Active Afternoons

Let it never be said that an afternoon in the life of the Hearns is dull. Here's a recounting (which is by no means all-inclusive) of an hour or two.

I was doing some writing when I realized that it was time for the kids to take their naps. I went to call them and found that Daniel was already looking for me. "I want to teach Mallory how to swim," he told me.
"Well, it's time for your nap, buddy; maybe you can do that project later."

No, he didn't want to do the project later. He tried to convince me of the merits of this undertaking. "I won't get her wet; I'll just get in the pool and show her exactly how to do it so that she knows." Smooth way to get himself into the pool. I denied the request a second time and went to do laundry after telling the kids to get cleaned up for their naps.

I came back a few minutes later and Daniel and Mally were in a very serious discussion of some nature; I thought it was rather cute and so I walked up and asked them what they were talking about. "Well," Daniel told me, "Mally thinks she might have to go to the restroom."
Suffice it to say that their serious discussion quickly ended as I broke up the committee and sent Mally on her way.

Mom was on the phone with someone and as I returned to add a paragraph I'd been thinking about to the document I was working on, my phone rang and it was a good friend of mine; we talked and somehow came up with a brilliant plan that included meeting eachother on Saturday with a friend from Texas and another friend from Arizona who both happened to be out in So Cal right now. I went to ask mom what her thoughts were on the plan we'd hatched, and she was on the phone so I told my friend that I'd call her back later with verdicts. I called the friend from Arizona who happened to be in the middle of a show at Sea World and she said she'd call me back. Jay then got a call about his Fire activities tonight and while he was trying to convey what was going on to me, mom walked in and also tried to start telling me that she was going to Lancaster to look at some bunk beds for the girls' room (now there will be 4 of us in there when Whitney gets out of her basinette). The new problem was that Jay needed to be dropped off with Fire at either six or seven, the time wasn't conclusive yet. In the middle of mom and I trying to arrange things she got another phone call and I decided to go check on the kids.
They'd gotten distracted, so we had a little training session and we learned (together) how to clean up batches of crayons off the floor. I reminded them (afterwards) of what they were supposed to be doing and joined Jay and Mom again, proposing that mom go to Lancaster and that Jay and I would have grandma over for supper and she'd take Jay to Fire. As I was calling grandma, some other major event ended up taking place that I have absolutely no recollection of, and as soon as I got off the phone mom said, "Well, what are you going to make for dinner?" It was 1:50; way too early to be thinking about what we were having for dinner.

I went and checked on the kids; Mally was doing fine, getting ready "for a little nappie" (as she calls it) and Daniel was nowhere to be seen. I went outside and found him longingly swirling his hand around in the pool; he jumped up and said, "I wasn't swimming....at least I don't think that's called swimming." It wasn't, but he also wasn't supposed to be out there so he got a little correction and a new shirt (as the one he was wearing was now wet on the sleeve where he'd been checking out the water). About the time I got back in Jay had decided to vacuum his ceiling fan; I don't know what possessed him. It was a very....noisy process.

Emily wasn't going to be eating supper so she decided to bring along some lemonade instead. Mally saw this process being conducted and decided that she wanted lemonade, too. I told her that Em was having lemonade because she had opted out of supper, and that she probably wouldn't be interested in the exchange. To the contrary, she piped up immediately, "Okay, I don't have to eat dinner. I want some lemonade!" By executive order there was an override to her decision.

The friend at Sea World called back and we discussed things briefly, then I helped mom come up with a map to Lancaster. Mally came in whimpering. "I don't want to be hungry," she told me. As flattering as it was to think that she would imagine that I would have the answer to that dillema, I told her that great minds since the dawn of time have been trying to suppress hunger and that (with the rare exception of the kooks who believe in breathairianism) humanity in general hadn't found a solution to the problem of hunger yet and that she would just have to stick to having supper instead of lemonade.

Daniel was in the restroom by this time (before his nap), and when I hadn't seen him for awhile I went in there to check on his status. I immediately knew that something was wrong; to make a long story short, apparently he had never been educated as to the proper technique and common usages of razors, and decided to experiment. I ended up calling Jay in to help me clean up the bloody mess that resulted. While I was getting aloe vera for Daniel and convincing him that it was not poisonous or deadly, Mally decided that, since she'd already had a morning nap, she wanted to go with mom this evening. That meant making another serving of supper to send with the girls, and getting Mally ready to go.

Daniel emerged with bandages and I thanked Jay profusely for handling the problem for me.

A little while later I went to go discuss dinner plans with mom, and after we had been talking a little while a family member (who shall remain anonymous, and no, it wasn't me) accidentally knocked mom's iron onto the ground; after mom had been assured that the carpet and the iron were fine, things returned to normal. I went into the garage to check on available food in the outside freezer. What I didn't realize is that Jay was in the garage, and we ended up scaring eachother while we were in there. He then confessed that he'd been trying to reduce the size of a nerf ball (?????) and had been grinding it down on a grinder or something....the grinder had sucked the whole nerf ball in. I don't know what came over him, because Jay is usually so....practical. Anyway, he was now in the garage trying to figure out how to get the grinder to disgorge the ball.

I was trying to decide what to make for dinner and every time I would start to think that I had a workable menu, I'd find out that I didn't have at least one ingredient that was absolutely necessary to the success of the meal. Finally I asked Jay if he would barbecue chicken for me and we'd have BBQ chicken sandwiches, cheese potatoes and baked beans. He agreed and so I started to thaw some chicken in the microwave. I helped Daniel finish cleaning his room, got Mally, mom, Em and Whitney ready to go, saw them out the door, called grandma again to confirm that I still had no idea what time Jay needed to go and to just show up at 4:45 for supper so we could make sure to have eaten by the time he had to go, and started making the potatoes.

I tried calling another friend of mine again to explain that the Sea World friend had been willing to do the four-way get together, and as I was talking to her Emily came in singing her own personally altered version of "You Raise Me Up" which included unique lyrics exactly opposite of the original ones ("You set me down so I can fall down mountains..."). I checked on the chicken defrosting in the microwave, and it seemed to be going well, then got mom finally fully out the door, discovered that Daniel was actually asleep, (a small miracle in and of itself) and took the chicken out of the microwave.

Jay found me several minutes later mumbling under my breath as I was packaging up the chicken to refreeze.
"What happened?" he asked.
"We can't have this chicken for sandwiches; I didn't know that these are chicken pieces with ribs!"
"Um, Nic, I'm not sure if you've done much studying on chicken anatomy....but chickens don't have ribs."
"I just read it on the package; it said, 'Chicken breasts with ribs'."
"Well, actually, all fowl are unique in that they don't have ribs; they instead have a sternal plate."
I shoved the chicken back in the freezer. "Maybe 'Chicken with Sternal Plates' didn't sound quite as appetizing," I guessed. After making a mental note to never again think that 1:30 was too early to begin looking into supper plans, I headed for the garage again to plan an alternate menu...