Our first camping trip as a family was a rousing success. How could it not be when we were asleep most of the time? The boys had a little bit of trouble getting used to the idea of a tent, and I can’t say I loved the way Simon climbed on top of me when we were trying to fall asleep, or the way Oliver pinched my nose in the dark. (How did he even know where it was? It was pitch black!)
But in my opinion, it couldn’t have gone any better. Granted, we didn’t prepare any food. The only thing we did was put up and take down the tent. And sleep. But still!!
The boys found some eggs/rocks. They got to walk around in their rain boots. They got to play on the beach (while I ran with Abby).
We might just make a habit out of this camping thing.
Micah gave me the day “off” on Saturday so I could go to New Jersey and help clean up from Hurricane Irene. Meanwhile, he took the boys to the zoo, the library, and generally had a great time. This was the day after I ran 20 miles from the Bronx Zoo to our apartment. Day “off,” my eye.
Okay, so it totally was a day off. If I had been the one to stay home with the boys and he had gone to New Jersey, it would have been just like every other day for me and I would have been cranky and full of resentment. Tearing apart someone’s house was totally a break.
So, the hurricane wasn’t such a big deal in New York City, but there were parts of New Jersey that were really hit hard. Mormon Helping Hands has been very involved with the cleanup and the church has provided hundreds of volunteers every weekend since then and will continue to do so until there is no more need for them. Our stake chartered a couple of buses to take us out there and then we split up into teams and were driven in vans to neighborhoods and houses that needed help.
My team was sent to the home of an elderly Italian couple (they are celebrating their 54th wedding anniversary today). A river had backed up and filled their house with 4-5 feet of water. That was sad, but it was even more sad knowing that they had just finished renovating their kitchen a week or two before the storm. They were fairly upbeat about it, however, and they and their daughter and her family were laughing and joking with us as we ripped up their carpets, took out the subflooring, and tossed all their major appliances into the trash.
One thing that was kind of amazing was the levels of smell that arose from the house, which had been wet for almost a month. When we first got there, I hardly smelled anything. Then I went into the kitchen, where the refrigerator may have gotten cracked open. Nasty. And then as we ripped the carpet, then the padding, then the subflooring, we were practically bowled over by the increasing intensity of the rot and mold and wetness. One of the volunteers kept us smiling when we wanted to hurl with his impression of Han Solo when Chewie discovered the trash chute: “What an amazing smell you’ve discovered.”
Amazing smell, indeed. If there is anything that would convince me that building a house next to a river is a bad idea, that smell would be it.
But we had a good time anyway. Isn’t it always fun when you get to dig a crowbar into somebody else’s (not-so) dry-wall? Okay, maybe not, but it was enjoyable to get to know the Degiulios and to help them out of their predicament. Mr. Degiulio has offered to make any of us a plate of spaghetti and meatballs if ever we want to stop by once they get their house back together. I don’t doubt that he makes a mean plate of pasta.
All in all, it was a decent day off. I would have preferred something a little less smelly, but I’ll take what I can get.
One of our neighbors/friends is a chef at a fancy restaurant in Manhattan. He and his family are moving next week, so Micah and I thought we would be good friends and go eat his fancy food before he left and we didn’t have the chance to support him in his endeavors anymore. I know, the sacrifices we make to be good friends!
I can only say that it was a.maz.ing. I have never had such delicious bread and butter in my entire life. Micah and I were so sad when they took away the leftovers that we were too full to eat. Totally worth it just for the bread and butter. But there was the onion jam that came with some fancy mozzarella cheese and bread. The duck bolognese. The other dishes that I do not remember the names of, nor could I pronounce them if I did. And then, of course, there was the dessert. We ordered one to share because we weren’t sure we’d be able to stand up and walk out if we each got one. But then our friend sent up a complimentary dessert as well. And oh my, was it delicious. I savored every bite and did not regret it at all.
I wish I had something more interesting to say about it, or a funny story to accompany it, but I don’t. It was tasty food. Micah and I had a good time. I love living here and knowing people who do amazing things. And I wish I had a picture to show for it all, but I don’t. I didn’t want to be caught taking pictures of the food in such a fancy restaurant like it was some big thing. Also, the lighting was bad so it wouldn’t have done it justice anyways.
So, is the fact that so many of my clothes are stained with who-knows-what a function of motherhood, or is it more a “Lizzie, the Incompetent Laundress” problem?
Honestly. Half my clothes I don’t want to wear because they have stains and half I don’t want to wear because then they might get stained. Tell me I’m not the only one. Please.
The boy likes games. Of that I am sure. And he picks them up really quickly as well. Am I thrilled that he’s on a chess kick? Not really. I’ve never been much of a chess player. But it’s always fun to see him get excited about something. And it’s nice that I get to play to lose because then I don’t have to feel bad about the fact that I can’t even win a game of chess against a 4-year-old.
And what more could you ask for than to see little Squish showing off the tamest of his many skills? If you want to see him dive head-first off of couches, you’ve come to the wrong place. If you want to see him climb bookcases, you’ve come to the wrong place. But if you want to see him sit nicely on the couch and “read” in a way that is only intelligible to his parents and brother, Friends, you are in the right place! Watch on and be amazed! Or not.