Back in the Saddle

So today I hurried back to the grind of working a job after a couple weeks of holiday vacation.  It was, as they say in the taciturn parts of this state, not a bad thing to be off for so long.  While it wasn’t bad to get started again, I hopped into the saddle with some trepidation.

I don’t mean trepidation as in “It’s been so long I am a little scared I won’t know what to do or where to go.”  I mean it more in the “Dang it is awfully nice not to have to work for someone else or really to have to work at all and boy wouldn’t it be great if I could keep all this material greatness and quit the day job?” sense.  That is the kind of trepidation I mean.

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to fit one long, uncommonly uttered word into just a few sentences of something more than one person will read at least three times.  Check that off my list.  If we can jump to the meta-cognition level here, when except over the holidays, when I can sleep in until 7:30 (7:30!) for three days straight, would I ever have the idea encompassed in the previous sentence?  See what I mean?  Not working means thinking deep thoughts, thoughts that can only come when one truly relaxes.

Alas, I was back to the work thing today.  I did watch it snow from the warm side of the window.  That was, and I’m not afraid of being called effeminate or even (heavens!) a pansy if I use the word, lovely.  Then I drove home on the icy and slippery asphalt, hands clenched on the wheel, sweating in the down jacket I both didn’t need and forgot to take off in my haste to get to the post office, slowly.

The saddle in which I returned my physical self was metaphorical, of course.  I’m no wrangler.  I’m no jockey.  I can’t even really call myself a desk jockey anymore, although I did spend way too much time sitting today.  My saddle was a chair in this case.  At the end of the day I rode off into the screen saver sunset, bouncing along peacefully on the pneumatic riser of the padded office seat.  It was a lovely way to end the day.  And a lovely way to start the week.

Back to Back Birthdays

Yesterday we went to a birthday party out in Middlesex.  It was high quality.  The weather was fine, albeit a little cold, so sledding on the crusty snow was the main event when we arrived.  As far as I know no one got seriously hurt, the runaway sleds were all tracked down, the puppy didn’t bite anyone hard enough to draw blood, and all of the hot chocolate was consumed.  The adults in the party were even offered the choice of peppermint schnapps (for the hot chocolate) or scotch whiskey (for the eggnog).  Fun was had by all.

Eventually things moved indoors.  We gathered at the foot of both the twenty foot tall Christmas tree (no joke) and the indoor climbing wall.  This same living room also offered a mountain view with what couldn’t have been a more perfect sunset.  Cake was then to be had with messy faces all around the children and we were off down the greasy hill in the dark.  We stopped to eat in Richmond at On the Rise Bakery to sample their expanded menu.  Showers for the children topped off a grand winter (fall, technically) day.

Today we were off to a morning party, north to Winooski instead of east this time.  It was a different affair, yet equally rewarding for the bounty of child foibles and affectionate commentary.  These youngsters had the opportunity, after various healthy snacks (really–bagels and carrots and pears were eaten with happy abandon) to smash a pinata.  That took some doing.  Apparently the construction phase of the pinata was dominated by fears that these small yet enthusiastic children would tear into the thing with so much gusto that it would spill its goods on the first swing.  Multiple layers of paper mache helped to ease these fears, yet the choice of the large wooden spoon (larger than most wooden spoons, but still, a wooden spoon, not a broom handle or a bat or something with more leverage) and the reduced swing area  in the low-ceilinged basement meant multiple turns for each child yielded zero treats on the floor.

A couple parents took some swings, the second of them sending the top half of the spoon caroming through the crowd and skittering across the basement floor.  After some “whoa”ing, a search for a baton substitute yielded a hatchet, a two-by-four, and finally, a small square scrap of lumber, just right for small hands.  That, ultimately, with more parental aid, did the trick.  Candy and prizes poured forth and an orderly retrieval took place.

Both of these birthday events meant good fun for the children (friends, some old and some new, as well as new toys to check out, and plenty of kid-friendly eats) and quality time for the adults.  I spend too little time in the company of adults in a social setting.  I have always been less a social creature than many, but time to bat around ideas and share stories is pretty key.  Getting in some good conversation and humor helped energize me.  The schnapps might have helped a little at the first party, and the two extra cups of coffee (it had whipped cream and cinnamon!) at the second may have helped oil the social gears.  But I think I did it pretty much by myself.

I made friends all by myself!  See what I’m saying?  Even my everyday language has turned into kid-speak.  I really do need to make sure I get out more.