Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Travelling, Fire Fighters And An Illegal Aubergine

James is travelling again this week.  He left on Sunday morning which of course required a super early start to the day to get him to the airport on time.  He set his alarm for 5 am and we planned to be on the road by 6.  He had put on a load of laundry the night before and I presumed that he was going to remove the clothes from the dryer and dump them directly into the suitcase in the morning.  I made this presumption based on the fact that his suitcase sat open and empty just outside the laundry room.  It is quite astounding how differently we approach a trip away.  I would make a list and although it wouldn't take me very long to pack I would have ensured that I had outfits selected for each day, enough underwear to last a few extra days just in case and of course shoes for every eventuality.

I have learnt to leave him to his own style of packing even if it means he forgets things and we end up with extra gadgets on his return.  Last trip he had to buy a new computer mouse (which he then gave to me) and we usually end up with an extra phone charger or cord of some sort.  I have tried to help him with his packing but he prefers his own haphazard methods to my more listy ones.

So on Sunday morning when we awoke at 6:06 am things were definitely not on track for a smooth departure.  We raced around getting dressed and trying to wake children.  I had asked the children to lay out their clothes the night before so all we had to do was scoop them up and dump them in the car with their little pile of clothes.  We got underway and I had put Cheerios (not the sausages, the cereal) in Tupperware containers for the girls to eat on the way.  No milk though, I've learnt not to give them milk in the car.

We drove somewhat above the speed limit because we were really in serious danger of missing the flight which was set to leave at 8am.  At about 7.20 we saw the familiar blue lights flashing in the rear view mirror. Fortunately the officer was sympathetic and let us off with a warning on the speed but did find that our registration was expired (pretty random because we hadn't had a notice to pay) and gave us a fine for that.

We screeched into the airport departures lane and James leapt from the car and ran off in the direction of the planes.  I took over the driving and decided to be very cautious on the way back.  I got a text from James on the way home that he had made it to the flight just in time.   I, on the other hand, was having a little difficulty finding my way home.  I don't know what happened but I got on the wrong road right from the get go and ended up driving around underneath Boston in a network of tunnels that I was not at all familiar with.  I did eventually end up on the correct road (through no fault of my own) and we drove out of the city in the direction of home.  Not for long though, I took an exit that I felt sure was correct and even for quite a few miles after taking the exit I still felt confident.  Unfortunately my familiarity with our surroundings was not due to the fact that we were driving in the correct direction but rather due to the fact that we had been lost in the same place so many times before that it was starting to look familiar.

We made it to church in plenty of time for the service and the girls had a great time at Sunday School even if Kaitlyn was wearing slippers and Emily was wearing sporty sandals with her princess dress due to the absence of shoes in their pile of clothes (we had a small collection of footwear in the car from a previous day).  On the way home I asked what they had learnt and Kaitlyn gave me a run down.  In a very serious voice she announced that Adam and Eve ate some fruit they weren't supposed to and so now there are tears, sickness, dyingness and poisonous in the world.  

We had Girl Scouts that afternoon and it was a special visit to the fire station where we were to meet some fire fighters and get to see the fire engines and ambulances.  I was a little apprehensive about this visit due to the previous meeting I had had with the local fire fighters (see my blog entry regarding this most embarrassing moment here).  James and I had made sure to let the kids know that they should probably not mention having had the fire department at our house before.

Unfortunately for us this event was so exciting for them that they just couldn't contain themselves and were bursting with the information almost before the presentation began (they don't know the full story of course but were excited that the police and fire department had been to our house).  After the visit was done I had to stay behind to make sure all the girls were picked up by their parents.  I was chatting with one of the fire fighters who was curious about the visit we had had back when we first moved.  As I was telling him about it a couple of other fire fighters in the next room were looking at me and at each other with amused looks on their faces.  One of them approached me and asked where we lived.  When I told him he started laughing and said "I thought you seemed familiar".  My worst nightmare was coming true.  I was actually meeting the men who had been in my house that fateful day, the very same ones who had found the offending objects lodged in the landlord's washing machine.  I was right too, they had heard my accent and instantly thought to themselves 'oh, there's that lady with porn in her washing machine'.  

