Monday, April 30, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy...Crash

We had a fun  weekend.  Fun, but oh, so very busy.  Once I had dinner done yesterday, I totally crashed.  I didn't sleep, but totally diddled my whole day away.  Guilt-free!  I loved it.

Friday Morning Walk

Friday started out very pleasurably engaged with my morning walk.  Lana and I were the only ones walking that day, and I think we must have kept the pace up a little more than usual.  The wind was brisk and we probably subconsciously reacted to that by moving quickly.  I know I was more tired usual when I was done, and I had a few muscles here and there that I noticed more than usual all the rest of that day.


The pleasure and relaxation continued throughout the day, because I had a friend from years back here to visit for the day.  Becky G, is the sister of one of my classmates; the wife of an ELS pastor who I met during Joe's first year at sem and who Joe knew before that; and her husband also worked at Bethany during the time Joe did.  We have lots of little connections, and I've enjoyed her friendship very much throughout the years.  

Joe made dinner for us at noon.  He braised lamb pieces and broiled his famous potato steaks.  Since Joe is not a vegetable person, and so does not think to prepare a vegetable when he cooks, I made a salad to accompany his delicacies.  It was a wonderful dinner.  Thank you, Joe.

Friday Evening  Errands

We visited all day Friday, and almost as soon as Becky left, the rush began.  I had to run over to Red Lake Falls to pick up milk.  Yes, it's a strange direction to go for milk, but I get it fresh from the farm, from a friend of mine over that way.  Mmmm, delicious.  I had planned to get milk on Tuesday, when Louisa and I went to get her passport paperwork done at the courthouse in Red Lake Falls, but much to our chagrin, we ended up going into Thief River for the passport photo.  I must have read the information incorrectly, becasue I thought the photo could be done at the courthouse, too.  Which is not the case.  At any rate, I chose to skip the milk, rather than take the it along with into TRF, since the weather was kind of warm that day.

So off to get milk on Friday evening.

"But wait, Mom," said Louisa.  "Remember I need a few more things in Thief River for prom tomorrow.  Can I go with, and we can run into TRF, afterwards."

So I let Louisa and her friend, Brooke, hop into the car with me.  Louisa drove, since she needs the practice.  Although it was cooler that night than it had been on Tuesday, I still didn't want to risk the extra trip with into TRF with milk, so we went to TRF first, then down to RLF after our errands were done.  We made Louisa's stops, filled the car with gas, and picked up some supper to eat in the car at Wal-mart.  I got plain Greek style yogurt, and some dried cranberries and sugar glazed pecans to put in it, and a bottle of water.  Brooke and Louisa decided they needed Subway, which is in the corner of Wal-Mart, so with the anticipation of my "diet food" in my mind, I had to watch Brooke and Louisa pick out all the toppings for their subs.   Ooooh!

Eating Crow

We got home Friday night just as Joe was getting the kids to bed.  Oh, shoot, I have to be more accurate than that.  I have to make the BIG CONFESSION!

When the bigger girls and I got home from town, the littlest kids were in bed.  I had not seen Matt's car out front so I assumed he was not home.  I couldn't find Joe anywhere.  There had been no lights on in the church office.  Where was he?  Why would he leave the little ones unattended.  I reached for the doorknob of Clara and Sophie's room, to ask them where Dad was, and then it hit me!  Oh, dear!  The girls were not home.  I was an hour late to pick them up.  That must be where Joe is.  But would he leave the little ones unattended?  Oh, wait, the van is here, so Joe must have used Matt's car.  Which means Matt is home after all.  Ugh, what a mix-up.

Sophie went to the Shrine Circus Friday afternoon and evening with the third and fourth graders from school.  Since they were not due to get back until 8:00, which meant I already had to plan an extra trip into Oklee, Clara went over to friend's house after school.  Julia is in Clara's class.  Her sister, DJ, is in Sophie's class.  So DJ was at the circus, too.  The plan was that I would meet the bus at 8:00 at the school in Oklee to pick up Sophie and DJ, and then drive the few blocks to the other girls' house.  I'd drop off DJ and pick up Clara.  Everything would work slick, right?

