The children are back in school now, their backpacks filled with new spiral-bound notebooks, pencil cases holding sharpened No.2s, crumpled notes from the teacher and the PTA, a fluorescent yellow safety patrol sash (in my daughter’s), and Magic Tree House book #16 (in my son’s). There is minimal homework, for now, so we are spared at least that evening battle. This will change over the next week or two, but I am relishing the homework-free evenings while they last.
The cat ran away on Tuesday, expressing his disdain at being forced to become an outdoor kitty on Sunday. He spent 48 hours exploring the neighborhood, crawling through sewers, murdering lizards and birds, or whatever else outdoor cats do. He showed up at 6 o’clock on Friday morning, demanding to be loved on, to be fed, and to be let inside. We rewarded him with the loving and the food, but he’s to remain an outdoor cat as long as he prefers our dining room floor over the litter box.
This morning, Louie was gone again, but the kids (and the grown ups) are much less freaked out this time around. He came back before, so we believe he’ll come back again. He does enjoy the loving. And the food.
I have been referring to this week as my guilt-week. I know I should call it what it is – a vacation week – but the whole reason it exists is because of mommy guilt.
Early in the summer, after spending their first week or two at their school-sponsored day camp, my ten-year old started in on me.
“Why can’t you just stay home with us?” Madeline asked. “Why can’t you not work in the summer?”
She tried to convince me that if I had a different job, I could have the summers off. Some of her friends were able to stay home all summer, and they didn’t get sent to day camps. She suggested possible career changes for me – artist, jeweler, architect – that would be more conducive to having free summers. I told her that I was pretty sure most artists, jewelers, and architects also had to work in the summer months, but nice try.
I knew what she was getting at, though.
This is the third post (of four) in which I’m sharing our itinerary for our recent trip out to Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone National Park. The first post is here, and the second post is here – in case you missed them.
Warning: Photo-heavy post ahead.
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Days 5: Old Faithful to Mammoth
One unexpected upside to Yellowstone was the disconnection to the outside world. There were no televisions in the hotels, and WIFI (for a fee) was only available at a handful of locations in the entire 2.2 million acres. There was also no radio. We usually listen to radio in the car, but we lost the signal shortly after entering the park from the south entrance. The silence, initially palpable and deafening, was soon comfortable and expected.
Now, let me dispel any notion you may have that we rode in that stylish rental minivan for hours each day without any noise or electronic distractions. I am not stupid. I would never travel without items to occupy my kids’ busy minds. We traveled with exactly three iPads, one laptop, and two Kindles. Frozen was on constant replay from at least one device at any given time. In between Frozen clips, the kids played Minecraft on their iPads – which are technically NOT their iPads at all but only borrowed from their parents. (Yeah, sure.)
Grand Prismatic Spring, in the Midway Geyser Basin in the Old Faithful area.