This week we had the pleasure of a visit from my brother and Elena’s uncle Luke. He had to arrange the trip on short notice, and we were happy that the logistics worked out. He got here on Tuesday morning, and as soon as I brought him home, we put him to work burping Elena. As her way of welcoming him, she spit up on him almost immediately.
In the evening Luke, Elena and I went to the boathouse. I had been working there in the morning when a bird flew in and didn’t want to leave before I had to go pick Luke up from the airport. We went back armed with crackers to lure the bird to the ground, but it didn’t go for them. Instead, it flew down in front of the door we hadn’t opened. After I opened the door, the bird flew right out. Maybe its bird friends had been talking to it from outside.
On Wednesday morning Luke and I went for a run. He was still adjusting from his travels, so I was able to keep up with him. From what he told me, he’s been doing lots of work to get ready for soccer tryouts at his college for this semester. I can’t speak for his soccer skills, but his fitness level is pretty high. The run was just the first of several cross-training workouts.
Later I took Luke to campus. I needed to do some work, and I thought he would enjoy walking around. He didn’t have his cell phone, but he did have his iPod, so I logged him into the wireless network and told him to send me an email if he got lost or needed anything. Apparently, in the future of ubiquitous wireless connectivity, we will finally recapture the long-lost art of the telegraph. When it was time to leave, I got an email from him: he was on the wrong floor of my building but didn’t know it. We found each other and headed home to care for Elena while Jenny went to the chiropractor.
That evening Luke made some excellent peanut butter cookies while I was at my Boy Scout meeting. Jenny had made chocolate cookies the day before, but we polished off the entire batch and still wanted more. So Luke stepped in to fill the gap. To thank him for his work, we manned up our evening entertainment. Instead of The Bachelorette, which we had watched the night before, we watched The Bourne Ultimatum.
We saved our most busy day for Thursday. In the morning, I took Luke rowing. On a previous visit, I sent him out for a brief trip in my racing single, which against all odds he managed not to flip. I decided not to inflict such torture on him again, so we took out a double together. He’s spent some time on the erg, but not very much, and as he later commented: “rowing is nothing at all like erging.” Nevertheless, he picked it up very quickly; he’s a natural talent. By the time we had to turn around, he was smooth enough that we could row together at a pretty good speed. I would like to say that my coaching helped, but I’m pretty sure it was just his natural ability.
After we came home for some very good breakfast tacos prepared by Jenny, we got ready for a bike ride. I had borrowed a bike from a friend so that we could pretend to be a two-man breakaway on the Tour de France. Before we left I had to change a flat, and used our only spare tire in the process. As we started, I took the lead, and was surprised how easy it was for him to keep up with me. When I tired out I let him go first, and realized that it really is a lot easier to sit on someone’s wheel. Still, he was able to go fast even while in the lead, even though he had to substantially increase his effort. Sadly, about five miles into the ride, Luke suffered a puncture and we had to call Jenny to come pick us up, as we had already used our only spare tire.
Perhaps our shortened trip actually was fortuitous, because by the time we got home and showered, lunch time had arrived. We went to Pluckers for some hot wings. Luke enjoyed the spicy ranch the most, and also ate two wings more than me. At the end, I was ready to concede to him, but then I counted up my bones and decided I couldn’t let him have too large a margin of wing victory, so I ate the last one. The difference is that he could have eaten more, while I was ready to explode.
After such an eventful morning, we were ready for a relaxed evening at home, but got two phone calls that changed all of that. First, some friends of ours needed last minute help moving. They called on us for help cleaning (Jenny) and loading the truck (Luke and me). Elena went along with us to keep their baby company and set a good example of non-fussiness. They had a small apartment, so it wasn’t too much work, but it was the first time that Luke had maneuvered a washer and dryer down a flight of stairs.
Luke and I left while Jenny was still cleaning, so that we could answer the second call: a game of sinkball. The young men from church invented this game a few months ago, when they set out to play water polo with one small change–they took the air out of the ball and replaced it with water, so that it became neutrally buoyant. Because of this, sinkball is an intense three-dimensional game that is played not only at the surface of the pool, but also in the depths. Although we had the least experience of any of the players, Luke and I both made solid contributions and our team won by a considerable margin.
After that whirlwind of a day, Luke and I had to wake up before 5:00 on Friday morning in order for him to catch his plane. I hope that he was able to catch some more sleep onboard while he made his way back to Maryland. We all had a good time visiting with him. Even though I think that I monopolized most of his time, he also spent quality time with Elena, Jenny, and Jewel. On Thursday evening while we were trying to get our act together and Elena was fussing a little bit, he stepped right up to hold her and play with her until we were ready to feed her. She calmed down, because she loves her uncle Luke.