Note: This post was written several days ago as we were coming into Chicago. I wasn’t able to post it then because the mobile hotspot, although wonderful to have, is beyond slow and sometimes can’t pick up any signal at all. (Thus my slow response to some comments, Facebook posts and emails — apologies!) Despite now being on the second leg of the Amtrak part of the trip, I decided to post as written. 

Well, now that the first Amtrak leg of the trip is (almost) under our belts, I think I can give a pretty fair assessment of how they did. We’ll start with the Albany train station:

The Albany train station is actually the Albany-Rensselear train station, a fact that I didn’t know. It also happens to be a completely useless and unnecessary fact for our purposes. We’ll move on.

Like South Station in Boston, it’s pretty much confined to one big room; the room isn’t nearly as big as South Station’s, though, which meant that we were o.k. letting Lucy and Will wander around a bit on their own. [Um, oops – Mom, you shouldn’t have read that part. Now that you have, though…] Not wander wander – just go on to the bathroom or to the convenience store or to the snack shop on their own. [Um, that probably made things worse.] O.k. So only Lucy went to the bathroom on her own; Lord knows, if Will can’t manage to go into the bathroom at home on his own because he doesn’t like being alone, do you really think he’d head into the Men’s Room solo? Of course not. That didn’t stop him, however, for just taking off at a moment that Kelley was off on a jaunt of his own (moms and dads jaunt, they don’t go to the bathroom; that would be indelicate to talk about; perhaps we should just whisper, >bathroom<. O.k. Done.) Anyway, I had my hands full with James while Lucy and Will appeared to be perfectly fine. Except then all of a sudden Will mumbled something – or maybe it was that he was off and running so fast that the wind had to carry his voice back to me – and he was off. As it turns out, he was only going to the one part of the station that wasn’t visible to me because of the proximity of the ticket desk to where we were: the board that was telling us our train was on time when it clearly wasn’t. This made Will quite irritated. “It’s supposed to leave at 7:05. How long are we going to have to wait?

Well, Will, we’re going to have to wait as long as we need to wait because, (say it with me now): The trains run when the trains run.

“But it was supposed to leave 15 minutes AGO.”

“Yes, Will, I too am aware of the time difference between now and when the train was supposed to leave as you have been making us aware of it since 7:00 when we weren’t boarding even though they told us we’d board 10 minutes before.” [Except it wasn’t nearly that calm. And it also wasn’t right then because, as previously mentioned, Will was gone with the wind.]

Happily, we had nice, dry-humor type red caps – except without the red caps, as you can see by the picture – who

This man has no red cap.

were helping us with all of our luggage and being nice to us and telling us what the latest news was about the train’s arrival (i.e., that there was no news, but still, they were nice about it). (Amazing what tipping a guy $15 to bring our bags in from the parking lot to the train station will get you!) When the train finally did arrive, the lead red cap guy not only came over to us to tell us that he needed to take the lady in the wheelchair down first (no sleeper car for her = no reserved seats; we were happy to oblige) but that he’d be back for us. And, not only did he come back for us as promised, but he loudly and assuredly pushed his way through the restless crowd surging towards the elevator because we’re sleeper car people and we get to go first.

To be honest, I couldn’t have cared less about going on first – heck, we had rooms assigned to us and everything. As long as I knew that the train wasn’t going to leave without us, I didn’t mind waiting. That said, I also didn’t mind getting Will and Lucy and James onto the train and out of our waiting (and waiting, and waiting…) area. Thankfully, I was holding adorable baby James kind of like a masthead, so all the people who were annoyed by the special treatment us sleeper folk were getting were then lulled into happiness by the cute smiling baby. Except for the crazy lady who pushed her way right behind us (mumbling, “I just need to pass out my pamphlets” – oh dear), who, as Kelley likes to say in Boston traffic, used her blockers, i.e., us, and got herself on that elevator too.

