Well, that was a nice streak while it lasted. For two nights in a row, I slept for eight hours straight, with no pre-dawn wailings from the Bert Sanctuary. I swear I didn't know what to do with myself. I was positively giddy. Like I'd spent the night sucking down pure oxygen in a hyperbaric chamber.
That all ended at 4 this morning, when the TwoBert Siren went off. Then the whole household woke up two hours later, thanks to the aggressive klutzes who were clanging a bunch of aluminum pipes in the street. Unbelievable, these guys. Monkeys with handbells would have made less noise.
As it turned out, they were very nice Orthodox Greeks who were setting up awnings for their church's first Greek festival. Bazouki music, olive oil, knickknacks, gyros, dolmades, and the best hairy fingers I've ever eaten -- because they were the first hairy fingers I'd ever eaten. So overall, a good experience. It's not every day that someone caters a Greek picnic in your front yard.
In order to throw this picnic, the Greeks had the entire street blocked off. And I chose to read this as a sign. See, when Robert dreamed up his Halloween costume (which included his bike), he and I agreed that after Halloween we'd take the training wheels off. This was a few months ago, and I think Robert thought of this as if he were re-financing a credit card, and there were "No payments until June 2007!" Halloween was way off back then. November? Sure, what the hell, Dad. November it is.
Well, November was today, and we had the whole street as our practice rink. And the results were ... mixed. Much of the neighborhood heard him express his displeasure out in front of the bike shop, but eventually he went for it. He made his way up and down the street a few times without incident, but the list of things he bumped into included 1) a tree, 2) a scaffold support, and 3) a fortunately good-natured young woman who was trying to buy a Greek cookbook.
So we took off for some grassier, less peopled turf. He did OK for about 10 minutes, until he somehow flew off the bike sideways and landed on his ear. After which he got up and said, "I'm through Daddy! This is nonsense!" and stalked off to uproot a small hedge.
Stay tuned on this one, because I'm not sure if he's ready for two wheels. He was in a real fit of pique -- one that even the hairiest finger couldn't calm.