Last week, I made my first foray into the world of knitting in Ann Arbor. As most of you know, I’m an avid – if not obsessive – knitter and I must admit I’m missing my Saturday morning knitting sessions at Hartford Coffee Company. We usually have Fellowship events on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, but I decided I was knit-deficient enough to go straight from tutoring at 826 Michigan on Tuesday to Zingerman’s Next Door, where the knitters gather. It was a surprisingly large group there, including many, like me, who were there for the first time. The way the tables were set up it was a tad loud trying to chat and get to know everyone. Still, there’s a comforting feeling to being surrounded by those as mad for something as me. As far as I can tell, there aren’t really any groups in the area that meet on other nights. And Thursday I rose early after a night of steady rain and cool breezes to catch a flight from Detroit to Indianapolis – by way of Chicago, naturally. It was my Dad’s 63rd birthday and that evening, my sister, her husband, my three nieces and I met him half way between Indianapolis and Louisville for dinner at Max & Erma’s. It was my first visit to such a place and although I was more successful than certain members of the group in avoiding such monstrosities as the “garbage burger,” my willpower was no match for a sundae bar in a repurposed old claw foot bathtub. (After all, ice cream and taking baths are two of my favorite things.)
Friday, my sister and I embarked on the complicated business of gathering everything together for Rebecca’s seventh birthday party, slated for Sunday. My sister half-asses nothing where her children are concerned and when she says we’re having a birthday carnival, she damn well means it. Chris arrived that evening, just in time to run one of many subsequent errands picking up popcorn, cotton candy, craft supplies, paper plates and the alarming number of accoutrements required to entertain 23 children for two hours.
Yes, you read that right. Twenty-three children.
Today was said carnival and I must say, it went swimmingly. After nearly passing out from blowing up balloons for the dart-toss board, I unwisely chose to get the party started with the ring toss. (There was a glut of interest at the face-painting table and I felt obliged to distract some of the children.) Thus, I spent the next hour shouting like a carnie barker, encouraging children to lob plastic rings over 2-liter bottles of soda, doling out tickets for prizes and, quite frankly, sweating like a hog.
For the record, I managed to avoid both the corn dogs and the funnel cakes (the former because they’re gross and the latter because there aren’t enough Weight Watcher points in the world). I cannot say the same for some nachos and a slice of birthday cake. It was a whirlwind weekend and I miss seeing my girls, but Chris and I feel quite content with our decision to have cats. They’re so much easier than children. For example, at Allie’s last birthday, we only invited six cats to the carnival. Much more manageable.
Now we’re in the car and I’m tapping away on my tiny li’l new laptop – which, at just under five pounds, is far easier for me to lug around town than the heavier one that has now become Chris’ very own – as we hurtle through the evening on our way back to Ann Arbor. It takes somewhere between four and five hours to get from Indy to Ann Arbor – not a terribly long trip, but I find my tolerance for long car trips has waned greatly now that I no longer smoke and drink beer the whole time.
I suppose one thing I didn’t expect from this long weekend in Indy is that I would actually miss Ann Arbor. It seems I’ve become used to the pace of our life there quite quickly and it’s a spoiled, spoiled existence, people – rising just late enough not to be a lazy bones, having choices about how you wish to spend your hours. Granted, my freelancer life in St. Louis was a lot like that, but it’s different in Michigan. Probably because it is, after all, in Michigan.