Happy children in the dining car (even before dinner arrived)

What I did particularly like about being part of the ‘sleeper car’ special people was that they also let us go on the dining car first for our dinner. Given that it was already around 8:45 p.m., I’m not sure that dinner is the exact name for it. ‘Late night snack’ might be more appropriate. Kudos for us, though, that we for once realized that, not only did “train not on time” = “dinner not on time,” but we even acted upon it and got Lucy and Will macaroni and cheese at the train station for dinner. (Bonus: turns out James likes mac and cheese, too! Good to know for those occasions when we forget to bring his baby food. Not that we’re those kinds of parents or anything.) The down side to that was that they weren’t very hungry by the time we got to eat; the up side, however, was that they weren’t nearly as cranky as they (o.k., we) have the ability to be.

Happy Daddy and Baby James

Dinner turned out to be, well, not bad. No steak, despite it being on the menu because, apparently, “The fumes from cooking it will kill the chef and then you,” according to the waiter – which makes me wonder why it’s on the menu other than just to say, “Psych!” but that’s neither here nor there. The roasted chicken wasn’t half bad, though, and the mashed potatoes were the exact kind of processed scoop ‘o potatoes that qualifies for me as excellent. Will’s pizza was the standard kids’ menu pizza fare, so not bad; Lucy’s chicken fingers, though… I wouldn’t recommend them.

Other downsides were that the car was, literally, arctic. Also, we had to walk through about 7 cars of very unhappy non-special-sleeper-car people who were also hungry and wanting the dining car but had to wait for us to go first. (Honestly, if I hadn’t been waiting with three children for over two hours I might have felt worse. I also might have felt worse if I weren’t normally one of the non-special people. Dear Reader, however, I did not.) And at some point midway through dinner, Will’s excitement about being on a train turned into concern that the train was so wobbly. (“Did they do a practice run before this?” Uh, yes, Will. They do this trip every single day.) And then Lucy said that she couldn’t stop thinking about the picture of a burned out Amtrak car that had been on the front page of the Portland newspaper the morning before with the headline “We Were Surrounded By Flames.” (“Are you sure they did a practice run, Mommy????”) Which of course made me have to remind myself not to panic – holygoodlordtheyneverdidapracticerunthattaughtthemhowtodrivethroughawalloflfames – and just say, we’ll be fine (while looking desperately for wood to knock on). (Of course, it just occurred to me that if we did have to drive through a wall of flames wood would be absolutely no help at all. Still, hoping that knocking on metal has the same effect.)

Oh, and the waiter forgot to bring the rolls.

[Editor’s note: Since George did point out that my postings on Facebook so far have not done anything to suggest a reason that traveling by Amtrak is in any way desired, please see the photo below for the view from our dining car.]

Sunset somewhere west of Albany

The Room(ette)s

Enough about the food! What you really want to know is about the rooms, right?

The roomettes are definitely more ‘ette’ than ‘room.’ I’d say that the rooms are about 6′ long by 4′ wide. Actually, I have no idea if that’s accurate because I have no concept of measurement. But the two seats that face each other stretch out into a bed and I think someone about a foot taller than me could lie on it. Also, I’m sitting and looking at Lucy and I think that she might be able to lie with her head at the window and her feet slightly out the door. Then again, I’m not really sure how tall she is either so that might not help much. What I can say with absolute certainty is that they are small. (Originally, we had planned on just getting one roomette for the family. Although the Amtrak guy didn’t laugh out loud when Kelley said that, he did suggest we should consider two. Thank you, Amtrak guy.) I am missing Kelley and James very much right now as they sit in their room across the hall and down one; but when Kelley and I are in the same room I get irritated immediately because of the lack of space (not because of Kelley himself, but because two non-petite adults in one of these rooms don’t work out so well). And did you happen to see the picture I posted of our bags? Although we did check the big suitcases, even with the extra little storage bay up across from the upper berth it’s not nearly enough.

The upper berth is actually on a track that allows it to stay even more upper than for sleeping so that the two people sitting in the room aren’t entirely claustrophobic when it’s not down. To be honest, at 4’11”, it didn’t feel that much worse when it was down. Plus, when it’s down it means someone else is up there, which frees up some space down below.

