(subtitled: Mom needs another beer. NOW!)
Wow, what a day. Dick and Patty, our neighbors whom I've decided I'm adopting as surrogate parents/grandparents, they're that wonderful, offered to take any or all of us to see "The Nutcracker" in Duluth this afternoon. Calvin and Starflower had gone with them two years ago; at the request of Starflower at the time, I did not accompany them then. But today I decided Mr. Attitude was maybe old enough to get something out of it and not drive anyone crazy in the process, so he went. I went along, because I had never seen "The Nutcracker" performed live, and because I wanted to remain on speaking terms with Dick and Patty re: Mr. Attitude. Since we all would not fit in their Escort sedan, I offered to drive in our Astro van.
It was a beautiful day for the drive up Highway 23, the back route to Duluth. I kept my eyes open for owls, hoping to see a snowy, great gray, or hawk owl. The Hermit claims to have seen a hawk owl yesterday; Patty thought she had seen a great gray recently, and another friend of ours saw a great gray yesterday. I have not had much luck with owls so far this year, although there have been reports of snowys throughout the state. We saw beautiful sunlit forests, but no owls.
I'll start by saying the performance was brilliant. It amazes me that a city the size of Duluth (95,000 or so, not counting the other Twin Port of Superior, WI and outlying "suburbs") can support a ballet company of such caliber. The scenery and effects were wonderful, and the talent of the dancers amazed me.
That said, Mr. Attitude's performance was less than stellar. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt; it was a completely new situation, and he can be sensitive to aspects others of us may not notice, such as light level (he didn't like being in the darkness of the audience), noise level (he said the orchestra was too loud), and overall juju. Perhaps he takes after me; I have been in some situations where I just get a bad vibe somewhere, and all I want to do is bolt for the door at the nearest available opportunity.
So I sat through the performance with a noticeably uncomfortable, very squirmy Mr. Attitude. After the first five minutes he started repeating "Mom, I don't like BEING HERE!" Just as I had feared. I managed to hold him, reassuring him when necessary, and keep him from disturbing others too much. I had to drag him in after intermission.
I only had to take him out once during the second act, during the Waltz of the Flowers. We were back before the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, and the Grand Pas De Deux, which I did not want to miss. But in the process, I noticed I had lost one of my earrings. They were the largest earrings I owned, hand crafted titanium with a forest scene, that The Hermit had bought me in Vermont. I was sick. I own more single earrings, that had once been part of a pair, than I care to mention. But I decided to be positive; perhaps we would find it, or we would notify the facility and perhaps they would find it while cleaning up. Or maybe it was gone forever, and that would not be too bad. Whatever.
As it turns out, we notified an usher, who was more than kind, and I left my phone number and a description of the earring should anyone turn it in. By the time I got home, there was a message on the answering machine; they had found it!
So we got home, and the kids started immediately into their usual efforts to dismember each other despite my loud vocal protestations. I informed them I would not be taking any sides, not offering any sympathy should one be hurt. I had had enough. Bedtime is in ten minutes; I am counting the seconds.