Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Ha! I caught you. You didn't really think I'd have another post up yet, but sure enough here it is. And now you'll see why I don't post as often as some bloggers - call this the little slice of susurra life. (for some odd reason that made me think of Life cereal which then led to "Mikey'll eat anything" and that brings me to the realization that those little cardboard squares sustained me through most of my elementary years, which might explain something about me but I'll leave that up to you.)
Ok here is our evening. But I warn you you'll be begging me to wait a week and only post when there's something meaningful, insightful, deep to say. :)
Chapter one: Arrival
I come home from work and the babysitter's toddler is hacking germs all over my house with a case of croup. No really I feel sorry for them both, especially on learning that the babysitter's toddler also had one of those little diaper accidents which led to poop miraculously appearing on her shoes which then apparently led to a rather messy entry hall although the babysitter had cleaned that up. Unfortunately, noone had noticed that the shoes apparently also contaminated babysitter's pants on the backside... I send her quickly on her way choosing not to imagine exactly where she might have sat in the last half hour. No really, what am I going to do? Toddler angelically waves "bye-bye" in that toothy toddler way that leaves you adoring them, germs, poop and all.
Chapter two: Dinner
We pack up and head over to dinner, which we are eating out because I've gotten home late and can't face the whole cooking/cleaning up thing tonight. So we are sitting at dinner, and my son begins to cough. And cough some more. And we've ordered, and he's soon coughing every 30 seconds or so. I curse the toddler germs. And I keep asking, so very politely, "dear, can you please cover your mouth, we don't want to spread germs here." He refuses. Then again, "sweetheart, it's not just us I'm worried about. There are other people in this place and it's not nice to spread germs on them." And he refuses more vigorously. And I am starting to get angry. Because it's basic manners, not any new rule I've made up on the spot, it's just simple hygiene and manners to cover your mouth when you cough, especially as its now appearing he might have whatever the toddler had. Not on his shoe, in his chest! So as I tell him I'm going to have to remove him from the restaurant and his choice is to cover his mouth or stop coughing, he starts wildly shaking his head. "NO NO NO NO NO NO!" Back and forth his head swings, violently I must add, this boy is intent on defying me. Except that he's no longer coughing. So I turn my head and look the other way ignoring him completely; hurry to finish dinner and get us out of there. I am sure someone is staring at him like he is mentally disabled and I have to wonder if they are right at this moment. We finish and we go back home.
Chapter three: TV
The asthma inhalant seems to help the coughing, and we sit down to watch American Idol. Family tradition. We watched the whole season last year, and this I admit only because it's necessary to explain what happens next. My 12 year-old suddenly develops an amazingly self righteous sense of outrage over the treatment of the bad contestants. She is not just offended, but seriously wounded emotionally by the scenario of some really overconfident egotistical person singing badly and then getting criticized by the judges. She is outraged not just at the judges, but at my son and I for continuing to watch this unconscionable treatment of the wannabee rock stars who I suspect are acting their way through the whole disappointment phase of the theatrics. Like the judges, my son and I find the really terrible singers hysterical but after isolating herself in her room for thirty minutes, the daughter asserts her right to have equal access to the family room without being exposed to such trauma. The solution? She and I will walk the dog, and my son can stay home and watch the end of the show. A Chrysler commercial comes on and she suddenly pays attention, which I learn is because "the driver is cute." The next words from her mouth though: "But I've given up on boys, I'm going to join a nunnery. Boys are all idiots."
Chapter four: Walk
Yup there was a long story there. Involving the sort of middle school horrors that as an adult, you cringe and think "oh no, I remember all that stuff and it was really really stupid." Girl likes boy. Girl tells a few too many people she likes the boy. Someone asks the boy if he likes the girl. Boy tries to be polite, maybe he likes the girl. Someone asks the boy if he would ask the girl out. Boy is in seventh grade, really hasn't figured out what going out means, says maybe. Somebody tells two other boys that girl likes the boy and loud comments are made questioning how anyone could like the girl. Girl hears these and gets mad. Girl confronts mean boys and via threats learns that rumor has leaked that she might get asked out by nice boy. Girl gets hopes up. Girl asks friends to ask boy if this is true. Suddenly confused boy gets asked about girl by at least six more kids. Boy sounds like he is considering it first two or three, but by number six, boy decides it is far more attention than he wants and changes his story. Boy does not like girl. Boy never intended to ask girl out. Kids 5 and 6 relay new info. Now girl is heartbroken. Girl goes up to boy and tells him off. Boy should never have said he was interested if he wasn't. Boy claims he never said he was interested. Girl makes several self-esteem protecting statements about how little she cares and then runs off so boy won't see her cry. Girl considers this the worst day of her life. Girl feels confused, sad, hurt, embarressed. Girl's mom can think of worse things but having been boy crazy in 7th grade realizes nothing she says will help. Girl and mom return to house, having hashed this all out on a brisk circle through the neighborhood. Dog is unleashed, girl and mom go upstairs to start getting girl ready for bed, girl tells mom to hug her and tell her she deserves a much better boy anyhow. Mom complies. Mom looks down. Mom shrieks.
