Jim and I have thinking we ought to expand Charlie's and our activities beyond the usual rounds of bike ride, walk, walk, bike ride, walk. We have been talking of taking Charlie into New York, as we once used to almost every weekend, to check out the High Line. Charlie made it in there shortly after it was first completed but we haven't really been inclined to go across the Hudson with him, in no small part because Charlie seems quite content away from the industrial noises offered by NJTransit and the subway, the wail of the sirens and the roar of the traffic, the multitude of behaviors and voices and faces of urbanites.
I did drag him, once upon a time, into the Met and Charlie has ridden his bike in Manhattan. But over time it has become quite apparent that Charlie's sense of adventure is well-served here in our fair county in New Jersey.
Monday, with two days to go before the start of ESY, there was a subtle rise in Charlie's anxiety level. He kept checking the refrigerator, to see if the lunchboxes were there (they are still on the kitchen counter). He heard me talking to the bus driver, who called to tell us she would be by at 7.35am on Wednesday. He noted I had bought an everything bagel -- I usually put one in his morning snack lunchbox.
I had bought the bagel to give him a non-verbal cue that a return to school is imminent and I think it did the trick, based on the higher rate that Charlie kept checking the refrigerator after he saw it.
Getting him to think about other things was one reason we considered a New York trip. But the day wore on and Jim and I agreed, hanging around our house, with walks and rides interspersed and some hedge-clipping and dusting, was quite pleasant so why rock the boat? And the piano did need dusting...
Around 3.30pm Jim and Charlie headed out for bike ride #2 with the hopeful goal of checking out a new park three towns over. I hopped in the white car and went to the local grocery store which is pricier but has good deals if you wait for them and college student-aged checkers who are very patient with my tendency to distraction and who occasionally tell me their woes at finding employment (as teachers, not clerks). I went home and carried in a ridiculous amount of boxes of packaged drink items under a blue sky.
I sat down at my desk to write and in about a minute and a half a sheet of rain so dense you couldn't see through it and pebble-size hail pieces were falling from the sky.
Jm and Charlie appeared, soaked to the socks, after about 25 minutes of pedaling through the storm and amid Jersey drivers who showed characteristic mercilessness for those not in or on motorized vehicles, streams of water deluging all of God's creation be d'mn'd. Charlie and Jim had been just past the halfway point when the storm hit and Charlie, with nary a complaint, rode steadfastly the whole way.
(Yes, Charlie has shown me how Roman centurions could march around in sandals and on a diet of frumentum --gruel, basically -- and under the Mediterranean summer sun and north to slaughter the Gauls (and to be slaughered....) and carry a full kit of javelins and a sword and shield and helmet etc, and conquer most of the known world, back in the day.)
The sun came out (while the rain was still falling) and blue sky returned, but that was it for bike rides for Monday. Charlie and I did do two more walks and then, after checking the refrigerator a few more times, he went to bed and fell asleep using his iPad.
I ate the bagel for a late dinner. I'll get him a fresh one for Wednesday.