Monday, September 08, 2008

Oh, my crazy baby

Try to hold on tight
Joan Osborne -- "Crazy Baby"

Our almost 200 year old home survived the storm on Saturday just fine, with just a few limbs down and several bushels of walnuts to pick up before we can mow. The house is as right as rain, as it has been for almost 200 years. A house built to withstand the ravages of time and weather.

I can't say as much for our mental health.

On a good day the Short People are what most people politely call "busy" or "energetic"; code words for "high energy" or even "pain in the ass". They do not, I repeat, do NOT like to be at home or have to entertain themselves for long periods. My girls like to be On The Move at all times. They wake up each morning, rub the sleep from their eyes and inquire "What are we going to do today?" and woe to the parent who answers "nothing".

As an aside, this makes living on the Eastern Shore very difficult during every season but summer, and all of those activities are OUTSIDE.

So being confined to the house without the ability to play outside, combined with the very real threat that the power might go out, was more than the Short People could bear. I had, as part of our Hurricane Preparation Kit, socked away some crafts and activities but we ripped through those faster than Hannah. We even painted a birdhouse, which they completely covered in paint in 2.8 seconds and then asked for the next activity. We also had a dance party, courtesy of A & N Electric, who managed to keep us in power (thank you!) the whole day. Can you say Cupid Shuffle? What can I say, the Short People apparently like a line dance.

We also enjoyed quite a bit of dress up, as you can see. Yes, that is a tiara Tracy is wearing in the first photo. Later India modeled her very creative "Ariel" look, replete with a red scarf for hair and a mermaid's tail hanging out of her p.j.s. I know, the p.j.s are both Valentine's and Christmas; what can I say, at least they match...sort of.

In short, we weathered the storm but ended up with a nice case of cabin fever. Hurricane season isn't over yet...time to go restock the arts and crafts.

And maybe a bottle of wine or two?

Friday, September 05, 2008

I built this ship - it is my making
And furthermore my self control
I can't rely on anymore
I know why - I know why
Crazy on a ship of fools
Crazy on a ship of fools
Turn this boat around - back to my loving ground

Robert Plant -- "Ship of Fools"

Or perhaps I should I have started right off with "Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip...".

We decided to celebrate Labor Day with a group of our friends on Cedar Island, another of the Barrier Islands that line Virginia's Eastern Shore. Six families (13 children ranging from 12 to 2) were to meet at around 10:00 Monday to spend the day and cook lunch on the beach. We planned to push off around 3:00 so we could all return home for a leisurely evening of prepping for the first day of school on Tuesday.

Out of the six families, three of us have boats. This poses no problem; we can easily fit an extra 3-4 people in each boat. of our boat-owning families experienced a boat casualty the day before so we were down to two. Okay, no worries, we regrouped and just ran an extra shuttle trip back and forth. Within an hour we had all 25 people safely relaxing on the beach. The children were playing and swimming, the adults were exploring ( one found THIS above... we are assuming it's a whale bone) and enjoying Mary's Famous Margaritas. It was FUN.

The most enjoyable part of the trip was what the kids dubbed the "Hubba Hubba Highway". The HHH consisted of entering the water in front of our boat (braver children jumped off the side of the boat), then letting the current,which runs parallel to the Island in this spot, carry them past three boats to a designated exit spot. Even some of us adults rode the HHH. It reminded me very much of childhood tubing trips in the mountains...floating down a lazily moving current.
So relaxing.

Finally it was time for some of us to head back. Our friend John (see "Worries to the Sea" part I) ferried one family and just DID NOT RETURN. None of the guys were worried (their theory was that John was on a beer run) but after excessive nagging the wives finally convinced Tracy to go in search of John. And boy did he find him.
John was sitting on the dock, literally covered from head to foot in black marsh mud. He found John's boat a good 300 yards away, stuck in the marsh. Apparently John's steering had gone out, causing the boat to go kamakaze and catapult John into the water. This is a very, very dangerous thing. The Shore is full of stories about people who have been thrown from their boat and either hit their heads and been knocked unconscious or been sucked into the propeller and cut to ribbons. John managed to surface and push the boat away from him and into the marsh, where the engine revved at full throttle, threatening to blow. John made his way through knee deep muck, cutting his feet on oyster shells, to cut off the engine before it exploded, and then walk through this mud back to the dock. So we are down to 5 families, 11 children, and one boat.

Tracy got John into his boat and then realized that OUR boat was not running properly. Now we are down to NO BOAT, lots of tired and cranky people (and that's just the parents) who want to go home and get ready for the first day of school tomorrow, and no way to get there. Thank goodness for cell phones; Tracy called us to tell us what was happening and we found rides with other boaters. Another lovely thing about the Eastern Shore...folks are amazingly friendly and accomodating.

Once we had recovered from our boating (mis)adventures, it was off to school for the Short People. India's first day of first grade was on Tuesday, and she ran to the car at pickup time yelling "First grade is AWESOME!!!". Let's hope they work on her vocabulary a bit, but we're thrilled that she is so happy. Kate's first day of pre-K was Thursday, and she was a little "nuwvus" but seemed to enjoy herself.

Each Short Person selected their own "first day" outfits but were not allowed to accessorize. We are experiencing an accessory ban here, mostly because they broke 5 bracelets in 4 days last week. Evidently some of this happened because they were playing "pets" and using stretchy beaded bracelets as "collars". They would tie a scarf "leash" to the "collar" and pull each other along, calling each other names like "Clarabelle" and "Fluffy". Yes, school couldn't come back around soon enough around here...we clearly ran out of fun things to do and were really reaching down into the depths of our imaginations. This leash and collar design looked waaaayy too S & M and also resulted in a multitude of brightly colored and very tiny beads scattered everywhere; the vaccum and I are still finding them. The accessory ban is for the best; if I let them they would arrive at school looking like Evana Trump.

Now we are battening down the hatches for the big storm. School was on a two hour delay this morning thanks to the weather; sometimes fog rolls in from across the bay before a big storm and this is what our yard looked like at 7:00. Time to go fill up the tub, pull out the batteries and charge the cell phones. Wish us luck!