There’s a table that folds out between the two seats (and has a checkerboard on it – nice touch), that is both not big enough and too big at the same time. Funny how that works. It’s also a hunk of metal – not a good thing for James to bonk his head on. And then there’s the >bathroom< area.

The >bathroom< area is directly next to the seating/sleeping area. In fact, you’ll see from the pictures below that there is little-to-no space between them. Not the most sanitary or comfortable set-up as far as I’m concerned. (And if you’re traveling with a companion you better be sure that that’s someone you’re very close to. Because you’ll either be getting a lot closer soon, or one or the other of you will be spending some time out in the narrow hallway over the course of the trip.) I also wouldn’t suggest having the cheesecake for dessert if you’ve got a bit of the lactose intolerance. Or, under any circumstances, the chicken fingers.

Fold-out sink in Amtrak Viewliner sleeper cabin.

The fold-out sink is quite cute – that’s my favorite part I think – although the cute little cups for water aren’t bad either. I like how there’s no drain until you actually tilt the sink back up into it’s compartment. At the same time, I wish I had noticed that part before spending a full minute trying to figure out what to do with all the water before tipping the sink back up to where it was supposed to go. Thanks to Lucy, I finally figured out that the holes at the back of the sink were what the water was supposed to drain into. The one complaint sinkwise is that that’s also where the outlet is. It seems to me that there are other places for an outlet to go other than near the main water source of the room, but that’s just me.

Oh, dear. I’m sure I could go on for even more time (just realized I never mentioned the back of the toilet that falls onto you when you’re, um, jaunting), but, Chicago is coming up soon. So if you’ll excuse me…

[I’ve had some requests for more photos from the roomettes. Because my connectivity is such a bitch at the moment, I’ll hold off on posting until I’m somewhere that posting pictures is easier; and I’ll probably post to Flickr so that the album is more viewable. I’ll post a link from here, though, once they’re up.]

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This whole blogging thing is going to be harder than I thought! Not only is it tough to find the time to write things down, it’s even harder to remember what actually happened. How, you might ask, is it that hard to remember what I did today, much less yesterday? I’m getting old. That’s the only thing I can tell you. Well, that and being bombarded by various children’s requests and requirements. It’s wearing down my brain. So before I forget…

With Kelley in a session all morning yesterday, the kids and I hung out with my parents and Jess who, as you saw from yesterday’s pictures, have joined us for the Portland, ME, part of this trip. Thanks to a suggestion of the people organizing the conference, I signed Lucy and Will up for some of LL Bean’s Discovery School classes. These are short 1.5 hour courses on various outdoorsy activities. A very nice thing is that kids as young as 8 can take part, depending on which class it is. That worked quite amazingly well for Lucy and Jess and the Archery class.

Doesn't Lucy look awesome? Thanks, Jess, for the great photo!

Sadly for all of us, it did not work out quite so well for Will. The LL Bean marketing folks and the LL Bean Discovery School folks don’t seem to be quite on the same page. I might not have even done the archery class if I hadn’t seen the flyfishing class they offered — and for kids as young as 8. Fantastic! However, once we got there it became clear that they didn’t actually do fishing — it was flycasting instead. Although it’s possible that he might have ended up having a good time, what he really wanted to do was fish. Casting wasn’t going to cut it.

I’ll spare you the details of how annoying it was to have everyone look at me like I was crazy when I expressed some confusion about the fishing vs. casting thing. (For a fisherman, yes, I realize that the difference is quite clear. But for those of us fishing-novices, when you see a class called “flyfishing,” call me crazy, but you expect fishing to be involved.) Thanks to modern-day technology, my mom was able to locate a miniature golf course 4.9 miles away from Freeport in Brunswick, ME. Hooray! Plenty of time to get out there, play a quick round, and get back in time to pick up Lucy and Jess.

