on my Kindle I have Grapes of Wrath and Hunger Games -- guess which will win?) Write something in my notebook Drink Champagne Watch Elf, starring Will Ferrell, which I have never seen Be nice
The one thing I will probably accomplish today is:
There is that day every year when it's been cold and wet and gloomy for a while, and then the gray lifts and the sun comes out, and the world outside gets just warm enough that you don't really need a coat, and the light lasts a little longer than yesterday (or so it seems) and a song by Bob Seger comes on the radio and instead of changing the station you sing along, and you think about doing irresponsible things like skipping work, or cutting class and swinging on some swings or having a drink (or two) outside with a friend. Then you realize it's February 7.
This may be the most random post I've ever posted. Blame it on Macon-Fuisse White Burgundy. Or blame it on the fact that this is the first under-ninety-five degree day we've had in probably a week, some of them edging up to a hundred and five, at least heat-index-wise. The heat index is what the heat feels like. And let me explain to you, if you don't live in the midwest or the east, this kind of heat feels like turning on the oven to three-seventy-five for an hour with a big pot of water inside, then getting in beside the pot. So even though I'm sort of agnostic and try not to use adverbs, I thank God wholeheartedly for this sub-eighty-degree day.
Since I can't think in the heat I tend to try to do, so I took my computer in to be fixed at the Genius Bar at the Apple store on Michigan Avenue. And that was a miserable experience, because those guys are smart, but they don't understand that when you've parked in their loading zone and have a four-year-old who can only run around and go play the computer games and has to go potty right now mommy, you have got to get the hell in and get the hell out. Even though walking in to the Apple store feels like walking right into your refrigerator if it were only big enough, with the most delicious icy air blowing around you in a very lovely all-white retail environment. But no, the Geniuses have to ruin that deliciousness. They feel they need to lecture you about how there are people before you, who have also been waiting and how it's not fair to help you first and to please to sign in (so you do and the computer says the first appointment is over an hour away), and when you begin to explain that maybe Sioban who called this morning on the phone could have told you that you needed an appointment, they look at you impatiently and say, "You don't need an appointment. We're wasting time now. Let me just process this. Come sit here. No here, right on this stool."
I expect more from Apple. I left feeling like I'd been misunderstood by a friend. I felt like that Genius was trying to make me feel stupid. And Goddammit all to hell, I am not stupid. My computer is stupid for breaking. Next time I deal with my old friend Apple I won't leave myself so wide open.
Then there's this: I'm worried about Liz, whom I only know because I read her blog, but I feel like I know her. She had a weird lung x-ray and I couldn't understand the results, which sound sort of bad. She has to go in for a CT scan next. I don't even know, I might be agnostic these days, but I plan on praying for her anyway.
On the petty, completely not-fair side, I'm mad at Ewan, The Blessed Sainted One (not being ficetious, he really is The Enlightened Buddha because he puts up with my petty unfair self), because he is working and I can't talk to him unless it's between 5:00 on Friday and 10:30 on Sunday.
Then there was the Day of Lice. This happened a couple weeks ago, but remember I warned you dear Reader, this post is random. I have to go back to when I was about eight for this story, back to when I got lice as a kid, when my mom totally freaked out. She was scared. Her clean, quiet kid had bugs in her hair, crawling ones, and they were laying eggs like mad. She was completely grossed out, and I knew at eight, or ten, or seven or whatever I was that my mom was totally wigging. As a result of this natural reacion, all my life I've had a pathological fear of lice, to the point that I've had Ewan check my head regularly during our courtship and marriage every time my scalp gets kind of itchy. See why he's been elevated to sainthood even though he doesn't believe in God? So anyway, it was a Thursday night, and Ewan's sister and her husband and their baby were coming in for a four-day visit, and Ewan was in Cambridge, England. I had to leave the house to retrieve my in-laws from the airport in about an hour when my friend, the mother of Little Boy N, called. "I have some sort of...funky news," she said. "Little Boy N has lice." We had been over at Little Boy N's house the evening before, and Iona had been wrestling with Little Boy N.
I reached up to scratch my head as I reassured my friend that it was okay, that this happens to everyone. I should know. I hung up, stripped all the beds and put the sheets on to boil. I scrabbled around for all of Iona's clothes and threw them in too. I told the babysitter who was downstairs taking care of Iona, along with her two children, that we might have an epidemic. Then I left to pick up my husband's family.
"Hi," I said as I hugged them at the airport. "We might have lice."
I picked up six boxes of Rid on the way home, with my husband's family still in the car. I pushed one box of Rid into the hands of the babysitter and put her in a cab, and with the rest of the Rid I shampooed Iona, only after I made Claire check her head with a flashlight. Claire called the flashlight a torch, because she is from Scotland, where everyone is calmer and does not freak out like here in America. Claire is a teacher, so she knows what to look for. As she checked Iona she described how her fellow teachers keep their hair up in ponytails all the time because some kids in their classes have lice jumping out of their hair. She told me that as long as you keep your head above the children, the lice can't jump up.
I tried not to cry.
We had a great time with Claire and Craig and wee Master Finlay. We did not get lice. But I checked Iona's head today, and Ewan has checked mine maybe six times.