Wednesday, July 06, 2011

2.25 miles plus what?

The 4th of July is a big deal around here, so much so that the Man and the kids and I decided to celebrate by admiring roughly 2.25 miles of our municipal water supply. It's a nice trot around a pretty bit of water, on a very nice blacktop with lots of dogs to pet. Who would happily, btw, share your lunch with you.

It was the perfect day for a stroll around the water, with the sunshine and the 90 degree heat and the children bounding along. Also? The city had made the paths really pretty, with the occasional butterfly meadow.

The bees appreciated it too, although my look, kids! Do you see the two kinds of bees? Come closer - I'll show you which one is more likely to sting didn't go over well. Oddly. By contrast, our stop at the dogs-get-wet-here spot was epic, and genre alone should explain why I couldn't possibly give you any real sort of sketch as to why, or what happened, but there were wet dogs and sticks and small boys and dogs' people who showed the small boys how to throw the sticks. Also, that you should show the sticks to the dogs first. And that once you've shown the dog the stick, it's a good idea to throw it quickly - especially if the dogs (uniformly) outweigh you. As the Eldest ruefully observed.

It doesn't help that I'm short.

No, I thought. But it does help that you - both of you, actually - are literally willing to get up after you've been knocked down, and try again. Lucky for the kids, their parents are the same sort - although for the adults, it might be less pluck than bone-headed stubbornness.

That's poison ivy. See? Leaves of three, the newer, smaller ones are reddish. Don't touch it  - it'll make you really, really itchy.

A couple of pairs of small boy eyes grow round, solemn . Oh. 

That's poison ivy. See? There on the edge of the track? You were about to walk into it, and that's not going to be fun. Remember how itchy you were after we went to that park? 

OH! No, I didn't like that. I'll stay away from the ivy.

Hey, honey? See the poison ivy right there? You were about to step into it. Remember how it's itchy?

Gosh, that poison ivy is just lining the entire path. Better walk in the middle, so that if you stray to one side, you'll still have time to move away again.

Um. Notice where you are? No? Okay, what do you see there?

Hey, look at that sign! It says that there's poison ivy here. Wonder why they didn't hang up more of those - oh, kid - you were about to walk right into the poison ivaaargh.

There is a special sort of hell that describes this, but all I can say is: 2.25 miles of track. 9 miles of poison ivy (it was on both sides of the track, we had two kids, so you do the math), and where in hell is the learning curve, huh? Right now, all I'm getting is Zeno's paradox.

The Giggles' ability to read the Poison Ivy Runs Rampant sign? Not as comforting as one might hope. Somewhat mocking, in a rather cosmic karma, laughing behind its hand sort of way. Or possibly just strolling right up and prodding me in the ribs. But, MO-OM, said a child, it would help if you REMINDED me. You know, sometimes I need a reminder. And sometimes, I need two or three or five reminders. I inhaled. Forgot to exhale. Focussed on figuring out the square root of the number that I was counting to.

You had 2.25 miles worth of reminders! 

Oh. said the child. That's a lot of reminders. I see your point now. But, he went on thoughtfully, you know, they don't have poison ivy on the planet Emeraldia. Or, rather, they do, but nobody's getting itched by it. I should ask them why not and then sell the cure to everyone!

And just like that? We were half-way to the end of the curve.

Math sucks.

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