We made a valiant attempt to do school this morning. We really did, and I believe there were some math pages actually done. But then, our movie maker friend came by because she had a wonderful treat... a new video camera and wanted to show everyone how to use it. She is hoping that various children in the house will take candid home videos. We will also take it to China.
After our videography lesson, it was lunchtime. I thought I'd check my email and lo and behold, what is waiting for me? Our confirmed consulate appointment date which will be January 20. With that date, everything else that happens before can be mapped out and planned for. This includes airline reservations. Being a crucial step (one does have to actually be in the country) and one of the most expensive parts, the sooner reservations are done, the better.
This explains why my children were then left to their own devices for the better part of an hour in the middle of the day. It takes a while to work through various options with the travel agent, so I was sitting at my desk on the phone. The weather was crazy warm for us today (51 degrees in December?!) and so, they all decided to head out to play. Normally, this would have been fantastic because the noise would have moved elsewhere while I was busy talking about layovers and carriers and prices and arrival and departure times. And it was fantastic until every few minutes, one or two children would come trooping through the kitchen carrying objects that I didn't recognize.
G. or L. or K. would come walking through holding a stuffed animal that seemed new to me. Another child came through carrying some short glowing light saber-thing that I was pretty sure didn't belong to us. I only had a few brain cells to devote to this problem until TM walks into the kitchen carrying a metal detector. We don't own a metal detector and this was bigger than the small items I didn't recognize and they had my full attention. TM tried to explain what was going on, but I had the travel agent talking in one ear, many small children trying to help TM explain, plus TM actually explaining in the other ear, and I'm pretty sure I didn't understand a single thing anyone was saying to me at that moment. I decided I needed to save the mystery until I was off the phone and had made some flight decisions.
That may or may not have been a good choice, but airline tickets seemed more vital at that moment than finding out why a metal detector was suddenly in my kitchen. By the time I was off the phone, my kitchen looked as though an entire yard sale had exploded in it. I'm pretty sure our stuffed animal collection doubled in the course of that hour and other random things kept appearing. Metal flower pots, games, a little clicker-thing that keeps track of numbers, more light sabers, a couple of nerf guns. I'm pretty sure there is more. While I'm staring at the ever growing pile of stuff that has wandered into my house, TM comes back in and tells me our neighbor down the street wants to see me. First I ask what on earth has been happening while I have been on the phone. It seems our neighbors who are moving had a yard sale this past weekend and not everything sold. They had it back outside on their lawn with a big free sign set-up. Evidently the word 'free' is one my children adore. They were very kind in helping our neighbor with her stuff problem. It is no longer her problem and it is now mine. When TM wandered through asking what pie weights were, I put my foot down and said no more.
Having finished with the travel agent and figured out the mystery, I then heeded TM's message that this same neighbor wanted to see me. This is the piece of the story that has my children jumping for joy. Literally. Our neighbors do not want to move their trampoline and asked if we wanted it. Being the kind and loving parents that we are, we said yes. (As if there was any other answer. Would you want to live with seven children if they knew you had turned down a free trampoline? Me either.) But, here's the catch. They close on Friday morning. This means that tomorrow morning will be spent with me and my children trying to take down the trampoline, move it down the alley to our house, and set up the trampoline. (You really don't think I could get away with just moving the parts and letting it sit there, did you?) It wasn't on my color-coded calendar, but I guess we'll make it fit.
But wait, there's more.
I return home to see that the travel agent has sent me the three different itineraries we had been discussing. As I'm trying to figure out which is the best one, D. comes in and hands me a stack of mail. I take a quick glance through it to be sure I pull out any bills before they become lost in the mayhem and what do I see? A nice envelope with the return address which says, "Jury Administration." And guess whose name is on it. Yep. Mine. And guess which day I'm supposed to show up downtown. The day we land in China. At this point, you just have to laugh, don't you?
Now I get to add to my color coded calendar: Gather supporting documents and write letter to be excused from jury duty.
So, that was my day. I haven't mentioned that P. and I had our riding lessons, so you need to throw a couple of hours at the stable in there, plus dropping P. off at her biology class. I'm sure you'll understand when I say I just cannot make dinner and J. is picking something up on his way home.
I think I'll just sleep for the entire fourteen hour plane ride next month.