Weekend Roundup

I’ve been trying to work up the energy to do this post, but it’s hard. Saturday pretty much killed me, and various small irritations on Sunday piled up and got bigger, and by this morning I was ready to classify the whole weekend a loss. Which isn’t accurate at all, and intellectually I can look back and see all the good things that happened; I’m just in a bad headspace, and the fibro is winning today.

Saturday morning the boy and I took HRH to the airport, where he rented a car to drive to the Ottawa anti-prorogation rally. The boy and I came home, made peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, then headed out to attend the double-barrelled Aubin-Murphy progeny birthday party at Fundomondo. The boy had been looking forward to this for weeks, so it was a crushing obstacle for both of us when he encountered the giant indoor play structure and realized that it overwhelmed him. He desperately wanted to play on it, but it scared him at the same time. There were about twenty minutes of very stormy tears before I could coax him into the party room for some snacks and juice. Part of the problem was that the last time he’d been, he was young enough to play in the little kids’ section, and this time he was definitely not. But he’s old enough to get halfway up the big kids’ structure, look down, and be terrified. In the end we spent our time curled up on one of the couches together, playing with the games on the iPod Touch (and Debra showed us a rollercoaster game on hers, which thrilled him to no end). He was awkwardly caught between the ages of the older children and the youngest, who has been his playmate at the caregiver’s, but who was sticking to her older sister like glue, racing around the play structure with no fear. I think he might have been okay if he’d had someone of his age up there with him to distract him and encourage him along. He was very upset that I couldn’t play up there with him.

For my part, it was lovely to see and speak with adults I don’t see very often. And I got a cup of coffee and a piece of cake out of it, too.

(Small irritating thing of the weekend Number One: When we were divesting ourselves of our winterwear, the staff member who greeted us asked the boy if he’d like a grilled cheese or a hot dog for lunch at the party, and the boy said, “Chicken nuggets.” The man said, rather snottily, “We only serve healthy food here.” To which I wanted to say, “You’re offering my son hot dogs and you saying you’re serving healthy food? We make homemade breaded chicken nuggets, thank you very much, which I guarantee are one hundred percent healthier than your hot dogs.” I need to rethink my “keep mouth shut and don’t engage” policy, because I’m really tired of being the one to bite my tongue to avoid confrontation when people deserve to have their rudeness pointed out.)

After the party the boy indulged me and let me go to the yarn store in the same mall, where I picked up two braids of Fleece Artist roving (why I didn’t pick up all three there I do not know; perhaps I will stop by this weekend and see if the last one is still available). We got home and assembled the Knex kit that had been in his loot bag, then played with Lego and coloured until HRH called to be picked up from the airport again. After dinner the boy asked if he could play Rock Band, so we set it up and he absolutely smashed his way gleefully through Blitzkrieg Bop on the drums. Twice. Allowing him to do something so exciting just before getting ready for bed may not have been the best of plans, but we had a heck of a lot of fun.

Astute readers will see that there is no nap in this daily summary, and that is correct. I suspect that had something to do with the tears at the party as well; it all coincided with what should have been his naptime. Anyway, all this to say that when the boy’s teeth had been brushed and his pyjamas put on, he came into my office to tell he was ready for our storytime, and he looked at the computer monitor, where he saw dear little Zoe, Neil Gaiman’s cat who was dying from a esophageal tumour (and whose exquisite portrait graced my desktop for a good three months last year). And without a pause, the boy said, “Is that cat dead?” and started crying. Yes; before I’d had a chance to tell him who it was, and why I was reading a post about her. We soothed him for a good ten minutes, because he was extremely distraught about this cat whom he’d intuited was dying, and that propelled him into wanting Maggie, and asking if Zoe was going to go to the Summerlands, and was she going to be well again there, and what happens to their bodies?, and it was hard for everyone. We talked about writing “your friend Neil” a note to make him feel better about Zoe, telling him that she would meet Maggie in the Summerlands, and it really touched me that this child wanted to reach out to a man he’d never met to make him feel better about his loss. He is, at times, so intensely empathetic.

He passed out within four minutes after his story, before my cuddle was even over. I wasn’t surprised. It had been a very emotional day for him.

HRH and I were then initiated into the joys of Settlers of Catan, a board game that we’d heard about for a good sixish years but had never played. The upstairs neighbours bought a set, and we all settled down with Bailey’s and cookies and had a really good time. HRH and I are planning to buy an expansion set for it so we can do this semi-regularly.

Sunday we decided to do absolutely nothing. Friday I’d broken into the light brown Coopworth I had bought over Christmas week, and I was horrified at the quality of it; it’s full of neps and vegetable matter. It’s frustrating because under all the crap I can tell there’s a fluffy, soft, silky long-stapled wool. So Sunday I decided to wrestle with it and try to determine the best way to spin it, because I wasn’t going to waste it. I got some Aran/bulk two-ply done, but I decided to experiment with a laceweight single, theorizing that it might be easier to pick out the neps and dried grass that way. The Coopworth has grudgingly agreed to be spun laceweight, but only with plenty of cross-lacing, and by supported long draw. Neps were mostly minimised this way, but it’s still annoying. And I discovered that I have *another* bag of Coopworth stashed, in dark brown; it’s what was included in my wheel when I bought it. A quick peek into the bag shows vegetable matter and a few neps there, as well; I wont know the extent of it till I haul some off to predraft it and try to get it spun. Research on Ravelry forums this morning has turned up the general opinion among wheel sellers and buyers that the fibre included in the Louet wheel kits is of seconds quality; apparently some LYSs open the boxes and switch out the crappy fibre for good fibre instead, which is really nice for the beginning spinners. Reading this, though, I wondered if the LYS I bought this bag of fibre from did something similar, but put the lousy-grade fibre taken out of the box on the shelf to sell to an unsuspecting spinner, like me. Either way, I’m not impressed. People have assured the spinners of low-quality fibre that the Louet stuff in general is good, which has otherwise been my experience.

