The Charleston Trip, Part 6: Costume Ball and Heading Home

As I mentioned in my last post, G & L had a costume ball reception in addition to the Secret Gardens reception.  When I got back to my room after taking photos at the stables, I got into my costume and proceeded to the parking lot in front of G & L’s room.  There, the guests were arriving.  Everyone had a costume on.  Mine was Aragorn from Lord of the Rings.

After taking a few photos, I was ushered into G & L’s room.  The wedding party members were going to go separate from the regular guests so we could be introduced at the reception.  While waiting, I was handed my mask.  It was nice, but I was afraid that it would mean I’d need to remove my glasses.  Luckily, it fit over my glasses quite easily.  I’m not sure if this was planning on G & L’s part or just plain luck, but it worked nicely.  The mask had only one drawback:  No peripheral vision.  More on that later.

After waiting for awhile, we headed to the reception.  It wasn’t far.  The reception hall was at another section of Middleton Place.  We waited outside while everyone got ready.  It was nighttime and the entire place was pitch black.  Our main source of light (besides the reception hall) was a series of torches lining our path.  I glanced to one side and realized that I was dangeriously close to one of the torches.  Any closer and I’d have had to change my blog name to CrispyDad!

When it was time for us to be introduced, we all donned our masks and the band started playing the Closing Theme from Star Wars.  Yes, G chose this musical selection.  I guess L should be happy he didn’t choose Vader’s March.  It actually worked out very nicely.  The big fanfare at the end came up just as G & L entered the room.

The reception itself was great.  There was dancing, food, music, more dancing.  I even got G to do the Sher (which I mistakenly called the Horah during the dance).  This is a dance often performed at Jewish celebrations.  All of the dancers form a circle and two dancers move to the middle.  They lock arms and circle one another.  Then they break the lock, lock their other arms, and circle in the opposite direction.  One or both of the dancers then goes back to the circle and another dancer or pair of dancers moves to the middle.

G and I had danced this dance at my wedding during which time I spun him so fast that he fell down.  This isn’t as mean as it seems.  G and I have a running gag where I do something and he performs a pratfall.  If I recall correctly, he even met L when he tripped and fell onto her lap.  In any event, I decided not to repeat the G-Toss.  G had other ideas, though and intentionally broke the lock and went flying.

In a nice moment of cultural spillover, there was a Sudden Outbreak of Sher.  Everyone was doing it including an elderly Italian couple.  Due to my participation, I didn’t get any Sudden Outbreak of Sher photos, but I did get these:

I also took a video of my friend doing some rather embarassing dance moves.  Unfortunately, that came out so dark that you can’t see anything.  The blackmail qualities of the video are gone!

All too soon, I realized that I should be getting back to my room.  I had an early flight the next morning and needed to pack my things.  I said my goodbyes and some final congratulations.  Then I got a ride back to my room.  I quickly changed out of my costume, packed my things up as best I could at the time, and went to sleep.

The next morning, I woke up at 3am.  I got ready, packed up my remaining belongings, did a few sweeps of the room to make sure nothing was left behind, and then headed out.  It was pitch black outside and I was barely able to guide myself to the spot where the van was going to meet me to drive me to the airport.  At 4:30am, I met up with the van and got driven to the airport.  At 6am, my flight took off from Charleston, SC to Atlanta, Georgia.

While in Atlanta, I continued a tradition that I started on my trip down:  I picked up some postcards for NHL to add to his photo album.  (He later requested some prints from my trip and has filled up one whole photo album.)  The trip was nice and I didn’t regret not having my wife and kids there.  I missed them, of course, but I don’t think they would have enjoyed themselves as much as I did.  By the time I landed at our airport, I was itching to see my kids.  I had taken a small photo album with me with a few 4×6’s of my wife and kids.  As we neared the airport, I found myself taking out the album more and more.

