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» Sunday, November 11, 2012Nuptial Madness (A Weekend Saga)
It's been quite a weekend.
The weekend frolics began a bit early...like on Monday. I noticed on Monday night that when Schuyler was relaxing, she looked as if she were falling asleep, with her eyes squinted. It was after nine and she had a right to be sleepy.
Tuesday I got up at six a.m. to go vote. It was a miserable, chilly, rainy morning—given the choice between 44 degrees with rain and snow, I'll take the snow; it's drier!—and I huddled in line with about one hundred people in front of me and fifty behind after about twenty minutes in line. I had my umbrella propped up and was reading the first Falco novel on my Nook, but the umbrella of the guy in front of me kept dripping on it and finally I closed it. The poll opened promptly at seven and I was out of there by 7:30 to get home and start work.
When I got in Schuyler was full of beans. She raced back and forth at the bottom of her cage, chirped, sang, and bounced around most of the morning. I, on the other had, was miserable: the chilly rain had seeped into my bones and I couldn't get my feet warm. I was cold and headachy, and at lunch took a nap. Before I got back to work, I walked past Schuyler's cage. That right eye...she looked like she was squinting. But the left eye was fine. Hmn.
On Wednesday I was in the office at "SURGE" training (a team-building exercise that highly puzzled me, since it assumed—to my perception, anyway—that we as an office didn't get along; there were these long lessons about politeness and talking to each other and consideration...say what? do other branches have this problem? ours doesn't!), but James was home and I asked him to keep an eye on Skye between his errands. He said she was still squinting, but otherwise seemed healthy.
That night, however, she just suddenly had a bout of uncontrolled scratching under and near that eye. It was like a fit; she didn't want to stop. I finally had to take her into the spare bedroom, half cover her cage, and keep the light low. I read to her from the "Looking Back" issue I was reading and was quite upset, even though she calmed down quickly and sat sleepily, squinting at me. Finally we just all went to bed. On Thursday she didn't do any relentless scratching, but she was still squinting—I started making jokes to her about being a pirate—so I called the vet, but couldn't get an appointment until Friday.
Well, Friday already had plans around it. Our friend Juanita, who has been a widow for about fifteen years, had finally found herself a nice new "feller," David Gibson, and they became engaged at the beginning of the year. On Saturday, the 10th (our wedding anniversary!) they would be married! Our friend Shari, who is a superlative baker, was asked to make the wedding cake. Problem: Shari lives in Birmingham, Alabama. No problem: Shari could stay with us!
Shari was coming in on Friday, with the baked segments of the cake with her. She wanted to go to the DeKalb Farmers Market before arriving at our house. I told her traffic was bad on Friday and she needed to leave there before rush hour and all Hell broke loose. So she was planning to arrive some time in the morning, drop the cakes off at the banquet hall, and then go on to DeKalb, then come back to our house. I wanted to get the car "vetted" to remove the vacation remains (crumbs, dog hair and the like), but was otherwise planning to be home. Instead, I had to take Schuyler to the vet at 10 a.m.
Nothing was seriously wrong with her, thank God! They stained her eye to make sure she did not have a scratched cornea, and that was clear, but she had conjunctivitis in that eye. I will have to put drops in her eyes for the next ten days. Oy. The vet clipped her wings to facilitate this and she came home looking gloomy and depressed. While I was there, a gentleman came in, upset. He had an injured hawk in his trunk. It had run into him on the road and before he could get out of his car to look at it, another car had hit it. He wrapped it in a cloth and put it into his trunk and called the fish and wildlife people, and they told him to take it to our vet, who is an avian specialist. I left Schuyler at home half covered so she could sleep and watching television and went to take care of the car, which was done before I'd even finished filing my nails.
Shari, by this time, was having her own problems. It turned out the banquet hall was suddenly rented out for Friday when they had told Juanita there would be room for Shari to assemble the cake onsite on Friday. After it took her four hours to drive here from Birmingham (it's normally a two and a half hour drive), she had to change gears and take the cake parts to David's house where they had refrigerator space. Later the cakes would be transported to the banquet hall and Shari could decorate them. So she had gone off to DeKalb.
In the meantime work was slow and they sent James home early. He'd already eaten, but I hadn't, so we went to Panera. We were going to stop at Barnes & Noble, but Shari called; she was on her way to our house but had made a wrong turn. So we headed home while giving her the correct directions. We spent the rest of the afternoon settling her in and relaxing. It turned out she would not be able to go decorate the cake tonight after all because of the event that was planned, but would have to go there early tomorrow instead.
We could at least have a good evening: we took her to Giovanni's for supper. She really enjoyed the food there; she had a lasagna. James had pork marsala and I just had pasta with sausage. We all had leftovers. Afterwards we went to Kroger to get a couple of ingredients Shari needed for the cake frosting. We also located the hall.