While I spun and muttered nasty things at my fibre, HRH and the boy played video games. The boy’s getting to an age where he’s got more fine motor control and a better understanding of how to manipulate controls to obtain a desired outcome, and to understand instructions. He has also reached the age where he finds the Raving Rabbids hilarious. HRH still has to talk him through things, and often has to direct a lot of the action, but it was great to hear them giggling together in the next room. We also got him going on the Wii Fit balance games, and the Shaun White snowboarding game that Scott worked on, and much fun was had.

For dinner I made a fabulous turkey pot pie with half the breast we’d frozen from Christmas dinner, and slurry stock from the 2008 Christmas bird. I usually use phyllo pastry to top my pot pies but I forgot to defrost it in time, so I made a basic shortening dough which worked brilliantly. Lacking anything else I added diced potatoes and parsnips along with the onions, and it was delicious. While I cooked, HRH whisked the boy downstairs to look at the upcoming weather, and while they were down there they logged on to WOW and the boy made a character of his very own. When I went down to get them I discovered that the boy had made a gnome rogue, and had already mastered how to move around, how to initiate an attack, and the key combos to follow through. He very proudly showed me how he took down wolves to sell the meat in order to gain a pair of leather gloves.

When he was in bed, HRH and I headed out to our sort-of-monthly-but-not-really steampunquian game, which was fun for most of us but oddly paced. When I got home I slept badly, being woken up once by a cat and once by the boy, and in between having stressful dreams about the steampunquian party being caught in a dangerous underground situation, and then about having a huge emotional confrontation with one of the player characters (one that I suspect is coming eventually, but it was very upsetting in the dream nonetheless), and finally about stage managing a play where no one was ready for anything and the second lead actress didn’t show up after intermission so I had to go on with a script in my hand while still stage managing. And something that frustrated me on the way out of the game the previous night started gnawing at me, so today has been unpleasant as a result of it all. And it’s grey and rainy and I’m just generally out of sorts.

But so far I have done work associated with the cello manual, and solved a wifi Mac mystery with the help of my research skills and my local Mac allies (which took up way too much of my time today, but at least now I know that it’s nothing I’m doing wrong — in fact, I am doing everything extra-right — it’s someone else who hasn’t secured their computer properly and my Mac is picking up their file-sharing signal), and have handled correspondence, among which was contact made by a previous client who will have more work for me soon, and who put a friend in contact with me for a small contract with them. So!

I missed the window I had for cello practice when no one was in the building, and because it’s so grey outside I can’t tell what time of day it is, which messes with my sense of how the day unwinds and things are paced. No, looking at a clock doesn’t help; I can’t internalise it. And so the day feels like it has gotten away from me.

I need to repeatedly remind myself that when the fibro rears its ugly head, I am not a failure, and that it’s okay to be quiet and not get things done.

6 thoughts on “Weekend Roundup

  1. paze

    Just reading about Liam’s fears and frustrations at Fundomundo made me tear-eyed with sympathetic frustration.

    When it comes to climbing structures, Devon is the fearless child I always wished I was, but never ever was. I was just like Liam, at his age and even older, and would have had a discouraging time at places like Fundomundo, had they existed when I was young; as it was, the climbing structures at playgrounds scared me, and it didn’t help that there were always kids my age or younger around to intimidate me and make me feel badly. (Once or twice my parents even had to endure other parents chiding them for not forcing me to climb the structures, or chiding them for bailing me out when I would be too scared to get off of them if I made it up too high for comfort.)

    (As for the snot and his “healthy foods” comment . . . GRRRR! I so admire your self-control. I would have bit his head right off, and then maybe complained to the management about him, or something equally excessive.)

    Liam is such a sweet and wonderfully sensitive child. (Didn’t I tell you that only the very best parents produce boys like that?) Thank the gods, fates, genetics and good parents for sensitive boys who grow up to become sensitive men—they (almost) help to balance out the insensitive, macho sh*ts out there!

    Hugs to you all, and, as Lu would say, “Booga booga!” to your fibro.

    xoxoxoxox . . . . .

    Reply
  2. Blade

    That’s was only the second time I got to play with real live bodies. I’m so glad you guys enjoyed it because I’ll be more then happy to play more.

    Reply
  3. Autumn Post author

    Thank you so much, Paze. You helped a lot. Yes, I would have been terrified of those things as a child, too, and I see no point in chivying a child into doing something like that that s/he doesn’t feel comfortable doing.

    Reply
  4. Debra Aubin

    Thank you for coming to the party; despite Ainsley being Elspeth’s shadow, she was excited Liam was there and confused as to why he didn’t come home with her. He’s grown so much that I’m not sure she recognized him at first!

    Elspeth & Ainsley aren’t anything like I was as a child; I actually managed to get failing marks in elementary school gym one semester. I felt bad for Liam, that he was upset by the size of the structure and the wildness of the other kids. I would have also liked to have had the chance to chat with you more, unfortunately I was busy as party Mom.

    I hope you enjoy Settlers of Catan – Tim has had the set for over a year and has not had anyone to play it with. I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

    Reply
  5. Autumn Post author

    I was surprised that we got to talk as much as we did, actually! Liam chattered about the party all the rest of the day; he’s pretty much forgotten how crushingly huge the play structure was and just remembers the fun of running around playing on the slides and with Ainsley at the end.

    Reply

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