Plenty of time, that is, if Brunswick were actually 4.9 miles from Freeport as opposed to around 12. And, as I have

Uninspiring mini-golf course

learned over the past few days, 12 miles in Maine is a good 20 minute ride minimum. Details, details. We got ourselves out to Brunswick and found the mini-golf that looked none-too-confidenct inspiring, but that ended up being quite lovely. (Gotta love well kept up, air conditioned offices with bathrooms on the inside, friendly people, and, to top it off, crunchy cheetos that can be purchased for 50 cents.

I do have to say how incredibly wonderful my parents are, as they were game to play 18 rounds of mini-golf in the humid, sunny, high-80s weather with Will, especially as I was out of the picture for at least the first 7 holes, thanks to needing to exchange the stroller for the baby carrier and, along the way, deal with a blow-out diaper. Always fun. I also have to say how great Jessica was, because knowing that she and Lucy were hanging out made me not stress quite as much about getting back to Freeport a full hour after she and Lucy had finished. Luckily, Lucy has her stash of cash, so she was able to buy herself lunch (and chips and ice cream and soda) while waiting. Of course, one of the first things she said was, “Why did Will get to play mini-golf and I didn’t?” which wasn’t exactly what I’d been thinking at the time. Perhaps if we were another day or so into the trip, I might have had to give her the line my parents used to give me: “Because we love him best.” (Which I of course have to say isn’t true, just in case Lucy reads this one day. [So, Lucy, if you’re reading, THAT ISN’T TRUE.) Since we are only two days in, though, I managed to just smile and calmly explain that it was because Will’s class didn’t work out for him and he couldn’t do archery. To which she then proceeded to tell me all the reasons he could have done archery, but merely chose not to. Sigh. Teenagerdom, here we come.

The rest of the afternoon was spent walking around Portland and, to Kelley’s dismay, visiting gift shops. We did make it to the Portland Lobster Co. (where we had attempted to have dinner the night before but couldn’t find a table) for an early dinner, where we found that the clam chowder wasn’t nearly as good as it had been at DeMillo’s the night before. They did, however, allow us to have lobster rolls at dinner time so that was a plus for Mom and me. They were also quite noisy, being open air and on the pier, and had coasters — a plus for James, not to mention all the diners who had the pleasure of our company.

We rounded out the evening with a lovely sunset cruise. We didn’t actually see the sunset quite so much thanks to the clouds, but it was really nice to be out on the water (especially on such a ridiculously hot day) and see Portland from that viewpoint. Plus Jessica got another awesome photo of one of my kids, this time Will:

Tomorrow we begin our second leg of the journey with an early start so that we can take a Pirate’s Cove detour but still make it to board our train at Albany on time, around 7 p.m. And then on to Chicago.

I’ll try to post tomorrow about today’s activities. Wish me luck — our drive to Albany is the first time I’ll get to try out the hotspot that Kelley spent hours working with various Verizon reps to activate. If it doesn’t work, you might be able to hear my screams all the way in Boston. If it does work, though, I’ll be able to bring you up to speed on today’s activities and maybe even clear out my inbox enough to begin receiving emails again. Signing off until then…

Last night as we drove home from Lucy’s dance class, she told me that boys are like dogs: “At first they make no sense and are hard to handle, but then you figure out how to control them. And then, like maybe when they’re 30, the Man Fairy comes along and makes them be like normal people.”

As Lucy and Will were brushing their teeth before bed, I happened to look in the mirror and, thanks to the light hitting exactly in the wrong way, saw nothing but gray in my hair.

Lucy’s response to dismay: Mommy, it looks really pretty. Like lots of highlights.

Will’s response, delivered while looking at her like she was crazy: Uh, there’s a lot of white stuff there.

Sigh.

Had to share this morning’s conversation with Lucy and Will:

As we were getting ready to leave for school, Lucy mentioned that she was sad because her best friend (Lydia) had a new best friend (Hannah), and that even though they were all sitting in the same group at school, it was ending up being not fun at all because Lydia and Hannah always chose each other for partners and not Lucy. Ugh. If there’s anything that I have absolutely no answers for, it’s that.

