Back to the beach. Déjà vu all over again. The weather was great. Greta got brave and swam with me out to the floating dock. We climbed on top and waived to Mama and Gus. Though she refused to do so herself, Greta ordered me to jump off. I complied. We headed home after lunch for naps.
At dinner time, the Zilla family arrived. (Their true identities will be withheld because the patriarch of the family – we’ll call him Crandall – did not have the next day off as far as his employer was concerned.)
We had been looking forward to the Zillas’ visit all week. The origin of the connection between the Zilla family and the T family started with my UVM freshman French class in which Monsieur Crandall and I were technically enrolled. I say technically because I generally went to class and he generally did not. (Mon dieu!)
Crandall and I eventually lived together two different times after college first at the fabled Westland estate and then in Southie on Pacific. The bromance continued as we both married Michelles. The Michelles not surprisingly formed independent friendships of their own, which seemed inevitable from the get-go. For example, due to the Michelles’ tendency to be chilly in 70-degree rooms and often nodding off before 11 p.m., we declared them the “Golden Girls” with names of Helen and Blanche.
More seriously, THE WIFE and I had the honor of witnessing and signing the Ketubah at the Zillas’ wedding (the rabbi made me get so close to Mrs. Z’s face to confirm her identity that I got anxious we were supposed to kiss or something – but don’t worry, we didn’t. ) Our daughters were born soon thereafter within four months of each other. Now, Greta, Jordyn (or “Jerdin” as Greta pronounces her name,) and August (or “Baby Gus” as Jordyn calls him) are fast becoming BFFs themselves.
After all three kids went down for the night, THE WIFE cooked a nice dinner and we enjoyed a few libations. In years past, the celebration may have gone until 3 a.m. with a skinny dip in the pond. But now as responsible parents, we retired for bed at midnight never either swimming or undressing.
Footnote to Day 3: Greta woke up in the middle of the night because she peed through her diaper. In my sleepy/slightly drunk haze, I put her into mismatched PJs and a swimmy diaper, which went undiscovered until THE WIFE changed her later in the morning.
We woke up to rain but it let up enough for the dads to take the girls to a playground down the street. We decided to hit the outlets in North Conway, which was a “ten minute drive” according to THE WIFE. Due to traffic, construction, and a severely congested parking lot full of parents pushing strollers, our ten minute drive turned into an hour. Using the time wisely – Crandall, Helen, and Blanche brainwashed me with their propaganda about the sheer awesomeness of a minivan. Slowly and steadily, they conspired to erode my resistance to the soccer-mom-mobile.
On the return trip home, we took a late lunch at Muddy Moose. (The link is here: http://www.muddymoose.com/.)
When it comes to eating as a family in restaurants, I am admittedly apprehensive and generally avoid it whenever possible. The main reason I resist is due to my fear of ruining the meals of anyone else in the restaurant. An additional reason is the fact that I like eating my food. THE WIFE and I rarely actually eat during our meals with our kids, be them at home or elsewhere. Usually, one of us eats everything on their plate within the first two minutes of sitting down while the other gets a little more time (maybe five minutes) to eat, but it comes at the end of the meal when everything is cold and Greta’s running mashed potatoes through her hair like mousse or anti-frizz product.
When someone suggests that we should have lunch, I envision the situation where I have Gigi’s upper arm in an unnecessarily tight grip as I’m loudly whispering between gritted teeth about whatever seemingly convincing threat I can conceive (if you don’t sit and eat, we won’t have Christmas/celebrate your birthday/see your brother ever again, etc.) in order to get her to keep her shirt on/not put her feet on the table/eat a vegetable, etc. Nevertheless, we heard this was a family-friendly joint and decided to roll the dice.
As usual, my fears are all for naught. Aside from Greta’s chronic dropsies of the side pickle, the kids are angels. Crandall and I even manage to sneak in a Bloody Mary. After lunch, we piled into the minivan and sang Happy Birthday several times to everyone in the car. The kids were ecstatic.
Back at the house, everyone took their turns playing on the swing. As the night sky rolled in, Gigi hit her wall from having skipped her nap that day. When Jordyn and her daddy took a shower to get ready for bed, Gigi wanted to shower with them, too. When I denied the request, she melted down Chernobyl-like. The next morning, Greta confessed to me, “Daddy, last night I cried and cried and cried.” Blissfully, she fell asleep after several rounds of songs.
After the kids went down, the adults reconvened to eat and drink in peace. To drive Crandall crazy, we all began to check Facebook. He turned the tables and refocused the conversation on the assets of a minivan. And so the night went as we made our way through the myriad varietals of red wine in the house…
To be continued.