Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Summer of Love - Day One (one week late)

Well, our Summer of Love is not off to a blazing start. Last week we had our first day off together. But it was really really cold and gray and windy. So we did something we've never done before: we went to the mall just for sake of going to the mall. We have gone to the mall before, but we always have very particular things we're going to buy, and then we leave as quickly as possible because we don't actually like it much.

But last week we just went to get out of the house without having to brave the cold gray wind. And I discovered that Chapters is actually a pretty kid-friendly place. Swee'pea gathered around a train set and traded/stole toy trains with a bunch of other boys who were mostly older than him but not much bigger. Sugar D and I took turns watching him play with the trains while the other looked at books.

I used to be a total bibliophile, always checking out used bookstores and almost never leaving empty-handed. But when Sugar D and I got together and combined our vast book collections, and we moved into our small house that is bursting at the seems with stuff, I have done a complete 180. Because Sugar D continues to bring books into our house at a rate that our groaning bookshelves and other surfaces cannot keep up with, I have set and follow VERY strict rules for myself. I only read books from the library, making one exception for Fiona Walker books, which I only allow myself to buy if I am about to take a plane ride. I do allow myself to buy other books on occasion, but only if I am absolutely certain that I will refer to the book again and again. I never buy any books on impulse; I must consider carefully whether a book is worthy of being allowed into our house on a permanent basis.

Last Tuesday I did something I haven't done in years -- at least eight: I allowed myself to buy two paperbacks, just on a whim, because they looked interesting. I bought Bill Bryson's The Lost Continent on the strength of the first paragraph: "I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to." (Although I can also be reasonably certain that I will probably lend it out to someone, which is another criterion for allowing myself to purchase a book so that one wasn't a total departure.) The other book I bought is Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure by Sarah MacDonald, mostly because it has a cool cover. And I had to hold myself back not to buy more books.

(26 pages into Holy Cow, I must say I'm impressed and absorbed. She's not afraid to tell it like it is, that India is kinda dirty but somehow she does it with respect... and I think these early pages are setting her up for a turnaround. Hey, her website is pretty cool too.)

See, in recent weeks, I have discovered the limitations of my library. Reading blogs and blogging about some of the books I read has re-engaged me in the world of books, so now I don't just go to the library for books on a particular subject or of a particular genre, and I just take what I can get. Now I go to the library in search of specific titles and authors, and more often than not I have been disappointed. So I think I may have to relax my policy.

Anyways back to the Summer of Love: I bought some books I didn't plan to, then Swee'pea got cranky so we went home. We went for a blustery walk not fit for June later, and that was just about it. Today is my first weekday off since then, and Sugar D has been working on cover letters for job applications and then we cleaned the house when the cleaning woman arrived so that she could actually clean*, and now I'm blogging.

Two things I clearly forgot when I started going on about the Summer of Love: we aren't very exciting people; we like to hang at home. And we're not really into discomfort (as in long car rides with a cranky toddler or a lot of stinky hot outdoor time followed by a long drive with a cranky toddler. Anyways, stay tuned for more tales of teenage mostly housebound adventures as the Summer of Love unfolds.

Oh wait -- I do have more: we've been watching a lot of Lost. When I rented the first dvd I suggested to Sugar D that he might enjoy it too, but he scoffed at me, saying it was just like Survivor. As I watched the first season, he couldn't help but be in the same room from time to time and occasionally I told him bits that I found intriguing. Well by the last dvd of the first season, I busted him (not so) secretly watching from the kitchen. Finally, he admitted that he was hooked too. Last night we finished the last episode of season two; tonight we'll see if the bonus features are any good. (Mr. Echo has now replaced Sayid as my favourite character, but I guess he's probably dead, along with John Locke and Desmond, who I also really like. Boo.)

Swee'pea's been a bit sick -- again! The other day he had a low fever that spiked in the middle of the night to 103.2 -- his highest fever ever. It disappeared the next day and he just has a bit of a runny nose today, nothing major. But last night I woke up in the middle of the night with him crawling all over me and crying inconsolably. As I struggled to swim to consciousness, I imagined Sugar D asking what was wrong with him, and me responding that Swee'pea had gotten it into his head that he had to teach us something, or show us something, like Mr. Echo's dreams on Lost.

Eventually I figured out that that thinking was pretty dreamy, silly really, but it took a long long time to shake it. And even longer for Swee'pea to settle back into sleep, with lots of loud crying and arguing with Sugar D about how to stop it. That's three rough nights in a row, and I'm really starting to feel it.

* The last two times we've had a different cleaning woman who is either deliberately thwarting my toilet paper strategy and trying to teach me to just put the damn roll of toilet paper on the holder myself like a civilized person, or is just NOT a strategic thinker. Faced with two rolls, one fat new roll and one nearly finished roll, she puts the thin roll on the holder and the fat roll back in the package on the floor. Both times she's been here. Has she never heard of optimization?!?


Suz said...

A good friend of mine has convinced me that we need to go back and start watching seasons of Lost, so we'll soon be joining you, especially as there's so little else on.

Christine said...

I am dedicated to the library now, mostly for financial reasons, and i am loving it. Though i too occasionally buy a book for myself.

Don't be so sure about who you think is dead on Lost! Oooooh, i just LOVE Lost.

Hope the baby gets better soon.

Did I mention I am dork about Lost?

slouching mom said...

Two things I clearly forgot when I started going on about the Summer of Love: we aren't very exciting people; we like to hang at home.

Crack me up, you.

Julie Pippert said...

Hey home is where the sofa, TIVO, safe kid space, books and free food are!

I like Bill Bryson. I do. I have an awesome (or nasty, depending on your POV) of when I fall in love with a book giving it to a lot of people for Christmas. One year I did that with a Bill Bryson book, en mase. I have only ever done it with Russo and Mary Doria Russell en masse (as in: to the entire family). Luckily I am related to book geeks.

Which is also why I love Half Price Books. Trade 'em in!

I'd cry tears of joy if anyone in my home besides me for any reason put toilet paper on the holder. ;)

bubandpie said...

Does your local library allow you to search their catalogue and order books online? That's what I do - the ones I want are almost never at my branch, but if I put them on hold, they'll send them over for pick-up. (Speaking of which, I've got two books waiting for me right now, to add to the forty-odd I've got lying in stacks around the house.)

Mimi said...

I bought Lost Continent exactly the same way! Parts of it were very good, very intriguing. Well worth it. It was my first Bill Bryson. Don't know that I'd read more, but I enjoyed that one ...

Mad Hatter said...

Oh Sin, this post is classic Sin. I loved every word of it and every meandering turn. BTW, we aren't very exciting people either. It's kind of a relief to realize that about yourself, isn't it?

kgirl said...

you are too funny. we make chapters a regular destination in inclement weather. it's pretty much like a drop in centre, except i get to have fun too. and i do not have the restraint that you do.

NotSoSage said...

Oh, that's exactly what we do on our days off together. Sigh.