de-stumping the front yard.
All by myself.
That yard full of apple tree roots K assured me was a very temporary installation was still there. We have all (unfortunately) got rather used to it but I just had an inkling that the average person (and certainly abode snooping kinder teachers) may find it rather odd. I was teaching in the morning, home for lunch then walk down to meet Meg, teaching 3:00-3:45, pick up Amy at kinder by 4:00 and teaching from 4:15-5:15 before hotfooting it back home to be here all smiling and friendly for our 5:30 home visit. Phew. So of course I thought I would just fit in a bit of stump moving during that lunch break. No problem, right? Didn't even bother to get changed just put my big working shirt over the top of my clothes and through my blundstones on.
It was a bigger job than I thought. The roots were mud covered, prickly, odd shaped and heavy. I was a hot, sweaty, dirty, muddy mess by the end and muscle sore and bruised everywhere. Ouch. I had mud all over my trousers, had stepped in a rotting pumpkin so my boots were a mess and a branch had flicked me in the face so I had a scratch on my cheek. But, I did a job K had been putting off for weeks in 1 1/2 hours. Including dropping each stump on the pavers to knock off as much dirt as possible (our lawn is eking out an existence in gravel and building rubble so we need all the dirt we can get) picking up all the little twigs and even raking out the soil so it was a nice spread out top layer rather than little molehills here and there. Quite proud of my efforts actually. One of those thankless jobs though. Sensei would never know I did it for her visit but then she sure would have noticed if I hadn't right?
Went right down to the line time wise and didn't have time to shower before my next class so spritzed with something called 'fresh water' I found in the bathroom. I think it was hair mist. Made me all sticky. Smelled nice though.
Got through the afternoon craziness and home at 5:25. Perfect. Just enough time to stow the bags, wash our hands and sit around in feigned nonchalance. Amy was so excited and dancing around outside in the sleet (with her umbrella) waiting to see sensei's car when she fell over in the mud. All that fabulous topsoil I laboriously coaxed from the tree stumps? Very slippery when wet. Poor Amy is covered in mud from ankle to hip and both forearms and hands. She was devastated and inconsolable and of course that was the moment the teacher called to say she was lost and could we come out to the local community centre and guide her? Aghhh! Ripped Amy's pants off, gave her a cuddle, sent her to get dressed and ran down the road with her (kiddy size) umbrella in my last season's fake crocs (not sleet proof) to find sensei. Got back to the house (puffing as I ran up the hill in front of sensei's car) to find Amy has holed herself up in her bolt hole (the engawa inside verandah thing) closed the doors and is not coming out. She's stopped crying, towelled down and got dressed but is just not in a social mood anymore. It's also past 6:00 when they usually eat tea so I'm not pinning my hopes on being able to mollify her.
So it was a rather weird meeting with me and the two teachers at the table, exhausted Meg lying on the floor rolling around listlessly and Amy AWOL. The conversation ranged from woodfires, types of wood (K sensei has a woodfire too and wanted to talk apple branches vs roots) to traditional Japanese architecture, home preserving (I had a bottle of apple juice out for them) Christmas in Australia and the economy. Eventually she asked 'so, how's Amy?' and we spent a whole 2 minutes confirming that nothing's changed: Amy is not easily moulded to group activities, enjoys kinder and doesn't really nap.
By the time they left it was snowing, I was aching, Amy was falling asleep on my shoulder and Meg had crawled under the kotatsu and curled up.
I'm sure we made a fabulous impression, hey?
Just as well they didn't have to walk through that jungle of tree roots to get here!