I also happen to know that there’s pretty much nothing to say to make her feel better. So what I said was: I know how sad it makes you. It’s an awful feeling. And sometimes it has something to do with you, and other times it doesn’t, so the important thing is how you handle it.

Then I found myself telling her how I had this friend who was following, like, 54 of the 52 people following her on Twitter. Who was one of the two she wasn’t following? Yep, me. “But,” I told Lucy, trying to get back to a point that would actually make sense to her, “even though it made me sad, I know she’s still my friend and I’ll just make sure to be the best friend I can be to her anyway.”

It did seem to help a little. And then Will chimed in, saying to Lucy, “Did you tell her? I would just tell her that she’s making me sad. Antonio’s my friend and he doesn’t make me sad.”

Lucy, of course, glared at him. Sympathy, Will. Sympathy, not solutions.

“Antonio will always be my friend,” Will continued, oblivious. “Ezra’s my friend, too.” Ezra, i.e., Lydia’s brother. “Ezra will always be my friend.”

Since this didn’t help things at all, I ended up spending the next several minutes trying to make Lucy feel better. As we were leaving the house, Will, exasperated, just said to me, “Why don’t you just tell her to be happy? Why do you need to say all the other things?”

Lucy, being more Lucy-like, rolled her eyes. “It doesn’t work like that. You can’t just make something happen. If you wanted John McCain to be president, you can’t just go up to Barack Obama and say, You’re not president any more. Things don’t work that way.”

Will looked at Lucy then looked at me. He looked at where Kelley’s car would have been if Kelley hadn’t had to leave for NY an hour before. Even at six, he knew enough to realize there was just too much estrogen involved for him to get any further. “I’m out of this,” he said, holding up his hands and shaking his head. And then he played with his cars.

*****

Been absolutely crazed lately — three major work projects (6-month; 1-year; and 2-year projects) culminating during the same three week period that also had the Gala (last weekend) and Jess’ shower (this weekend). Oh, and everyone getting sick, etc., etc. I say that all just so everyone knows that yes, I owe everyone emails or calls on just about everything — and I owe a resolution to that last post. (Sorry to leave you hanging.)

So, the big update: Will’s not allergic to peanuts. He still can’t have other kinds of nuts — I’m particularly concerned about almonds — but PB&J sandwiches have come back to the household. Of course, in the last two weeks he’s visited the dentist (he might need to have a crown — have you ever heard of a 6-year-old with a crown?), the eye doctor (he needs glasses), the neurologist (the tics just keep on coming), and the walk-in clinic at his pediatrician’s twice, thanks to his croup coming back (a week after Lucy’s came and went). So, well, yes we need to get him back to the allergist, but the poor kid hears the word ‘appointment’ and practically has a panic attack. We need to call, but he needs a break.


Lucy and Will

Originally uploaded by jendoyle2007

Last weekend we headed north to Underhill and Enosburg Falls so that Lucy and Will could hang out with cousins from the Wolcott side. I made all of the photos public for now; I’ll also put some of them on Facebook. To see them, click on the picture at the right.

Today was Lucy’s first day of third grade. And, just because I have the technology, here’s a picture:

Lucy's first day of school

Lucy and Will on Lucy's first day of school

She was both excited and nervous. She truly does seem to love school, so I think that she was eager to get started, and yet she’s been quite concerned about how hard third grade is going to be. As she said in her tearful breakdown of last week: “They’re going to expect me to do harder math and write more and… and… Everything’s changing now and I don’t like it. Why can’t it be like it was when I was three? All we had to know how to do was play.”

O.k. So maybe that’s not verbatim, but it’s pretty close. You get the idea.

I am NOT related to those people behind me.

"I am NOT related to those people behind me."

She walked ahead of us all the way up the hill to the school. We saw Jiovan right away, and Matthew, two of my favorite kids in her grade. Then, as we walked past the hopscotch and sat down on the stone wall (with her, once again, keeping her distance), Ruth walked in through the gates. Oh, joy! Even better, Ruth had the same Hannah Montanna messenger bag as Lucy did, so they had something to talk about right off the bat. (Oddly enough, 8-year-olds don’t waste time on the adult standbys of ‘How was your summer?’ and ‘Went by so fast, didn’t it?’ They just get right to the awkward silence part. Much more efficient.) Although she rolled her eyes, Lucy did allow me to get a picture of the two of them (well, three, including Ruth’s baby brother.