Schuyler was a bear to treat. You wouldn't believe this tiny bird has such strong shoulders. I'm not even sure any antibiotic got into her eye! So, needless to say, worrying about doing this for another nine days, I didn't get a lot of sleep. James was really restless as well.
On Saturday Shari hoped to have an early breakfast before she commenced to cake decorating. Accordingly, we were up at seven. Our old neighbor Susan Robinson had often urged us to go to the little French bakery off Atlanta Road, Douceur de France, located in a tiny house at the corner of a side street. In the time that we never took to go there, Douceur moved to Powder Springs Road, closer to downtown Marietta. We pass it on our way to the Farmer's Market on Saturday and it is always crowded, so that was the other reason for getting up early, getting there before the crowd.
Well, it was fabulous. Shari and James both had eggs, which they said were wonderful (she had scrambled, he had an omelet), and Shari loved the coffee. James and I both had hot chocolate, which was very chocolaty and not overly sweet, a big plus! We both hate sugary cocoa. I had a fruit cup with a nice variety of fruit, bacon, and a baguette. Oh, this baguette! Angels smiled over this baguette! To my cousin Debbie: think of Garzilli's bread. Oh, my! With butter, just perfect!
Then Shari was off to assemble and ice the cake. We went to the Farmer's Market and I finally got some goat cheese; we got a pot pie for Sunday supper and James picked up some boiled peanuts. We dropped off the food at home and snatched up the coupon for Books-a-Million we thought we might need, and headed up to Acworth for their 20 percent off sale (we were hoping to score some Christmas gifts).
When we got there we walked down to the Petco first. Schuyler needed a new sand perch and the vet says she has too many bells and not enough enriching toys. We didn't find much in the latter category. While we were there we had to get someone to rescue a cockatiel who had one of his legs caught between the bars of the bottom of his enclosure. His leg was bleeding by the time they got him out.
We scored mostly stuff for ourselves at BAM, sorry to say: a Big Bang trivia game and Uno game, a bunch of $5 DVDs. No books, actually! And we took a short enough time there to be able to go down to the hobby shop for about a half hour.
AAA Hobbies is closing Thanksgiving weekend. They are just losing too much money. People come in there and look at models, then order them online. So today is probably the last time I will sit in the meeting room and read whilst James model neeps with the guys. Next week is the one-day Doctor Who event at the Elks Lodge and then James has to work after that. So...farewell...sometimes it was boring for me, but lots of time I had fun. The guys were always polite and funny, and apologized to me if they cursed. Shucks, you haven't seen the way I talk to my computer at work.
Or traffic on I-285. :-)
We made sure to be home by one so James could shower and we'd have plenty of time to dress. James was going to have a Wendyburger and I was planning on some Soup in Hand and cibatta bread when Shari called. She was doing a basket-weave pattern on the cake, still needed something to finish and was waiting on someone to get it to her and could we bring her her clothes and makeup so she could get dressed there?
Oh, goodness, this threw us into high gear. We thought we had everything ready, but it turned out my high heels no longer fit, and neither did my dress Hush Puppies. Once James had a shower I knew his hair really needed trimming—he's missed Hair Day two months in a row due to work and didn't have a chance to hit the barber—so I did that. James then realized he'd never taken his shirt out of the pins, so I had to do that and iron it, so I also touched up my blouse and the shoulder scarf. Then I had to run downstairs and get my mom's jewelry that I wanted to wear. And James couldn't manage to tie his tie. I called Shari; she does plays and knows a lot about costuming. My frantic question: "Can you tie a man's tie?" "I think so."
Zoom, we were off! Oh, what a comedy of errors! And then, when we were finally fleeing the house with Shari's clothes and makeup, at 2:30 (the wedding was at three!) I realized halfway there that I hadn't turned off the iron! So I had to drop James and the clothes off, hoping one of them would manage the tie, and he rode to the church with Shari while I doubled back to the house to turn off the iron. So I was five minutes late to the ceremony, but tried to arrive composed despite having to fight Saturday traffic and people dreaming at traffic lights. Bless Twilight, he's light on his wheels and quick to move.
It was a wonderful ceremony. I cried through most of it. The church was beautiful, all white inside with splendid chandeliers. They did something unique: did a "braid" called the Ceremony of Three Cords. The gold cord was God, the purple David the groom, and the white Juanita as the bride, braided together as one. They also both lit a Unity Candle in unison. They exchanged vows and also words they had written themselves. Simply lovely. Juanita's daughter Jessie and niece Kim and David's daughter Jen all looked lovely in burgundy gowns.
And then finally we could relax and head leisurely for the hall and have a good time with our friends and celebrate Juanita and David. But I had one more surprise today.
Back when I started walking at CDC, Marty Hirsch was my branch chief and the assistant branch chief was Andrea Stokes. "Andy" always followed the rules and was strict, but sweet and gentle at the same time. I knew she kept in touch with Juanita and Betty, and I wondered earlier if she had come to the wedding.
