Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Bird in the Hand...

Friday morning we found the guard holding a bird. It seemed to be injured, and no one knew what they would do with it next. There's no way I could keep it, not with 4 cats in the house (though I guess that's no excuse since we had a guinea pig for a week), and I wonder if it ended up just tossed outside the gate. It was a pretty bird, with yellow markings on its eyes. I wish I'd take a picture.

That was our beginning to a very different weekend. In fact, it's been an interesting past week.

Friday was Consular Leadership Day. What. A. Day. The morning held it's usual ice breaker type games, but added in a fun quiz game and a tea break. After a 20 minute Yoga Nidra session (OK, yoga outside is great, but laying on the ground, trying to stay still while ants crawl over your hand and flies land on your feet... no matter how beautiful the weather it those little critters are distracting), and lunch where a bird pooped onto my shirt and utensils (thanks again, nature), we had a 3 hour crisis management exercise.
Using the CGR as a "map of the city," Ian and Brian had 4 teams all playing the same sequence of events. Each team was in their own area, making their own decisions, some right, some wrong. If a team managed to complete a series of decisions in the right order they were awarded a card with one of the Tenets of Consular Leadership. Now, they plainly admitted that the exercise was destined for failure. How can it not be when there are 5 crises over 3 hours all over the "city" with only 3-4 officers managing the entire time along with 10 FSNs? In game time, 21 hours pass, but in 3 hours there were teams that forgot to switch off roles, few people "slept," an American wasn't always available to "answer calls," wrong questions were asked, some pertinent information was left out, bad decisions were made (no, you don't send Officers to a panic site... they'll get trampled like 2 of our team did and were subsequently out of the game as they were at the "hospital"), there was no central log to compare information from the RSO to the phone calls to the media reports but we tried hard to keep one on paper... so many lessons learned! Though it was doomed, the exercise was a roaring success. One team managed to collect 8 Tenets out of a possible 10 and everyone learned something. Since I'm neither an Officer nor an FSN, it was fascinating to see the wheels turning as groups immediately set out to designate positions and go-to people. And it was exhausting. By the end of the day everyone was just wiped out.
Friday evening was Ladies Poker. Seven ladies, I barely squeaked out the winner. It was a late night ending to an already long day. And to top it off, as we came around the last corner to our house we passed a police van and a spotlight on a dead person on the curb. It looked like a homeless/beggar type, but rumor has it he was a former minister/actor/somebody or other. As far as I know it didn't make the paper.
Saturday morning Madras Kids pokeyed on. Next Saturday I hope all the songs and dances will be done and we'll be able to start running through everything with the script too. Saturday afternoon, lunch at Sparky's followed by a quick nap and then tennis lessons. We bailed on a party that evening because we were all so worn out.
Sunday afternoon, more poker. Seven different players, we managed to lose my Friday winnings and then some. The only consolation was that I held out far longer than Ian did, and he even bought in again. Which is why we lost what we did.
Monday and Tuesday were normal. A breather.
Wednesday started gearing up for Thursday, which is today, which is Katherine's birthday. Which means Ian and I now parent a Teen. She's invited 50 of her closest friends to a party on Friday night. I'm rather hoping not everyone shows up. This morning my first words to her after "Happy Birthday" were "You made it!" I suppose I should have said "WE made it!!" as it's been a rough couple years. Tomorrow night I plan to be around but not hover. Can parents even figure out how to balance that one? Oh, a shout out to my mom who's celebrating her birthday today too!
Meanwhile Madras Kids is picking up in intensity (though really right now it's just a lot of worrying on my part and not a lot of doing, Gwen is doing all the doing right now), prepping for a Going Away party for Gwen, figuring out how I'm going to juggle hosting 2 more kids for the MS basketball tourney in a couple weeks (which Katherine is playing in) when I just realized the driver will be gone that weekend... and on and on. I know everyone's lives are like this.
To chill out from everything, we are very happy TV watchers these days. We've started West Wing again from the beginning, it was great from the first episode. We're downloading current episodes of Lost (still confusing), Heroes (finally they're all back together again) and Battlestar Galactica (eeek!). And we downloaded the SuperBowl and the Australian Open. Now, Ian is usually pretty good about these things, but for some reason the Open is in Spanish. What... no one in Australia put it up?? Bah. That's OK. We *love* Rafa, so we'll take it.
And then this is the icing on the cake from today: Senate approves $15,000 tax credit for homebuyers I'm really hoping all this misery of others isn't too much of a good thing for us.
Oh, and when we're house-hunting in April, we'll be driving around in a rental Prius. Totally excited on that one too.

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