Sunday, June 17, 2012

If a tree falls in a front yard, will it ever die? (and other tales from Team Reed)

Jeff had to work this morning so our Fathers Day hasn't really been celebrated yet. But we've had plenty of time to plot and plan. Which was good because it's been a killer week.

Alison had two camps this week. One that went from 9 to noon and then she finished out at her normal camp. Both are north of Downtown where both Jeff and I toil during the work week.

Normally, he'll drop her at her camp and I do pickup. The transition took it's toll on our desk time, but it worked out. Ultimately.

We got lucky midweek to get to snag Jenna for a couple of sleepovers. One was planned to help Amer who was out of town. The other I sort of sneaked. It's like a national holiday around here when we get Jenna. Everyone loves having her so we try every chance we get.

We had big fun with the top down. We got pizza and a RedBox movie and then spent some time in Kroger ruminating over what lunch should be the next day. We settled on popcorn chicken (ketchup for Jen; bbq sauce for Ali), Oreos, applesauce, Gushers, Quakers (Jen) and Ruffles (Ali) and got it all assembled. It was bedtime before Jenna remember for us that it was a hotdog cookout the next day and they didn't need lunch at all.

Turned out the cookout wasn't very good and they were happy they had alternatives.

The next night, the girls raided all my closets and swished around the house in dresses and heels before deciding they needed to switch hairstyles. So I straightened one and curled the other. Jenna's hair is stick straight and I knew was going to normalize by morning.

I was going in extra early to make up some time, so I crept downstairs at dawn and started putting hot curlers in the side of the head I could get at. She woke up about 15 minutes in and turned over for me. I gave Ali's an extra session with the flat iron and left them to their own devices.

I didn't get to work quite as early as I'd wanted but it was worth it. At one point I was telling them about a road rage incident my friend Niki had reported on and Jenna said, "Have you ever ridden with Aunt La?" It was hysterical. Lynda (aka Aunt La) will one day have her window down and someone is going to actually hear her expletives and anger that spews pretty much from the time she leaves her driveway and encounters other traffic until she parks her car.

Jenna was pretty sure Aunt La wouldn't have celebrated her road rage with her children (as recounted in Niki's story. "Every time, she says, "sorry Jenna," reports Jenna.

Tom decided to pick them up early from camp on Friday and it turned out that Alison went straight from her first camp to his car and their neighborhood pool where they spend 4 straight hours.

All of this fun and silliness occurred before Saturday, Jenna's 11th birthday/sleepover/pool party extravaganza. But it was perfect timing because after her delight with her curls, we added her own set of hot rollers to her gift basket

I picked Ali up this morning. Part of Jenna's surprise was a trip to Claire's to get her ears pierced and Alison ended up with a new pair of shoes that look like Chuck Taylors but lace up her leg like boots. She is over the moon for them. I think Aunt La is hoping to get her own pair when her birthday rolls around...

Once we got home, we took advantage of Jeff's absence to make him tiramisu, his favorite dessert. Alison had seen a cupcake version but we decided it would be better to do the real thing and make it look like the cupcake.

 I have long eschewed the need for a hand mixer because I don't bake that much and I can handle mixing cake batter by hand. Did you know that the key to tiramisu is to whip egg whites into a mountain?

Neither did I.

I know we made it before, but we had to have missed this step. It better be worth it. I had sworn off working out on Sunday because my second attempt to kill that sweet gum tree with ax and shovel had done a number on my back.

After an hour or so, I gave up on getting the stump and big roots out of the ground, but I had severed their connection in a few places, and I did manage to unearth another few feet of arm-sized chunks of root. I'm sure the neighbors wonder why I'm taking the ax to the yard, but I'll get that tree if it's the last thing I do.

So my back hurts from wrenching it on ax swing number 7,987 or so, and my right arm feels like it should look like one of Popeye's arms after beating the hell out of the eggs.  Alison did a little bit, but she quickly opted for other tasks once she realized what we had to accomplish.

I tried to switch off whisking with my left hand,  but I'm a rightie and I just didn't get the speed I needed. There for a while I was hallucinating with the pain of my repetitive one-hand mixing and I thought: "Man, I need Jeph Slaughter."

I won't spell out why Jeph would be great at beating egg whites. But he would. And now I'm wondering why his arms aren't lopsided. He might be ambidextrous. But I digress.

We have the dessert done. Next up is the grill, the home-made mashed potatoes (Ali's job) and the corn on the cob. We have fancy bread. I'll think of something green.

I'm thinking sweet gum leaves and roots might make a good salad...

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