Letters to Holly

Monday, September 20

Bad Baby

Can any day be bad when it starts with a 2+ mile run and ends with a nicely mixed screwdriver? Let's say no, but barely.

Your Sister's 20th high-school reunion was Saturday, and the hours did not unspool as we hoped. It took much longer than we hoped to get out the door and on to the reunion picnic. The meal was listed in promotional emails as lasting from 12:30 to 2:30, and we had no intention of being there first. We wanted to avoid the crush as we are juggling this baby and all. We arrived at the school at 1:30 and smeared him up good with suntan lotion. By dead happenstance, we ran into people we knew just as they were leaving.

We tried to find the picnic (and that's a phrase that only implies dread) and asked for help at a table under an reunion banner. The woman manning this table was asked where to find the picnic and said she had no idea as she didn't attend the school. After schlepping the stroller down flights of stairs, we found the grand picnic location, and it was over. There was a small table of leftover aluminum pans with scraps. No plasticware, no cups to drink out of. They closed up shop 45 minutes early. Now we were angry and starving. We rambled back to the car, loaded everything back up, and found a bar in downtown Asheville.

Normally we can schedule a meal out around the deputy's eating and sleeping cycle, but this day, he chucked the schedule. As soon as we sat at the table, he started crying. Inconsolable. We fed and changed him in the parking garage, and that only left sleepiness. He no longer drifts easily into sleep. He fights it and cries and kicks, and this is what he did in the bar. We took turns walking him in our corner of the bar and then took turns wolfing down the meals before shoving him back to the car. He cried all the way. Cried when we buckled him in. Cried as we waited in line at the parking booth. And fell asleep as soon as we pulled into the road. He's not a charmer 24/7.

We went straight to Your Parents' house. Your Mom sponged the lotion off him as Your Sis and I cleaned up and changed. I had not seen them since they left for their vacation, but there was no catching up. We instead showed them the cache of baby gear and watched them coo over him. He woke up and stayed cranky again before finally falling into a deep sleep. We left their place about an hour before the reunion was to open in a desperate need to deflate our stress. To unclench, let's say. We parked downtown, walked into Mast General Store, and bought bottled pop. As we were dressed just this side of Wedding Quality, we caught a lot of looks. As we should have; we looked fantastic. We sat on a park bench and caught our breaths from the day and established a martial truce again. And inside the booked tavern we went.

The reunion went very well. She latched onto people she missed (including a biology teacher wearing a kilt) and was able to be something other than a nursing mother for an evening. We located her in an enlarged photo of the graduating class despite her uncertainty that the face I found was really hers. I know that nose. I know that smile. And others confirmed it. So there. She floated through the room and traded catch-up stories for hours.

It was a well-organized small party. There was a cash bar, a savory buffet table, and a dance floor. A slideshow offered pictures of attendees then and now and a memorial segment for those lost in the years between. The hostesses worked the room well, and I -- a plus-one -- felt welcomed by all. If there was anything I would suggest, it's that guest badges be a different color so alumnae wouldn't wonder why they don't remember you. I'm confident my reunion this weekend will not meet the standard set by this party, and I've warned Your Sister. We did agree to wear the same outfits to my reunion regardless of the party's dress code. It's "business casual," and I fear all the men will look like Best Buy employees. Not I, said the bespoke fly. I intend to look good. I have awkward 20-year-old memories to eclipse.

We reclaimed the boy from Your Eager Parents at a very late hour and drove home. He was no better Sunday, and I'm feeling the stress of the day as I type. Again, he doesn't want to sleep, and he was a beast in the Mexican restaurant. He was finally quieted with a hot bottle, and I wore him through the grocery store. Maybe this phase is a growth spurt that passes soon. Your Sister even considered that it was early teething.

I discovered one of my running shoes has a leak, and I need to break in a new pair before the race. Luckily I have a gift card to the local shoe store.

Picture of the Day
A helpful trick to underscore the Chilean miner situation.

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