Except that I forgot about picking up the girls.  Totally forgot!  Can you believe it?  I just blew off both my daughter and the daughter of a friend.  Left two third graders standing alone in the cold, at night, in the big city of Oklee.  OK, you are right, Oklee is not a big city.  And it was not terribly cold, either.  And DJ's house is only about six or eight blocks from the school.  So everything worked out fine in the end.  After Sophie and DJ realized I was not showing up, they walked to DJ's house.  Her parents eventually got tired of wondering what happened to me and called our house.  Poor Joe, who had no idea of any of the arrangements, was left covering for his dingy wife.  And he suddenly had to make an unplanned trip to Oklee to pick the girls up on a Friday night when he was supposed to be finishing off work for his church service the next day. 

Joe also ended up picking up Elsie, since Matt had agreed to run back into town to get her after a track meet.  Since we never know what time the kids will get back from such things, they don't get to attend very often, unless they are participating.  This was a high school meet, but the coach had suggested the Jr High kids attend if possible, to see how things work.  Since Elsie called Matt just a few minutes before Joe got THE CALL, the times coincided nicely with his trip to town for my forgotten girls. I suppose saving that gas is a teeny silver lining in the cloud of my irresponsibility.

Oh, and did I mention that DJ and Julia's dad is the sheriff?  Oh, yeah, that's a good one Mary.  Leave the sheriff's daughter stranded.

It's a good thing I live in a small town community.  It's a good thing it was not deep winter.  It's a good thing DJ's home was close to school.  Oh, my, the things I thank God for this case, preserving my child and her friend when they are the unsuspecting victims of my often times addle-pated behavior.

And the girls' mom, Krista, was so kind when I realized what had happened, and immediately called to check on the girls and to apologize.   Really, Krista, you are too nice.  I could imagine a mom being very upset and never wanting to have anything to do with me or my children, out of her maternal protective instincts.  I could imagine someone warning all the other moms never to trust me.  But instead she refreshed and built me up with her kindness and understanding.  A big thank you to Krista.

Mary as Hairdresser, Part I

I got the car unloaded, all the milk brought in and  carried to the basement fridge, and the various grocery items we had picked up in town put away.  Louisa and Brooke showered quickly in anticipation of the beginnings of their prom preparations.  I was commissioned to put their hair in sponge rollers.  Just in case anyone wants to know, when doing sponge rollers for two teenaged girls with long hair, allow about an hour for each head of hair.  I did Brooke's first, and then Louisa's.  They each had over 30 rollers in.  I should have done more in Louisa's, but I wouldn't find that out until the next day.  I finished rolling Louisa's at almost exactly midnight.  Poor Louisa.  Brooke had gone to bed long before, and Louisa was just about sleeping while I was rolling the last of her locks.

Mary as Hairdresser, Part II

On Saturday morning, I slept in a little bit.  The girls had asked to sleep in, too, since they knew they would have little sleep on Saturday night.  After I got up, I lazed around and did a few chores.  Eventually I got breakfast on for those who were up and about.  And then the fun really started.

I hadn't planned on helping the girls with the rest of the prom preparations, but it turned out they were planning on me unrolling their tresses.  Louisa would take if from there.  They got up at about 10:00, ate breakfast, and then started their coiffure.  They got dressed and worked on their make-up first.

Then, just as I was done lollygagging and about to start my morning chores, I was called upon to  take Brooke's rollers out.  She got to go first, since her ride was coming to get her first.  But her hair was not quite dry all through, so we had to blow it dry.  Uffda!  Took forever.  Blowing each roller individually, spreading the hair with my fingertips, as I worked the hot air through the layers of hair. 

