The boys both got off work early so we were able to enjoy the lunch special (bento boxes) at Hikari's with Jake. Afterward we went browsing at The Christian Soldier for a plastic Jesus for the dashboard (no dice, but we got a zebra finger puppet) and Michael's to burrow around in clearance. Finds there included a massive brick of Sculpey (contact me if you've got any cheap 4"-6" action figures you'd be willing to sell for modification), spray adhesive, a toolbox and a Quickline II quilting ruler.
FedEx delivered a package from my parents, so Laurel spent the day playing with the contents of the Dora backpack in it, we hung one of the beach towels (Teletubbies) on her bedroom wall, and I gave a box of Girl Scout Cookies to a gate guard when we went on base to drop Jake off.
The evening feature involves Laurel and poop, which I may write about later.
We started the weekend with various attempts at raking the yard and preparing it for spring and resumed mowing. We made several half-hearted leaf piles in the front and back yards, poured boiling water on four anthills, and did miscellaneous fluffing. I stuck a foam brick and several (fake) narcissus blossoms into the windowbox of the little utility-concealing house in the front yard, prepped two pots for the front deck, and found several spent shells while raking.
Himself pulled a _ton_ of garbage out of the drainage ditch (currently a foot deep, but high-water marks look like it tops out around 3') including a kiddie pool, a shredded tarp, a piece of metal roofing, a styrofoam beer cooler, an above-ground pool ladder, and numerous soda bottles, dog toys and plastic balls. You'd think our neighbors are afraid of regular trash collection, though one of our three upstream neighbors is the same shining example of humanity that did a two-day trash burn last fall (read: ten days of sinus hell for me).
During all of the yardwork, Laurel occasionally "helped" by spreading the leaf piles and putting sticks under a tree in the front yard (I'd been moving them to the brush pile out back; the landlord hauls it off a few times a year after we call him to let him know we've got enough to fill his pickup truck's bed) but mostly she just jumped in one of the mud puddles in the driveway near the back door. We figured it was fair since we plan on filling the low spots in with pea gravel shortly. While she was busy jumping and getting messy, I finally got the chance to meet our quieter next-door neighbor. Sybil wanted to meet Laurel (her children and their families live in Greenville) and gave her a half dozen cupcakes she had in her freezer. She also told us we were welcome to cut some of her daffodils for our house if we wanted -- she's got two massive patches of them in her yard that her late husband planted.
I showered with Laurel afterward to get the dirt out of her: two good rubdowns with the washcloth to get it off her body and _three_ shampoos to get the grit out of her scalp. Aiee! I was too tired to cook, so we took the midget to Arby's and then hit Lowe's for some pea gravel for the driveway, some grass seed to patch where Sergio's car killed the grass beneath it last year, and fire ant killer. Laurel fell asleep promptly after we got home, so it was only logical that my sister would call wanting to talk to Laurel then. Heh.
Adding to my attempts to get the house as easy as possible to defend from ants, I rearranged the kitchen so the baker's rack is more accessible (and usable) and the table has more room. I still have a minor pile of small boxes to sort through and either toss or better place the contents of, but it's sundries like stuff that used to be on my desk in Colorado and paper errata.
I knew it was going to be a long day when Laurel woke up earlier than usual and then Ken showed up a few minutes later. (Telling someone they look like death at that hour of the morning does not engender them to have warm fuzzy feelings for you.) Sinuses felt like hell, so I Tavisted up. I'm now up to four ASH to get any relief, but it gives me heartburn so I guess I'm back to snorting garlic.
I muddled through the rest of the day (bright spot: Opera 7 unquestionably rules) and still in PJs was surprised when Himself showed up early with Jake in tow -- he wanted to show him RoboVampire. I had no warning beforehand to tidy up the house or even make sure I put on regular clothes, so I was cranky... and then he wanted me to get dressed and going so we could get groceries first. Bah, I say.
At any rate, they did not watch the movie but we did get groceries and whatever else it was he wanted. If you're in the Goldsboring area and want soy milk without making it yourself, Sam's Club has the best deal -- $6 and change for three half-gallon cartons of Silk, vanilla flavor.
With warning of movie-watching for Tuesday, I thoroughly cleaned the living room and did a little minor rearranging. Also hung the sheer panels we'd picked up for the windows (the two living room windows lack storm windows, so they even hang nicely inside the frame) and it made a huge difference -- the room feels much lighter now.
Afternoon came with the boys and their movie. It was an awful movie, but they wolfed the toffee butter popcorn (we bought a box of it on a whim last week) and I started chocolate chip cookies for Jake before they overran the kitchen to make dinner. Meat sauce (more meat than sauce the way Himself makes it), pasta and no garlic bread -- they went out to buy some but, as usual, he burned it beyond recognition.
They ate, I baked up the cookies (which spread too much; I didn't refrigerate the dough in the 90 minutes between being ready and being used) and we ran Jake home. Afterward Himself had lots of fun using the vacuum sealer to pack up the leftovers.
Laurel figured out how to help herself to cookies from the ones left on the baking sheet (from the end of the batch) but aside from looking like a little chocolate golem, didn't have that many cookies. We had a nice quiet day and had just gone outside around 1600 to plant some daylilies in the front deck pots when I started having trouble breathing. Luckily Himself arrived home shortly thereafter and suggested we go away for awhile and hope it died down.
It turned out that our lovely trash-burning neighbor had accumulated enough to burn again, but the smoke had dissipated by the time we returned home. I freehanded the script letters spelling out "Laurel" at the top of the needlepoint stocking I'm finishing up for the midget and once I finish it (within the week, I'd guess) and acquire a little velveteen to back it with, I'll post photos here. It's a cute Winnie-the-Pooh stocking, although it's not the canvas it was advertised as. (I bought the Leisure Arts' "Jingle Bells" stocking kit and got its directions and yarn, but the canvas for its "Pooh With Presents" stocking. Numerous calls and e-mails to Leisure Arts yielded nothing except a job offer when I pressed random numbers on their 800 number's system and got the only real person answering any of it -- in the employment section. Needless to say, I avoid buying anything kits of theirs now unless they're on final clearance.)