When we woke up on Sunday morning, I felt my tentative plans for a three-day-outdoor-fiesta screech to a halt. The professor had stayed up, working, until the crack of dawn. The boys had woken up at the crack of dawn, jittery from lack of sleep and Lego withdrawal.
We had nothing to eat. ‘I’ll just have a sandwich for breakfast,’ the Gort decided. ‘Um, we don’t have any bread,’ I broke the news to him. And there was more laundry than is logical.
It was decision making time for the lone functioning adult of the household. I could do my best to rally the unhappy slash asleep troops, and force them to go outside and enjoy the last day of summer. Or I could go to the grocery store and do five loads of laundry. And let Percy stay in his pajamas until 5pm.
I went with the latter scenario, zapped of the energy necessary to coerce my family into having fun.
And so, our day unfolded. I tended to domestic matters. The boys played. Percy took the world’s longest nap. And the professor listened to a football game while moving circles around on a computer screen. It may be called 3D modelling, or whatever, but it looks like a generic version of Angry Birds.
Since we’d ‘wasted’ our day by staying inside for most of it, I decided to at least have one last ‘end-of-summer’ backyard dinner. With homemade pizza. And the-last-smores-of-2011.
The boys had been begging to play a Lego computer game for much of the day, so I struck a deal after dinner. We’d go for a walk, for one hour, and if they didn’t complain they could play a game when we got home. Because apparently building Lego models all day long simply isn’t enough. They need Lego computer games, too.
So we drove to the reservoir and parked near the Canoe Club, a spot we’ve only frequented once before. The same spot where, legend has it, a cougar was captured a couple of weeks earlier.
The boys opted to ride their bikes again, rather than walk alongside us. Every time I watch those boys pedal like mad, I have to laugh, because they are surely the only 7 and 4 year olds in Calgary who still use training wheels. ‘We should probably just teach them both how to ride a bike – at the same time,’ I sighed to the professor. Since they were clearly not teaching themselves.
I found a dirt path leading down to the water, so the boys abandoned their bikes and we scurried downhill for round three of rocks and water. There was a large log lying at the edge of the water and I feared the professor was about to do another one of his installations. ‘I’ll just go for a walk along the rocks,’ I muttered and made myself scarce. Three consecutive days of sitting on a bed of rocks had lost its luster. At least for moi. The sky was overcast, yet I snapped pictures. Mostly out of habit rather than interest.
I decided this third, final, summer outing was a bit of a bust; that we were ending ‘the end of summer’ on a bit of a sour note. I conceded defeat and walked back to the boys who were doing what they love best: throwing rocks in the water and at each other’s heads.
All of a sudden I noticed that things seemed to have gotten a lot….brighter. The dull yellow color of the leaves was replaced by a shining yellow, the color of American mustard. The reservoir glinted as the sun appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. Wind rustled the leaves on the trees; and the sky split in two – part stormy grey, part brilliant blue laced with eye-searing sunlight.
It was as if someone had yelled ‘cut’ and changed the background for the next scene. And, in doing so, my dud of an outing was redeemed. We biked-walked-strollered back to the car. At the edge of the parking lot we came upon a mound of leaves, ostensibly gathered by someone else for the purpose of leaf-jumping.
‘Can we make a big pile of leaves and jump in it,’ the Gort asked excitedly. And I said ‘of course’ because it was the perfect end to a suddenly perfect hour. So we gathered leaves and I tried to relinquish my semi-phobia of grabbing fistfuls of leaves, barehanded. (Fearful of critters and slimyness that lurk underneath.)
Minutes later, the professor and young Percy finally joined us. Because it takes a two year old much longer to push a stroller than it does a four and seven year old to bike…..the same distance. The boys jumped and threw leaves at each other, as though we were shooting scenes for an overly positive commercial for Metamucil. Or Folgers.
It was the perfect way to end FallFest 2011.
I drove the professor to work the next day and pointed, triumphantly at the tree-carcasses lining the road. Robbed of their splendor after a long, windy night. ‘See,’ I gloated, as if to say, ‘Fall did not elude me this year.’
‘Now we can [finally] relax,’ the professor sighed, ‘the two days of Fallspiration are over……Fallapalooza has come to an end.’
Later, while driving to the University, again, I teased the boys: ‘who wants to go on an adventure,’ as we sped past Edworthy Park. ‘I don’t,’ the Gort grumbled in the back,’ we went on an adventure for three days in a row!’ As if there could be nothing worse in life than being ‘forced’ to take walks and throw rocks in water. The Hen declined in a squeaky voice, ‘I don’t want to go on adventures.’
‘I wan go on ‘benture’, Percy insisted from his carseat. Earning himself ‘favorite boy child’ status for at least fifteen minutes.