Brooke's turned out very nice.  After we had all the curls out, Louisa pulled it back around Brooke's face in some pretty clips.  Her curling locks were then firmly sprayed into play with something called Got 2b Glued Blasting Freeze Spray.  Just imagine that!  These curls weren't going anywhere. She also got a coating of sparkly hairspray when all was done.

Louisa as Hairdresser

Rachel arrived just after we finished Brooke's hair.  Louisa did Rachel's hair with a curling iron.  Rachel's mom is partially disabled from a stroke, so she can't do fine work that takes both hands.  Nor can she drive.  But she can accompany Rachel who has her permit, so the two of them, plus Rachel's brother, Jonathan, who is our John's age, came for a couple of hours.  The girls had set up camp in our living room, so we grown-ups sat around, and visited and teased, as they worked at everything.  They had nail polish, make-up, pins, scissors, curling irons, blow-dryers, various hairsprays, etc.  And we adults sat by and gave commentary.  I wish I had taken some pictures at this stage.

Mary as Hairdresser, Part III

After Rachel and Brooke left, it was time for Louisa's hair.  Both Louisa and Brooke have nice thick hair, but Louisa's is longer.  So I ought to have done hers in smaller hair sections.  Because I had to roll it around more times, the hair on the rollers ended up being thicker, and therefore, even less dry than Brooke's had been..  But I didn't think of that when I was rolling them up the night before.  When I unrolled the first few tresses, Louisa's hair was quite damp inside.  I rolled them back up and grabbed the blowdryer.  Because of the thickness of each roll, it was hard to get the heat from the blowdryer into the middle layers.  So we ended up unrolling each one about half way, and then blowing those inside layers, then re-rolling it to blow the outer layers.   Again, uffda!  It really took forever.

And poor Louisa.  She is "blessed" with her mom's hair.  When I was young, my hair was straight.  Not just straight, but as my hairdresser friend described it, boingy straight.  It boinged with straightness, so that it was very resilient to curl. And once it was curled, it couldn't wait to get back straight again. 

And Louisa's hair is much the same.  At last year's prom, hers fell right away, and she was so sad, and even embarrassed about it, all evening.  I can imagine feeling that same way.  She so wanted hers to turn out better this year.  And it did turn out better.  But there were a handful of tendrils that we could not get to hold a curl.  She was in the bathroom at the last minute, frantically trying to use a curling iron on them.  Hairspray.  Curl.  More hairspray.  Pull here.  Tug there.  And finally the layer of sparkles over all.

She looked very lovely.  I hope, my dear, you were not too unhappy with how it turned out.  You really were very beautiful.

Ready to Go

Finally, but not soon enough for Matt, who was nervous about picking up his date on time, the young people hit the road.  We made them slow down enough to snap this picture before they left.  I had to laugh at Matt.  Louisa instinctively reached out to put her arm around her brother and Matt stepped back.

"I don't want all the sparkly stuff on my tux."

What a guy!

A few more pictures from the evening

Louisa and Brooke, looking lovely

Louisa with her date, Josh

Louisa and Rachel, looking lovely

Matt and his date, Kayla

Matt and Kayla

Josh (this one, Matt's buddy, not Louisa's date), Matt, and Zach, cutting up a little bit

Matt and Kayla during the Grand March

Josh and Louisa during the Grand March

A Relaxing Evening After the Whirlwind--Oh, shoot, maybe not

We quickly threw the three youngest ones into the tub for Saturday baths before running into Oklee for the Grand March.  (I just this morning realized John never got his, whoops!) 

After all the excitement, it would have been good to be able to crawl into bed.  I could feel my brain starting to shut down.  But it was not to be.

Louisa had forgotten some things she needed for the post prom party, so I had to run back into Oklee after I got the little ones to bed.

I also had to get Elsie and Clara started on the four dozen muffins we had to make for the LYS (youth group) to serve at church the next morning.  Yes, I could have done it earlier in the week, but I didn't.  Part of that was on purpose.  I just don't know how Gluten Free muffins freeze.  Would they still taste fine?  I just wasn't sure.  Plus I really wanted the kids to help with them, since the LYS and its fund raising efforts benefit the kids.  They ought to do the work for it.

