Saturday, January 26, 2013

A January Adventure

She stuck out one digit, a frozen left thumb, as she speed-walked down the shoulder of State Street. She had to avoid the slippery sludge, the cold January remnant of Utah's white Christmas.  She looked an unlikely candidate for the eight block hike, dressed in business attire and fortunate layers, but she was comforted by his assurances.

"See, I keep one hand in my pocket like this, looking as casual as possible, but my knife is definitely open in my hand."

He had predicted that they would only need to make it to the McDonalds ahead, but she was certain it would be further. So she held out her thumb and tried to look the ideal combination of pathetic, cold, and harmless. In reality, she could only claim the latter two, but there was a deadline to her arrival, and it was fast approaching.

Twice the hum of a car's engine slowed, and twice the cars continued on. Then, as McDonalds appeared to be a completely reachable destination, a white car stopped.  He explained the destination to the driver - a youngish mother, judging by the booster seats in the back, and a smoker, judging by the smell.  "I just had to pick you up!  You two don't look like the sort of couple to be walking down State Street without a good reason."

She laughed internally at the driver's casual use of the word "couple."  They were indeed two, but by no means were they couple: she, a thirty-one year old mother of three and he, at nineteen just weeks from serving an LDS mission.  But she had no more time than to mentally log the flattery when they had arrived at their destination. Briskly ascending the concrete steps, they entered through ushered doors. A quick turn to the left, and she stepped to the counter. "I have two tickets on hold for tonight," she said. "I am here with the Utah Theatre Bloggers Association."

They settled in to the aptly named Grand Theatre to watch what would turn out to be a great production. But that's another story (which interested parties may read here). And after the bows and applause for the temporary, staged drama, they returned to the real life story in the making. They walked at a more leisurely pace this time, thumbs secured within warm pockets. Discussing dramatic artistry, symbolic nature,and character transformation, the two arrived at a gas station with a remarkable lack of both pomp and circumstance.

It became apparent that their appearance was uncharacteristic of the local crowd as the attendant offered a discounted deposit on the gas can, citing that the pair looked like the type that would actually return it. However, the deposit was required in cash, of which both he and she were void. "What do you sell that is warm?" she inquired, intending a small purchase in order to get cash back. And with hot chocolate thawing her fingers and a full gas can dangling from his, they resumed their journey.

They arrived at the immobile vehicle just as she finished the dregs of her hot chocolate.  He filled the gas tank while she stuffed her fingers deep into her pockets to prevent future chill.  He unlocked the car, and she flopped comfortably into the passenger seat, awaiting what would hopefully be a functioning motor and a warm heater.  He, however,found it surprisingly difficult to sit, since she had adjusted the seat for her lack of height when the car had died in the first place.

They could not in fairness have been entirely surprised when the car had stopped; it had stuttered several miles earlier, and they had chalked it up to a quirky engine.  When its manual transmission refused to shift gears once again, it had been more difficult to ignore.  And then the engine had stopped completely, leaving the vehicle in the center of the three-lanes-each-way section of State Street.  She had steered while he had pushed, guiding the car to its current resting place on a little-used side street.

In his defense, he had put five dollars of gas in the car that morning, and there was no conceivable reason why it sat, unmoving, on the Salt Lake side street.  And now the motor's triumphant return (and her long-awaited manufactured heat) was delayed a few moments as he readjusted the seat.  Once comfortably in place, he inserted the key.  Both held their breath, likely muttering silent prayers, and listened to the purr of the engine as it turned over.

It started!

"And to think," she said, "that if you'd just arrived at my house on time, we would have taken my car, and none of this would have happened."  But she laughed, always grateful for an adventure.

Andrea and Logan, mid-adventure

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Trouble (with a D in it)

It has been 20 days since I have blogged.  That may be a record, and not in a good way.  I've spent time pondering why that is, especially since I've actually had more time lately, and I've come to a few conclusions:

  • Instagram shareable via Facebook means less posts just to share one picture.
  • I've taken up working out, and that is taking up my mornings (my best blogging time).
  • It is January, and I really don't feel like doing much of anything that isn't essential.
But mostly, I think this is the most accurate conclusion:

More time = less excitement = less blogging.


But lest I neglect the blog entirely, Dylan is doing his fair share to create excitement.  When he isn't busy whining constantly, pulling my fingers to try to get me to go somewhere and do something that he's too lazy to explain aloud to me, or bullying his brothers, he's pretty much always getting into trouble somewhere.

And it seems that trouble has gotten worse with each child.

Trouble spelled with a capital A was never much trouble at all.  I can't remember a single thing Adam ever wrote on, cut up, or otherwise vandalized.

Trouble with an X is generally accidental.  Well, not an accident, per se, but definitely something he did without any sort of premeditation or general awareness mid-act.  (Case in point: trouble with an X recently equaled a severed phone cord, and I am pretty certain he didn't realize he was even cutting the cord until the deed was done.)

