Monday started later and was much less crowded than Sunday. I awoke to the sound of the garage door opening and thought, Drat, there goes my chance to say good morning to Bard before he goes to work. So I went back to sleep. By the time I got up, Rhys had left for a half-day at camp, too. I found Vicki in the dining room, putting together adorable little incense samplers as freebies for Mother's Hearth, one of her online web businesses. I proceeded to distract her from her work, against which she protested mightily ("I can do this any time, don't worry about it").
We hung out for a little while, then headed out around 11 to get groceries and food for the game that night. The live +terrible butterflies+ game runs every other Monday night and normally this would've been an off week. But at my request, Bard had scheduled a special session so I could play in it. Soy milk was on the shopping list, and as Vicki grabbed a carton she said, "Since Rhys and Bard aren't here to complain, I'm getting plain soy milk." The next day, quite independent of this, Rhys mentioned getting some kind of fortified soy milk, and Bard laughed, telling me, "He and I were out shopping and he picked it out. I said, 'If your mother was here, she'd complain, but since she's not we can get it." I was amused.
After shopping, we picked Rhys up at noon from day camp, and went to Panera Bread Company (or possibly Atlanta Bread Company, I can't tell them apart) for lunch. Vicki had suggested her leaving Rhys with me for half an hour at the cafe, so that Rhys could get a 'date' alone with me just like Bard had on Saturday and Vicki did on Sunday. I was tickled at the idea, like I was a rare and special resource that needed to be carefully distributed. :) But we ended up all eating together, as it turned out. I feasted on soup in a bread bowl (I get this a lot more often since I started playing in the butterfly game) while Rhys and Vicki had soup & salad. I probably should stop recording my meals; I'm going to look back at this and think, "Did I ever stop eating on this trip?" (I have gained five pounds somewhere in the last month or so, too.)
After a leisurely lunch we went home and spent some quality time with the Wii. And I gotta say this for Rhys: he's a lot better about sharing his video game machine than I ever have been. Rhys wanted to play Super Swing Golf again, but I requested a game someone in the household understood. So we did Wario-something-or-other. Vicki said "Here, it's very intuitive," and handed me the controller.
I had absolutely no clue what was going on in the game or how to affect it.
So I handed the controller back to her, watched her for a bit and listened as she explained, and got the hang of it. The particular game consists of many very short -- like 5 seconds -- minigames. A lot of the fun is figuring out how the minigame is supposed to be played before you run out of time. It's also a good introduction to the range of possible motions and uses the Wii controller has. It's a cool platform, really the most interesting thing the video game industry has come up with since the DDR pad. If I were more interested in playing solo games I'd get one. Maybe if Lut decides he's interested, we will.
At some point I snuck in a nap and phone calls to koogrr and one to Lut. When Bard got home, he briefed me on one possible character for me to play: the live game's missing butterfly, named (appropriately) Vanish. Because of the difference between the way the game plays as tabletop and as PBEM, the PCs in the tabletop game aren't gaining power as quickly as the PCs in the PBEM, relative to the passage of time in-game. Bard had decided, however, that Vanish had been leveling as quickly as the online ones -- ie, much faster than her fellows in the tabletop game.
I got to play her when she first met the other PCs, and it was pretty funny. They were rather intimidated by her. Because I've been playing the game so long, and discussing the rules in depth with the PBEM group, I have an excellent grasp on the magic system. So playing a butterfly inclined to use magic in complex ways came very naturally. It also made me realize how non-replicable the experience of playing a newborn +butterfly+ is. There was so much we could do even at very low levels that we didn't figure out until much later.
Anyway, it gave me a chance to show off some of the tricks of the system and spurred the PCs to experiment more in an effort to learn faster and catch up to Vanish. I had a lot of fun with her. I even got to play her a bit more online, talking to one of the PCs who hadn't been able to make that session. Whee! Bonus butterflying. Alas, I never got a response to my last turn, so I think that's done now.
Bard tookTuesday off to spend some more time with me before I left Wednesday. One of my goals for this trip had been to get a good, or at least mediocre, cheese blintz. Cheese blintzes, even bad ones, are not available* in Emerald City. (Every time I mention this to sandramort, she says "Why don't you just make them yourself? They're really easy to make." I suppose someday I should at least try. I don't like cooking, but if I could make a blintz as half as good as the Kiev's, y'know, it might almost be worth the trouble.)