Lucy, Ruth (and Ruth's brother), and the Hannah Montanna bags.

Lucy, Ruth (and Ruth's brother), and the Hannah Montanna bags

Then she spotted Francesca, and then Jiovan came over again. Somehow I managed to catch the four of them in the (literally) three seconds that Jiovan sat still. I think my threatening him with the pictures I had from their kindergarten days may have been what worked. A few more minutes later, Lucy saw her new teacher. She stood in awe for a few seconds, wondering, I think, if her teacher knew who she was. When it was clear that yes, her new teacher did know her, all was well.

The crowd began to swell a bit, and before we knew it, the gates were open and the kids were let loose onto the playground. And so we came upon one of those eternal parental dilemmas: should we stay or should we go? Lucy was definitely keeping her distance. She didn’t actually say, Mo-om (the two drawn out syllables that are difficult to spell, but that every parent knows intimately), but it was definitely implied. Although there were a bunch of others sticking around, we left.

The whole lot of 'em.

The whole lot of 'em

As soon as we started down the hill, I had second thoughts: what if she looks up and expected to see us, but we’re gone? Have I ruined her ability to trust all adults from here on in? Have I left her to the awful mean girls on the grounds of the school? Have I inadvertently sent a message to all the teachers that I’m not a supportive parent? What have I done?????

Reenacting the same walk from four years ago, when we left her for her first day of kindergarten, Kelley said, “Just keep walking. She’s fine. No, we didn’t leave her to evil things.” (O.k. So that’s not exactly verbatim, either, but well, you get that point, too.) Realizing that Will is silently taking all of this in, I just bite my lip, try not to cry, and move the heck on.

Life got a little frustrating from there.

We went back home to get Will’s stuff, then turned around to bring him to Owen’s for the morning. With him happily playing legos, I was out of the Nash household by 10:25 and off to spend a couple hours working at the library. Not, unfortunately, the library that I had hoped, since that one doesn’t open until noon on Thursdays. After spending a good 20 minutes in gridlocked traffic, I found my way to another branch.

I’m not naming any names, since this one just really wasn’t what I’d been hoping for. The parking lot was gravel and weeds — actually, it was the parking lot for the abandoned gas station next door. Once inside, I actually kind of liked the atmosphere, although it was definitely 70s era. I turned on my laptop so I could get to work, though, and there was no wireless. That was highly annoying, since I can absolutely guarantee you that people are emailing me and wondering why I’m not responding, but without the wireless, I can’t even put an away message. Grrrr.

I would have stayed to do work, but I felt lost. Then, being lost, I really wanted some coffee. Then, deciding that my day simply couldn’t start without my coffee, I got all antsy. And then the storytime started on the other side of the wall from where I was sitting.

Oh, goodness. It all started coming at me: Bad mom! Bad mom! (You leave your son with a friend instead of spending quality time with him like all the happy parents and kids next door, including the effervescently cheerful storyteller?) Worse mom! Worse mom! (You leave your son with a friend in order to work, but you didn’t even check out whether or not you’d be able to?) Worst mom in the world! Worst mom in the world! (You leave your son with a friend in order to do work that you can’t do and then the thing that’s really bothering you is that you haven’t had coffee yet?)

Sigh. Run away. Run away quickly.

Back I was in grid-locked traffic, determined to find a Dunkin Donuts where I could both drink coffee and get work done. Knowing that there was one right up the road, I thought, well, why the heck not? Alas, the one up the street was a drive-thru only. Foiled again.

O.k. GPS time. Find the closest DD other than that one. On your way there, drive past the Nash house and feel guilty all over again. Remind yourself that Will is having a much better time playing with Owen than he would be with you getting lost on the streets of West Roxbury and being in a non-coffee’d up state.

