Happy Leap Day, everyone.
OK, I’m starting writing after 9PM Pacific time, so maybe I should be saying Happy Day After Leap Day, or Happy March, everyone.
In any case, greetings.
It occurs to me that I’ve been pretty focused on politics, and specifically the GOP nomination debacle. So tonight, I think I’ll write about life in general and the goings on of the Viertel family.
I can’t believe February is already gone. Time really flies when one is doing taxes, but something tells me that I’d feel this way anyway.
So what’s been going on. Well, between our snow week in January and our family’s bouts with pneumonia (Annie, alone, escaped largely unscathed) and a follow-up head cold, it’s been really hard to get into a rhythm. Add to that the fact that I’ve been scheduled at H&R Block for pretty much every hour I’ve indicated availability, and it becomes clear that family time is a commodity in short supply.
Still, life and family roll on. Harry and Annie continue through Kindergarten and Preschool. We just signed Annie up for next year, which means we’re a year out from enrolling her in Kindergarten. The kids were particularly excited about Valentine’s Day this year. We’ve taken down Christmas, but we decided to leave our little artificial tree up. We like the additional light that it brings to our light-deprived living room. We had the kids cut out hearts and hang them on the tree to make it a Valentine’s tree. Soon, it will be rainbows and pots of gold to be a St. Patrick’s Day tree (shamrocks would blend in) and then an Easter tree. I think we’ll stop there, but who knows? We could festoon it with flags as a Memorial Day/Flag Day/Fourth of July tree.
Anyway, the kids actually woke up early and came out to find their Valentines under the tree in gift bags. We’d been a little concerned that Harry’s expectations might be a little high. I think someone actually gave him a toy last year. At a minimum, he thinks it, so that’s what really matters. Anyway, our fears were unfounded and they were thrilled with their cards and t-shirts which they happily wore to their school parties, bags of Valentines in hand.
I had to work, so Alissa was with my mom and the kids, but not before I realized (with the help of some subtle hints) that our normal non-commemoration Valentine’s Day would not do, so I showed up at Alissa’s office with a rose and some hideous chocolates, and we stole a few moments of togetherness before going our separate ways for the evening.
I was exhausted going into the weekend, but President’s Day afforded me an actual two day weekend. It was kind of a big weekend, actually. Friday morning, Annie went to her first “friend” birthday party. I was still having rough nights coughing, so Sunday was spent at home playing and relaxing. On Monday, Harry went to his first school birthday party. Alissa took him, brought him back, and immediately left with Annie to tour the ballet school at which she is wait-listed. They came back with real ballet shoes, and by the time I left to go to Block, Annie was practicing poses and stretches in her leotard and tutu.
Another week flew by, but we really had something to look forward to last weekend: a date! With no curfew! The kids slept over at my mom’s. We went to dinner, but I neglected to make reservations. By the time we were done with dinner, we decided to bag the movie plans. Instead, we picked up the movie we really wanted to see, Midnight in Paris, at the grocery store, along with dessert. I would not normally have gravitated toward the movie, but, as occasionally occurs in my family, there were “rumors” that elements of the Owen Wilson character had their basis in my Uncle Peter. I could certainly see the connections, whether intentional or not, but since it was up for Best Picture, we thought we’d check it out. It was an enjoyable movie, but there is something about tax season that is problematic for me. If you put me in a cozy, dark space, in a comfortable seat, where I”m expected to be quiet, I will fall asleep. So I’ll look forward to seeing Midnight in Paris in it’s entirety after tax season.
Which brings us to today. We found ourselves at Harry’s school’s Sea Otter assembly because, he was supposed to get a “Teacher’s Choice Award” on stage. It was very cute, and it was neat to see all the recognitions that students received. We later found out that he was chosen for being “kind and thoughtful”. I honestly can’t think of better qualities for which I’d like to see my kids recognized.
Of course, while we were in the gym watching our little sea otter, it was snowing outside. And sticking. The flashbacks were starting, but fortunately the snow was short-lived.
As we start to leave winter and turn toward spring, I thought I’d close with a winter moment.
On the way to the school for the assembly, I stopped at home to pick up Harry’s library books. Well, a gated condo complex at 9AM on a Wednesday is a quiet place unless there happens to be maintenance or gardening going on in the general vicinity. Snow was falling, great wet flakes drifting silently to the ground. I found myself contemplating the silence of a snowfall, and why it was so different than other silences. It’s the motion. Flakes blowing and swirling through the sky create this constant, pervasive motion, motion that by all rights should be loud but is not. I’m sure there’s some deeper meaning in there somewhere.