Sunday, May 26, 2013

One of the Great Weekends, thanks to simple pleasures.

I'm easy to please.  Really, I am, don't let anyone tell you different.  I like when people help out without being asked.  I like being able to sleep in once every few weeks.  I like when kids do their own laundry and get dinner started if requested.  I like going for walks and sipping a frap from Starbucks.  I like reading non-fiction books and knitting and watching series like Dr. Who and Firefly and Jericho.  I like watching my kids do something they enjoy.

I like weekends like this weekend.  A long one, and both busy and relaxing.

Jonathon got off the bus at the Embassy on Friday and I took my leave at the time I'm supposed to: 4 p.m.  I've been working a month now, and so far I have 29 hours of comp time.  The advertisement for the job said 20-32 hours a week.  The expectation is 32 hours.  The reality is full-time, like every other job in this over-crowded and growing post. CLO is typically billed as a part-time job, in every post we've been to so far this is how it's been, and to think that here we have not one CLO but two, plus a full-time Assistant who pretty much runs the office.  But we have to look at reality, the fact that our post currently serves almost 700 individuals through direct hires and their families.  That doesn't include the multitudes of TDY folk who come through (when I say multitudes I mean several hundred each year), or the Peace Corps Volunteers who come by (rarely, but it happens), or the random visitors.

Summer is the busy time with transfer season (so far we have 102 new arrivals, last year we had 98 all year) and the community Fourth party.  We're all marching forward and staying quite busy.

So Jonathon came by and went swimming at the pool, which allowed me to sit by said pool and relax for a couple hours.  I haven't become the "person people come to with questions" yet, so that's nice.  It'll happen at some point.

We picked up Nicholas from baseball practice, which apparently didn't go well.  His game was off, he was missing catches, one of his teammates got frustrated with him.  He was deflated and certain he'd be in outfield during the next game.

And he was.  Outfield the whole time on Friday.  The first baseman was back after his illness, the pitcher and catchers were all lined up.  Outfield for the kid in a very tough game.  The teams came in tied.  Each had only lost one game all season so this was a battle not only for the game but for the season title and placement for the championships next weekend.  Inning after inning, it became a pitchers' game.  Few hit the balls, fewer made it to base.  No one was scoring any runs.  The numbers went up on the board... 0, 0, 0, 0, 0... the game moved quickly as pitchers on both teams struck out batter after batter.  And then, that wonder of wonders, Nicholas was at bat.  He hit the ball.  A line drive past 1st base.  The outfielder missed it and it rolled to the fence.  Nicholas ran, past first, past second.... the ball came back infield... past third... the ball was heading to home... the catcher missed it... Home.

The final score of the game, 1-0. Game won.  Season won.

Yeah, there was a lot of whooping and hollering. Deflating reversed.

In the afternoon, the younger girl and younger boy did horseback riding and played games in the big outdoor ring, weaving through cones and the like.

The fun continued in the evening when the neighbors game over for board games. The younger kids had an assortment of games to choose from and generally made a loud ruckus.  We introduced the adults to Settlers of Catan.  If you've never heard of it and have never seen anyone play, the rule book can be a little daunting.  Watch TableTop instead.  Four hours, pizza, salad, and cupcakes later, we had a new victor and it wasn't my husband.  Will wonders never cease?

Saturday was a sleep-in morning.  A lovely, loungy, don't-need-to-go-anywhere lie-in.  The weather was hot on Friday, the car read 97F even while parked in the shade all day at our various spots.  Saturday was bright and hot with a cool breeze.  We brought Nicholas to the ball park for open practice and arrived to an empty field.  Figuring it was due to Jordan's Independence Day, we drove down some of the back roads, found the Humane Center, passed the "Zoo" which is more a tiny amusement park with lions and zebras thrown in, and several large and apparently deserted soccer fields.

Prepared to go home, we passed the ball fields again and saw Nicholas's coach getting out of his car, then other kids started showing up.  We stuck around and let him practice with the 10 other kids and ended up talking with the coach's wife, a Canadian teacher at King's Academy.  Just our luck, they leave in a few weeks to return to Canada after living here for the past 3 years.  Nicholas had a wonderful time on this team and with this coach and we'll miss them when the season finishes after the Championship and then the All Stars game.  There's always Facebook, and now we have yet another reason to visit Toronto that's a little more valid than watching the Maple Leafs play.

So then we had today, one of those blissful days where the Embassy is closed for an American holiday but the school has its doors wide open.  OK, so I still had to get up to see the kids off to school, and then there was the ironing to do and some writing to finish up, but the house was quiet.  Ian slept on, I had Dr. Who on the telly, and the house. was. quiet.  That's really not an option most days anymore and I miss it.  When he did get up, we walked over to the restaurant street nearby for lunch and found a long-haired-black&orange-kitten-Ian-wouldn't-let-me-keep that had just crossed the sidewalk.  We brought it to the vet and asked them to find it a nice new home.  We returned to the area, this time in the car, and had lunch on a patio in the sunshine with very green lemon mint drinks and very decent burgers.  Back home I took a nap, then we did all the dishes, baited the cat trap, caught and released one previously notched cat, re-baited the trap, caught another cat that will go to the vet tomorrow for neutering, Skyped with my parents about summer plans, made dinner, ate dinner, then decided that was enough for one day.  It's 9:30 and there's work tomorrow.  Back to planning the Fourth and gearing up for a battle to get some of the stuff I want to do approved.

Wish me luck.

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