I finally found the Dunkin Donuts and then decided to go to the library branch that I would have been at originally if it hadn’t opened at noon. I got to the library at a few minutes after 11. (Yes, that whole saga took 40 minutes.) It took me ten more minutes to drive past it, turn into the CVS parking lot, wait until the annoying car in front of me worked it’s way through the lot, run back around, and park in front of the library. Yay, shady benches right there in front! I got out the computer — and my iced coffee and breakfast sandwich — and happily sat down. Perfection.

Except not so much, thanks to my uncanny ability to attract people, even when I have my back to them, my head hunched down, and I offer monosyllabic answers as they begin complaining about the 45 minutes they have to wait until the library opens and they don’t want to waste the gas to go back home, given the prices these days.

Really? I just went through all of that to have that conversation?

Trying to be even more obvious — while also at the time not being completely rude (yes, I realize this is why those conversations continue) — I began getting my computer out of my backpack. The fateful decision was that I decided to do so despite my breakfast sandwich not being done. Did I put the sandwich down? No, I decided to be all fancy and do it one-handed. Any guesses as to what happened next? Yep. You got it. I done flung that breakfast sandwich over the back of the bench. There it sat, strewn across the lovingly landscaped West Roxbury library lawn. I did have the thought that maybe the West Roxbury lawns, being West Roxburyian and all, were clean enough for me to still eat it. If the cheese hadn’t been all mulched by that point, I might even have tried it. But alas, mulched it was. As I threw it away, I told myself that I shouldn’t have been having a breakfast sandwich anyway. It didn’t help.

So here I sit, breakfast sandwich now in the trash, sitting on the bench and writing this post. Not posting this post, mind you, since I have no wireless still, but writing it nevertheless. Now off to work…

***

I am happy to report that work got done. Amazing how productive you can be when you don’t have email to distract you. Will and I went on to have a lovely afternoon meeting his new teacher and some of his classmates, getting a special McDonald’s lunch, and hanging out with Aidan from across the street.

And this all brings me to his agenda for tomorrow. He wants to buy me a car.

As you all know, Will is obsessed with cars. One of his latest things is that he wants to buy me one. I mean, he really wants to. Not a toy one, mind you, a real one.

Last week, he came into the dining room and told me that, for my birthday, he was going to buy me some trucks. Big ones, like Owen’s dad’s.

“Really,” I murmured. ‘Where are you going to get the money?”

“I have a lot of coins in my bank,” he answered.

“I’m not sure if that’s enough,” I said. “Trucks cost a lot of money.”

He thought for a moment. “That’s o.k. I’ll put the dirt from Wendy’s Cow House in bags and sell it. It smells good. People will want some.”

(You think I’m making that one up. I’m not. I swear.)

Well o.k. then. “Thanks.” (I mean, what else could I say? Truly.)

He nodded and went back into the living room.

Clearly, it wasn’t just a one time thing. Today’s conversation happened while we were driving to meet Kelley for our First Day of School dinner celebration at Cabot’s. On our way, we passed three dealerships.

“Mommy,” Will said. “Are those car stores?”

Yep.

“Tomorrow I’m going to buy you one car from each one.”

Which of course brought up the cost issue again — “Will, they cost a lot of money.”

He gave me that glare of his that says, Do you not remember that we’ve already discussed this? “I’ll bring my bank. There’s a lot of money in there. If Daddy comes with me, they’ll let me get one.”

The topper was when we got home and got the mail. Both Will and Lucy received a card from Grandma and Grandpa. In each card, was a wonderful surprise — $5 for Lucy, $2 for Will. (Now normally, of course, I wouldn’t be so crass as to discuss such details, but how else to share the ending to the story?) Will’s eyes lit up like you wouldn’t believe. “This kind is paper money. Now I’ll have even more to buy you a car.”

So who knows? Kelley’s got Will tomorrow and who am I to say that they shouldn’t be buying me a new car? The next time you see me, I might be driving a fancy new pick-up. Or maybe not. O.k. Probably not, but only time will tell.