It was a quick three weeks--and, oddly picture-less ones at that!--but Chicken has gone back to San Diego, leaving the house quiet and the younger kids strangely inclined not to quarrel.
In fact, the entire family seems to have fallen into the July slump-- you know that slump, it's the one in which Calvin and Hobbes wander around and do nothing and we envy them?
Yeah. That's where my kids are right now. They can play video games, play in their rooms, read, or wander around the backyard for hours--and yes, they can get into trouble. Over the Fourth, Zoomboy developed a game of bowling plastic cups with a soccer ball that kept him busy for days. He has started going through his old joke books and coming up with even older jokes, and his sister is reading all of the books he told her about in the last year. They need even MOAR stuff to do, and I'm afraid I really only offer stuff to do every so often--but then, self-reliance is a good thing.
So is Netflix, wherein the little kids have now become intimately acquainted with Malcolm in the Middle this summer, God help us all. The entire family has enjoyed this one-- we SO identify with that show, being as we are not good people, at all, even when we mean to be.
Mate took everybody to Sun Splash on Thursday, and for a whole five minutes I was lost in a conundrum: go to the loud, hot swim park surrounded by rides that would probably hurt me to ride, or stay home and actually get some work done without the distraction of kids, in a house so quiet I can actually listen to music.
I picked B-- and I sort of sublimated the guilt in all of that glorious quiet. *happy sigh* Ah…
And today, Mate and Chicken watched a very sad animated feature-- The Illusionist and proceeded to break each other. Chicken broke because the film was frickin' sad, and Mate broke because he didn't know how to fix Chicken. I got home from taking the little kids to gymnastics and picked up the aftermath, and it wasn't until I looked up the plot of this movie that I realized what happened.
Because the plot synopsis made me cry.
No lies. The plot synopsis. I was a mess.
Anyway, that was the note on which we shoved Chicken out of the car and into the airport, and that sort of sucks, because as a whole, I think she had a very nice visit.
On Tuesday, for example, we went to Candy Heaven-- I may have mentioned this place back in March-- so I could ask Darren, the proprietor, if I could use his store in my upcoming Christmas novella, and even use him! I didn't get a chance to talk to him, which is too bad because he's delightful, but his office assistant passed on the request, and I got a big enthusiastic YES!
Of course now I'm a little nervous-- I'm going to be taking liberties of course, because it's fiction, but now I REALLY want him to like it!
Of course, the kids really enjoyed the trip-- I bought them fun stuff, and we got candy and stopped by the fortune telling store and got bookmarks that corresponded with our birth dates and I got a new deck of cards and Chicken got a big purple puppet she called Steve, after the cat, because the puppet looked just a tad bit dumb and like it, too, would fall of couches if given half a chance.
So, between that, trips to my parents for the FIFTH of July, the occasional trip to the pool, and obviously some big things going down work wise, I think we've been busy enough. (Although I just asked the kids to go out and do a chore-- the blowback I'm getting would make you think they picked tobacco in 100 degree heat and 90% humidity-- I SWEAR they are underutilized as house elves, really!)
But now, after all of that I'm the one feeling lost.
Mackey, Bells, and Black John consumed a good portion of my active mind for nearly six months. And while I'm working on some short projects-- some light, happy things to balance out all of the difficult, painful drama, I find my mind adrift. Mackey is safe and sound and happy and edited. Nate and Walter are gone, packaged, ready to be released, and John doesn't get edited for another two months (although I went and gave him an extra editing pass just for good measure.)
I finished a novella for a cookbook anthology (which made me really happy to write) and I'm working on a Christmas novella, but these things are sweet, kind projects, that don't require nearly the mental defenses I've been using for Mackey, John, and Bells.
What do I think of now?
My family, of course (and I think they bear some thinking about-- I do not like the fight I just had to put up to get a simple chore done) and maybe some housework-- I mean, there's things I have to do, things I've let slide--and now I have to remember to climb up that slide again and do those things-- these other projects aren't calling me anymore.
It's enough to make a mom want to go into the woods with her best stuffed friend and meditate.
Or maybe drag her offspring with her.