Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A weekend in the life of...

I just can't seem to keep up with the blog these days. It isn't that I don't have anything to write about - I have lots to write about! I write posts in my head several times a day, while I'm laying in bed at night, while I'm driving to work, while I'm riding the elevator... I write them all the time... in my head. They just rarely make it from there through my fingertips, onto the keyboard and out to the world wide web! I take photos specifically with an upcoming blog post in mind. In fact, I have several series(s) of photos dating back to May that were intented to go with blog posts that never got written, er... um... typed. What happens is that I want the post to be perfect. I want to have the photos all edited, the text proofread, and all of it matched up all nice and orderly. Well, that NEVER happens. So, the posts never make it to you. But you know what? This blog was intended to be written for me, my family, and my friends. And so you professional bloggers -  my favorite writers and photographers - yes you Ree, Donna, Erin, and the rest... if you ever actually come across my little blog, you're just going to have to squint while you read it so that you don't notice all of my typos, unedited phots, and misaligned posts. I'm going to work on just getting it out there no matter what. I'm going to post the text even if I haven't had a chance to upload the photos that go with it. I'm going to post the photos, even if I haven't written the commentary. I'm going to write about what's going on with me, even if it's of no interest to you. And I know you will support me and smile when you read it anyway. 'cause that's who y'all are and that's why I love you!

So, today's post is... what I did last weekend. Oh, alright - so it wasn't last weekend. It was two weekends ago. I wrote it last week. But, I decided today that I'm posting it anyway!

A day in the life...  rather, A weekend in the life of Erin:

Friday was so welcome, and yet I don't even remember it. I remember that I had a rough day on Thursday. I had a bad day at work, returning from my trip to Kansas, and that when I got home late Thursday night, Cliff wasn't too happy that I'd stayed so long at work either. I remember that I was tired, crabby, and getting a cold. On Friday, Cliff and I had a good talk and I felt so much better about things. About work, about time at home, about the trip I'd just been on, and about our relationship. By the end of the day Friday, I was SO ready for the weekend, I think I skipped Friday night all together! I honestly don't remember a thing about it. I assume I picked up Gavin from work, went home, ate dinner with Cliff, played with Gavin, and put him to bed. Something like that.  

Saturday morning, we were all sort of hanging around the bedroom, moving slowly. We had eaten breakfast already and Gavin and I were snuggling on my bed watching my favorite Sunday morning show, CBS's "Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood". We were still in our jammies and Cliff was getting ready to go to an auction with his Dad. There wasn't anything I'd be interested in at this auction - it was a bunch of old and antique farm equiment, engines, tractors, steam engines, etc. with a few lawn mowers, go karts and other items thrown in. Cliff thought he'd be home by noon, so I started thinking about what Gavin and I should do that morning. I decided last minute that Gavin and I would go too. I reasoned that it beat staying home without Cliff and he only planned to be there until about 11:30, so I thought it would work well. There wasn't really anything there I was interested in, but I feel like weekends are our family time and quite frankly, I don't like being at home without another adult to talk to. I know - I need help.
We got there about 9:30 and the place was FULL of old equipment. The sale was at the home of a retired airline pilot who had passed away. He lived in the country (next to some friends of ours) just outside of our town. The property was interesting - very interesting to a little almost two-year old that I know! (more on that later!) The house was set up in on the hill overlooking a farm field and between the house and the field, there was a narrow section of pine woods, and then an airstrip. The auction items were set up all along the airstrip. There was a tiny little old yellow lawn mower that Gavin loved - it was just his size, and it sold for only $35, but really... he isn't even two yet - he doesn't need his own lawnmower. The only other thing of any interest to me was a tiny hay wagon, about 4' x 5', built on a lawnmower frame. There were two of them, one was painted green and one was unpainted. I said that if they sold for $50 or less, we should get one, and if they sold for less than $25, we should get both. They would have been so much fun for giving rides behind a small tractor or fourwheeler. They would have been perfect stacked with pumpkins for our annual pumpkin carving party! They sold for $250 and $260. Holy cow! There was a lot of neat stuff there - two big old steam engines that sold for over $100,000 and were bought by someone in the Netherlands. It was a nice, but cold, morning to be out there. The sun was out and the sky was beautiful, but our fingers and noses were cold! It was just about the perfect early fall day. We brought Gavin's stroller, but he wanted little to do with it. He wanted to go exploring! He had fun exploring the woods and sitting on all of the different tractors, mowers, and other equipment. He would point to something and say "sit on it?" Even if it wasn't a tractor or didn't have a seat, he thought it was! He wanted to sit on the engines and even a wood stove! When I told him those didn't have seats, he looked very confused and said "sit on it. I neeeeed it." He had an attachment to an old orange Case tractor, that I actually wouldn't have minded owning, but it wasn't something we needed or even had much use for. I think it was like this, maybe a D.
The thing I liked about it, was there was a solid surface below the seat and all the way up over the wheels, so if a little guy were to fall off the seat or your lap, he would fall onto a "landing" and not down under the tractor or the wheels. Even if he fell off the "landing", he'd then be behind the tractor rather than under it. That's my biggest concern with the B and GP John Deere tractors that we have. The seat floats and there is nothing under it but the wheels.