After getting off the plane, I headed for the security gate where my wife, kids, and in-laws were waiting for me.  It’s a good thing my in-laws were there.  They held JSL and NHL back.  Otherwise, they would have charged past the security line to run to me.  I don’t think airport security would have appreciated that.  Once I got past the security line, though, all bets were off and I was charged by two boys who had missed their daddy.  I gave them both big hugs and we headed home.  It’s fitting that this is being posted on Thanksgiving.  While I had a blast on my trip and would love to go back there one day, I was extremely thankful to be home hugging both of my boys.

Haircut Accomplished

Two days ago I wrote about our Horrendous Hair Cutting Controversy.  Well, yesterday we dropped NHL off at B’s parents’ house (his choice) and went off to get JSL’s hair cut.  On the way to the salon, JSL fell asleep in the car.  We walked inside, put our name on the waiting list (even though we were the next ones in line) and took a seat.

We were delighted to see that K was giving haircuts today.  She has done NHL’s hair many times and helped turn him from a nervous wreck during haircuts to a calm (well, nearly calm) big boy.  We got JSL out of his hat and coat and he reluctantly woke up.  He cuddled up to B as she sat in the chair and K prepared to cut JSL’s hair.  JSL quickly began calling for me, so B and I traded places.  She took the camera and I took the little one.  JSL shook his head a little bit but then he settled down and let K cut his hair.  He was very good and soon was sporting a new do.

The Visiting Gnome

A photography forum I’m a member of has a little tradition going.  One of the members purchased a gnome (whom I’ll call Gnome for purposes of anonymity) on eBay and took a photo of him.  The first person to comment on the photo got him next.  That person took a photo of Gnome and posted it.  Over his two year journey, he’s been to many places, including China.

Over his many stops, Gnome’s gotten a reputation as a bit of a drinker and womanizer.  When he arrived here, however, he quickly sensed that our household wasn’t like most of the places he’s been.  First of all, there are two kids running around.  Secondly, there’s no booze!  Gnome quickly adjusted and bonded with my kids.   NHL would ask where Gnome was (to make sure he was safe) and expressed sadness that Gnome had to leave.  (I explained how Gnome liked seeing new sights.)  JSL, on the other hand, took to walking around saying the gnome’s name.  Yes, he actually added the gnome’s name vocabulary!

Of course, I took many, MANY photos of Gnome while he was here.  (Please note: posting a comment here doesn’t mean Gnome will stop by your house.  He’s for the photography forum members only.)

Sick NHL, Bad Reactions, and Pee (This post not for the faint of tummy)

I’m back from my trip to Charleston, South Carolina.  Everything went well there.  My friend is now married and I have over 1,100 photos of the time I spent there.  More on that later.

On Sunday, NHL woke up and was acting odd.  He didn’t want to eat breakfast and asked to go back to sleep.  Not on the couch watching TV, mind you.  He wanted to go back to bed.  (Sign #1 that something is wrong, a nap with no TV is *ASKED FOR*!!!)  After about an hour’s nap, he woke up and went to Hebrew School.

When we picked him up, he seemed tired.  We went to the grocery story to pick up some food.  He and JSL sat in a car cart next to each other.  NHL complained that he was hungry.  Fair enough, it was lunchtime.  So we tried to get him some food but he kept going between hungry and not hungry.  Finally, we got him some pretzel crisps and went through the aisles quickly.  At the dairy aisle, the second to last aisle we needed to go in, he suddenly gagged and hurled all over himself, the cart and the floor.

Now here is where my bad reaction comes into play.  Ever since NHL has been little, I seem to have this reaction when he vomits.  I instinctively try to catch it to contain the mess.  It never works, always gets me messy, yet the reaction persists.  It’s not a conscious decision either.  It just seems to be something that I do as a split-second reaction to my son vomiting.  I don’t know why I do it

So there I am standing with vomit dripping down my hands in the dairy aisle.  My wife took JSL to get someone to help clean up the mess.  (Luckily, NHL turned away from JSL when he performed the Technicolored Yawn, so JSL was spared the mess.)

