Five Years In Iraq, or, Spring Has Sprung!
Part I: Jack's Birthday

The Postess With The Mostess

Pictures, that is.

Today, Chloë started her three-week Spring Break.  Three weeks. Whew. I haven't got anything planned just yet, but now that Jack has started his as well, I'm hoping to do something fun and exciting.

But first, we had to celebrate Jack's fifth birthday at his school. The teacher, Miss Beth, asked me to come in at 1400, so I called the grocery store and told them I'd pick up the cake at 1330 instead of 1100. Fine by them. Only when the girls and I arrived at the store, I was presented with two cakes.

"Um, one of these is supposed to be for tomorrow..." I began. The bakery lady looked at the order forms and a-ha! Somebody messed up. So she began taking the second cake away, and I asked whether it would be fresh tomorrow. She informed me they would start all over and make a new one. Even better. What will they do with the wasted cake, I wonder? I hope not just throw it away. What a shame. I should have just taken them both.

But then I would have run into even more trouble at the register. Have I ever mentioned their completely not dependable (we couldn't decide if the word was "independable" or "undependable" - Gail? Help?) Pay By Touch system? You put your index finger on the little fingerprint doohickey, and it connects to your account that way. Literally, less than half the time does it work and I end up having to run out to the car and get my purse, or worse, leave entirely to go home because I haven't brought the purse at all because I am a great big frigging idiot who never learns.

Today was one of those days. I had no purse at all. And I get up to the register with my cake, which is now due at the school in 12 minutes, and my bottle of apple juice and straws, to find a sign on the PBT system stating that it is now defunct, no more, kaput. Lovely.

"Look," I told the guy at the register, "I need to have this cake at my son's school right now, I have no other form of payment, and you guys gave no warning about this. Is there any way you can ring me up, store the order, and let me come back in an hour or less to pay for it? Please please please please please?"

He went to get the store manager, whom I asked the same question, promising I'd be back in less than an hour, telling him I was in the store five times a week (a bit of hyperbole, but darn close with all the milk my little lushes drink)... and he agreed. "I know you. I see you all the time." He took my name and number, and I was off - with Jack's cake. And the juice and straws. Thanking him like crazy.

*Whoops, looks like I've goofed. I uploaded all these photos hours ago, thinking I'd insert the text later, but now it doesn't want me to insert text between them. So I'll typey-type up here, then you'll scroll down and look at my little photo show, and then I'll typey-type a little more down at the bottom. M'kay?*

We arrived at the school just in time, and one of Miss Beth's aides was walking Adam to the front door as we were coming down hall. I reached into my fancy bag of tricks and fished out a treat bag for him. Hey, I'd bought the stuff, so by George, he was going to get it.

They were waiting for us at the table when we entered the room. I quickly designated someone to hold the cake for Jack and someone else to pass out plates and napkins while I recorded the birthday song to my big five-year-old son. You can see that video and seven more from today here. Ignore my voiceless singing, please!

I poured apple juice for the kids, passed out blowers and hats, cut up the cake, and took pictures. A couple are below. Chloë and Sophia fit right in with the other kids - including a new little girl who just started today. Gah! I did not have party treats for her. BUT they all had Easter baskets from a little egg hunt today, so one of the aides and I surreptitiously stuck the treat bags into the others' baskets while they were eating cake, so none of them knew about them at the time, anyway. Except Jack, because I had a Cars "Birthday Champ" ribbon to wear for him in it. I'll show that tomorrow, I sherpose.

It all went really well, and really quickly - 20 minutes from start to finish! The fastest birthday party in the East. I hope the child never concludes that the amount of love I have for my children is directly proportional to the duration of their parties!

We rushed to clean up before the kids had to meet their buses, and somehow I managed to get three kids, the cake, my bag of tricks, and my camera out to the car without dropping anything or losing anyone - although Sophie did take a tumble when some fourth graders plowed through our little posse. Hello, wait for the little kid to pass! Probably our fault, though. And they were waiting for us up front because apparently I parked in a bad spot that interrupted the flow of traffic. We had to hustle into the car and buckle everyone up quickly - and then wait for a good ten minutes for everyone in front of us to leave. *eyeroll*

Finally, after being stuck behind a half-dozen stopped buses, we made it home to get my purse and drop off the cake before going back to the store to pay for it. Sam, the manager, was very happy that I returned. I know some people wouldn't, but I am not a schmuck like that. Besides, I have to go back in tomorrow!

Anyway, then we decided it was such a beautiful day, we should go to the park. And that is what we did. Since I had my camera with me, I took about 8,000 pictures - many of which are below. They're mostly self-explanatory, I would think. Rob eventually joined us, to the children's surprise and delight.

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Rob and I watched Fur with Nicole Kidman during their sleep. I can count on one hand the number of times we have disagreed about a movie; in this case, I rather liked it, but he was unimpressed.

100_6030_2 I worked on the sweater during the movie and have finished all but the button bands and sewing in the ends. I decided not to fix the diagonal, but now I'm leaning the other way. That little pucker underneath it is not really there; it's just the way I laid out the sweater. Ah, well. I'll put on some really cute buttons, and hopefully they'll take center stage over the goof.

Tomorrow night will be blogless, as I'm spending the night at the hospital, but I'll report on the fifth birthday Sunday. Happy Easter!

{Sorry about all the big chunks of white space. It's a bug on Typepad.}