* IHOP has an item on the menu labeled a "cheese blintz". It is a revolting concoction of cottage cheese and pancakes and an insult to blintzes everywhere. It doesn't even qualify as bad blintz; it's not sufficiently blintz-like for that.
Truly awesome blintzes are available in NYC, but none of us had any interest in trekking to NYC for blintzes, especially since Rhys had various scheduled activities in the afternoon. Vicki and Bard (like the good hosts that they are) had checked with a good culinary online resource to see if good blintzes were available in their area and the answer was, alas, no.
Armed with this knowledge, we set out to find some mediocre ones. Hey, better than nothing.
In this pursuit, we went to New City Diner, an experience which, one of its many outdoor signs told us "approaches the propinquity of the universe".*
* Yes, propinquity is a real word. No, the sentence doesn't make any sense even if you know what it means.
The outdoor signs were all quirky like this, overblown and nonsensical or seemingly misspelled. One had a cartoon of a toga-wearing man and said something like, "Dine where the Olympians eat! Cling glasses with the gods!". It was hard to tell if this was deliberate or not. The pricing on the menu was odd, too: items were priced at $6.19 or $8.63, instead of ending in more usual amounts like .95, .99 or .00.
But they did have blintzes, and they were real blintzes, if otherwise unremarkable. I was happy. On the car ride back, I told Bard and Vicki that on my next visit we should go back dressed as Greek gods. Rhys then picked out gods for us to go as, though I can't remember which ones.
After breakfast, we went on a hike through the woods at a local "mountain" (more like a hill). Vicki and Bard had told a funny story about getting lost on the trails once after mistaking spots of lichen for the paint trail blazes once in use. I commented about not letting that sneaky lichen trick us. Rhys added lichen to the list of fascinating things on the walk.
Which, in general, extended to pretty much everything. Mushrooms, lichen, rocks, trail blazes, and everything else produced little exclamations of "Wow!" from Rhys. It was cool to have someone so enthusiastic with us. I hadn't slept very well the night before and rather wanted my daily nap. So after the walk, we went home and I crashed for a bit.
The rest of the day was pleasantly low-key. Rhys had a couple of afternoon activities, gymnastics and speech therapy, I think. Bard and I played a cute snail-race game with Rhys (Rhys won). Bard made dinner in traditional food-porn style, using whatever food was around the house to make an Indian-themed meal (using short grain Japanese rice because they didn't have any long grain Indian rice). :9
After dinner, we went outside so Rhys could play T-ball, which involves setting a baseball on top of a baseball tee (about chest height to Rhys). I took a few tries myself. It was hard! Both of us kept smashing the poor tee into its component parts by accident.
We didn't stay up too late this time.
Wednesday morning I got up in time to eat breakfast with Bard and Rhys before they left for work and camp respectively. Rhys is so cute. When he saw I was awake he ran over to give me a big hug. Vicki was worried that he'd ambushed me on the way to the bathroom and that I hadn't been planning to stay up.
I had Nutella with apple slices as part of my breakfast, because it would be inappropriate to eat Nutella straight out of the jar with a three year old watching. :) Actually, I don't particularly like eating Nutella by itself, but I usually like it better than whatever I'm putting it on. I'm still working on the perfect Nutella delivery system. Apple slices were pretty good. Bard sliced the apple up for me, proving that (a) he is the father of a toddler or (b) a good host or (c) doesn't trust me with sharp objects. Possibly all of the above.
After Bard left for work and Vicki took Rhys to camp, Vicki and I went to Borders so I could get a copy of Deathly Hallows to read on the plane. We stayed at the cafe there for a while chatting, because it was more comfortable than the airport. At length, however, it was time to catch my plane.
And there, I've managed to finish writing about the NY trip just in time to go to Florida tomorrow. See, I knew this Sidekick was good for something. (Yes, pretty much all of the entries about the trip -- actually, almost all of my LJ entries since I got the Sidekick -- were written on it. I must be getting good at typing on this dinky keyboard.)