My gratitude to my Aunt Janet's neighbor for letting us stay in her home cannot be fully expressed. As someone who despises hotel rooms, particularly with children, and despises spending $120/night on a hotel room even more, I was more than happy to park my family in the home of a kind stranger. My guess is that the neighbor didn't quite know what she was getting into. Given the house's close proximity to all of the wedding action and the presence of five very active children, our home away from home turned into the indoor playground for the kids. There was so much chaos over at Aunt Janet's house that the presence of one five-year-old, let alone three of them, was like throwing gasoline on an already out of control fire.
Not wanting the flames to reach the expertly quaffed and sprayed-to-the-hilt hair of the women of the family, we opted to let the kids hang out in the neighbor's house. She had a large basement with lots of open space and the kids set up camp down there. It was raining most of the time we were in Maryland so we let them go a little wild. And wild they went. They built forts with cushions, did some major running and jumping, screamed, laughed, sang, played and had a ridiculous amount of fun. Listening to them was both enjoyable and disconcerting at the same time because of the sheer volume of their play. We let them go, though, because our main concern was burning energy.
We took for granted that we would have the house to ourselves during our stay. This was a mistake. We failed to account for the fact that maybe the kindly neighbor would forget her shoes on Friday and have to stop by mid-evening to pick them up; or that she may have to stop by on Saturday to pick up her invitation with directions to the reception. I was standing in the dining room of my Aunt's house on Friday evening, looking out the window. I had just left the neighbor's house and knew the scene: five kids going ballistic in the basement reaching volumes that most humans aren't capable of and my husband and cousin sitting in the living room, drinking beer and chatting. I did a little play by play:
Me: Oh my gosh the neighbor lady is here! She's getting her mail.
Mom (staying with us in the house and well aware of the scene): No she's not!
Mom: Oh no, she's not going in is she?
Me: It doesn't appear that she is going in.
Mom: Thank God.
Me: No kidding.
I was wrong. I had gone to the window after her entry into the home where she found my husband and cousin chatting casually, drinking beer, completely unaffected by the utter chaos going on downstairs in her home. I bet she was horrified. She probably thought we'd let a traveling circus stay in her basement. Sean and Janet said she played it cool and smiled politely but they were caught off guard. I'm perplexed as to whether I should send her a thank-you note, an apology, or both; and I'm pretty sure I'll include a complimentary Xanax.