Friday, October 23, 2009

Bountiful Harvest

What's not to love about the Fall? You get woodsmoke, rain, candy corn, jerky, carmel apples, and baby calves. If I didn't have to rake leaves (worst yard job ever), if there were more snow (for snowboarding), and longer hours of sunshine (bikinis), it would be perfect.

The season officially begins around here with the opening day of buck season, which also usually coincides with my birthday. It's like having Christmas and Halloween on the same day. The wives of hunters call the time, "bachelorette season," and not because of the TV show. They form small, roving bands and meet in pubs to celebrate their six weeks of solitude.

Just to hammer out the point a little more, here are a couple examples of Fall's awsomeness: I went to my Callahan cousins' the other day to buck hunt and came home with apples, delicious wine they'd bottled, an amazing IPA homebrew, and some homemade goat cheese. Plus, they were brewing up some hard-cider, which I hope to try soon. Then, a couple of days later, I went to our neighbors' to see his day-old Blue Heeler puppies and get even more apples, which I used to make a killer pie. I mean, c'mon, puppies, pies, alcohol? How could you NOT like the Fall?

For Dylan, it was a little more difficult convincing her that she couldn't go to "Grandma Donna's" anymore to swim and that it's too cold for her little havaianas flip-flops. To help her with the seasonal transition, we ushered in her Fall with an early Halloween party.

Her day began with a little pre-nap, energy burning run around the backyard, just to warm up for the melee. It was still a little early, and the grass was wet, so she shed her leggings (yep, I've finally learned the difference between leggings and tights). Soon, her chonies were off, and somehow her shirt got lost in the fray. It was like Cabo Wabo during spring break. In her nudie, she chased the dogs, hurled acorns, and rolled around on the muddy grass until she was filthy and had grass stuck everywhere. During one of her tussles with Chowder, he popped her in the nose and it bled. Unfazed, she ran around the yard like a feral toddler, blood streaming down her face, laughing. I was impressed at how well she could take a punch and Regina was pleased that we wouldn't have to wash grass-blood-mud-acorn stains out of her clothes.
When the party began, she'd finally cleaned up and was transformed into a beautiful princess. Grady joined the party in his chicken suit, but he's such a sweaty boy that he overheated in the costume and we had to take it off. To make sure he didn't feel left out, I put a blonde afro wig on him. If you've never seen a baby in an afro wig, go buy 1) a wig, and 2) a baby. It's hilarious.

My favorite part of the party was when Dylan's friend, Ransom, found one of Chowder's newly-dead ground squirrels and mistook it for a stuffed toy. He proudly carried it to the backyard and parents scattered like he was holding a grenade. We got the varmint out of his grasp, loaded up all the kids on cupcakes and candy, then sent them home.

We finally had time to sit back and relax with our friends, Sean and Eden, and eat good lamb chops, enjoy some drinks, and have a few laughs. Sean and I made last minute adjustments to the hunt we had planned for the morning (the plans got more and more elaborate as the evening and drinks continued), while Regina and Eden just smiled, knowing they'd have us back soon to tackle all those chores we'd been neglecting.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

We Now Return to Our Regularly Scheduled Schedule

When two Virgos meet, marry, and procreate you can pretty much guarantee that routines and schedules will be an integral part of familial happiness. You say "OCD," we say "organized." Even if those two Virgos have a little Taurus who wants to smash the schedule into shiny pieces that she can pick up and eat, the Virgos will hold their ground and remain calm; it's in their astrological makeup.

Dylan's schedule is pretty easy. She gets up early, naps everyday at 1:00, and goes to bed early. If one piece of that simple puzzle is messed with by, say, a chocolate fondue lunch or a sideways glance, then everyone suffers. Most days, we stay on track. Dylan's up by 6:00 whether we're hungover or not, drinks a glass of milk, pees, and watches Dora and Diego while we get ready.
Dora and Diego are slightly annoying children who live in jungles and rescue animals without being attacked and eaten by bigger, more aggressive animals. If Mogli, from "The Jungle Book," had a baby with a drill sergeant with a bad bowl haircut, the baby would be Dora. If Mogli then had an affair with a doe-eyed drag-queen, the baby would be Diego. Dylan doesn't seem to mind their constant high-pitched shouting, but I think I know why. There are no commercials during the shows, but one half-hour episode only lasts about twelve minutes (animal in peril, go through three obstacles, save animal), then the next eighteen minutes are devoted to commercials. And Dylan is infatuated. Damn the power of media.

Dylan sits, rapt, by commercials for toys and tampons (that's the early morning focus group). Regina and I hear, "I want that for my birthday," ten or fifteen times every morning. "What is it?" I'll ask, too sleepy or senile to guess what kind of product Nickelodeon is pushing. I'm not sure Dylan really knows either, but she makes some good guesses: baby? horsey? or, the honest, "I don't know."
Last week she told me she wanted a baby that pooped and peed. Trust me, you don't, I told her. "For my birthday," she pleaded. "First," I told her, "you already have a baby that does that. His name is Grady. Second, Mommy and Daddy aren't making you another one, so enjoy the one you got."

Grady's routine is a little more simple. It involves power-eating and food-coma naps. All the regularly-scheduled eating is really bulking him up. He's already eating a little cereal and his thighs are starting to look like an offensive lineman's. His belly looks like a college freshman's and he even has, what I proudly call, "side-belly." He was rolling over at four-weeks old, but I don't think he can do that anymore, although Regina swears he can. He eats, craps, naps, and grins, all on schedule.

I have to give all the credit to Regina. I'm not sure, okay, I'm positive, I wouldn't have been able to do such an amazing job with getting the kids organized and on a routine that we all can be happy with. I worry (Virgos are worriers too!) about the day that Regina decides she needs a vacation with "just the girls." I can imagine her face when she comes back and sees that the house resembles the suite in the movie "The Hangover," Grady has a bowl of dry cereal on his lap, and Dylan and I are parked in front of the TV, trying to see who can say, "I want that for my birthday," first.