Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Picnic!!!

All of us in our school uniforms lined up at the pick up location for our school bus. We were going on a picnic. Which meant two things, one, you have no regular classes, two, a day with friends gallivanting through some park, dam, or some random place the school has chosen. Most importantly, no school.

There was always a nice lunch and snacks packed. We carried water bottle which always seemed to run out before lunch time and we were ready to head out and see Mukamboo dam for the fourth time. It did not matter as long as we were going somewhere. I am sure we went to other places but for some reason all I can remember is the dam. Kallanai was another dam we went to. It was always fun. The parks, the picnic lunch and the bus drive singing songs.

Thirty some years later, life has come a full circle. In a few weeks time, I will be escorting my daughter and her classmates to their Field Trip. This will be her first official school picnic and I am more excited than her.

Last night, when I went to bed, I started to see the images of me holding hands with a teacher-chosen partner walking through the gardens in Mukamboo or Kallanai. I don't know why the teachers taught that having a girl and boy hold hands would make them talk less, the logic was flawed and it never worked.

One image led to another and I remembered the picnics I went with my parents and their various clubs to different parts of Trichy. I am sure if I go back now, it will not be the same, but in my minds eye, all I can see is Green. That was the color of the Cauvery Delta. It was either green with paddy, banana plantation, mango orchards or just trees through which a green river would wind its way around. Every year, a little bit of the green was lost to houses, commercial or institutional. They could never win the fights...farmers never won.

Then, the mind wandered over to Plano, ranches that are now houses. You can still drive by and see a small ranch surviving putting a smile in your heart but at the end of the road you will see the unmistakable "For Sale/Lease" sign. It makes me sad, though I am one of those who bought a house in the once-ranch area. I pray that my daughter would see a lot of what I have instead of reading about them on wikipedia or text books. Oh Well...

Then of course, I fell fast asleep. It was too much thinking...deep and circuitous. Started somewhere and ended in a totally different situation.

Love
ART

Friday, March 14, 2014

A Second Baby??

Which one of us has not committed the faux pas of asking a friend, "So, any news?"

Well, I have. Only to close friends though. Sorry, and I am honestly trying not to do that often now. I understand that we live in the world of letting Facebook know everything about our life while keeping it a "secret" or "personal" from our friends. I understand, and once more...guilty of the same, therefore sorry again.

Here are my problems:

1. You are welcome to ask me if I am expecting/planning a second child. Please do not ask it in front of my first child. There you are touching a raw nerve and I am not sure how I will react. Politeness not guaranteed, no matter how close you are to me for being a moron.

2.You are welcome to ask me if I plan to have a second child, but do not ask for an explanation for my choice, that is personal. I do not advertise of share that even with Facebook.

3. You can ask me my reason, and if I land up being stupid enough to believe that you are being a concerned friend and explain, do not go ahead and give me advice on the pros and cons. You really think that we would not have spent time going through the pros and cons first before making a decision?

4. As a friend, support my choice or hold your peace, neither of which is going to make a difference to me. But stop talking about this at every given chance. If you really thought your consistent persuasion will make me change my mind, think twice.

If it happens, it happens. Else please STFU because it is none of your beeswax.


Love
Annoyed ART

Vacations!

You know how vacations are? They give you a target, a stopping point, a period in your hectic life. The day my dates are booked for a vacation I start working on everything as if life stops beyond the date of departure. As if mess in the house wont matter because I will be lounging in a tub in some far away place. As if work ceases to be, the day you say bye to everyone. As if everything comes to stop when you go bask in the merriment of the once-a-year vacation. A vacation that is always too short that you need a vacation to recover from (and never get). A vacation that is so much fun that you forget to sleep or take the two hour nap that you always wanted to take when at work, actually, your sleep becomes more of a two hour nap. A vacation at the end of which you realize that the world did not stop for you to take a break, instead you let things pile up and now it is a huge mountain waiting to crush you. The dirty laundry still needs washing and putting away, the house needing some TLC and workload doubled, and what is worse? Everyone at work is blaming you for everything gone wrong, yes, that is how scary things are. Of course you do realize close to the end of the break that things are going to get sucky for you when reality hits. But you delude yourself into believing that you have to enjoy the last few hours and hold on to time hoping that it would pull back, slow down. Oh well, that doesn't happen now, does it?

The truth is, a vacation helps us unwind, relax, and look forward to something, so if I have to go through the whole thing all over again, I would still do it with a spring in my step.

Love
A

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Spooked!

Boo!

That is what we kept repeating the entire week before we left for our spring break weekend to Seguin, TX. Our original idea was to go and spend the weekend at Greune, TX but since we spent more time talking about it and not actually booking a place to stay, the only place affordable we found was about 20 minutes away from Greune.

