Sunday, September 2, 2012

In the still of the morning

Some silences are better than others. The quiet that comes from a house where everyone else is still sleeping has more promise than a house that's silent because you happen to be the only one home. 

It's like watching a rain drop start to drip from a flower petal or a rabbit in the middle of your yard: you're witness to something fleeting that if you breathe too hard will disappear. It's not that you won't get this chance again -- but you're the only one in the world who has it now.

I need my quiet. My time when it's just me and I can choose to watch that bunny have my flowers for lunch or with a small rebuke give the daisy a reprieve.

I could tell you that I spend my quiet time as a silent witness to nature taking its course; contemplating where my energies could do the most good; or atoning -- at least in my own head -- for slights or sins I might have committed. I could be meditating.

But that would usually be a lie. 

Generally, I haven't silently sipped my first cup of coffee before I'm evaluating the state of my lawn, which section of house I need to clean, or what I can do next at work. And then, I might squander the rest of my quiet time actually cleaning up or reading a novel that might or might include one or 150 salacious love scenes.

Right now, I'm at the kitchen counter listening to the hum of my refrigerator, the bugs outside who have to know their salad days are about to turn ugly, and the clicking of my keyboard. Jeff is snoozing and Alison and Jenna are downstairs sleeping the sleep of two girls exhausted from giggling and sharing secrets -- the import of which only each other can fully appreciate. 

For Ali, it's a little boy trouble I'm sworn not to discuss. For Jen, she's missing her mother who's on a well-deserved trip to see a friend. But as of 3:47 p.m. yesterday, there's nothing wrong with either of their worlds.  

Thus, there's nothing wrong with mine.

In other news, Team Ogden and Reed (sans husbands) spent some time together yesterday. Hannah, who is rapidly putting her childhood firmly behind her, joined Karin and me in the gym while Alex and Ali ruled the teen center at the Y. Afterward we had lunch, did a little school project shopping and checked out Orange Leaf frozen yogurt for the first time.

We have been avowed Huddles frozen yogurt fans for a while, but the kids were really disappointed when they switched from funky orange spoons to more traditional orange spoons. They're also phasing out Alison's favorite topping -- cookie dough -- and their choices have remained largely the same since we started going.

Orange Leaf is a few miles east of Huddles and features way funky orange spoons and even funkier chairs. It has more flavors and a full bin of cookie dough. We may have an issue with the vanilla flavor. "It has a really weird aftertaste," declares my daughter, 3/4 through and still sorting through marshmallows and cookie dough to get to the frozen confection.

We'd switched up because OL is giving 20 percent of its sales to either Chatard or Cathedral high school -- whichever sends in the most customers willing to declare for one or the other schools.
My guess is we'll stick with OL until Alison has what she deems enough of the funky spoons -- they're kind of like tiny shovels -- which of course makes the yogurt taste better.

We have two days left before we head back to school and work, with much fun and a little homework ahead of us. Alison has to build Zeus' temple for school and Jeff has to decide if he's going to put a bid in to coach Alison's basketball team.

He's a great coach for boys. I know he CAN coach girls. I'm afraid he might forget they're different than the boys he coached back before we were married.

He was prone to some tough love tactics back then. One poor kid had a mother who asked Jeff if he'd go easy on her son because he wasn't used to rigorous play. I'm pretty sure that mother never spoke to Jeff again -- though she may have spoken of him.

Jeff didn't push that poor boy harder than the others, but he certainly didn't let him take a pass on the stuff he made the others do. He used to taunt them with "my dead grandmother can run faster/shoot better/block better than that!"

I think he might have to rethink his motivational tricks if he's to be accepted into this role. Alison is fine with it. 

But I suspect she's hoping if he'll coach her, he might leave math homework to me. 

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