Rained Out Again but Enjoying the Rain

My daughter has been participating on a T-ball team (sort of like baseball, except they have the option to bat off a T).  So far she has had only two practices.  Four have been scheduled.  Two have been rained out, including tonight.  The kids are supposed to have a game next Tuesday.  That will be interesting.  Most of the kids don’t know the rules;  they do not know, for example, that touching the bases is part of the deal.  But it’s really about having fun anyway.

Instead of going to T-ball, my children played in the rain instead.  First, on the way home from my son’s school, they played with the windows.  They put them down to clear off the rain, which worked for all of three seconds.  Then they decided to put them down every time a car passed.  They got pretty wet but they were laughing so hard I figured it was OK to let a little moisture into the vehicle.

By the time we got home they were all fired up to run around outside in swim suits.  So they did.  They got soggy and muddy, playing in puddles and sliding down the slide.  They were soaked and dirty when they came in, just in time for a warm dinner.  They really wanted hot chocolate, to get cozy as they put it.  We waited until after dinner for the hot chocolate, then curled up by the fire with jammies.

Soon it will be time to head up for showers and bed.  The rain will likely continue into the evening.  I love going to bed when the rain falls.  I even enjoyed walking out to meet the bus this morning, listening to the rain on the umbrella and smelling the new blossoms.  Lilacs and apple blossoms are out now and the air smells sweet when the rain falls.

I don’t have to water the garden these days.  I just have to sit and watch the rain fall on the soil.  The children know that rain means the garden gets enough to drink, so they are happy when the skies gray and spill over.  Plus, they get to romp in the puddles.  So we had no T-ball practice today, but we all enjoyed what we got anyway.  We’ll get back to the field next week.

A Few New Things

I attended our annual meeting for the organization for whom I work today.  I came home with a few new things.  I wrote yesterday about the awesome umbrella I received last year as a company gift.  This year we each got a canvas LL Bean bag with the company logo on it.  Not bad.

I use these types of bags all the time.  We got a couple of large ones many years back and they come with us everywhere.  They have carried groceries, beach toys, old and new clothing, library books, ski boots, freshly picked garden vegetables, a computer printer, lunch, jugs of water, whatever.  They are my favorite bags.

I once got a smaller one from my bank.  They were giving them away for opening new accounts.  I already had an account but I wanted one of those bags.  The bank teller told me I could have one when she saw me eyeing it.  That is a benefit to living in a small town.  Of course, not long after, the bank merged and changed its name and logo.  Maybe that makes it a collector’s item?

Anyway, this new bag from today (crisp and clean so far) has slightly longer handles, great for tossing over a shoulder.  I will use it lots.  But that is not all I got.

I have been working there for five years so I got to hear my name announced and go up on stage and get a little gift bag and shake the hands of the president and the VP’s.  The VP of my department even gave me a hug.  That wasn’t weird or anything, as one might suspect.  I genuinely appreciated it.  The gift bag had some goodies in it.

First, there was the mug–stainless steel with (of course) the logo and my initials engraved on one side.  I had previously told the folks in HR that I did not want a mug unless it was high quality.  I have way too many of travel mugs kicking around and another one I will not use unless it is bomber.  I think this one is close enough.  It isn’t the vacuum insulation I was told it would be but heck, it should work fine.

I also got a key chain with the logo (are you catching on to how important the marketing piece is here?) and my initials and “five years of service” printed on the flip side.  That was unexpected and a nice touch.  I am not sure where I will use a key chain (I hate a lot of crap dangling from my key ring; in fact I have all my keys on a mini carabiner so I can take one off at a time easily) but it was nice touch.

Finally, I got a bonus vacation day.  That will get used for sure.  I may even get an extra week of vacation since I have been there for five years, but I won’t count on that until I look it up and confirm it.

I carried my mug and my keychain and my little note from the top brass home in my canvas bag.  That worked out well.  It would have been harder if I had reached five years last year.  An umbrella doesn’t make a great carrying case for much, and certainly for not a stainless steel mug.

Umbrella

Exactly a year ago I got a new umbrella.  It was a gift from the organization that provides my employment.  it bears that organization’s logo.  How nice, I thought at the time, this might come in handy.  Then I stuck it in the closet.

These days, it does come in handy.  This morning, for example, I used it.  We walked as a family out to meet the bus.  We have a long driveway and the walk is a great way for us to start the day.  It is a ritual I like to be part of as often as I can.  Today the rain was just dumping down.  So we used the umbrella.

It is a golf umbrella, with no metal struts or stays.  It is lightweight.  And it is big.  The wind blew and the rain came down, but it protected us well.  If I had not received this umbrella we likely would have thought that we needed one for our daily walk to the meet the bus, but we would not have purchased such a good one.

We would have purchased something smaller, weaker and simpler.  It would probably have been cute or brightly colored but it would not have been nearly as functional.  This one works like a charm and looks sharp as well.  It was a fine gift.  It gets a lot of use.  I am glad I have it.

Tomorrow we have our annual meeting to review the organization’s standing and direction.  It will be a day to mingle and maybe learn a few things and even have some fun.  And I imagine we will get some employee gift.  The umbrella will be hard to top but I have high hopes.  One year we got coolers and mine gets used regularly.  So the track record here is spot on (OK, the exception was the car emergency kit, which was a great idea but contained a plastic bag of drinking water, just in case one of us happened to go off the road in the winter and need some ice).

I foresee we will receive a practical gift, one that will get used rather than tossed in a closet.  But even then, I can always pull it back out, right?