Chapter five: Mess
My daughter apparently stepped in dog shit even though we never left the sidewalk and our dog did not do his business while we were out. Forgive the bluntness but having been unable to say "dog shit" in front of my kids, I find it oddly comforting to say it here. How this (dog shit) happened to get on her shoes is something I yearn to understand, I want it explained, but of course I immediately realize, it is suddenly important because I need to yell about something and I can't exactly yell at her about the accident. To get to where we are standing, we have walked through the entry, up a flight of stairs, down the upstairs hall and into her bedroom. There are footprints behind us, and my son is instantly into trying to figure out what happened also. "Maybe it was on your shoes Mom. Maybe it is really mud. Maybe it is from the babysitter's toddler's shoes. Why didn't you notice?" I don't want to hear this, because anyone knows that if it happens at bedtime, it is obviously dog shit on her shoes, which removal of the shoes quickly proves. I send him directly to bed - who needs another rationalizer around? Normally we take off shoes when we come in. Dale can tell you that we have an absurdly light color of carpet that is a long story of it's own. Normally though, because it is such a light color, and it is winter, we exit the shoes at the entry. I'd like to yell at her about this also, except my shoes are still on. So I can't exactly claim to be the role model. There ought to be something or someone I can blame, but no. Out come the rags and the Formula 409. I am scrubbing away when the son gets up with a problem. There is no place to store the new hotwheels box. I suggest he put in a corner. He adamently claims there is no open corner. This is patently absurd - he is a perfectionist and there is lots of room on the floor of his room, which I point out. He argues this, threatens a tantrum when I don't offer to come move the box. "I'm going to throw them out. Who cares!" I suggest we trade tasks. I'll store the Hotwheels, he can clean the dog poop out of the carpet. Direct hit! He realizes he's lost this battle and sulks his way back to bed. He sighs loudly and repeats "Who cares! I never wanted the Hotwheels." He goes to sleep. The carpet cleanup takes 40 minutes. I redo the area where the toddler had the accident just to be safe. I wipe the shoes with papertowels to remove the sticky portions, and then wash them thoroughly in the sink, then get out the bleach and rinse the sink, my hands, and the rags before throwing them in the washer. By now you're thinking I'm going to examine every place the babysitter might have sat in the house since I'm already cleaning up but no, I'm here to tell you the story of my lovely evening instead.
Chapter six: "Meditation"
Isn't it Lekshe who is asking us use this Mary Oliver phrase "What is that beautiful thing that just happened?" as our practice? I have to tell her, that beautiful thing is dog shit tracked all over the house. Sure sure, it is reminding me how lucky I am to have a roof over my head, healthy (if stinky, coughing, over-sensitive and insensitive) kids, American Idol on TV, a half full bottle of Formula 409 and another bottle of bleach, a dog who is wholly innocent this time of the mess on the carpets. I can fondly remember the time he came in with his backside messed up after some diarrea and sat on my son's quilt. Another beautiful thing. I can remember sticking him in the tub with tomato juice at midnight because he'd been sprayed by a skunk while I was emptying out the wet hedgehog-litter where the water bottle had leaked while we were gone on vacation. Another beautiful thing, that skunk smell at midnight. The dog is good for lots of practice, but this time it's not his beautiful fault. That beautiful thing is a clean dog for once.

So there it is. The kids are asleep. The dog is asleep. American Idol is long since over and contestants (and therefore my daughter's compassion) are safe from humiliation at the hands of Simon for another week. My socks are damp from walking around the cleaned areas but there's no point washing them until I go to bed. And now you know why many nights I don't write a post. See, it's been kinda normal for a Wednesday.

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