Sunday, June 06, 2010

Anatomy of a Hot Summer Day

Was yesterday hot enough for you? Here's how we whiled away a 90+ degree summer day in Philadelphia:

5:50a - I return from my outdoor run. Even at this early time, it is 80 degrees so I am overheated. I enter the house to find Aaron and Jada playing quietly in the purple room. With the sun rising so early, as soon as they can see daylight, at least one of them pops up; and, since they're now next-door neighbors, it's only a matter of time before the second one gets woken up.

6:50a - While the kids play, I stretch, putter around the Internet, and attempt to cool down. An hour after returning home, I finally hit the showers. No matter, though, I immediately start sweating upon emerging from the shower.

7:50a - We take our time with clothes and breakfast, and the kids return to playing and TV, while the adults begin final preparations around the house for hosting friends later that day.

8:50a - We walk a couple of blocks down the street to a playground adjacent to where Jada will start kindergarten in the fall. They've become enamored with a huge sandbox there (probably 8 feet by 20 feet) that is full of beach toys, and happily entertain themselves; I alternate between dozing and reading.

9:50a - We hit CVS on the way home and, after a quick bath to scrub off all the sand, the kids play some more while Amy tends to kitchen matters and I do more shuffling of chairs and tables around the house.

10:50a - Amy's outdoor run is rudely interrupted when she lands awkwardly while crossing a street. She limps home and shows me her severely swollen ankle. We ice and elevate immediately while contemplating whether to go to the ER, and decide against it.

11:50a - The kids have been fed lunch, Amy's ankle is improving but still painful, and Aaron is happily off to his room time. Jada and I put on our bike helmets and are out the door for two nearby neighborhood parties. The first is at 50th and Baltimore, the grand re-opening for a credit union. The second is at 52nd and Jefferson, the 5-year celebration for a shopping complex. Jada scores a face-painting and balloon giraffe at the first one, and I score a quick conversation with City Councilman Curtis Jones at the second one.

1:20p - Jada and I are leaving for home when she loses grip of her giraffe. Bawling as it flutters down a street of cars waiting at a red light, I hurriedly make a U-turn and try to follow where it went. A young man comes to our rescue, getting out of his car, walking against traffic, stopping a car that is about to start now that the light has turned green, rescuing the giraffe, and bringing it to Jada. Jada and I thank him profusely for this random act of kindness.

2:50p - After returning home, I shower for the second time just to cool off from lugging Jada all around West Philadelphia on bike. Jada draws, Aaron awakes from his nap and makes his way to the TV, and Amy's ankle feels good enough for her to resume her kitchen prep. Then, Jada and I head out by car to a birthday party in New Jersey of one of her classmates.

3:50p - We're at the Funplex once again, for another riotous birthday party. This time, we only have time for Jada to partake in the "Ball Pit," which is ill-named because it should really be called "American Gladiator, Little Kid Version," given how much activity and energy is contained within a 20' by 20' cage, namely all sorts of contraptions that spit out foam balls. I go in at the end to let Jada know we're leaving soon and am promptly pelted by foam balls in seven different directions.

4:50p - We arrive home and our party has already started, a gathering of the families in our small group Bible study. Two dads are out sick, and one child is at a nearby birthday party, so all told we number eight adults and 11 kids. After racing through three previous parties, Jada and I are famished, and we got a later start on dinner to begin with, so we are both eating while others have started to clean up.

5:50p - Kids and toys everywhere. Jada and Aaron are hosting a tea party in the foyer, two bins' worth of toys in the basement have been emptied out onto the floor for careful inspection by a gaggle of kids down there, and we adults are trying desperately to maintain good conversation while attending to the hunger pangs and bodily functions of our children. In other words, good times.

6:50p - The promise of dessert is sufficient incentive for the kids to assist in clean-up. The hard work is rewarded, as the dessert options - brownies and chocolate eclairs - turn out to be fantastic. Happiness ensues.

7:20p - The men take all the kids save the one baby to the backyard, where we make our way to the bird sanctuary behind our house. The kids are delighted to have this relatively large forested area to climb on and jump off logs, swing sticks, and pose for pictures. The women luxuriate in nice iced coffee concoctions made by Amy and uninterrupted conversation time.

8:50p - Alas, it is time for everyone to head home. Shoes and diaper bags are located and secured, goodbyes and hugs are shared, and the house is quiet again. Jada and Aaron get a second bath, and an accelerated version of the bedtime routine is trotted out to great success. The house is now even quieter.

9:50p - Amy and I kick up our feet - in Amy's case, this is meant literally - and watch some TV before repairing for bed. Four parties, 92 degrees, two baths, eight adults, 11 kids, and countless pictures later, this hot summer day is come to an end.

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