Monday, July 14, 2008

What's the point?

And by the way, you know, when you're telling these little stories? Here's a good idea - have a POINT. It makes it SO much more interesting for the listener!
--Neal Page, in Planes, Trains & Automobiles

For the 4th of July, we did our patriotic duty, as we do almost every year--for the benefit of our nation's security, we spent money and burned gas. Specifically, we burned through about $120 worth of gas, because we know that if we all stopped driving and admitted that blowing tons of smoke out our tailpipes and into our lungs will eventually kill us all, the terrorists will have won.

Unlike past years, it was a working trip for me, so I spent our days in Vermont on phone calls, in meetings, videotaping interviews, driving through the Green Mountains, and pulling water chestnuts out of Lake Champlain.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself here. Let me start at the beginning...

We drove for approximately eight hours to Mama's aunt's house in Saratoga Springs, just up the road from the Serotta factory. Even though he was a little screamy at times, in general, 3B was a rock star the whole way, content to roll along while we read him books and tossed snacks back to him...

Not that the trip was boring

And, in case you're wondering--yes, it is possible to survive seven straight hours of listening to Wheels on the Bus on repeat.

And then, because we thought our hotel didn't allow pets, we dropped off Barky at a nice place. If only we had known that they had a limo that they could send around for him...

Barky's hotel had a limo, ours...not so much

Also, if you were staying near Saratoga Springs and were woken by someone running up and down the hall, I wish I could blame it on the teen soccer team that was staying there, but I think that might have been us...

3B had a good time with his second cousins, and their yard, and their toys, and in the rain, and on their train...

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

OK, just kidding about the train, but the week was peppered with references to Green Eggs and Ham, even though that's one book we left at home.

3B prepares his jacuzzi

In the hotel, after fixing his jacuzzi--seriously, how weird is that tub next to the bed?--3B went to sleep in the hotel Pack N Play. Seriously, how cool is that?

Very cool--even when he joined us in our bed at 3 a.m. He snoozed for a moment between us, then sat bolt upright and asked, "Would you, could you, in the dark? Would you, could you, in the rain?" Fortunately for all involved, he then lay down and slept until a reasonable hour.

On our way to Grammy's, we stopped at the home of the beautiful MLTU, and her beautiful new baby brother, DMTU. 3B and Barky immediately took to their backyard, and even managed to avoid getting any ticks while playing there, although 3B did work up a bit of a sweat playing with toys in the yard, and playing the blues on the back porch...

(Full disclosure: There are several pictures of the TU's beautiful daughter and new baby boy, as well as some of Mama and friends fruiting around in the back yard, so if you don't like looking at cute babies or beautiful Mama...well, this probably isn't the right blog for you...)

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Then we were at Grammy's (Mama's Grammy, 3B's Great Grammy), where work in the sawmill commenced immediately...

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

I missed the daytime activities, like 3B catching his first fish at Perch Pond with his Grammy (full disclosure: the fish were all tossed back after 3B, who has long been fascinated with fishing, examined and touched them--"Slippery!"), but I was still around for activities in the early morning and into the long summer evenings.

And then, suddenly, it was the 4th. There was the daily mule (actually, a small 4wd vehicle complete with car seat) ride, a visit with Cousin D, some time checking pictures of his cousin Z with Grammy, and then an evening boat ride on Lake Champlain on Uncle P and Aunt J's boat, after which we didn't stay up long enough to see the fireworks at Devil's Bowl Racetrack, but we did enjoy some sparklers by the lake.

On Saturday, after sleeping in a little, we took our daily trip to the sawmill, threw red rocks in the stream (where we managed to recover one of a pair of socks that fell in during a vigorous game of Pooh sticks on our first day at the farm), walked up through the woods to a pasture, and saw a frog in the puddle in front of the manure spreader up at the barn. (You can see all of this fun now, or wait for the video at the end, which has most of the fun in it.)

I know that some of these activities--OK, most of these activities--seem dangerous, and it's true that most of them do have elements of danger. However, while 3B does play in a sawmill and sit on a 4-wheeler and handle tools and roam around near farm animals, he is never operating any of this equipment, and we keep him a safe distance from the animals. So, none of what 3B does is nearly as dangerous as the work that his uncles and cousins undertake around the clock.

