Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Nine Days in Summer - Day 4 - Mud Soup in a Monsoon

This is the fourth in a nine-part series, one part for each consecutive day I'll be home on a vacation from work. "Vacation" in a corporate American-ish sense means I'll still be checking in, checking e-mails, and doing all sorts of work-related things, except without having to put pants on, but with small people draped on me. The following is on our list of things to do for the week plus before school starts back up again, my wife goes back to teaching kindergarten, and all Hell breaks loose:

You can find Day 1 here.
Day 2 of course is here.
And Day 3:
Here is Bob Costas in a booster chair.

Day 4:
A very alarming sound awoke us this morning. No, not the alarm clock. It was an urgent, panicky, repeated beeping sound (no, still not the alarm clock) that I thought I recognized but not really. I jumped out of bed to see my wife had the same puzzled look. The beeping could mean only one thing:

"Dear God the septic tank exploded again."

Nine years ago, approximately one day and 19 hours after we moved our last box into our first and only home, the septic tank completely broke (or whatever the correct term for a malfunctioning septic tanks is.) This just a few weeks after the entire sewage system was given an all-clear by the guy who examined our sewage and our bug situation.

Hint: Never trust the guy who offers sewage inspection AND insect inspection simultaneously. The things you do when you're young and stupid.

"It's not the septic tank," my wife reassured in her Stay Calm and Shut the Hell Up voice. "I think it's my phone."

Sure enough, the National Weather Center had issued a Tornado Warning for our area for right now. She gets that stuff sent to her phone. I get real-time ESPN ScoreCenter updates. Priorities.

"We need to get downstairs," she said. Her turn to panic. Her fear is dying in a tornado. Mine is stepping in shit water. Then we did the unthinkable...

We woke the kids. All three of them up and downstairs where we have enough non-perishable goods to feed the 5,000, three square meals. But we woke the kids. You never wake the kids unless someone has sighted a real tornado in your neighborhood.

(By the way, shame on me for having no idea this storm was coming. Granted, the storm brewed overnight, but surely someone on the 11 o'clock news had an idea of all this. And that someone would have been the curvaceous, well-endowed weather girl they brought in for a ratings boost to replace the old, bow-tie wearing, past-his-prime Chief Meteorologist who goes by "Hurricane." I should have been watching her. She would not have led us astray. And contrary to my wife's constant assertions, she is NOT a bimbo.)

As fast as the storm approached, it left and spared us. But now we had three kids awake too early and a day of errands in front of us.

"Let's go make mud soup!"

Perfect idea. Mud soup, for the uninitiated, is exactly what it sounds like. Take some dirty, still water over by where the driveway meets the grass, then mix in a few stones from the driveway. Stir with a plastic shovel or rake. Admire.

They could have made mud soup, mud sandwiches, and an entire buffet of mud desserts after yesterday. Yesterday we made them stay inside, and they nearly drove us to lead the 4:30 newscast. Today, I was determined to let them stay out as long as they could possibly stand it. The more time they spend outside, the less time they have available to rip our house's innards apart. Not that they didn't try the minute I mentioned that we need to get some lunch.

It also occurred to me today that I had never taken my kids hydroplaning before. As we ran our errands, we drove through some deep water on the side of the roads, spraying water all around us. The kids loved it and wanted to do it again. I thought we were good after about three instances. (Editor's note: Don't tell me these things. Those are my babies!)

Tomorrow is the trip to Sesame Place, where we can take our mammoth to-do list and rip it to shreds set it aside for a few days. We're ready to make friends with major and minor characters alike. (Is Prairie Dawn still around?) The weather tomorrow calls for perfect skies and temps in the high 70s. But I'm watching the news tonight just to make sure.

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