July 11, 2005

Vacation Week!

The 4th we went over to Reba's mom and dad's for lunch, and we did laundry, and then Cat and I went outside at dark and watched the freelance pyrotechnics of the neighbors. VERY pretty! Then, the next couple of days were spent with me hauling Oldest over to the church building each day so she and the rest of the teenagers could help paint the house of one of the little old people at church. I wish she was that energetic about doing stuff at home. And yes, she got paint all over herself, because they tend to think such exercises are an excuse to act like a bunch of idiots. On second thought, maybe I'm glad she doesn't want to help around the house.

Tuesday, I got out and cut grass in the very hottest part of the day because I am very stupid and because the grass was bushier than Andy Rooney's eyebrows, and Tuesday afternoon we were due to have Tropical Storm Cindy dumping more buckets of rain on us. So, that had to be done. But not before yet another piece of sheetmetal came unconnected from underneath the lawnmower, and not before I had to ONCE MORE fidget with washer and bolts to make sure the blade would stay bolted on tight. Finally got it going right and the rest of the process was uneventful. Aside from running over a big plastic bag full of dog poop hidden in the high grass of the front yard. I'm not sure if this was a bag that got ingested then deposited in the grass, or a dog-walking neighbor was just being neat by throwing their pickup into my yard instead of carrying it home with them. I tell you, stuff like that just RUINS the grass-cutting experience.

Wednesday evening, the second set of classes for the new quarter at church, and once again, astoundingly, everyone was in place and ready to go. AMAZING!

Thursday evening, building committee meeting, in which several of the members sat around jabbering and asking me the same questions they've been asking all along. Did decide on whom to interview and when.

Friday morning, realized the power bill was due Friday morning, and also needed to get other bills in the mail immediately, so I got the kids together and we drove downtown to pay the power bill and then went by the main post office. It's always fun to take the kids into the city--they don't get to see it enough, and it always makes me think of how it must look to them--all movement and traffic and people and tall buildings. Then back out to the burbs with a stop at the Chinese buffet joint. Just had a hankering, you know? Despite the fact that we were supposed to meet my mom and sister Saturday for Chinese food for my birthday celebration.

And then, in one of those very strange coincidences, it got to be Saturday. And Reba gave my my birthday present. Quite inexplicable, too, but she'd purchased for me Ralph Sawyer's translation of Sun Tzu's The Art of War. Inexplicable, because although I have read the book before, I'd never mentioned that I'd like to have another copy (I have a small paperback copy), and it's not one of those books that's out there where your average shopper can find it. You have to look for it. Seems she'd seen a reference to it in some of her business classwork, and thought I'd enjoy it.

Indeed I do! Because this Sawyer guy seems to have it going on as far as knowing the background of the book and its various companion works and the history of China. So far, just the introduction is fascinating, and Sawyer's writing ability is very good. Tight, readable, informative, and not jargony or overly pedantic. Very nice. And goes right well with Kung Pao chicken!

Met my mom and sister over at Hunan Garden in Hoover, admired Mama's new hot rod, had lunch, and got more presents in the form of a hat from the Infiniti dealership, four dress shirts, two ties, and two pairs of socks. And a big box of leftover kung pao.

And then, time for some SHOPPING! Not for me, though. Reba needed a dress for church and/or work. Home to drop off the food, then turned around and went RIGHT BACK TO WHERE WE'D BEEN. Making that the most extravagantly expensive half-full styrofoam carton of Chinese food in the entire state of Alabama.

I dropped her and the two older girls at Parisian, and I took the younger two with me on a tour of the Galleria. Stopped at every store, including one that had the very stupid Buck, the Singing Talking Deer Head. Catherine saw it through the window and dragged me and Jonathan into the place, where she stood transfixed with glee as it sang "Sweet Home, Alabama" to us.

I was even more shocked by something else in the store.

As we stood there listening the fake deer head talk, I happened to look over at the counter in the middle of the store, and was met by the sight of a grown "man," who just happened to be wearing a pair of white satin hot pants similar to those worn by various NFL cheerleading squads. He also had on a carefully trimmed bright red tee-shirt that had a lovely scooped back and arm area, and as I was to find out later, tauntingly exposed his man-aries. To top this all off, he had a long, curly mullet. To top THIS off, when he turned his head slightly to the side, I could see that on the top of his head in front was a carefully applied hairpiece. To top THIS off, the fellow was probably pushing sixty, although he had the perpetually-surprised look of the old-guy eye lift. AND, to TOP THIS OFF COMPLETELY, he was with some old peroxide blonde battle-axe.

I quickly shooed the children out of the store before the zany deer head could start singing David Lee Roth's version of "Just a Gigolo."

The rest of the tour of the retail complex was notably free of any additional excitement. Aside from the merry-go-round ride. And visiting the Build A Bear Workshop.

Home (with a dress for Miss Reba that somehow managed to turn into six or seven different oufits and only cost $410--Happy Birthday, Terry!), baths for the kids, then to bed with them all, then up Sunday to go to church and await Hurricane Dennis. Which, although the news says caused $5 billion worth of damage, wasn't nearly so bad as people thought it would be. Including my sister, who had brought all of her cats and all of her frozen food to Birmingham with her.

We didn't have church last night, so we spent a lazy afternoon at home, where I got to read the paper and my AutoWeek and my new copy of The Art of War and watch the local television stations Dopplerate themselves into a furious twist of cyclonic activity as they measured millimeter by millimeter the approach of the storm.

And today, here I am again, having to put up with stupid work. Blech.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at July 11, 2005 03:56 PM

You’ve got to get a camera phone.
If you enjoyed The Art of War you might also like Amazon.com: Books: Book of Five Rings : The Classic Guide to Strategy.

Posted by: jim at July 11, 2005 07:22 PM

Jim, I have a feeling he probably already has several photos of himself on the Internet already.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at July 12, 2005 09:56 AM