Since I've been home from New York, one of my children commented on the fact that I actually haven't been home much. Slightly depressing, but all too true.
Home on Sunday night and then a show with Steve Blunt Monday morning. We had fun, but I can't say it was a career defining show for us. We had both been away for several days and still hadn't quite gotten our groove back. The show was for a library, but was held at a day-camp where the eager young campers crammed into a loud room that might be generously described as "acoustically challenging". The kids were very excited and the music was very loud, so from that perspective, the show was a success. Some indoor pyrotechnics would have completed the event to a nicety, but the ceiling was very low and the threat of self immolation was all too real. Though thrilling in the short term, it would require tedious rescheduling of future shows.
More shows, both with and without Steve followed, and yesterday I once again accompanied my intrepid friend Julie up the treacherous slopes of a NH 4,000 footer. The destination was Mt. Jefferson, the third highest peak in NH and, quite possibly, the rockiest place on the face of the planet. After a gentle, though ceaseless, climb along a gently forested trail, we were given a few fleeting glances at the spectacular scenery that surrounded us as the trees thinned out and we were suddenly (and yes, it does happen suddenly) above tree line.
I'm sure that, had the weather been better and had all those pesky mountains not been in the way, we would have had clear views of the North Pole and Melbourne, Australia. The expanse of land, trees, mountains, and tourists on distant roads was breathtaking.
We plodded upward across treacherous winding paths, fending off mountain goats, indigenous mountain people, and evil trolls lurking under craggy rock outcroppings until finally, many weeks later we arrived at a sign that told us the summit was only 0.1 miles away. You can see this sign in the picture of Julie. We were happy then. Happy and hopeful. After another 150,000 miles, we finally reached the summit, our tender spirits crushed; our tender feet blistered.
As we sat to eat our lunches. We relaxed, stretched our legs, and laid back across the rocks to soak up some sun and get a clear, unobstructed view of the roiling thunderheads that were speeding in our direction.
We gagged down the rest of our lunches and considered our options. They were:
1. Get off the summit.
2. Die a hideous death on the summit.
After some deliberation we opted for the first choice and began the slow, tortuous descent down the hill. At the point in our descent where the rocks were at their most treacherous, the rain started to add the additional thrill of "slipperiness".
This is the point where I told Julie that I am terrified of heights. She did not find this information helpful or reassuring, as I had hoped.
After we slid down many sheer rock faces, clenching our respective buttocks to maintain a tenacious grip on the rocks (a technique I do not, in retrospect, recommend) we managed to get safely below tree line.
Then the sun came out.
We made our sodden way down the mountain and headed to Lincoln for our mandatory post-climb ice cream. I tried Dinosaur Crunch. This particular confection seems to have been designed exclusively for the under 5 crowd. From the deceptive name–it contains no actual dinosaur; crunchy or otherwise–to the alarmingly blue hue. A color found nowhere in nature and reminding me more of a race car than of anything a human should ingest. To add a distinct visual counterpoint to the blue, there were near-black globs of a fudge-like substance swirled throughout it. Adding to its textural diversity were a universe of cake crumbs (no doubt swept up from the floor of some second rate high volume snack treat factory).
So while I am glad to be home today, I may not actually be able to spend as much time with my children as I would like. I'll probably spend the day in the bathroom brushing the residual dinosaur flavor out of my mouth. Maybe I'll see the kids next week...