The place, Mosheim Mansion, offered us an awesome deal, it was a bread and breakfast, that assured us that kids were not an issue. The price for two rooms included breakfast. We also noticed that it had 5 star ratings on all the websites where ratings counted but during that research we also realized that the Mansion was famous for being haunted. I asked the lady, Carol, with whom I spoke during the booking about it and she assured that there is nothing to be worried about, and even if there are ghosts they are harmless. With bravado, we booked. We screamed after we booked, because we had booked a haunted mansion for our spring break getaway. The four adults with the haunted knowledge could not stop talking about it. The two oblivious kids looked forward to spending the weekend together.

Rented, a car, picked up the other adults and hit the surprisingly traffic free road towards Seguin, TX, of course it was half past midnight when we were about 30 minutes away from Seguin driving on lonely, dark, Texas road when we spotted a guy, with a stick standing in the middle of the road. My friend S and I saw him but our better halves did not. We realized that the mood was being set. Each of us had a different image of the house we would be spending time in. I, having read the welcome email top to bottom, knew what to expect, while the rest thought it was in wilderness. In spite of knowing that it was in Seguin downtown, which I thought would be cute like Greune, I was in for a surprise when we drove through a broken down, dilapidated city. Each building stood testifying better times that they had seen. The rest of the adults sighed with relief when they realized that this was not an out-in-the-boondocks B&B.

We unloaded and headed up creaky stairs into creaky room, filled with portraits of random men and women dressed in period clothes. The rooms, stairs, halls were filled with antique furniture, lights, lamps, headless mannequins in corsets, and mirrors, mirrors every which way you turned. The kids were asleep but the adults were awake. G and S, had no fear, they explored the house, brought glasses and wine bottles from the welcome area, roamed around freely looking for ghosts. R and I on the other hand, screamed at the guys for leaving us alone for even a minute. Everything looked spooky for us. The surprising thing was that all of us slept peacefully that night.

The following morning, we strolled down via the stairway supposedly haunted by "John", to the dining room, the breakfast served was delicious. There was a lot of love and yumminess added to it. Hot coffee, eggs, bacon, french toast and German Pancake was served in elegant Victorian dining tables in chairs. The customer service was very good. Carol Hirschi, the landlady told us about the history of the house, the hauntedness of the property and also informed us casually that the room we slept in is supposed to have the ghost of a small girl. Thanks but no thanks...but we still continued to spend two more nights there.

The kids, on the other hand, went up and down the stairs, enjoyed spending time on their own while the parents sat down and tried to talk about life, future, haunted house, trip, etc. We spent the day at an indoor amusement park called ZDT's, thanks to the rains and the cold weather, our plans to go to Sea World was thwarted. We then drove to Greune, could not walk around much and landed up at Cooper's BBQ restaurant for dinner before heading back to Spookville. We played cards till we could no longer keep eyes open, cursed the loss of an hour to day light savings and hit the sack.

More good breakfast gave a head start to spending a day at San Antonio. The Alamo was visited, which the kids declared was boring, too many guns that only boys would be interested in, and too much walking without anything fun to do. The riverwalk was useless with the mild drizzle and the cold air, so we rushed into a restaurant to have a late lunch. The girls decided to sit on their own in a table for two and have their lunch. They had lemonades while we had our margaritas and enjoyed our burgers (mine was yummy portabellas). We drove back to the Spookapalooza before dark for the first time during our stay there.

Back at the room G and R took a nap while S and I kept an eye on the girls who saw TV, played games, made gazillion rainbow loom fish tail bracelets. Wanting to go easy on the food, we ordered pizza and wings from Seguin's best Pizza place, Rosie's, which was rightfully not famous for their wings, which was horrible. Ate the pizza, kids were story told into sleep and the adults sat down for another game of cards and yet nothing remotely spooky or ghostly had happened.

Final day, we packed up, headed down for some more the yummy breakfast and convinced Carol to show us the basement which is supposed to be the most spooked out place in the hotel. Nothing. No one felt a thing. None of those chills running down the spine, or cold air. We walked up, a couple of us relieved, and a couple sad, but the kids were happy to just walk up and down spiral stairs. We thanked Carol and loaded up and headed home.

S played piano for us each morning. We sang and danced to it in the main hall. It was blissful. We sang our lungs out in the car, and sang generally the whole time we were together. The kids joined us and taught us a few funny songs too. The house felt spooky because of the paint colors, dark and musty interiors, the furniture, etc, If we had not known about the haunted stories we probably would have not felt scared at all and enjoyed it a bit more.

We realized on this trip that our girls were old enough where they wanted to spend time on their own. They begged to have their own space and enjoyed in each others company. We saw dispute resolution at its best when the two parties involved were focussed on having fun and not wanting to waste time fighting. They showed beauty in their relationship when one stepped in to defend the other. They were always sad when we came into their space and begged us to leave them alone, which we obliged only too quickly to spend time adult time with adult friends. It turned out to be theirs as well as our spring break where we relaxed and did not do much else.

Will I do it again? Hells to the yeahs!!! At the same place, and enjoy it a bit more than the last time because I now believe that there are no ghosts there.

Love
ART