Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Day Off

So the Lovely Bride and I declared today to be the day off. With my freelance life, every day is effectively a work day, while she is the manager of a local H&R Block up on Benson and has been trapped by Initial Rush. Initial Rush in the tax season is when people get their tax information and file quickly because they are expecting (or at least hoping for) a refund. That has finally past (it was longer than normal), and now comes a breathing period before the Final Rush, which is made up of people who believe they will owe money. So while Tuesday has always been her day off, because of Initial Rush, she has been working them, or at least on call from her office.

But the Initial Rush is past, and I have been wrapping up a lot of freelance, so we made today the day off. We talking about heading north for the Tullip Festival, but it is too early and this year has been too cold. So instead we hit the zoo. And it was pretty good timing - a cool day right after President's Day Weekend with a grey sky, and the zoo was not too crowded. There were more than a handful of gangs of school children, acting like, well, school children. Animals defecating was a big subject of discussion. As we approached the elephant house, we heard cheers of "gross!" up ahead. Sure enough, we were soon passed by a gaggle of kids talking about elephants pooping. It was the highpoint of their trip, I think.

Kids shrieking "That gorilla is eating its boogers!" aside, we had enough quiet to listen to the animals as well as see them. The nervous clucks of a peregrine falcon. The booming chuff of a lion. The piteous yowl of a snow leopard expecting dinner. The highpitched bark of a peacock perched on the barn. The wood-block clicking of swans. I found this to be a singularly nice experience, in part because there were no kids around when we heard them.

Stopped in the city on the way back south for lunch at Ivar's at the pier. We were starved after a long walk and, as fate always has it, the waiter was not on the ball. We were left to our own devices for the first ten minutes in a near-empty restaurant, we had to point at the menu so he knew what we were ordering, he forgot the appetizer, and when he tried to make up by providing a desert, it was one that Kate couldn't eat for allergies (though he knew this from earlier discussions). Still we were patient, primarily because the food was good and we were more than a little exhausted.

And as we ate, there was a homeless guy stalking the pier, looking for food among the trash that the stuff the gulls had already picked over. It made me feel less whiny about not getting an appetizer.

When we left the restaurant, the homeless guy was with a friend, perched on the wall next to the Ivar's statue. As we approached, another pedestrian right ahead of us on the sidewalk reached out and gave the guy two boxes of desserts he was carrying - one of sugar cookies, the other of cupcakes. I suppose they were the remains of some luncheon. The homeless guys shouted their thanks as the Good Samaritan moved up the street.

I felt a little better about that.

More later,