And then there's trouble with a D.  Intentional.  Focused.  Not that he focuses on intentionally getting into trouble, but he is very present in whatever trouble he is causing.  And he is 100% remorseless.  It seems that everything in his path exists purely to fuel his creative purposes, consequences be damned.  And so his destruction is total.  Absolute.  And adorable.  

One of his recent masterpieces featured my "Hunter 4th Ward Music Library" stamp I'd managed to leave out.  After an hour of Zumba with Michelle, I flopped down exhausted onto the ottoman.  I arched my back to get a nice post-workout stretch, and the door separating the basement from the stairs came into my view.  Slowly, the realization dawned that my door had not, in fact, grown spots.

"Dylan, did you stamp the door?"

He proudly responded, "I samp a door!"

"Did you stamp anything else?"

"Yep!  I samp ah da waas!"

"You stamped all the walls?  Anything else?"

At which point, he took me by the hand for a private tour of his gallery.  The fridge.  A kitchen chair.  The counter.  The entire wall leading down the stairs.  The pantry door.  Oh, and the entire floor in between points A, B, C, and D...


And he was so proud that I just couldn't feel furious with him.  Luckily a little warm water did the trick on each surface, and thankfully both Michelle and Alex pitched in to make quick work of the task.

There was less luck involved in today's work.

This one happened on Aunt Michelle's shift, but knowing it can happen to anyone, I won't dock her pay.  :)

Yes.  That is orange and red nail polish, and yes it is apparently all over my bedspread too.  And yes, it is my own fault for leaving the nail polish out in my bedroom when I know that Dylan watches tv in there.


Sigh.  Trouble with a D is BIG TROUBLE!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Christmas Morning Favorites

 I could probably start every paragraph in this post with "my favorite thing about Christmas morning was..."  I really just can't put one favorite over the next.  So here it is... my Christmas Morning Favorites:

My favorite thing about Christmas morning was the fact that the kids didn't even get into their stockings while waiting for mom and dad to wake up.  In Kirk's house, the kids woke up the parents for Christmas morning.  In my house, the kids checked out their stockings while waiting for mom and dad to awaken.  Apparently nobody informed our kids of either of these traditions.  So we woke up to find both Adam and Alex waiting patiently on the couch and Dylan still asleep in his bed.  We were informed, though, that the kids had diligently checked each stocking to make certain we had all made the nice list.  With each stocking full, it was apparent we had each made the cut.

 My favorite thing about Christmas morning was upping the annual Casdorph stocking tradition from a small box of name-brand sugary cereal to a full sized box.  They were fun to purchase and even more fun to eat.  As predicted, our generous children tried their own cereal on day 1 and then were more than eager to share their spoils with the family on subsequent days.  "Mom, do you want to try my cereal today?"

 My favorite thing about Christmas morning was getting to plan out Santa's adventures.  He brought them a trampoline (AWESOME!) and a note about how the Fife family had made it onto the ultra-exclusive extra-nice list this year.  Santa was fairly certain that it is because of all the things we do together, so he brought us gifts to continue to encourage us to hang out.  We got Wii games in addition to the trampoline, and a small, magical Christmas tree that - when decorated with treasured ornaments - powers up a communication portal to Santa.  Notes left on the tree will be taken to the North Pole overnight.  Best part is, I no longer have to feel bad about not allowing non-coordinating ornaments on the family mom's tree.  All those ornaments are now proudly displayed on the new tree.

 My favorite thing about Christmas morning was that Dylan's favorite present was always the one in his hand.  He loved his electronic toy cell phone.  He loved his D-Y-L-A-N wooden train.  He loved his penguin toy from Alex.  At one point, he refused to stop playing with the current toy to open subsequent presents and had to allow the other boys to continue opening presents while D just played.

 My favorite thing about Christmas morning was that the generosity of our parents and grandparents allowed us to spoil our kids rotten.  We had decided that the pricey "DreamLites" nightlight that looks like a pillow pet was just out the realm of realism this year, even though we knew how much Alex would love to have one.  Then a check arrived from my grandparents which almost precisely covered the amount of the longed-for toy.  We got to feel like the best parents in the world when Alex opened his DreamLite, and I know that moment was made possible by Great Grandma Casdorph.

 My favorite thing about Christmas morning was having three boys who are close enough in age that many of the gifts came in triplicate.  Three swords.  Three scooters.  Three boys who will have much more fun playing together than they ever could have had separately.  

My favorite thing about Christmas morning was feeling the gratitude of each of the children, and especially from Adam who has a growing sense that presents come from somewhere.  He willingly gave credit where credit was due, and that made the giving all the more fun.  In fact, this really probably was my very favorite.  This Christmas felt more like Thanksgiving!