It's done. 5 p.m. the day before we leave and the suitcases are downstairs. The yard is mown. The laundry is done. The house is (relatively) clean. The guest room is ready for Kate, who met the cats last night. Hepburn loves her. Hepburn loves anyone bringing food. Red suffered a panic attack upon her arrival, but I think a week should be sufficient to convince him that she's not planning to eat him.
I don't have any vacation reading, yet, but I don't think there'll be time for much reading for a while. Joerg will be spending his mornings working at the university in Berlin (T.U.). You must remember that this is the summer before he turns in his tenure case, and so of course he could not go an entire month without working at all
. Because of Joerg's association with the university, though, we were able to get into the apartments that the university owns there in Berlin. This is really the only way that we are able to manage an entire month. A hotel for that long would be outrageously expensive, and we just wouldn't feel right shoehorning ourselves into a spare bedroom of any of our friends/family there for 4 long weeks, keeping in mind that living quarters in European cities are not usually spacious affairs. (I love all those miniature kitchen things. They are so darn cute.) For one thing, my girls get up early
. And they are noisy, happy, morning people. Of course, early here (5:30 a.m.) is going to be extremely late there (12:30 p.m.) so we'll see how it all works out.
Annika has been so excited about the prospect of this trip - she's kept a calendar and marked off the days each night since January. The excitement was at fever pitch...until she realized that today would be her last day of preschool. At which point she decided that perhaps she would just stay home and invite over a few preschool friends to keep her company until the rest of us got home from our visit. Fat chance, little one. Not until you're 31 or so.
I see the influence of her preschool everywhere
. From the way she has started tacking "or sumpin like dat" on the end of every sentence to the "Cleanup Song" she starts singing compulsively every time she has to pick up even the tiniest crumb from the floor. The preschool is run through the Lutherans, so she's also been getting a bit of churchin' along the way, too. Just a bit, though. They don't push hard to convert the kids or try to scare them with stories of hell. Mainly it's just teaching them some Bible stories and praying before they have snack. And I confess that I find great amusement in hearing Annika's mangled retellings of her religious instruction. (Hey, she's only 4!) For instance, I'm guessing that she learned a song called "Praised be Jesus," but she came home singing "Tasty Jesus." And tonight in the bath tub she gave me conspiratorial look and motioned for me to come a bit nearer.
I leaned in and she whispered, "Mom! You know what?"
"Today? At preschool? I prayed wrong
"You did? How did you pray?"
"I prayed, 'Blessed Jesus, be our guest, LA LA LA LA LA! Or sumpin like dat."
"Oh? You said, 'LA LA LA LA LA'?"
(nods, grinning rather proudly)
"And what did Mrs. Val say about that?"
This seems to be the best part of the story for her, as she finally starts giggling as she says, "She didn't say anything because...she didn't hear me!
And, finally, this from "Frankie loves Anni" world:
This week the weather turned cold again. We had to turn on the heat once more, and the night temperatures were again below freezing. That didn't stop us from heading outside nearly every day. After all, it's Spring, no matter what the thermometer says. So we were all in the backyard in coats barely warm enough. I was pruning back the wild Forsythia bushes, hard, and Anni and Frankie were over behind the shed. I could hear the water from the hose going on and off as Annika filled her watering can and then ran out to water her flowers. (And we actually are a bit behind on the precipitation so far this month). I started to haul away the cut branches and so did not witness the following events. Luckily, our neighbor happened to witness the scene and told me the story.
Annika filled her watering can and started to head for her flowers. She suddenly turned around and spotted Frankie following her every move with adoring eyes. Anni made a U-turn and poured the entire can of water over Frankie's head. Frankie looked a bit stunned, and so Anni gave her a big hug. Annika went to go fill the watering can again. Frankie follows her - trusting little puppy. And, yes, Anni dumped the next can over her head, too. Frankie, now shivering, looks at Anni like, "Please, sir, may I have some more?" This is when Joerg runs out and whisks Frankie into the warm house and into dry clothes. Frankie protests loudly at the interruption of Playtime With Annika. Annika goes inside to time-out. Neighbor expresses wish that she had had a videocamera handy.
Next post: Berlin, via Hamsterdam