Saturday, June 6, 2009

The State of the Family

My wife is sick, which means the whole family is more than slightly dysfunctional. I don't know how we would ever survive if something happened to her long-term. She was really quite down and needed the rest, so I took the kids on the pre-planned excursion that she so wanted to attend, but I did so with the hopes of giving her some quiet time alone. What did she do with it? Mostly just zombied around the house. (Is that a word? It is now ...)

The excursion was pretty fun. We drove to Santa Monica and forked over the 10 bucks to park by the beach. Then we took our bicycles and, with my youngest in a bicycle trailer, we hauled ourselves from the northernmost part of "the strand" at Will Rogers State Beach to the Santa Monica pier. A few things happened along the way:

-- I accidentally left my biking gloves (which I've had for ten years and absolutely LOVE!) by one of the bathrooms and two minutes later returned to find them gone. Things that are not bolted down go fast at the beach.
-- My youngest (4-years-old and 30 pounds light) is too old for a bicycle trailer, but he's a good sport because he likes to go fast. Every time I twisted behind me to ask him how he was doing, he'd smile up at me and say, "Good!"
-- Riding downwind is better done on the return leg of the trip. Duh.
-- My two older children have absolutely no idea what I mean when I say, "You! Have! To! Keep! To! The! Right!!" Seriously, they about got killed several times by fast-moving bicyclists, who literally came screeching to a halt when one of my children veered in front of them. I'm surprised I didn't get beat up for not teaching my children proper bicycle trail protocol. My exasperated apologies were well-received, though, and I'm grateful to report that most people have a sense of humor.
-- I was so afraid to leave the bikes behind, due to the earlier Stolen Biking Gloves Incident, that even though they were locked up at the Santa Monica Pier, we didn't even get out onto the pier to go explore the sights. My bicycle lock couldn't chain up the trailer very well, and we had all our stuff just sitting in it, so I most definitely did not feel comfortable being out of sight. Luckily, the kids were so tired, I don't think they really noticed that we actually didn't go to the rollercoaster or the ferris wheel.
-- Crabs are cool. I actually caught one (it was a slow-moving one) and held it, while my oldest son completely freaked out. He doesn't like sea creatures with legs; don't ask me why. The poor little thing was trying its darnedest to pinch me, but, as I said, it was a slow-moving one ...

My wife was a total trooper today, though. She made us lunch before sending us off, and we were gone for over four hours. We returned to find her asleep (I think). My youngest also passed out in the van on the way home, so with both of them down for a nap, the two oldest kids and I tried to stay quiet.

Nevertheless, she woke up soon after our return, and so I tried to keep her resting. Therefore, all afternoon we just had to watch "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." My daughter is now obsessed with aliens, and has been talking about them all night. She's quick to bounce from one fanciful thing to another. I told her that most movies with aliens in them are actually about mean aliens, and she didn't believe me. If she were 13, I'd show her Independence Day ...

Maybe we can show her Invasion of the Body Snatchers ... the old one ... yeah ... that'd scare (scar?) her.

In any case, I'm just trying to make my wife comfortable tonight. She sat and croaked me instructions for assembling dinner, and I did my best. It worked out well -- all, again, thanks to her. She is a light in our life that even when she's ill can't really be dimmed. So, I'll get her some hot cocoa tonight, have her sit on the couch zoning at the TV, then probably put her to bed early. And, hopefully, maybe, she might be a bit better in the morning ...

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