Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rainy days

A few interesting thing things I've noticed about North Carolina so far:

1) You can buy 12 oz. cans of tuna at the regular grocery store—that's a big can of tuna!
2) Manners are important. Rachel has to say "Yes, ma'am," and "No, ma'am" at school. I know this because once she said "Yes, ma'am" to me. She acted all embarrassed like she'd just called her teacher Mom or something.
3) When the weather forecast says 20% chance of rain, you'd better bring your umbrella because they actually have weather here.

Weather like so:

This video is from September 3rd. We had a tornado warning that night—our very first one. Today we're on a tornado watch—apparently those are quite common here though they rarely amount to anything (except for this—this is something).

We've certainly been enjoying the rain though.

Anyway, on September 3rd we were supposed to join some members of our ward for an FHE dinner. Our home teacher lives just up the street—on a five acre lot, complete with a pond (he also has a generator and invited us to crash at his place if we ever need to due to power outages). He had invited a bunch of young families—four, to be precise, with sixteen kids between us.

It was a loud dinner, if you can imagine.

I had gone by myself because Andrew has class on Monday nights. Since we're a one-car family right now and his class goes until well past bedtime, he took the car. I got a ride with one of the other families going (they actually drove to our home teacher's house, dropped their family off, and then drove back down to our house to pick us up) and the girls got impatient while we were waiting, thus the dance in the rain.

They were soaked to the bone by the time I called them in and I had just finished helping them put on dry clothes when our ride pulled up.

It was still pouring rain when we got there so we ran from the car into the house, nearly drenching ourselves on the way. Then the adults got busy bouncing babies, finishing up dinner, and visiting while the kids went haywire. Somehow we managed to squish 13 children around the table in the kitchen while the adults and the three babies went into the dining room. It was supposed to be an outdoor barbecue (but that obviously didn't work out which is why things were so crowded inside).

Now, we had been warned about the pond before we accepted our invitation. It's deep. And it's just right there in the corner of his yard—not that he's lacking in other yard space to play in. He said the kids were welcome to run around wild, just as long as we kept an eye on that pond.

But it was raining—hard—and the kids were all playing in the other room so we forgot about worrying about the pond.

We talked until it was just about time to go, occasionally doing a head count in the next room, calling the children in for dessert (they all showed up for that), and so forth. The kids were still in the room when decided to call it a night. At least, that's what we thought. It was certainly noisy enough in the playroom to believe that our entire baker's dozen of walking-age children were in there until we walked in there and saw that only three—three!—children were making all the ruckus and the rest were no where to be seen.

A search quickly commenced. We found a couple of boys right away, who said that the younger kids had all gone to the pond. The pond!?

A short jaunt to the pond revealed a couple other children, playing a safe distance away from the pond, but they didn't know where Rachel (5) or Aubrey (6) were. Last they saw Aubrey had slipped into the pond (but not to worry: her big brother pulled her out).

We searched around the yard and house some more but couldn't find those two little girls anywhere.

My heart was beginning to race. The pond had swelled up with all the rain. It was murky. It was deep. Rachel's swimming skills are lacking. What if...what if...

What if those little stinkers were in the bathroom upstairs being toweled off by our home teacher's daughter—a responsible twenty-something year old—who had been with the them entire time, helped fish Aubrey out of the pond, and somehow managed to wrangle ten kids on an adventure walk in the rain. I can't believe they didn't hear us calling! I almost had a heart attack and I'm sure I wasn't the only one.

I rode home with Aubrey's mom (they had taken two cars and we just barely fit both our families in both cars). She and I gave a mighty fine lecture about letting your parents know where you're going and who you'll be with. We also mentioned that it probably wasn't exactly fair to have a 10:1 ratio of kids to that's another good reason to ask permission because someone (out of the 9 other adults probably would have gone out there).

Fortunately the only thing lost at the bottom of that pond was one of Aubrey's boots.

A happy ending to a stressful tale.

As I mentioned, today was another rainy torrential downpour kind of day. Just as we were walking out the door to meet Rachel at the busstop, the clouds parted and it stopped pouring. Miriam got thoroughly soaked, anyway. She spent the whole time we were waiting running up and down the gutters, shying away from the storm drains (which are probably big enough to swallow a child and have no grate in front of them—how is that even safe?!). I loved playing in the rain as a child.

Splashing in the gutter is the stuff childhood is made of.

The drainage ditch in our backyard turned into a roaring creek—the kids and I went to look at it on our way back from the busstop and talked about how we mustn't ever open the gate to go exploring the ditch/creek unless we had a grown up with us. Oh, and I pointed out what I think might be poison ivy to the girls and told them to never, ever touch it. And then they went around touching every other plant in sight. "Is this poisonous?" "No–that's the fig tree." *touch* "Is this poisonous?" "No—that's grass." *touch* "Is this poisonous?" "No—that's a fir tree." *touch* "Is this poisonous?" Really, guys?

Our yard seemed to come alive with the sound of croaking frogs—specifically American green tree frogs—I suppose they came out of the trees to hunt the slugs and worms and things that came out of hiding to avoid being drowned in their secretive homes. They were hopping all over our lawn and driveway when Andrew came home from school late tonight (they're nocturnal) so we stepped outside to admire them. 

I think they're rather pretty. I can't decide if that's because of the Frog Princess or simply because they're pretty. I don't know. When I think of frogs I usually picture something like you'd see on a dissection tray, which is much less romantic than a tiny American green tree frog hopping about (this little guy could've sat on my finger—he was so cute).


  1. Scary--I'm glad they were safe! Those are fun pictures of Miriam in the gutter. I don't think I played in the gutter until college--but it was fun then! :)

    We had a girl from the south work with us at the horse stables for awhile and she would not stop saying "Yes, ma'am," and "No, ma'am" for anything--even when I tried telling her I was not the boss and she didn't need to call me that. Maybe since I was older I deserved respect? I guess it's a nice thing they learn manners, but it was strange to be on the receiving end! :)

  2. I had to say "ma'am" and "sir" when I was young, but I grew out of it...sort of. Actually I still use it occasionally. (Habit?) Sometimes I find myself saying it to people younger than I! Like sometimes the cashier at a grocery store or a bank teller or whatever.

    I like the video and pictures of your daughter. Her boots are great, and, yeah, rain can be really fun!

  3. I've not seen the huge cans of tuna except at Sam's, but now I'm going to look for them!

    1. I've only been to Kroger and Food Lion. I know the huge cans are at Food Lion but I'm not sure about Kroger.