Since September when my parents went back to PNG, all us Ernst kids/spouses have been writing weekly emails to keep each other up-to-date. While I believe that the majority of the family takes a look at my loquacious letters and decides not to bother, I know my mom appreciates my chatter and detail-stuffed stories.
Here's an excerpt from my letter last week. (No need to read it. I just put it here to illustrate the reason for my mom's funny response about Joel's telling of the same event, which you can see at the end of this jumble of words.)
And then the most ridiculous, out-of-control hour ensued. If I can remember correctly, it happened something like this: our friends, M and M showed up at our door with their almost 2-year old (dressed as a dragon) and their baby. I think they honestly just wanted to pop by, show us their kids, and leave. But I invited them to come inside. M decided to take D around our cul-de-sac while M came inside with their baby. I was still trying to wrap Joel up in his mummy strips. Mark was out grilling the hot dogs in the rain. Sam was preparing to leave to basketball practice. The baby started screaming. Mark came in and Joel was ready to go out with him. More trick-or-treaters were at the door. I went outside with them to serve them a hot dog, but Mark was coming back with Joel. What? His costume was falling off. Mark left with Sam for practice, and I tried to pin Joel back together. D and M came back in. D wanted hot chocolate and was shlopping it out of his cup onto the carpet (at this point, I didn't really care). The baby screamed intermittently! I couldn't make the costume work and we decided to just take it off (and then, of course, we couldn't GET it off!) and go with plan B--a Robin Hood costume that I had bought Joel for about $2 after Halloween last year that he has played hours and hours in. Of course, though, since he plays in it so much, he couldn't find the hat. So I ran down to the basement to look in the dress-up box. As I was searching for that, I hear the doorbell and then, "Mom, G is here!" I found the hat so came running up with it. Yes, it was G, D and J. "We wanted to surprise you," they said! And then, "Here's a cake I made for you. And here are some of my world-famous beans. And here's a sweater for Mark that doesn't fit me anymore and it's a good one, not old or anything, just doesn't fit, I thought Mark would like it...." Joel was trying to get dressed, feeling sad, I'm sure, that he was missing out on all the fun, stuck in the house with a screaming baby and 6 loud adults trying to figure out all that was going on! Then G says something about small group. I said, "Oh no! We are having our small group tomorrow!" They are not part of our group and theirs has been canceled for a couple weeks due to some problems in their group. They had decided to go to another one down the hill from our house and had even asked for the address earlier in the week because they had never been to this particular house. I guess they just changed their minds at some point and decided to crash our group. You'd think that upon learning that we had changed our night because of Halloween, seeing me trying to get Joel dressed and ready, feeling the chaos, that they would skiddadle on out the door, but no...they sat down. I suggested that they go on to the group they had planned on visiting, but they thought they'd get lost. I abandoned Joel, M and M, the baby and the toddler, ran upstairs to the computer and typed in the address on Google maps and printed out directions for the three invaders. Mark came home then, shoved wet hot dogs and buns at me to shelter from the rain, heard the whole schpeel that I had heard about the cake, the sweater, trying to surprise us, etc., grabbed Joel and headed out for the second time (or was that the third?). G, D, and J made their way reluctantly out the door, M and M packed up their gang and left too. And just like that, there was no one in the house but me, and there was calm and peace. A couple trick-or-treaters came to the door, but they were teens. I gave them some candy and then I decided I was not going to give any more candy to any more teens. I turned off all the lights and locked the door and started restoring some sort of order to the house.
Jack and his friends came back. By that time it had stopped raining and they wanted to make a fire and have hot dogs. I acquiesced. Joel and Mark came back. Joel joined the boys around the fire, chatting about their candy and eating a lot of it. Mark left to go get Sam from practice. The boys' moms came to get them. One mom stayed and chatted with me for a bit until it started to rain quite hard. I think she would have stayed out in the rain for a few more minutes (she likes to talk more than me!), but I had been outside without a coat (unusually warm weather we've been having!) and I was just done! I started packing up the mustard, ketchup, hot dogs, and buns and said my good-byes. It was probably rude, but I think I was too tired to worry about it then. Mark got home then and we finally got two very hyped-up boys to bed after a good teeth-brushing.
Sam had a math test the next day and had not had the time during the week to fully understand all the problems. Mark sat down with him and tried to help him figure them out. I was so thankful for Mark that night, for many reasons, but this was the biggest one! It looked painful and I stayed a safe distance from that, cleaning up the kitchen, and putting away more of the mess before I hit the hay.
Sam and Mark went to bed a little before midnight.
The kids also write a weekly letter. Here's Joel's from last week:
Hello Grandma and Grandpa,
For Halloween I dressed up as Robin Hood. I got a lot of candy. After I went trick or treating, I went to Tim Hortons with Dad. I had a lot of fun.
I love you,
the first Joel.
My mom's note to me:
Your description of the events of that Wednesday were hilarious! And then we read Joel's email. "I dressed up as Robin Hood." Written like a true male! Just the facts ma'am!