They did say that they didn't think it was our porn because it had the appearance of having been there for a very long time and since I told them we had just moved in and they did see quite a few boxes stacked up they believed me.  I was able to tell them that I had found the stack of discs many hours later and was mortified and figured that it had become quite the story around the emergency services in our town.  They agreed that it was quite the story and had supplied quite a number of laughs over the past year.  I made sure they now knew that it was not ours and that we had destroyed it.  Hopefully the new story also spreads around the emergency services departments as efficiently as the original did.  I had heard from the wife of a police officer who attended that day that it was a legendary story that had been shared with half the town already (I met her at a school event and she put two and two together based on what her husband had told her - my accent is literally exposing me around the town as "that woman").

I am trying to keep things together this week so that when James gets home he doesn't wonder what we did all week so I decided that Monday night was a great night for all the kids to have baths.  Kaitlyn was super excited to give Abigail a bath which I cautiously agreed to.  I was right there folding laundry while she did it and it was quite hilarious to hear her giving motherly advice to her little sister about how to wash herself and to stop putting her finger up her butt because "that's gusting".  She got her all cleaned up and wrapped in her towel and I took over from there.  I got her dressed in her pjs and had it all planned out that I would make sure she had a bib on when she ate her dinner so that we could keep everything clean.  

I let her go and play while the older girls helped me put away the washing I had folded and I was feeling rather accomplished by the time we were done.  I went downstairs to make the dinner and came across Abigail toddling around chatting to herself.  I noticed her cheeks were very rosey and I wondered if she was coming down with something.  I inwardly groaned because I was really looking forward to going to the gym the next morning and if she was sick that would not be happening.  I looked a little closer and realised that she had the same rash all over her hands.  I looked closer still and realised that she had discovered a bright pink Hello Kitty stamp on Kaitlyn's nightstand and literally covered herself with ink.  I still used the bib for dinner because I was in denial but shortly after delivering her plate to her she rubbed it through her hair while I wondered why I bother cleaning her at all.

As it turns out it was Emily who prevented me from going to the gym today.  She has earache and I booked her in to see the doctor first thing.  Apparently there is not much wrong with her ear (or Abigail's either since she insisted the doctor check hers too) but she may have seasonal allergies causing some pressure.  We went to the supermarket to get stocked up on fruit for the week and got home in time for a nap for Abigail.  

I unloaded the bags at home and realised that I made out with an extra bunch of bananas and an aubergine (eggplant).  The bag packing lady had been so enarmoured with the girls that she had accidentally put the bag in my trolley instead of setting it aside for the lady behind me (who paid for it).  I hope she wasn't planning a special aubergine dish for dinner tonight because there is no way I can get back to the supermarket to return it today.  I guess I am now guilty of shoplifting an aubergine.  I am an aubergine thief.  I wish I'd known about it while I was in the act of thieving so that I could have enjoyed it more but now I need to figure out what to do with it.  I'm not sure if it would be right to eat it but would it be any more right to let it rot on my bench while I wonder about it?  If I return it to the shop they'll most likely not be able to give it to its rightful owner who, if I remember rightly, was a woman of a certain age and is probably right now thinking that she has put the aubergine in the dining room hutch instead of the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator while she tries to cool her hot flash by standing in front of the open freezer door.

I must go now and stare at the aubergine on my bench while I make lunch for the girls.  Then I will most likely have to re fold and stack all the clothes in Abigail and Kaitlyn's dresser since they are probably scattered all over the floor for the second time today and then it will be time to pick up Kaitlyn and take her to ballet class.  Before that I will discourage Emily from climbing on the bench which I see her doing right now.  I hope she didn't squash the aubergine.

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