If you've been watching the Weather Channel, you may know that it's been raining a lot up here. (In fact, it's been raining so much that it seems unreal to me that some folks out there are having an actual summer, with heat and humidity and for some, very little rain. I would haul y'all a few buckets worth of ours if I could.)
Today we woke up to half an inch of water in our basement and a huge pond in one corner of the yard. Down the street, however, Katydid's baseball coach was completely flooded out. The road in front of his house was impassable and the water was lapping at the front steps of his house. In the town where my husband works, the soccer fields were under a few feet of water, and one of the major roads out of the village was closed, and the water was still rising. After he got to work, he called to tell me that he thought maybe I ought to cancel our physical therapy appointment in Albany this afternoon.
"But I keep having to reschedule our appointments," I said. "They're going to get mad at me if I keep doing this."
Then it stopped raining around 11 AM. The sun came out. The kids ran to float leaf boats in the ditches my husband had dug around our garden (the sole reason it is not underwater right now). The water in town went down a little. Andy came home with the van, remarked about how the ThruWay was closed around Utica, to our west, and we dropped him off at work on our way.
"I'll be back around 5:30," I told him.
Therapy went much better than expected and we were on our way home when we noticed the blinking signs that said, "Thruway closed, exits 25A-36." Now, you have to understand that I do not drive by exit number, but by exit name. These exit numbers have no meaning to me, and all I know is that Andy said something about Utica this afternoon. I need to get gas, but I end up going the wrong way and miss the gas station before I get on the interstate, but I figure that I can just stop at the first one after I get on I-88 and off the Thruway... which should not be closed, as I am in Albany, not Utica.
Wrong. The Thruway is closed after the I-88 exit. (25-A. I'll remember that now.) It is also rush hour.
It took us two hours to travel, say, 8 miles, maybe 10. And a quarter of a tank of gas. I ended up switching off the air conditioner and praying, quite hard, for movement. As the needle came to rest on the top of the E, I also developed a disaster plan which involved putting the babies in the stroller and walking the last mile or so, if the van did indeed run out of gas.
God must hear the prayers of desperate and stupid mothers of many (why didn't I turn around and put gas in the car before I got on the interstate? Why did I go the Thruway in the first place?), because the line of cars that needed to merge suddenly dried up and we sped up to a brisk 5 miles or 10 miles an hour just in time to get on the exit and hit the gas station. Apparently a number of others were in our situation, too, because the gas station was packed -- and then a tour bus full of Asian tourists showed up.
We finally pulled into the parking lot at my husband's office around 7 PM. We had spent four hours in the car, total, for a thirty minute appointment. And since I had not taken my cell phone since it doesn't work all the time, my husband had been worrying that we'd been swept away in floodwaters at the same time that I was worrying about whether we were ever going to make it to the gas station.
Watching the news tonight, however, I am reminded again of how lucky we are to be home and safe and dry. Many hundreds -- even thousands -- of people across the state tonight are not so lucky, and there's more rain in the forecast.
I know what I'll be praying about tonight.
My kids were all about outside today. Sometimes we miss the conveniences of living in the suburbs, not the least of which is scads of kids to play with, but today we were happy to be here.
Katydid and I discovered ripe wild strawberries nestled in the yard among the clover like little red jewels. We picked them and ate them and felt for the moment like the luckiest people in the world.
The rose hedge is blooming. Katydid brought me some flowers which smelled heavenly, even though I think that these roses are the dreaded rosa multiflora and are probably going to invade our field. I wanted to draw them, but the babies are teething and they fussed all day long.
Farmerboy picked up his bugcatcher and found that all his tent caterpillar "raccoons" had turned into moths overnight.
Gareth found an enormous moth, but we don't know what it is. I should be taking pictures of all these things, but... maybe when the babies get all their front teeth. (Both babies are cutting all four of their front teeth at once. It's got to hurt like crazy, but by the end of the day, I feel like hiding in a closet with a piece of cheesecake and never coming out.)
Farmerboy fell in love with Peterson's First Guide to Caterpillars
My husband chopped down two scraggly and half-dead arbor vitae by our detached garage, and I love him for it. Even though he broke the chainsaw.
I planted a planter of annuals on our front porch, and Pop laughed hysterically every time I pulled a plant out of a container or stuck my trowel in the dirt.
