Thursday, August 23, 2012

The absolutely terrible, horrible, awful, lousy, no-good afternoon

So, one day in Baltimore, we came up with a great idea--go to the little park about 2 blocks from Josh and Cathy's house with the girls. There are swings, a climbing thing and some instruments of childhood torture I have no name for. But it was a short walk and the girls could ride their bikes and Tegan her tricycle and they understood no-one, like NO-ONE would carry those things back for them.

Hot, as always in Baltimore, and we could take our Puli, Bela and let him get some exercise.

Great idea, huh?

First of all, Emma's bike had the chain slipping and I had no idea how to fix it. I didn't learn to ride a bike until I was in my mid-30's. My parents bought me a bike at 10 or so--too big, it was--and my dad took me up on a strip mine so I could try it out. I went over the edge of the mountain and never got on a bike again until I was 34 or so. My friend, John, taught me in Wooster Park in New Haven and I've never fallen once. I have a great 'touring bike' that is cantaloupe colored, has only three gears and the handlebars are straight so you can sit up and ride rather than hunch over on a racing bike. The guys who painted our house this summer asked me 'how old is your bike?' I told them a year and they looked confused. I now understand they'd never encountered such a throw back bicycle and thought it must be ancient.

But I don't know anything about fixing bikes. John didn't teach me any of that stuff.

Then something was wrong with Morgan's bike, something I never figured out well enough to even describe it, but it made it hard to ride. Tegan Trike was fine but she wasn't terribly committed to riding it.

We got to the park and some boys who left as we arrived, had thrown one of the swings over the bar so it couldn't be ridden. We spent 15 minutes (Bern and I) before we got it back, yelling at the girls to stay away so it didn't hit them in the face (how would we explain that to their parents?) and trying to control Bela who took the whole enterprise personally and barked and barked.

Once the swing was operational again, two kids--one just older than the twins and one about their age--arrived and immediately it became clear that Morgan and Emma 'hated' them, for reasons I can speculate about but can't be sure of. So, the girls ate their snack we'd brought while avoiding the two other girls and I took Bela for a walk, hoping for #2 and being sorely disappointed.

When I got back things had disintegrated even more with the arrival of other kids the twins didn't like. So, we decided to head back. Having a 3 year old, three bikes, two 6 year olds and a Puli made the two blocks seem like 10. But we made it.

The plan all along was I'd go to the store with the dog and get stuff for dinner and Bern would take the girls in and put them in the pool on the back deck. Good plan.

I was going to leave the car on and take the clicker to lock the door so the air conditioner could keep Bela cool and safe. But my clicker wouldn't lock the door with the motor on and I wasn't willing to leave him in a hot car or a cool, unlocked car. So we went back.

Bern had the only key and I was afraid I'd be locked out. But the door was open, luckily as it turned out, since Bern and the girls were out on the deck and the door had locked when they shut it so Bern was trying to figure out if she could take the window out and horrified that she may have locked the front door.

About the only thing that worked out was she had not locked the front door. Otherwise it was just the kind of afternoon I mentioned in the title.

But, as Bern often says, "nobody died"....So, what's the big deal?

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.