Thursday, October 30, 2008

If I had a rowboat...

I'm just back from ooohing and aaahing over the Fall colors in Maine over at the Sarah Laurence Blog. Sarah is a writer and a painter and you can always find great book reviews and wonderful photos on her blog. I was reading her post about a recent family hiking adventure in the White Mountains of Maine when I came across a wonderful photo of Sarah's kids scrambling up the mountain. I was immediately struck by how a word's meaning changes depending on the geographical context. In Maine scrambling refers to an activity that is part hill walking and part rock climbing, requiring the use of arms, legs, hands and knees. Here in Seattle, scrambling is what happens at our house on mornings when both Wing Nut and I need to get out the door by 9 a.m. It's part synchronized dance, part daring acrobatics, and lots and lots of artistic drama--Cirque du Soleil has nothing on us.

This morning saw a whole lot of SCRAMBLING going on at our house. Usually I work from home in the mornings and so have time to make sure that Wing Nut eats her breakfast, has a lunch and snacks packed and gets her derrière out the door in a timely manner. But this morning it was every Wench for herself as I had an early morning assignment and had to catch a bus. On such mornings we opt for the "divide and conquer" approach to life. Wing Nut walks Diva Dog, plays ball with her for a few minutes and feeds the menagerie. I'm in charge of getting breakfast ready and lunch packed. That's all well and good in theory. Trying to squeeze in things like showering, getting dressed and eating breakfast is what usually trips us up. Inevitably, it comes down to me racing down the hill--thank goodness it's downhill--to the bus stop. On days of serious scrambling I end up at the corner of the bus stop waving my arms wildly while jumping up and down in an attempt to signal the bus driver that I'm stuck at the light, hoping that the bright pink of my persimmon colored raincoat will be bright enough to attract attention. Today it worked. The bus driver waited for me.

NOBODY is ever happy on mornings like this. Ms. Growly Pants decides to spit up a hairball. We can hear it but we can't see her. I'm sure we'll step in it sooner or later. Snuggle Bug morphs into Annoying Little Creature--you would not believe how loud this little cat can yowl--and insists on sitting on Wing Nut's shoulders and trying to steal a bite of her Canadian bacon. White Socks just sits by her food bowl despondently--waiting for one of us to sprinkle nutritional yeast on her otherwise inedible kibble. And Diva Dog sticks to me like glue, to the point of getting stepped on. She then sits while I try to eat my breakfast and stares at me with THAT look. "You can't possibly be thinking of leaving me home alone with those three crazy cats, can you?" And Wing Nut hates these mornings too because she's the last one out the door and gets the most undesirable task of all--looking into Diva Dog's beautiful brown eyes and trying to convince her that she won't be stuck at home alone with the cats for too long.

Today my commute was about 40 minutes one way. I walked, took a bus and walked some more. On the return trip I just walked all the way home. It was still about 40 minutes. If I had a rowboat my commute would be about 12 minutes. Hey Wing Nut, can I have a rowboat for Christmas?



Despite the fact that a rowboat would cut my travel time by more than two-thirds, I don't mind my commute. It's a pleasant walk that takes me along the ship canal and over the Fremont Bridge.


Pumpkins pop up in the most unlikely places!


And how many of you get to wave to Rapunzel on your commute?


Rapunzel, now there's a chick who should know a thing or two about scrambling...



Anna said...

I really do love it when I come across a post so delightfully written. I enjoyed every word mostly because it was written with lots of appreciation for all you have. That part about your poor dog being left home with the cats is very clever. I hope you get a row boat but I didn't see any parked by that lovely river.

garden girl said...

I hope you get to relax during your commute - the scenery is so pretty! Rapunzel's tower is such a pretty shade of blue!

Daphne said...

My favorite form of scrambling is the Sunday morning eggs. Your kind of scrambling just doesn't sound as fun.

Sarah Laurence said...

Curmudgeon, a mountain scramble is more fun, but there’s little doubt that scrambling out the door to arrive anywhere on time in the morning is more difficult.

Your walk along the canal looks really nice. Some people in Maine do commute to work in Portland (our biggest city) by kayak. Aren’t you lucky to have a bus driver who will wait and public transport. Parsimmon sounds like the best color to beat the rain.

Anonymous said...

What an incredible stand of trees along the water's edge -- it must be stunning with the sun on them. I remember those 'scrambled' mornings. :)

Weed Whackin' Wenches said...

Hi Anna, No docking is available along the ship canal--probably to ensure boat traffic keeps moving between the lakes. Lots of kayaks, sailboats, UW crew teams, fancy yachts, etc.

Greetings Garden Girl. That tower with Rapunzel in it always makes me smile. I love walking across that bridge. And watching the boats is always relaxing and a huge de-stresser!

Hi Daphne! Weekend scrambles of the egg variety are popular at our house too. Lately we've been putting in them shallots, peppers, potatoes and chard from our garden. Yum! I'm hungry now!

Greetings SL. Commuting by kayak would be a trip and a half! I'm assuming they only do that in the summertime, no? Yes, persimmon certainly does make for a welcome spot of brightness during our dreary gray winter months.

Hi Nancy. That stand of trees is so bright you need shades to look at it when the sun is out!

kd said...

Hmmm -- I remember 1 hour commutes, way back when. Unfortunately, they were nowhere near as pleasant as yours seems to be. The last 18+ years, having elected to stay home and be a (hmmmmmm, what's my favourite job description today?) "family management specialist", I live at work and I work at home, no commute involved :)


Frances said...

Hi C and W, like the other comments I loved this well written peak into your daily life. Those trees wearing their fall colors are spectacular and Rapunzel would make even the dourest curmudgeon smile I think. ;->

Libbys Blog said...

Excellent post!!! I was smiling as I read it, thank you!

Weed Whackin' Wenches said...

Love your job title kd!

Hi Frances! Yes, Rapunzel does make me smile. We live in a quirky neighborhood full of surprises. It makes for a fun commute.

Greetings Libby. Glad we made you smile!

A Cuban In London said...

First of all, I agree with you that Sarah has some of the most incredible autumn images on her blog.

Secondly, so have you, my dear, so have you. The first three pictures made me go wow!!! The sense of uniformity and perfect symmetry is absolutely mind-blowing.

Thirdly, we have your same meaning of the word 'to scramble' here in GB. And that's what our mornings look like before we have to dash off to work and the kids to their school.

Thanks for this beautiful post.

Greetings from London.

Weed Whackin' Wenches said...

Hello ACIL. Autumn is my favorite season--tied for first place with Spring, Summer and Winter. This morning the only scrambling at our house is of the egg variety. Thank Goodness!

Kerri said...

Hello girls! Curmudgeon, I enjoyed this description of your scrambled morning so much. You always manage to make me smile :)
I don't like scrambling in the morning either.
You do have a pretty commute, and the trees look wonderful decked out in their autumn finery. Rapunzel is definitely smile provoking :)
I used to take the morning and afternoon ferry across Sydney Harbour when I worked in the city of Sydney(pre-marriage and move to the USA days). That was the best transport I ever rode on! Very relaxing.
I can imagine the welcome Diva Dog and the kitties give you upon your return :)

Karen said...

I miss that part of the Cut, I used to run and walk on the bike path from our old house all along there. Much preferable to taking the smelly old bus, when you can! Give Rapunzel an extra wave from me next time will you?