And when we walked into the banquet hall there she was! My gosh, I must have hugged her about ten times. It was so nice, especially with the reorganization plans going fast and furious and that perplexing SURGE class, to see a friendly face from the past when PGO was such a simple, straightforward organization!!! It turns out her husband Jack died three years ago, but she still lives in the old house in Buckhead. I told her we still have her wedding present, the Bullwinkle counter clock that we had top of our wish list, and that we were so surprised she bought. And she looks so good!!!! I told her she must have a picture in her closet!
We ended up sitting with Juanita's nephew Michael's three youngest kids, Grace, Noah, and Anna. The girls were a little shy, but Noah was a little gentleman, asking me how we knew Juanita, and what my name was. It was obvious the kids were a little bored, but they were quiet and polite and well behaved. They were a joy to have at the table with us. Later John Bouler's sister Carol came to sit with us as well.
It was a swell reception. Juanita did a series of dances with all the members of her family, and there was much snacking and schmoozing and chatting and hugging, and photographing! Shari's cake was lovely, for all that her hands were cramped with arthritis for the rest of the weekend, with a light crumb and a delicious frosting (I usually hate frosting; most of it is too sugary).
And finally after the sun was just set we saw them off with bubbles and finally made our way home, getting into comfy clothes. Shari wanted to get some liquor for baking, so we went to Mink's, and then we stopped at Subway so that she and James could get some supper (the reception had just been "finger foods"). I opted for oatmeal and yogurt, and we sat and relaxed watching Too Cute. We were all so exhausted we were in bed by eleven.
Still wrestling with Schuyler...
This morning we slept in. James made biscuits, and cooked bacon from the Pine Street Market, and we had breakfast at table.
Today we took Shari on the food-lover's tour of Atlanta. :-) We started at the Buford Highway Farmer's Market. As expected, she was intrigued. We had a leisurely two-hour walk around the store, checking out all the cool stuff: sugar loaves from South America, Russian chocolate, Polish canned goods, noodles from Japan (and Korea, China, Indonesia), sauces, fruits, international sodas, Turkish Delight to lamb steaks, sushi to Irish butter. We got some lamb steaks, goat pieces to crock pot, and potstickers to steam, plus odd groceries.
Shari had expressed an interest in seeing a Trader Joe's, so we stopped at the one in Sandy Springs. As we drove in the parking lot, we saw a new store, Penzey's Spices. Yes, an entire store filled with just spices, like you read about in old books! Each spice had a sample container you could sniff, and oh, what a lovely scent the store had. They even had different kinds of spices, like three kinds of cinnamon (the Vietnamese was really strong) and smoked and sweet paprika. Both Shari and James bought some paprika!
Finally Trader Joe's and I was able to get some chicken salad for lunch. Also replenished my chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds. We'd recommended the apple chicken sausage to Shari, but they didn't have any. Phooey. No Christmas goods out yet, and no pumpkin tarts!
But finally we had to get Shari back to the house so she could leave for home. We thought we had all her stuff loaded in her car, but she forgot some of the butter she bought at DeKalb as well as some baked goods, and her leftover lasagna. :-( I know she was enjoying that butter!
Meanwhile, we went to Kroger for milk and a newspaper. James had some soup and I had some of the baguette from Buford...good, but nowhere as good as the Douceur loaf yesterday. We bought salad greens at Buford and chicken strips at Trader Joe's and decided to have that for supper instead of the pot pie. James chopped up the rest of this morning's bacon, and we had that and chicken strips with the greens, mandarin oranges, almond slivers, and chow mein noodles while watching episodes five and six of the Cambridge project on This Old House. We also watched a goofy little Cooking Channel special called Back in Time for Thanksgiving, where two comedians, a man and a woman, learned how to cook and tasted the real foods the Pilgrims would have eaten at "the first Thanksgiving." They liked the turkey and the lobster, but the stewed pumpkin (no sugar nor flour to make pumpkin pie back then!) got a screwed-up face from both of them. They also ate venison, succotash, spinach, and eel pie. Oh, and the latest episodes of Doomsday Preppers and Alaska the Last Frontier.
After all the excitement of the weekend, I'm feeling rather down. I even had Christmas music on while James was cooking. Schuyler has spent the day mostly asleep. I am rapidly using up her medicine because she squirms so! The vet called for a follow-up and says they will give me more if I need it. I want to make her well now! We did play "Olympics" a little with her bell and she has cuddled with Red Bell and pecked at her swing, and she has eaten and drunk, but she doesn't seem happy. I want her to be happy.
Something astonishing happened this morning, though, after we had this morning's tussle over the medicine. A frowsy, fluffled Schuyler was cupped in my hand, and I gently transferred her to my finger. She stayed there. Stayed there long enough for James to come out of the kitchen to see her before she started to look restless and I walked her back to her cage.
The vet said maybe she's "turned over a new wing." Maybe. You don't know my Wild Child. She's a stubborn girl.
But damned if I'm not fool enough to hope so...