September 10, 2011
Today was a crazy day. Asher slept good last night, and woke up around 8am ready for the morning light. He gets sleepy within about an hour of waking up, so we tried to settle him into a little nap… then we tried again, and again… finally he took his ‘morning’ nap just before noon, and Candice and I made a quick sandwich for lunch and decided that we were completely out of food and desperately needed to go to Tesco (WalMart)… plus, we wanted to get out of the house. So, right when Asher woke up, we headed out the door and whisked away in the Happy Honda.
Carrying the little man around Tesco has been a good experience because he usually takes a little nap while he’s in the carrier. This time, however, Tesco was a madhouse with like a thousand people and it was a little too close to his eating time for a nap, so about 3/4 of the way through our Tesco run, Candice decided to go out to the car and feed Asher while I finished the shopping. We both felt like we’d had a pretty unsuccessful morning and afternoon so far… nothing was really working out like we’d planned (welcome to parenthood).
By the time I got finished checking out and got out to the car, I found Candice and the little man chilling in the front seat with the windows down just soaking up the sunlight (don’t try this in Oklahoma, a frozen lasagna left in the car during a Wal-Mart trip would be cooked, steamy, and ready to eat by the time you got out). Surprisingly, by the time Candice got Asher to the car to feed him, he was out cold, so she left him in the carrier and he was just sleeping on her chest – WIN! Apparently, all we have to do to get the kid to take a nap is bring him to Tesco on a Saturday, then leave and he’ll be so glad to be out of that place he’ll fall peacefully asleep :).
We sat and talked for a few minutes, then I decided to start the car because I was getting a bit toasty. I turned the key… nothing. “Oh no!” I thought, “C’mon girl, don’t let me down now!” I tried again… nothing. The battery was totally dead. It died a few weeks ago when the dome light stayed on for several days, and this time it must have had something to do with sitting in the car while the key was in it (it was probably already pretty low on juice). In any case… Asher was about to wake up, and I could just see us running around the parking lot with a screaming baby looking for someone to jump our car!
I acted fast. I ran into Tesco and bought jumper cables, instructing Candice not to let anyone park directly in front of us unless they were going to jump us (that sounds weird). I came out and searched for the perfect target to ask for help. A middle-aged woman loading her SUV… no, she’s probably headed somewhere important or has something frozen that needs to go home quickly. I looked around, everyone looked busy and occupied… then I saw them, our heroes. Two teenage guys who obviously had nothing better to do than stand behind their car and have a cigarette before driving aimlessly to nowhere in particular… perfect!
In no time we had the car jumped and we were on our way, Asher had just ate and we were about to pull out when…. blowout! And no, I’m not talking about one of our tires. I’m talking about another kind of blowout altogether… and when I say blowout, I mean BUH.LOH.OWT! We spent the next 10 minutes or so in a flurry of cleaning activity, all the while making various exclamations to Asher about the extent of his little disaster. He thought it was really funny that he ruined his cute outfit and we had to strip him down and dress him again.
Okay… so we FINALLY left the Tesco parking lot and headed home. We unloaded the groceries and Candice said she wanted to go for a drive, I agreed since I figured we would be charging the battery all along. We loaded right back into the Happy Honda and set off for our drive to nowhere. The UK is a great place for wandering drives. There are all sorts of interesting, small, windy roads leading between and around villages in the outskirts of Cambridge. We went from one village to the next, enjoying the picturesque countryside in between (it’s mostly flat like Oklahoma, which makes it feel home-ish).
Asher fell asleep in the car, and we knew if we stopped driving he would wake up, so we just kept driving and chatted about this and that. We ended up driving to Anglesey Abbey, an old country manor not far from Cambridge. It’s a ‘National Trust’ site, which means they’ve made it into kind of a ‘state park’ tourist attraction and charge you to get in. We just wanted to check it out and figured we wouldn’t go in, but when we got there, we realized it was the annual ‘Heritage Open Day’ and everyone gets in free! The crazy coincidence was that, without realizing it, we had gone out for a drive exactly a year ago and had also decided on a whim to visit another national trust site where it happened to be the one weekend a year where people get in free. To top it all off, we got there just as Asher was waking up from his car-nap, which happened to be 15 minutes before they stop letting people in, so we had a good 45 minutes to grab a drink and walk around enjoying all the pretty gardens (they do gardens really well in this country).
Me in front of the main house :)
This is probably the best picture I’ve ever taken with my phone… and it was totally by accident. The light was exactly right, one of the really rare moments when you get ready to take a picture and everything aligns perfectly for a brilliant shot: the sky is cloudy and dramatic so it’s not too bright that it throws off the rest of the picture, the sun peaked through the clouds for only about 5 seconds at the perfect angle to throw sunlight on the face of the house, and I just happened to be in the right spot to frame the grass nicely in the foreground. (I wish I’d had a better camera with me!)
So, as it turned out, the day that started off not going according to plan eventually came together perfectly once we’d thrown our plans out the window. In the end, I guess it’s a little bit like this picture… not one part of it was planned, but it came together brilliantly at just the right moments.