Saturday, June 28, 2008

The experiment, continued

Or, more truthfully, discontinued.

Due to circumstances well beyond my control, we gave up on the non-driving experiment. Maybe I'm a wimp, but I couldn't figure out how to help my boss move out of his apartment without cranking up the minivan. And I couldn't figure out how to purchase food and liquor for his going-away party without driving.

So yes, we drove during not-driving-week. About 4 miles in all. Which still isn't bad, but it means the experiment failed this time.

But I don't think this failure proves terribly much. How often, in a person's lifetime, does one's manager develop serious visa problems and have to leave the country with 20 days' notice? I'm thinking it's a once in a lifetime thing. (And I'm not going to say much about it except that I hate it and I've cried more about this situation than I've cried over any work situation in the last nine years. He's fantastic and I adore his wife and I'm going to miss them horribly and I have some anxiety about what's going to happen next at work.)

New topic.

The kids are back from their week in northwest Arkansas, and I must say, they're a lot of fun. I can't honestly say that I miss them all that much when they're gone (mainly because we keep ourselves busy and don't have much opportunity to miss them), but I love it when they're home. The girl and I spent much of yesterday afternoon and evening cuddling on the couch, after she emerged from email land and got sucked into the movie I was halfway watching (I was halfway sleeping). We were both tired, and I think she was needing some Mom time.

A few years ago, I wouldn't have let her watch "First Knight," because it deals with the Arthur/Guinevere/Lancelot story, which is a bit, well, adult with the whole forbidden love thing. But I also clearly remember being about her age and wishing with all my heart that my parents would let me see "Excalibur" when it came out in the theater. (They considered my request seriously, even went to see the movie, and then denied my appeals. I saw it years later and "Meh", but I saw their point.) But "First Knight" is PG-13, and the love story part was quite tame, and the battle gore didn't bother her in the Narnia movies, so I decided it wasn't inappropriate.

What was funny was how she fell into watching the movie. She had come into the living room to tell me that the phone was for me, but then she sat down just because she wasn't doing anything else. At first she just glanced at the screen, but then I caught her getting interested. And then she was so interested that she asked me to pause the movie when she went to the kitchen for a snack. We talked about what was going on (she's never seen "Camelot" but has seen "The Sword and the Stone" so she was a little familiar with the story) and we both predicted when things were about to go sour.

And then it was over, but we found the second half of "Talladega Nights," which the kids and I think is hilarious but Craig thinks is incredibly stupid. By this time, Alex had joined us and watched it with us (although he was heartily disappointed that the dinner table scene, particularly the "spider monkey" line, had already taken place).

Watching my children watch movies gives me a great view inside their minds. I can tell a lot by what makes them laugh in comedies or what gets their attention in adventure movies. Alex doesn't enjoy battle scenes (and, as a result, didn't much love "Prince Caspian") but loves goofy comedy (and has become a fan of Nick at Night sitcom reruns). The girl is starting to "get" adult humor, and watching her laugh at off-color jokes makes the jokes much funnier to me. The laugh is different. It's like she knows that she "shouldn't" be laughing, but she can't help it.

They're home for a week, then it's off to Michigan for three weeks. I know Craig and I will enjoy the change of pace that occurs when we're child-free, but I also know we'll be happy to have them return. The laughter most of all.


alan said...

you didn't fail with your experiment. If you only drove the little you did during the week, and with the immediate needs you had, you did very well. Living car free is a challenge. We don't do it 100%, we rent cars when we need to, which is between once a month and once a week, depending on what's going on at the moment.

Bottom line is that the way our world is set up, it's not quite possible to be totally car free, especially in a city that isn't bike friendly, nor highly accessible via public transit (or that has Zip car or iGo).

So yeah, good job :D and hug the little ones for me, mmkay?

Laura said...


::poke poke::

We're back in town. We should get together for dinner while the kids are out of town!! Wine! Joviality!

Let us know!

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