Monday, February 21, 2005

A little this, a little that 

Well, we're 3 days into our last 4.5 month chunk of this deployment. We got a phone call from Fred yesterday afternoon, letting us know that he made it safely back to Baghdad. He can't access his email for some reason, but I can't stop myself from writing to him anyway. It's a bummer though, when I check my email every 5 minutes or so and see that nothing new has come in.

I went downstairs earlier this evening to start a load of laundry and was delighted to find 2 of Fred's dirty shirts at the bottom of the basket. They smell just like him! I didn't have the heart to wash them, so I just took them upstairs instead. I think the rugby shirt might be my new PJs.


Last Monday was, of course, Valentine's Day. We took the kids to Miramar, the indoor waterpark, in the hopes that a few hours of swimming would force the little buggers to go to sleep before midnight for a change. On the way home, Fred made a U-turn to stop in at a flower shop.

I thought we were just getting potted tulips for me and a new primrose for Annabelle to replace the one we accidentally stewed in front of our dining room radiator. He also ordered 12 of the red roses though, just for me! This is what they looked like on my lap on the drive home:

And here they are on my kitchen windowsill:

They're starting to look pretty decrepit, and I think tomorrow I need to face tossing them out.


We took the kids to the Odenwald on Wednesday in hopes of doing a little sledding. Annabelle wasn't feeling well, but I expected she would perk up once she saw the snow. She didn't, which is how we knew she was really sick. So we just stopped in at Morgenstern for lunch and dessert. (This place has the best cakes I've found in Germany.) We managed to get a window seat and enjoyed the view:


Thursday afternoon Fred and I went out alone to test out an Indian restaurant I've been dying to try. It was delicious! The chicken tikka was the most tender I've ever eaten. There were strange crunchy things (like unsweetened Cap'n Crunch) in the raita, but it was oddly appealing.

After lunch we stopped at the mall to pick up blueberries for yet another breakfast of pancakes. This month the mall is decorated with exhibits featuring huge Steiff stuffed animals. I took a few pictures, including this one, which I call "The 3 Bears":


On Friday the kids had their first official day of circus school. I'm really glad Fred got to see the setup, even if we couldn't watch the class. I can say, "I've enrolled the children in a free circus program in a tenement building in the industrial district with the children of war refugees from the Balkans. The teachers look like the cast of Godspell." But really, that doesn't even begin to describe it.

While the kids were practicing their circus skills, Fred and I ducked into Al's Dinner for a quick cup of coffee. That's not a typo; it really is "dinner," not "diner." Al's Dinner is an old railroad car that has been painted yellow and converted into a very small, very smoky cafe:


After circus school, the kids convinced me to come outside and take my new unicycle on her maiden voyage. I borrowed Annabelle's unicycle poles, which are about 8 inches too short for me and force me to ride (if you can call it that) hunched over like a spider. I stuck with it for about a half hour and was finally able to drag myself very slowly the length of the road in front of our house. Fred came out and gave it a try as well, but his attempt ended in near disaster.

As I promised the other day, I have video of both Fred and me demonstrating that Ringling Brothers won't be hiring us anytime soon.


Friday night we took the pictures of the kids back to back with Fred that I posted the other day. I also got Mike to take one of me with Fred:

That night we all went out for one final schnitzel together, and I took this closeup of Fred in all his scruffy, unshaven, R&R glory:

Note how the hair on the top of his head is almost the same length as the hair on the bottom of face, kind of like a mane. My brilliant idea is that he not shave at all for his 30 days of block leave at the end of the deployment. I'm just insanely curious to know what Fred would look like after a month of not shaving.


As I said in Saturday's post, it was snowing like crazy all the way to and from Rhein-Main. Here's a picture of Fred, shivering in his desert camo outside Tent City:

We spent the rest of Saturday laying low and licking our wounds. Annabelle put on her fuzzy bathrobe and stuffed it full of her favorite critters. That's Snickers the anteater (bought in Russia last summer) tied with her belt:


This afternoon we went with some of our friends back to the Odenwald for the sledding we didn't get to do last week. It was rather icy, and the snow was thin in spots, which made for some rather muddy landings. Here's Mike getting ready to try out the German sled Fred and I bought:


Now that I have the blog more or less up to date, I think I will go upstairs and change into my new dirty rugby shirt and hit the sack. Before I do that though, I need to add one story that I find rather amusing.

The other night I was trying to be all Mary Sunshine for the kids about Fred's impending departure. "It'll be OK," I cheered. "We're on the downhill stretch now!"

"Mom," Mike replied, "We're unicyclists. The downhill is pretty much like the uphill. You can't coast. You just keep pedaling."


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