But on such a busy weekend, I didn't have enough brain capacity to split my concentration between the morning's primping in the living room and a second project in the kitchen.

So after we got home, we quickly had bedtime prayers, and sent the little ones to bed.  I got Clara busy mixing up a batch of the gluten free flour mix I use.  Then I transcribed a regular recipe into a Gluten Free version for Elsie to mix up while I ran into Oklee.

When I got back, Clara was done with her flour mix and was ready to head to bed.  Elsie had her first dozen muffins ready to put in the oven and I helped her get the next one ready, too.  But, shoot, the coffee cake recipe I had used as a base only made 1 1/2 dozen muffins.  I really thought it would do two.  So Elsie put her first pan in the oven, and I quickly whipped up a second batch of the same so that we'd end up with three dozen of that variety. 

After Elsie got her first pan out, I sent her to bed, and told her I'd finish up.  By then I had the next batch mixed up, and so could finish filling Elsie's second pan and fill a third, too.  We ended up with three dozen mincemeat muffins.  They were a layer of coffee cake batter, a dollop of the green tomato mincemeat I made last fall, then a second layer of batter, and topped off with a sprinkling of streusel crumb topping.  Elsie's first pan turned out great, so I was optimistic about the next pans.

While they were in, I mixed up a batch of pumpkin, raisin, flax muffins.  I took the first batch out of the pan after it cooled.  I scrubbed out the muffin pan in preparation of putting in my next batch.  But there was something wrong with those muffins that were in the oven.  They had spread out all over the the muffin pan, running together across the top.  The fat from the streusel topping was dripping off onto the bottom of the oven and stinking up my house.  But the muffins themselves were not getting done.  Grrr.  Why can't anything be easy?!?
Finally I noticed that, between two cooks, and turning on and off timers, oven lights, etc, the oven had somehow gotten turned off.  So my muffins had been sitting in a hot, but gradually cooling oven for twenty-some minutes.  Aaaargh!  And these were for serving in public!  Shoot!  Now I'll have to come up with yet another batch to replace those that obviously will not turn out right.

I finally got them done and out of the oven.  They were pretty dark on top.  I popped the pumpkin ones in the oven, carefully checked all the settings, and sat down to play some  spider solitaire while I waited.  My brain was too far gone to trust myself with measuring out another batch, but I got the recipe ready for morning, and steeled myself to get up early.

Just before the timer was going to go off for the pumpkin muffins, I removed the failed ones from their tins.  I had to cut the tops into squares, since as I said, they had cooked all together across the top of the pan.  And then I had to attempt to gently run the knife under that lop of muffin, work it down the side of the cups, to loosen the muffin, and then pop it out.  But you know what I found.  They really were quite nice inside.  Two of them fell apart, so I set them aside for Joe.  And I made the executive decision to serve the muffins in church in spite of the flat square slightly dark tops that were otherwise fine inside. 

Oh, my goodness, what a relief that was.  They might not have been pretty, but none of them came home after church!

Almost done

Sunday morning.  I remembered Matt coming in to tell us he was home.  That is our rule when the kids are out late.  We don't wait up, but they are supposed to wake us, to let us know when they get in. 

I had a little naggling worry, on two counts.

1) Louisa had not checked in, and I was not sure whether she had planned to come home with Matt.  Officially they are supposed to both check in when they get home.  But they are not out late enough, often enough, for us to have really made all the rules clear.  I will have to remember to remind Louisa of that.

2) Matt's date, Kayla, is a homeschooled girl he knows from work at Pizza Hut in Thief River Falls.  I know how homeschool parents think.  They had asked Matt if he could bring Kayla home at 2:00, rather than staying for the entire post prom party.  I can respect that.  I totally understand.  But, although I didn't check the clock when Matt got home, it didn't feel like 3:00, which is about when he would have gotten home if he drove her into town after 2:00 and then returned home.  It felt more like 4:30, which is about what time he'd get home if they stayed for the whole thing, but come straight home.  My clock was set for 5:30, and I was pretty sure he would not have had time to get all the way into TRF and back soon enough to let me know he was home, and still allow me to fall back asleep well before my alarm rang.  I just couldn't work it out.