Aunt Ruby's German Green tomatoes are some of the toughest plants in the world. Two of the plants that were under water only a couple weeks ago are now setting blossoms, ahead of the early hybrid tomato plants I bought from Agway. (I bought the seed from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, which markets about a million kinds of heirloom tomatoes. The Golden Marconi peppers they sent me in the form of a free seed packet also seem to be holding their own in the swamp our garden has turned out to be. The leaves looked so yellow, I thought they were dead for sure. But they seem to be recovering and setting blossoms.) Since we may be dealing with more flooding this weekend, though, I will be holding my breath.
I pulled a number of really, really huge weeds out of the flagstones of our patio, as well as a ton of wood sorrel. Between the wood sorrel, dandelions, and wild strawberries, it seems we have quite a smorgasboord going.
(An aside on smorgasboord... Considering our last name, we have always joked that some day we will run out of names for these boys we keep having and default to "Smorgas". Ahem.)
Daddy took Gareth and Katydid to Wal-Mart... and finally bought a swing set. Now if we can just get it set up in between rain showers...
I spoke too soon about having no paperwork to complete.
Yesterday I sent off the quarterly reports, annual assessments, and our letter of intent to homeschool for next year. Then we ran Daddy up to the airport for an overnight trip, drove back home through a deluge, and I remembered that we needed to fill out a packet of forms before Gareth's appointment with a counselor this summer.
What a huge pile of forms it is. And Gareth has his own to do. Fortunately, his are mostly not boring. In fact, he had fun last night with the interest inventory, and I realized that I had not been keeping up with him at all.
This is not unusual. In order to pick up changes in interest around here, I sometimes feel like a dog continually sniffing the wind. Which direction is it blowing from now? What's that unfamiliar scent? Sometimes Gareth isn't really quite sure what his interest is either, but it's my job to make sure he has the books and materials to find out.
If I could define my role as a homeschooler, that would be it. I am the facilitator.
According to his interest inventory, I have not been facilitating his interest in mythology nearly enough. I'm lagging behind in computer programming and robotics as well. And I'm really huffing when it comes to movie making.
(That's okay. The other day Katydid announced her desire to learn how to stuff dead birds. "You want to what?" I said, a little nervously. "Stuff dead birds," she replied. "So I can touch them and see what they feel like.")
Although this pile of paperwork is going to take a while to wade through, I'm excited about bringing Gareth to this counselor. We found her through the Hoagies Gifted Page, I like her, and I'm hopeful that she will help him work through some of the issues related to his TS, as well as helping me figure out how to handle some of his learning difficulties while also providing him enough challenge for that intellect in hyperdrive.
I am going to update my sidebars... just as soon as I get these quarterly reports and annual assessments done.
It's amazing how long it can take to write up a short paragraph for all New York's required subjects when two babies are clamoring for your attention, you're trying to get in a garden under threat of constant rain and flooding, Daddy has to be shuttled back and forth to train station and airport, an hour away, physical therapy visits must be made, and a crop of ear infections seems to be the only thing that's really growing well. (Other than the wild radishes that are taking over the garden, of course. How I have come to loathe wild radishes!)
The reports are almost done, though. I have battled through such weighty ponderings as, if I put Good + on this evaluation, will the Superintendent laugh at me? Do they even read these things? We haven't heard from the district at all this year. How many homeschoolers are there in this district anyway? I can think of possibly... four families. But maybe it's only three. The superintendent has probably heard of the family with the twins by now, and I bet she knows where we live. I wonder if I've ever seen her at Stewart's.
They're almost done, though. Then I get to write out our "curriculum" for next year, and then -- no more paperwork for a few months.
Of the ten games on Katydid's baseball schedule this spring, she played three, missed one, and the other six were rained out. Then one make-up game was rained out. The closing ceremonies were rained out, in spite of the fact that the forecast had been for a nice day. Last Thursday, one of the three games she did manage to play was almost rained out, but the coaches persevered and the rain stopped. (And the most beautiful double rainbow appeared after the game was over, too.)
Tonight she is supposed to play a game to make up for the game that got rained out on Saturday when it was supposed to be sunny. The forecast for today? Scattered afternoon and evening thunderstorms.
This is getting a little ridiculous.