Sunday, July 11, 2010

Haulin’ Ice and Talkin’ Moons

I’m exhausted, I don’t know how I am still able to function right now.  My wife along with a few others from the labs on her floor hosted picnic at a local state park today.  My job was to play sherpa, loading, unloading, loading and unloading the truck.  During the first unloading, Lucille tried to smash my 6 YO’s head into the pavement by catching his shorts on the tailgate as he jumped down and up-ending him (and she has been behaving so well lately).  He was fine, and ended up ripping his shorts to shreds and only suffered a small scratch on his leg.   

I am not complaining about my role today, I actually enjoyed the work.  The temperature over the past few weeks has limited my outdoor time, since there is nothing to mow or trim.  Today gave me the opportunity to stretch my legs a little and I get bored and cranky when I don’t have something to occupy my time.  I don’t know many people from my wife’s work, and I am not the mingling type, so I stuck to the sidelines, helped serve the food and tried to keep myself busy.

I learned another weird fact about myself while the party was going on around me, I don’t like to relinquish control.  I know I have a heightened need for order, but this went beyond my normal bounds.  I had this weird feeling that I needed to take control of the setup, cooking and cleanup.  I don’t think anyone minded, everyone was there to have a good time.  And I had a good time, trying to allow everyone else a chance to unwind.  Cleaning up trash as soon as it hit the tables, reorganizing the coolers so they performed at optimum thermodynamic capacity, sorting the buns*, and standing ready at the grill in case my wife’s boss needed anything.  I hope I didn’t step on anyone’s toes.

The shirt I was wearing caught the attention of two young girls, both looked about my sons’ ages, who were the daughters of one of my wife’s coworkers.  Since most of my wardrobe consists of t-shirts and most of those shirts have been purchased from shirts.woot!, it’s typical that I get at least one comment when I wear one.  Today, I chose the “I hope you brought a lot of baggies” tee because it is one of my favorites and it is a light color so I didn’t bake in the sun. 

One of the girls approached me and asked what my shirt meant.  I asked her if she knew the names of the planets on my shirt.  She knew Earth, but didn’t recognize Saturn.  I explained that if each natural satellite was like a little puppy, then Saturn would have a really hard time controlling all 62 of hers, while Earth only had Luna.  I think I told her that only 49 of Saturn’s moons had names, but now that I think about it, 52 of them are named.  I explained that since Saturn was so large, she attracted a lot of moons around her, while tiny Earth only has one.  Her and her sister listened and asked questions while I talked about the planets and moons and then she surprised me by saying that the Earth should not have a moon that is so big.  I agreed and told her that based on the size of Earth, she has no right having a moon that large.  In fact, Luna is the fifth largest moon in the solar system and it is still a mystery why Earth has attracted such a large natural satellite.  I love when children get interested in science, even when it is from a silly t-shirt.

As the eating and talking wrapped up, we loaded everything back into the cars.  Everyone headed to the beach that was adjacent to the pavilion we were in.  By the time we finished, my wife and I were exhausted and the beach was packed.  I also didn’t feel comfortable with leaving the truck unattended, while the bed was filled with all of the party gear, i.e. pack and play, coolers, chairs, food, etc.  So we headed home, much to my sons’ disappointment.  We promised a trip to the pool after we unloaded everything at home. 

My sons, our neighbor’s daughter and I headed to the pool for a few hours after everything was unpacked and put away.  The water was warm and very relaxing and we arrived at the perfect time, just as everyone was heading home for the day.  We swam for an hour and a half and then enjoyed an ice cream while we dried off.  Today was a good day.

* The whole situation with the buns was driving me crazy.  They were placed out on the table in a heap of bags, hot dog buns mixing with the hamburger buns, white and whole grain and potato buns all together in a mish-mash.  I attempted several times to sort them appropriately, but I was not getting any respect for the sense of order this situation required.  Alphabetically seemed most fitting: hamburger + potato, hamburger + white, etc. but I thought this might work better: long + potato, long + white,…,round + whole grain, since not everyone was eating a “hamburger” and some were having veggie or turkey burgers.  And the opening of a new bag while there were still buns of the same type in an already opened bag!  I don’t know how many times I had to step in and consolidate.  I was even considering putting the buns away and only doling them out upon request, but there were so many other things that needed my attention.  Damn biologists!

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