Warm friends, cold sky

This weekend had the warmest start and the coldest end possible.

Typically, we follow the model of my parents, eating sourdough waffles from Mom’s original starter–almost 50 years old, but nothing compared to how they do in Wyoming–on Sunday. This weekend, however, we had friends over for brunch on Saturday, so they were Shabbat waffles rather than Sabbath waffles.

Regardless of how the day of rest was spelled, the waffles and the company were warm and welcome. After all, it’s not just the kids who moved to a new town, away from all their friends, but Mama and I as well. This couple, who we met up with through a mutual friend in DC, has been everything anyone would want in a neighbor, even bringing us a mishloach manot after we’d known them for all of about five minutes.

Even more impressive…they did that even after we’d turned our kids loose in their house one night.

They’re our kind of people–vegetarian, writers, theater fiends–and their kids are generous, kind…and they code, going to the same computer camp that 3B is psyched for this summer, although we weren’t able to get them in the same session. And our kids love them. Jewel cried out about their daughter as they were walking to their car, “I’m going to miss her!” I would too, since they played perfectly together for the entire morning.

The boys were on the couch, parallel playing on iPads when they weren’t busy sharing a Minecraft world or finding each other in Scratch. We did break that up for a trip to visit the zombies over our back fence in the historic cemetery that is our backyard neighbor. Jewel immediately found several impressive bones, hollowed and gnawed on, most likely by the dog of the previous owners of our home. Still spooky enough for everyone, even on a bright sunny day.

We found all the graves we know of, then headed in to unfortunately wrap up the morning, which had run into the afternoon. But we’ll get to see them again later this week, when I give them a tour of my office building.

And then I got to play with the kids while Mama worked. Even though I’m the amateur parent, who just freelances on weekends, I think I did OK, although their therapists will be the judges of that. Memories of that afternoon blur into sabbath morning when Mama had to continue working, so our Gang of Four once again became the Dynamic Trio…or something.

There was swinging, hole digging, raised bed assembly, scooting with the neighbor kids, hopping over the fence and back again with our next door neighbors, screen time, reading of newspapers and books.

Then Mama’s brain needed a break, so in the middle of the day we ran around town. We picked up bags of soil for our raised beds–the stacked bags are now a snow-covered mound in our backyard, thanks to this morning’s snow, so…perfect timing on that. 3B picked out an amazing and tasty array of seeds, including baby carrots, sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes. He also picked out some pretty flowers for the beds around the house. I realized that I have some work to do on our lawn, but was too overwhelmed at that point to do anything about it.

And now I can claim foresight, since the lawns have been buried by this baby blizzard.

That was all at our local garden center, which was good because it took two trips to get all the bags of dirt home, including the extra one they threw in, maybe, Mama opined, out of guilt for charging $8 for a bag of chocolate covered carmel balls that’s as big as Jewel’s fist. But seriously, they are nice, neighborly and a good resource. Then we went to daddy’s Toys R Us–Home Depot. But we were getting the equivalent of bags of wipes rather than light sabers.

We needed more bird seed, a new bird feeder (since…ahem…someone >koffPapakoff< dropped the one that came with the house), paver stones and some cut lumber for the raised bed corner posts. It really is a thrill a minute when you hang with the Bradsteins. Oh wait, I did get a tool--a lawn aerator, though we didn't have enough room for the spreader. Again, a prescient move on my part, anticipating this spring snowfall. Or something. And then it was off to get more food for our cats--yes, plural. We got Mini McGonagall a brother--little gray Albus Dumbledore, who, with his sliver nose could also pass for Tycho Brahe. They only play together occasionally so far, so Mini doesn't maul Dumbledore too badly, though he seems capable of giving as good as he gets--and she's teaching him all kinds of tricks that she'll probably be sorry she did when he weighs more than three pounds. Though Mama has found an app that lets us (forces us to out of guilty compulsion?) track ever pound and calorie, we had enough space left in our guts for the day, our phones told us, to stop at Noodles & Co. for dinner. While Mama finished up at the pet shop, the kids came with me, walked right up to the counter, told me what they wanted, then found a booth for us while I finished ordering and paying. When I got to the booth, they were playing with each other, laughing and having a good time. And, though it was but a moment, that is how I will remember this weekend--both kids kind, considerate, polite and fun. Despite the three inches of snow on the ground this morning and the buckets of snow sifting down out of the sky, making for a cold Monday, it's a warm memory I carry under my coat, in my heart, on my way to work.