On both counts, everything was fine.  After the kids found out the schedule of activities for the post prom party, Kayla had called home and gotten permission until stay until the end,   They'd have missed the hypnotist and all the drawings and prizes if they left early. 

(The prizes are a big deal.  I don't know how other schools do things, but all kinds of businesses donate prizes and the kids all come home with quite a haul.  Last year, among other things, Louisa got a really nice set of towels and very big, soft fleece blanket.  This year she got another nice set of towels and a Cenex gift card (the Oklee Cenex is kitty corner from the school).  Matt got a gun cleaning kit and a $25 dollar gift card to JC Penney.  I know they both got other things, too, but I can't remember what.  I think Kayla got some nice things, too, but I'm just not remembering right now what she got.)

Matt had gone to church with Joe on Saturday, so he could sleep in until it was time to come down and serve the muffins afterwards.  Louisa decided that since she had to get up to serve, anyway, and since she had rollers on Saturday morning, she'd attend church on Sunday, too.  It was tough, but we got her up.  She came storming up the stairs a little irritated with about 5 minutes to spare.

"Mom, couldn't someone have gotten me up a little bit sooner."

"We've been trying to wake you up for an hour.  And at least one of the times, you said you would be right up."

I taught Sunday School for  Louisa.  Matt made it down to church in time to help clean up afterwards.  I had noticed he was not there, and threatened to come up to the house and drag him down to church, but the ladies helping the kids in the kitchen said to let him sleep.  I was still kind of debating, when he showed up, all freshly showered and ready to roll.

Ready for the crash?

I had a nice dinner planned for after church, chicken in cream sauce over noodles. The chicken in cream sauce I had managed to get into the oven before church.  Since I didn't know for sure what time I'd get back to the house, I put it in at only 300.  I didn't want any burned dinner.  I had left over macaroni in a baking dish that I asked Jeremy to pop in when he came up from church.  

But much to my dismay, when I got back up to the house, the kitchen had a kind of scorched smell in the air.  I immediately took the chicken out of the oven and peeked under the lid.

One more Mary disaster!  The cream sauce had totally cooked to a crispy layer at the bottom of the pan.

So we had macaroni with butter.  With crispy chicken on the side.  The chicken ended up not being too much of a problem.  Not as bad as I anticipated.  The meat was still somewhat moist and the outer layer had a kind of crispy deep fried layer from having cooked in the cream.  There was no sauce, but there was crumbs of the crispy cream cooked with the onions, celery and carrots I had put in for flavoring.  It was not what I had planned, but really quite edible.


I didn't even do my lunch dishes.  Elsie had to eat ahead of time and leave for babysitting just as the rest of us were sitting down.  Louisa went to bed right after dinner.  Matt had to run into Oklee to help his class clean up.  Joe went to bed for his usual Sunday afternoon nap.  Sophie was at a friend's house. Jeremy was here for the day, and until Monday afternoon.

I had Clara stack the dishes in the sink, in preparation of my doing them at some point.  Then everyone was given the privilege of computer time.  They had a few tiffs, but mostly they enjoyed their treat of having a whole afternoon to share the computer time among all of them.

I sat around all day and dinked on my laptop.  I figured out how to upload pictures to facebook.  I played spider solitaire.  I exchanged  e-mails with friends.  And etc.

A nice, slow, well-needed day of rest.


Joe A said...

But I didn't forget a vegetable. I had string beans with garlic.

theMom said...

Oh, my goodness, right you are. How dare I to slander you so. I had completely forgotten your beans. Sorry about the false representation. I think I didn't see them until after I had sat down, and that's why I made the salad. And I see my first impression is the one that got stuck. It really was a delicious meal. Thankyou.