Visiting the parents

I have a terrible kink my neck/shoulder. I discovered it this morning when I awoke to Neeners crying for an early snack, I could barely move my head to face her without excruciating pain. It’s been a long time since I have had a kink this bad and I really wish I had it in me to try out a chiropractor or a massage therapist or even acupuncture to see if they could magically take the pain away and make it better. Instead I took a couple tylenol throughout the day and am now ending it with a couple of margarita’s that Tim brewed up. It seems like the only thing that ever makes these neck kinks disappear is time and a good nights rest. I hope to get that tonight sleeping in my own bed.

On Sunday evening, after a morning spent at Mounds Dog Fest – where might have found our new family dog, we drove up to visit my Dad for a couple of days. I believe I have mentioned before that he lives out in the sticks, though I don’t know if I can truly say that since the road to his house was finally paved last year. It’s funny because they put a curb by his house and Tim likes to say “The only curb in Dells Dam.” Dells Dam is the local nickname for that neck of the woods. I don’t know why, I guess I should probably ask someone one of these days before anyone who knows anything is gone. Before we left I downloaded my first E-book to my Ipad after a fruitless search for the book at a Brick and Mortar store (Borders). It was easy and I was surprised at how convenient it was to read it on the laptop. For one, I was able to read it in the car! A first since I usually get car sick if I so much as read a couple paragraphs of anything. The book – The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls was my pick for the new book club I put together, our first meeting is next week, was wonderful. Now to just find a place to meet. I have two ideas…I’ll check into them tomorrow with all my loads of free time.

Anyway. So life at my Dad’s was of course stressful and not stressful. He has a bare pantry so any food we want usually has to be brought in. I didn’t do a whole lot of meal planning, every meal was sort of fly by my pants sort of affair. It’s hard to cook without a full pantry, and think of things that the kids would eat as well as the adults, and whether or not I would have the pans or dishes to prepare it. My Dad also has a wood stove in the living room. Yes, it does have a secondary metal casing around the actual wood stove, but it’s still not something you want your babies and toddler’s touching. Thankfully he only fired it up once near bedtime. Athena needed extra time up so Tim ended up just walking her around the kitchen table until she was ready for sleep. Meanwhile, I was laying in bed with a poor, exhausted Morella waiting for her to go to sleep.

Actually, getting the kids to sleep was the biggest source of stress. I was going to take a picture of our sleeping arrangements, but I forgot. Maybe there is a good shot of Neeners I took in the camera with that in the background. I cannot leave the kids alone in the upstairs quarters unless I am sure they are asleep, and we cannot leave out of earshot in case they wake up and decide to move around. It’s stuffy, everything is on the floor, the floors are creaky, there is one window that gets a lot of light and there are no doors to close. Essentially a good portion of our time is spent trying to get the kids to sleep, going to bed when they do and getting up when they do. Though there was a little bit of flexibility in that in that I took Athena and Tim had Morella. Last night, to celebrate the fact that it didn’t rain for a change, we started a fire in the pit in and invited the next door neighbor girls to come over and make smores and hang out. Morella’s new “fweinds” were aged 6 and 7, and was in utter little girl heaven with them. When they weren’t around she asked for them, listened for them and talked about them. Morella and the girls had a total blast staying up way past their bedtime playing outside until 10:30PM.

I just tell myself that these are the sort of experiences that mold good childhood memories. Despite extremely late bedtimes that last couple of times, we were able to get the girls down to bed by 9:15 tonight. I guess we are going to have to work on getting that closer to 8 since our Daddy Holiday is ending on Monday when Tim starts his new job. But let’s not think of that right now. We still have three more days.

Despite the all that rain and being stuck indoors for a good portion of the visit – we had some highlights.

–We visited my Mother on Tuesday for her 61st birthday. On the way we stopped at Borders in Eau Claire and got a few gifts, some great coffee treats for us and inside playtime for the girls. I had the gifts giftwrapped after telling off FIVE people for not following protocol and jumping in line ahead of me. The audacity! One woman said “Oh well, I didn’t know there were rules, you can go ahead.” And I did. :P Morella and Neeners were at the end of their rope.

–Stopped by a grocery store and got Mom a cake, diet coke and a bucket of strawberries from a farm where I had my first real job ever — picking strawberries. I used to get up at 5 and ride my bike a couple of miles to that place. It strikes me as odd that whenever June comes around at they sell those strawberries at stands, my Mom and step-dad always go on and on about “that’s the place that you used to work”! with a degree of pride. Let me state, for the record, that at the the time they thought I was ridiculous for getting myself a job, much less riding bike there. They constantly nagged me about how this better not cost them in welfare benefits if I was making too much. Then of course, they “borrowed’ that money quite a bit.

–Mom had a great birthday, I think. Tim got some pizza for us and subway sandwich for Mom (she has an ulcer) downtown and we spent the afternoon looking at old photos while Tim kept Morella entertained. No small feat for a napless wonder like herself. Well, I hope she had a good time.

–My little bro Andrew came over and visited for two days. It was awesome to see him since it’s been a year since the last time. As usual, he is a man of few words, but then again is a 19 year old dude. He’s going back to school this fall — even better.

–We went to the park of my childhood, followed by a treat at A&W and a trip to the library where I had a very positive NIP experience. Who says’ Neillsville, WI is backwater?

–Visited my Dad’s longtime friend La Vere and his wife Mary – they own a farm and have begun selling pork products. They were great and gave us a little tour of the farm. I can’t believe how massive pigs get. I was also surprised to learn that they can have litters every 4 months, and how fast they grow. However, the part that sort of creeped me out was when we were in the area where pigs go for a while before being slaughtered. Athena did a little screech and all the pigs stopped what they were doing and turned to stare at her. It was silent for almost 10 seconds at tens of little piggy eyes checked her out. LaVere said “Oh pigs are so inquisitive.” I have heard that pigs are intelligent, but I don’t think I ever really realized what extent until now. They also seemed incredibly friendly. That said, we still bought a bunch of Dells Dam pork products on our way out. Helping out local farmers, y’all. I’ll try to bury that intelligent animal thing in some dark recess of my mind.

–Andrew’s Mom Lori stopped by for a visit and had dinner with us last night. She brought me a first aid kit for the car (fantastic! I only had a little dollar bin kit in there) and a crafting book. Though I haven’t crafted in a while, I still like collecting them and look forward to the day when I can do a little more. Morella referred to Lori as the “nice Mommy” later in the night (as opposed to her sister, mother of her two little girl friends who lives next door for the time being). Lori is one my favorite people in Wisconsin.

–Morella watched her second full length movie — Ponyo (which I had gotten from Netflix). I wonder if she is getting to the age now where she can and wants to watch full length movies. Hm. She really enjoyed it though.

–Athena stood independently for a second or two for the first time this weekend. Now she keeps doing it whenever she has a chance to pull herself up on something. I just love how proud she is when she does it. She is such a fearless ham. (uh oh, there we go with the pork references already)

Okay, this post is taking forever to write, my neck is killing me and I wanted to take a shower before bedtime. Hanging out in the woods is some dirty work. There is a lot to do tomorrow — for one we are meeting the dog tomorrow before the adoption is finalized. The dog is a beagle and lab mix, so it has some short legs. That in mind I came up with the following two possible names: Falcor and Bilbo. (I discarded Frodo because that is used just too much). We are leaning towards Falcor because that is what Morella likes best.

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