J has made a smooth transition to vacation mode. No one is more surprised about this than us; we were expecting a little resistance on his part, especially since he usually goes to school the week of finals even if he’s not really required to be there. That particular arrangement is as much out of a desire for a smooth transition for J as it is for a few precious moments of girding my loins for me. This year, because we are two days away from J’s Big Dental Appointment, we decided to change our plans and prepare him for this particular traumatic experience by keeping things low-key at home.
On Thursday J returned from school knowing it had been his last day. There was very little doubt about this as we walked home and I reminded him that school was finished. Or, perhaps, it was TGG’s heartfelt rendition of Alice Cooper’s School’s Out that did the trick. This has been the tradition since the first time TGG completed a school year (my ex-husband never understood why I’d want to attach an Alice Cooper song to anything, but he also never understood why I thought Only Women Bleed is a great song, but I digress…) So by the time we’d reached our doorway, J was fully clear on the idea that school’s done until he goes back for ESY in mid-June.
On Friday we worked on sanding the balsa wood pieces I’d bought for coasters. J sat and listened to me repeat the same instructions that my dad gave me years ago when he first introduced me to sandpaper and woodgrain. Of course, we don’t quite get the hang of woodgrain yet, but we are pretty good at testing where more sanding is needed. The weather was not cooperating on Friday; our walk to the mailbox was chilly and we basically cantered back and rushed into the warm, welcoming basement level (you KNOW it’s pretty chilly out when J’s full-blast fans in the basement feel warm compared to the breeze from which you’re taking refuge.) The news announced a frost advisory for Friday and Saturday so, while bewildered by the report and baffled by the late date, we collectively worked to protect our garden.
Saturday morning found us at Farmers’ Market, and there were fewer dogs there, but J didn’t really take to the rather large collie that seemed intent on blocking his path. By the time we got home, J was ready to change into his comfortable clothes and chill for the rest of the day. I didn’t blame him; that dog was determined to make his presence known to J, and J put a lot of effort into not freaking out about the whole thing. J is slowly learning to not overreact to canines, and his relationship with Miss Zelda the Cat has improved significantly. That, of course, is because Zelda has learned that J isn’t always in the mood to have her near and, in very un-cat-like fashion, she refrains from insisting he welcome her.
Sunday was bright and sunny, and the warmest day we’d had in a while. J sat outside with us as we worked on putting our garden back to rights. Armed with wood from the scrap pile near our future townhouse, J made a box for planting. Mind you, he handled the hammer like a pro, and there were no pre-drilled holes and this was not the sweet kind of compressed wood that do-it-yourself furniture is made of…this was wood, real wood… J had a GREAT time hammering and making a box for planting. I reserved another four pieces for later this week…can’t have too much of a good thing, can we?
We moved on to the next step in the coaster project: staining the wood.
I gave TGG instructions on what to do. We had bought a water-based wood stain that dries very quickly and a little goes a long way. As Dada told me later, when I asked how things were going, “all instructions have been blatantly ignored, everyone is dirtier than they should be and, ergo, all is fun and games with the younger set.”
Monday was dreary. We mainly worked indoors, and J wanted our company for little bits of time. It was during one of those bits of time that we emptied the tub of mosaic tiles and let him make a design for the coasters. He made three that were identical and one that has the same colors in a different arrangement. We alternated the task of helping him glue them on to the wood.
They have been set side for grouting until today when, because the weather is drier and warmer, the grout will set better and more quickly. The weather is going to be so nice, in fact, that I am expecting the “children” to go outside and stay there for a good portion of the day.
I am trying to not worry too much about Friday. The fact that we have to keep J from eating or drinking for eight hours previous to his procedure is something we can work around nicely. The fact that we have to walk into the hospital’s reception are to check in is another matter entirely. In the past we’ve had difficulties keeping J from reacting in the way he usually reacts in hospital settings: vomiting or attempting to vomit. We know it’s that he’s conditioned: going to the hospital means he’s sick. He wants to oblige us by hurling if it’s at all possible. Tomorrow, of course, I will start telling him that we’re going back on Friday and there’s no need to hurl because we’re stepping into the hospital lobby. Hopefully, this part of the process won’t cause him more grief than is absolutely necessary…
There you go…that’s the best summary (I know it’s not the best-best, but it’ll have to do) I can come up with for the first few days of J’s vacation.
Oh, and he’s been going for walks WITHOUT his hats on…