We’ve been having some glorious sunsets lately. This is also the kids’ favorite time of day to play on the rope swing, when it’s not so hot outside.
Wednesday we went to the Ingalls* homestead for a playdate. They live pretty close to us, a ten-minute drive away, so I was hoping the kids would have lots of fun and we could start doing that more often, at least until school starts. (The homeschooling idea was nipped in the bud by Steve; I think my mistake was telling him that I know the Ingalls from church.)
Luke had a blast at the playdate. He and the two boys closest to his age spent hours playing manly games with forts and such, and every time I asked him if he was ready to go home yet he responded with a definite “No!” I never get tired of watching him frolic happily with his own kind, after spending the first seven years of his life so distrustful of other people in general and males in particular.
Elizabeth was a little off that day. At our urging she hung out here and there with various Ingalls children, but she kept gravitating back to a half-grown black kitten, one of two litters there, and when it was time to go she got very adamant about bringing it home with us. I sympathized, because her own black cat disappeared last May (the attrition rate to owls and coyotes is very high around here), but we need another kitten like we need an outbreak of swine flu, and I told her so. It turned into a Whole Thing, and when we left without the kitten she was Vexed and Sulky. I suspect that we’re rolling into that adolescent phase everyone’s been warning me about, because Elizabeth’s temperament swings between “Affectionate and Agreeable,” “Distant and Secretive” and “Vexed and Sulky” like a three-way metronome these days.
*Not their real name; they’ve asked that I give them an Internet pseudonym.
Friday I captured photographic proof that while childhood is temporary, immaturity is forever.
(Yes, that’s the male “kitten” of Stripes’ litter.)
Saturday there was a party at Oceanside Beach in honor of Geoff’s girlfriend’s daughter’s birthday, and most of the worship team went to that. It was a lot of fun.
The ocean was very warm this time; nothing like the icy waters of last fall. I guess that means a warmer winter this year. I can totally live with that.
There was another near-death experience on the same jetty that Elizabeth nearly met her demise on last October, but at least it wasn’t one of my kids this time. The worst part was that I saw it coming and got there too late to avert it but just in time to see a giant wave slap down on a group of boys and actually wash one of them off the rock he was clinging to. He snagged on another rock on his way down though, so no fatalities. But the four of them had actually had to walk past a “Jetty Closed Today” sign to get out there, so while I was very glad that the kid hadn’t died, I considered the big scrape on his leg to be a useful reminder about respecting warning signs in the future.
Since that last hearing three weeks ago Steve has been more courteous and friendly to me in our brief interactions than he has ever been before at any point in our entire relationship. I’m sure it’s some sort of ruse to lull me into a false sense of safety or somesuch, but whatever. It’s easier than dealing with Hostile Steve. Pretty much my only complaint on that front is that Elizabeth has started coughing all night after visits with him, because Steve and the woman that’s moved in with him smoke in the house. That is irksome.
I’ve gotten a few fall crops planted in the garden. I’ve discovered that some stuff actually does better here in the fall and winter than in the heat of summer, but the trick is to plant them early enough that they really hit their growth stride before the first frost when everything slows way down. So far I’ve planted snap peas, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce and radishes. I’ve also started digging up garlic bulbs and replanting the cloves in new beds, because for once I actually planted enough to have a surplus this summer. I’ll need to do the same with my shallots and bunching onions soon, but I’m running out of garden beds to transplant into. The perennial section of my garden needs to be enlarged, but alas, I’m having a hard time finding the motivation to do that since I’m just waiting for the chance to move out anyway. And there are signs of that all over: the weeds are running rampant in the orchard and my house hasn’t had a really good cleaning in weeks. I have lost my desire to tend to this place. I really want to move on, but this is apparently where I’m supposed to be for now, because events keep conspiring to keep me right here. I can accept that, and even plant a fall garden to prepare for another winter here, but I can’t CARE about this property anymore, and it shows.
There are other things that I’d like to write about, but I can’t. Those of you who have been reading here for a while may be astonished to learn that there are people in this town who Do Not Mean Me Well (I know, hard to believe, right?) and I think some of them read this blog. There have been too many times that I’ve posted about some plan or prospect or new friendship only to have it fall apart within days after hitting the blogosphere. I think I might need to fire up a new private, password-protected blog for journaling all that stuff so I can keep my venting outlet without compromising my security.
School starts in less than two weeks; I can hardly believe the summer’s gone already. Elizabeth will be starting middle school this year and I think she’s looking forward to being on a different campus than Luke. The events of the past few weeks have had the side effect of making him cling tightly to her as the one stable feature in an everchanging landscape, the one person who’s always with him no matter whose house he’s in or who else he’s with. I understand that and sympathize, but now it’s time for him to start developing his own inner strength to sustain him when she’s not around. And frankly, Elizabeth needs a break from the little barnacle.
I think that’s everything bloggable. The heat wave has broken and the air feels like autumn, at least for a little while. I wish it could be just like this until November or so, except with some rain thrown in. And as long as I’m putting in requests, I wouldn’t mind meeting some nice heterosexual single guy who likes kids, has mastered basic communication and relationship skills, and lives at least a few miles away from Silkotchland.
That would be swell.