Unfortunately, every so often that dangerous potential is realized, as it was on the day before we headed home. On the night of the 4th, the cows in the pasture by Grammy's were apparently spooked by the fireworks at Devil's Bowl Speedway, broke down their fence, and bolted up the road. A cousin managed to get the cows penned in a neighbor's pasture where, the next morning, they had to be separated from the neighbor's cows, loaded up, and hauled back home after the fence was fixed.

While Uncle P was loading the cows, one butted him in the face and bolted. Uncle P was initially transported to Burlington, then airlifted to Dartmouth. Eventually, he was sent home to wait for the swelling to go down enough for the plastic surgeon to see what he could do.

We love all of the uncles and each has captured a special part of 3B's heart. Uncle P is the one who is taking 3B for a tractor ride in that first video of a trip to the farm, and who always takes 3B for a ride--most recently taking him out every morning on the tractor pulling the manure spreader for half-hour long trips into the pastures. 3B loves this to the point that, whether we're on the farm or not, he cries out, "Want to ride on the manure spreader with Uncle P!" several times a week.

While 3B often balks when we ask if he wants to ride on a tractor, four-wheeler, or fire engine, Uncle P is smarter than Mama and I and simply grabs 3B as soon as we arrive at the barn and carries him up into the tractor for a ride without asking. And 3B loves every ride with him. And when we are away from the farm, it is that video that is the single most requested item in our house, and has been ever since I posted it--always requested with the plaintive cry, "Want to see Uncle P."

So, we were all glad to hear this weekend that Uncle P is recovering from successful facial reconstruction surgery...or, as we told 3B, and as he repeats, that "A cow butted Uncle P in the face. He has a bandage, and he'll be OK."

Hope you all had a happy and safe 4th, and next time you take a sip of milk, don't forget to give thanks to a dairy farmer.

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  1. I bet that limo smells worse than the one I rented for my bachelor party when we were done with it...Woof.

  2. Anonymous4:43 PM

    AHHHH I played the same song for soundcheck on July 4. Great minds I tell ya.

    TCB on the X

  3. Delighted to hear someone else knows how to play Pooh Sticks.

    Hint: Never ask a rabbit about Pooh Sticks.


  4. RTK: Woof indeed. I didn't dare open the door to check.

    King: Check. Check. Two. Two. Sibilance. Sibilance. Check. Check. What now?

    MrJ: And there's Foster Brooks's joke about the eagle and the pigeon...ask the King about it.

  5. It is good to see you were having fun while you were away. I burned lots of gasoline on my last trip, and I will burn even more on my next one. At least I am doing it in a little car like you are.

    All those firetrucks look just perfect for 3B. Too bad they do not parade for him all the time.

  6. So much to comment on:

    I really like Mama's hair. She is quite beautiful. I also liked 3Bs hair when he was sweaty and it stuck out just a bit.

    It is nice that all the cousins can play pooh sticks together. My kids like that too.... especially the 18 year older.

    Nice that you are teaching your child to spread manure. It will be a good skill to have later in life too.

    All those fire engines must have been on their way out here to help put out all the fires.

  7. Two more things:
    Note to self, bring plenty of shoes for snacking on while driving south.
    and nice to see 3B worked so hard he worked his pants off. another good life skill.

    Hope Uncle P is up and about soon!!

  8. Anonymous10:48 PM

    Wow, I'm sorry about favorite uncle. Cows are cute and all, and thanks for the milk, but they're big mofos. Here's to dairy farmers, and all they do!

  9. And here I thought I was the only one who fed my kids shoes. . .

  10. CAGirl: Well, ours is a sort of little car, but not really. Certainly not as little as yours. Then again, not a Hummer, either.

    * Me too.
    * It's almost like they're related or something.
    * It is a good skill, especially if you're good enough to cover a whole pasture ankle-deep in 30 minutes.
    * At the pace they were moving, you might not see those fire engines until the next winter Olympics.
    * As the Manic Mommies say, you can never have too many shoes or too many babysitters.
    * Yes, he worked his pants off, but, just as important, he kept his boots on.

    AMama: Big and still wild.

    BBM: If they eat your shoes, that's one less thing that you'll have to move. Or two.