Anyway, we stayed a little longer than intended, but we had brought a package of graham crackers that we shared with Cliff's Dad and Uncle in the morning. Thank goodness for graham crackers, right? That's better than animal crackers or fish crackers, right? Maybe it makes no difference, but it was a little funny to see those two old guys snacking on graham crackers, which I always associate with little kids! When the graham crackers just weren't enough anymore, we bought a couple of brats and a hot dog from the food stand for $2 each. The food choices were hot dog, brat, hamburger, or roast beef sandwich, each for $2 or with a bag of chips for $3. Pretty typical for a farm auction, but tasty nonetheless! We found a sunny spot in the grass to sit and eat with a good view of the auction, but out of the way. It was nice. Gavin was totally into the hot dog (it was a huge one) and carried it around for about an hour! He was eating it and loving it, but it was enormous. The hot dog fell out of the bun and onto the ground twice, but he just picked it up and put it back in the bun, which was totally and completely squished by that point, and kept working on it. He certainly didn't mind a little dirt and assured me that he was not done with the hot dog. I even offered to hold it for him, but nope - he wanted to hold it.

Like I mentioned, the airstrip was separated from the yard and other buildings by a narrow patch of pine woods and the woods had "openings" in it, about 10' wide every so often where you could walk through. Gavin thought those were so neat and secretive and kept saying "in here" and pulling me into those spaces. He would just stand there and look around, as if no one could see us when we were in there, but clearly, we were very visible. There was one spot where there were some lilacs and birch trees and so the branches were low and I actually had to crouch to go under them. That was probably his favorite spot. He kept saying "Mommy. Come! In here!" and he would go under the birch trees and around the lilac bushes. It was fun to watch him play like that. He wanted to walk into the pine woods too, under the pine trees. He was fascinated by it. He loves to be in the woods. At home, he loves to walk on the paths we have through our little patch of woods. He said "animals in there!", but I've never seen anything more than a bird in there myself!

We left the auction around 12:30 or 1:00 with just a sprayer that Cliff plans to use to de-weed the lawn. He didn't have a bidding number yet when it was sold and the junk guy bought it for $2.50. The junk guy has an agreement with the auctioneer that he will buy anything that doesn't sell, for the price of $2.50. Then he gets what he wants and tosses what he doesn't. When Cliff asked the junk guy if he could buy the sprayer from him, the junk guy said "Sure, $20". Cliff offered $10 and he took it. Guess the junk guy made out good on that one!

The cool, but sunny weather made us all tired. I could have napped on the 10 minute ride home and it was a struggle to keep Gavin awake until we got home. When we did get home, Gavin went right down for his nap. I tried to nap too, but wasn't successful. When he got up we all went for a ride on the motorcycle with the sidecar. (that's another unwritten post! We got a sidecar for the motorcycle. Cliff's parents bought Gavin a kid-sized helmet and he and I ride in the sidecar together just around the neighborhood. He loves it!)

It was a magnificent ride. It was cold out, but Gavin and I were snuggled into the sidecar with a blanket and wearing hats under our helmets. The sun was starting to get low and the sky was beautiful. We ended up accidentally following a hot air balloon around up through the hills and saw it land. We came upon a little skunk hopping down the side of the road, but she spared us and let us peacefully ride by. It was just such a beautiful night. I will try to share some photos. I took a few that really show how wonderfully magnificent the evening was!

