Chris is out of town, rendering me single once again. Oddly, I do better with the kids when Chris isn't around. I think when he's here, I rely on him too much, so my temper with the kids is shorter. That may not make sense to you... and it doesn't really make sense to me... but it's what seems to happen.
Chris left last night before dinner, so the Gundlach's helped me feed, wear out, bathe, and then load the kids into the car. When we got home, getting them to sleep was really not a problem.
Tonight, I picked them up at daycare and Kathryn (who is also down a husband and a child) joined us all at Char-Grill. They just opened one near her house. For those not from the Triangle area, Char-Grill is an institution here. It's been around forever, and their business model is a bit irritating to me. Basically, you have no contact with a human being until you actually pick up your food. This is because you order by filling out a confusing menu/ticket, then depositing it in a slot big enough to JUST fit the ticket. Behind the glass, a cook picks it up, makes it, and then they call you by number to come pay for your food. I just don't trust it.
I haven't eaten there for a while, and couldn't remember the difference between a "hamburger steak' and a "char-burger." Of course, the menu/ticket contains no descriptions... nor does the menu hanging on the glass. So I ordered hot dogs all around. Unfortunately, I forgot their hotdogs are of the pink (i.e. non-food) variety. Ew. Marcus, however, was the only one smart enough to toss his to the ground immediately and eat fries and goldfish crackers only.
Kathryn had to make a hasty exit home because Char-Grill not only doesn't want to actually talk to you, but they apparently don't want you to have babies with you either, as exemplified by the lack of changing facilities in the restroom. So I enjoyed the rest of my dinner trying to extract conversation from Athena while catching various bits of food that Marcus tossed at me.
We headed to the gym after our healthy supper so Athena could attend her last swim lesson of the session. First, I stopped by the manager's office to complain about various things from the lack of toilet paper in the women's locker room to the fact that when they cancel our swim class because of lightning, it is apparently too difficult for their staff to call the FOUR people registered for the class to let them know they need not come. He just smiled and nodded and essentially thanked me for sharing my thoughts. Ah... great customer service... how I miss thee.
Next stop, kid's care center. Nothing like picking up your youngest child from 9 hours in day care, only to dump him in another care facility while you go ensure your eldest doesn't drown. Needless to say, he was unimpressed and generally displeased... but because he is an angel, he waited it out. AND he charmed the entire staff in the room so they all carried him around and played with him the whole time... spoiling him rotten. That charmer.
Anyhoo... Athena kicked ass in her swim class. She's come a long way, and I am going to try to enroll her in the next level up for the next round of classes. I want to keep up the momentum.
When we got home, Marcus collapsed. It was 8:45, after all, which is WAY later than his normal 8pm lights out. Athena, on the other hand, who should have been exhausted from an hour total in the pool, was wired. It took a change of clothes (from nightgown to t-shirt), a trip to the potty, a brief lie-down with her, the extermination of two monsters and a "bad shadow" (one by trash can, two by sink) and a call to her father to get her to settle down.
When we called Chris, I just put the phone to her ear and let her talk. She almost started crying, and said "I just want you to come hooooooooooome!" Chris about lost it. I actually teared up.
But Chris, being ever-industrious, knew just the way to talk her into waiting until Sunday to see him.
"I'll bring you a present, Athena!"
She beamed. (Good thing we don't spoil her, eh?)