When she came back, I cleaned us up the best I could and took NHL to the restroom.  He complained on the way that he was going to hurl again, so we hurried.  Once in the bathroom, though, he tummy must have settled a bit because he didn’t need to.  However, the restroom was equiped with a hot air hand dryer (a "blower" in NHL-speak) and not paper towels.  So I grabbed handfuls of toilet paper, wet them, and tried to use it to clean up the vomit on NHL’s clothes (as well as the specks of toilet paper that started ripping off and sticking to his clothes).  It wasn’t a great job, but it was good enough for the moment.

Back we went to B to find that they had taken the cart away to be hosed off.  They were coming with a new cart and a mop.  Meanwhile, B was guarding the "spill zone" with JSL while watching our groceries.  I took JSL and NHL and headed to the car.  (Along the way, I saw an employee heading back to my wife with another car cart.  He saw me taking the boys away and said he’d get her a regular cart.)  At the car, NHL was clearly distressed.  He wanted to go home *now*.  I calmed him down the best I could until B got back.  Then we headed home.

At home, we saw that NHL was spiking a fever.  Motrin went in and NHL went to nap for a bit.  His fever seemed to pass, but he still wasn’t hungry for dinner.  A juice box and half of a apple juice popsicle was all he had the rest of the day.  Luckily, this morning, his fever appeared to be gone and he actually requested breakfast.  Hopefully, he’s on the mend.

My Gross Day wasn’t over though.  JSL had needed a tub, and a dinner of buttered noodles didn’t help.  Just before his tub, he decided to poop.  I couldn’t change his diaper *AND* clean/fill the tub at the same time, so B agreed to change his diaper.  Unfortunately, she didn’t wait until I was ready and soon a naked JSL was wandering about the house while I waited for the "clean the tub" water to go down the drain.

As the tub drained, B told JSL: "Out of the living room.  I don’t want you peeing on the carpet.  Go to Daddy."  Can you guess what comes next?   I suddenly felt wet on my leg.  I saw that the water was way to low for me to have accidentally splashed myself and I saw JSL turning and walking away.  Yes, JSL did as Mommy asked and went to Daddy to pee.  (Ok, it might not have been what Mommy meant, but apparently JSL is very literal.)

So yesterday I was puked on by one kid and peed on by the other.  I guess that’s the payback I get for being out of town for 3.5 days.

The Guilt Trips Of Toddlers

Sure I'm Happy Now, But Just You Wait!

I remember when I first dropped NHL over at day care.  He clutched at my suit-jacket and screamed as if I was leaving him at the top of a desolate mountain to be eaten by wolves.  Staying with him until he calmed down didn’t work, that just postponed when his meltdown would occur.  Slowly leaving didn’t work either, it just prolonged the agony.  The only way to do it was the "band-aid on a hairy limb" method:  Tear him off of me and get it over with quickly.

Even so, I left day care that day convinced that I was the worst dad in the world.  How dare I leave him in the care of those monsters!  Couldn’t I hear him howling for me as I walked down the hallway?  Why didn’t I just turn around and run back to him?

As NHL grew, drop offs got less and less traumatic.  Finally, one day, NHL fully accepted that he was going off to play, Daddy was off to work, and Daddy would, in fact, be back later.  In fact, NHL would be so excited about playtime that he would forget to hug and kiss me goodbye.  The rolls were reversed.  Now he was trying to tear away from Daddy and Daddy was clawing at him trying to get one last hug and kiss.

Now, NHL is in kindergarten and he has a little brother who is a few months older than NHL was when he started day care.  NHL loves kindergarten, but JSL hates it.  Apparently, he calls for NHL constantly during the day.  Not just that, though.  He hates for Daddy to leave for work now.  As I left this morning, JSL crawled over to me, used my leg to pull himself up, and wailed at me to stay.  (At least, I think that’s what those sad cries of "Da-Da" were.)

I’m sure he’ll get used to it eventually, and the "Worst Dad In The World" feeling isn’t as bad.  (Partially because I’m leaving him at home — a familiar place to him — and partially due to learning to cope now that I’m dealing with #2.)  Still, I feel pretty bad every morning when I leave JSL behind.  That bad feeling is balanced, though.  For when I return at the end of the day, I’m sure to be greeted with an enthusiastic "Da-Daaa!"

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