When we got home, Cliff's parents watched Gavin and Cliff and I rode into town to grab some dinner at our favorite bar, the Main Streeter. With Gavin safe at home, I took a turn riding the bike (my bike) with Cliff in the sidecar. I didn't want to try it for the first time with Gavin in the sidecar, but figured Cliff could fend for himself if I rode off course. ...and I did! It was a little shaky at first and I may have almost run over a small Apricot tree next to our driveway, but I didn't. I stopped and got back on track and tried again. Not before first hearing "Where the #!?* are you going" from my right hand man. I can tell you that it's very, very different to ride a motorcycle with a sidecar attached. I had to turn much harder with the handlebars and there really is no leaning involved, so it feels a lot different than riding the bike on it's own. I gave it a try and was doing really well after awhile. I will say that it certainly is reassuring to know you aren't likely going to tip or skid out like you can when you're on only two wheels! Anyway, we enjoyed dinner and a drink at the Main Streeter and Cliff took the wheel on the way home so I got to snuggle back up in the sidecar, although we didn't bring the blanket with, so it wasn't all that toasty in there. We did have all of our leather on - jackets, chaps, gloves, hats & helmets - so it wasn't too cold! I definitely hopped in the tub to warm up when we got home!

Sunday we did some reorganizing in Gavin's room in the morning. We mentioned taking his crib out of his room on Friday and sort of told him we didn't think it needed to be in there anymore since he sleeps in the big bed. Then we brought it up again Saturday, just to get him used to the idea and leave him an opportunity to reclaim it if he felt he so needed. So, Sunday morning, I asked him if he wanted to keep his crib in his room for a while or if we should move it out of his room. He said "move cwib outta woom". So, we decided to move the crib out of his room. We pushed it out into the dining room first and let it sit there while we cleaned and rearranged things in his room. Then when we were pretty sure he wasn't going to freak out about not having the crib in his room, we took it apart. Once it was in the dining room and the mattress and spring had been removed, he thought it made a nice cage. He would climb under the siderail and sit inside saying he was "in a cage". That was the only part that upset him when we actually took it apart. His cage was gone. As he often says when I wants something, "Uh neeeeeet it" (I need it).

While I fed Gavin lunch and laid him down for nap, Cliff mowed the yard. We were just reading naptime books when the power went out in the house. I tucked Gavin in while Cliff went down the road to investigate. Apparently a transformer blew. I called thw power company and they estimated 4 hours until it would be repaired. I had just put the butter and onions on the stove for the potato corn chowder that I was going to bring to my sisters' house for her fall get together. I had the potatoes and carrots chopped and in the chicken broth to cook. No worries, I lit the burners with a lighter (love that gas stovetop!) and kept on cooking. The only tough part was remembering to limit the times I opened the fridge! By the time the chowder was finished simmering and the pear pecan gorgonzola salad was prepared, they had repaired the transformer and the power was back on. I took advantage of the few minutes I had before Gavin woke up and went out to collect some natural fall decorations - some bittersweet branches, some rosehips, and some grapevine. I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do with them yet, but it was good to get out in the sunshine for a while. Right now they're "drying" on the front porch - mostly because that's where they were left and I didn't get to do anything with them yet.

Once Gavin got up, we packed up and headed up to my sisters' place for the party. The drive up the takes about an hour from my house, but it sure is pretty there along the St. Croix River. I love the golden color of the crops this time of year and the fiery oranges and reds of the maple trees. The little apple orchard that we pass on the way to their house was dotted with families of kids picking apples. We got to their house almost an hour late, but people were just dishing up their plates, so it worked out. We were just in time to set out the salad and the soup. They had baked a ham and their famous butternut squash risotto. There were baked apples with pecans, honey, and brown sugar and my sister in law's famous mini cheesecakes. There was pumpkin bread, zucchini bread and banana bread and there were red velvet brownies. Lots of delicious food! 
My sisters have the most beautiful yard I've ever seen. The back yard is fenced in with a white picket fence and they have curvy brick pathways leading you from garden to garden. The center of the back yard hosts a circular patio area with a bird bath / fountain in the center. From that spot the path splits into three directions, one leading to the garage, one leading to the fish pond and one leading up to the beautiful back deck and pergola. It's a dream yard. The kids played out in the back yard a lot. One of my nieces started a game of follow the leader, so that was fun to watch. I didn't know if Gavin had ever played Follow the Leader before, but he was right in there with the big kids! (I also have some pictures of this, but you know how it goes. I hope to share some with you. The pictures are stored on my home computer, but I rarely have time to write when I'm there, so I will occasionally write during my lunch break at work, or at the end of the day when I'm all finished working, but haven't left for home yet. No matter how good my intentions are to write & upload photos after Gavin is in bed, it just doesn't happen. When I get into the bedroom to work on it at 9:00 or 10:00, I am too pooped! Maybe tomorrow will be different!)  
We left my sisters' place by 7:00 and were home before 8:00. After Gavin was in bed, we did the end-of-the-weekend cleanup. Cliff unloaded and loaded the dishwasher, I picked up the house and did laundry and then finished cleaning up the kitchen. It felt so good to fall into bed that night.
Now wasn't that exciting???

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