Don't ask. Don't even ask. I've been busier lately than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs -- not that I've actually gotten much accomplished -- and that's why I haven't been writing here. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
So, where to start? How about with Zoe's 3rd birthday party? It was an afternoon of minor mayhem, as any day devoted to entertaining pre-schoolers is apt to be. Stir in farm animals and a pony and, boy howdy, you've got a party! (And with the animals you've got a lot more to clean up afterward.)
We had something like 12 kids show up, all of them on a search and destroy mission for A) Candy, B) Cake, C) Ice Cream, and D) the chicken with the "funny head," whom they all ran ragged by chasing it in circles inside the animal pen. I shudder to think what may have happened to that chicken if it hadn't had the sheep and goats running interference for it. Nothing puts quite the same stop to a rampaging 3-year old as running headlong into a goat with horns.
Probably the high point of the day, danger-wise, was when we unveiled the pinata. It's never a wise idea to give sticks to little, little kids who have no grasp of the concept that other people are real and suffer real pain, and it's an especially bad idea to then urge them to swing those sticks wildly and try to break things. And as I quickly found out, introducing blindfolds to the situation steps it up to the next level of excitement -- and pain. Never again will I blithely approach a blindfolded maniac wielding a broomstick and assume that s/he's going to stop swinging just because I said to.
Oh, and about that pinata... Picture kids amped to the gills on sugar from candy, cake and ice cream. Whirling dervishes the Tasmanian Devil would envy. Picture them decimating a mermaid pinata my sister-in-law Karan supplied with the assurances that it was "really just full of toys; there's hardly any candy in there at all." Picture our expressions of alarm and dismay when it turned out to be really just full of candy; there were hardly any toys in there at all. Whirling dervishes that would now scare the Tasmanian Devil.
Now, Zoe's party didn't really take up that much of my time. It was only one day, although it felt much longer. But piled on top of that have been some serious time-suckers that have sapped my productivity and, sometimes, my will to live.
The outlaws: Beth's mom and step-dad were in town for the party. Nice people, really, when taken in limited doses, but with them there's no such thing as a limited dose. They're economy size all the way: Why stay for three days when you can stay for eight? Why leave for the hotel at nine when your hosts stay up 'til one? Why make a funny once when you can make the same funny several times a day, every day, for the entire visit? I like them, really I do, but I really like them in Florida.
And work: I've been working like crazy lately. Maybe not as crazily as some of you with a M-F 9-5 gig, but crazier than the two or three days a week I'd become accustomed to. Now I find myself working nearly every day and coming home wiped out every night. Teaching might sound easy on paper, but you try standing up and talking non-stop for six to nine hours a day. But it pays well...or would, if they'd give me my freakin' paychecks. Yes, they're still taking their sweet time in paying me. Right now there are two checks totaling $4,200 with my name on them somewhere out there and I'm getting damned tired of waiting.
And finally: computers. Or, more accurately: me. I just had a DSL connection installed here (No, it's not working yet and stop laughing,Tim) and I've been networking my PC with Beth's so we can share the connection. Gosh, it sound so innocent when I say it like that, "I've been networking", but it's actually been a living, breathing, hour- and energy-sucking hell. I won't go into all the bloody details (yes, blood has been spilled -- mine, of course) but I will say that I didn't know jack about networking when I started this and now I could just about hire myself out on it, spelunking under the house and playing with tools and all the attendant clusterfucks has been involved, and I wasted a loooong drive Friday to look at a 486 I was going to buy to use as a firewall, only to have the damn thing die in a puff of smoke when the guy booted it up to show off how well it ran.
The point I'm making at great, rambling length here is that I've had a lot of irons in the fire lately, which is why I haven't been posting. I know you've been burned by that, but take heart (or revenge, your choice): I've been burned by all those irons.
I swear, I feel like a dress shirt in a Chinese laundry. Light starch, please.