Tag Archives: the parenthood

Stay Keen, Jelly Bean

I have just retired to my patio, as it is a warm late spring evening and also Victoria Day. I think I might have woken the neighbour’s toddler, whose bedroom window opens on to the sidewalk, but all I did was open and close my screen door. Get over it, toddler.

I am drinking a beer, a Fat Tug, which is a delightfully bitter and hoppy IPA brewed on Vancouver Island. It is one of my very favourite beers. It is also 7% abv so one is enough. I may get a tattoo that says that because the devilry of alcohol is such that after one, more seems like a good idea and by the time you’ve had two Fat Tugs it’s tomorrow and why is your breath so bad and who brought the donkey?

The children recently came into some gift money from their aunt and uncle, who visited for a couple days last week. The money received nearly doubled Arlo’s stash of money that he was saving for an unspecified something, so yesterday he decided he wanted to buy a Nerf gun. Not just any Nerf gun: the Retaliator, the same gun his friend and neighbour has. He found it this morning at Wal-Mart for $32.92 and when I said, whoa! that’s a lotta money! he said, yes, but it’s worth it.

It’s worth it because he is nearly nine years old and there is no adult logic to be applied to this situation. Money is for spending, and Nerf guns are for having, and it’s not my money is it. Nope. Ever observant, he said, you don’t think I should buy this, do you? And ever mindful I replied, nope but I won’t stop you.

Yesterday, faced with a similar cash influx, as well as a five dollar gift card for a local candy store, Eli bought himself 500g of Jelly Belly Gourmet jellybeans. And two packs of Hi-Chew. Grand total of that expenditure: $17 (only $12 real money, $5 for the gift card) Did I want him to spend $17 on candy? I did not. Is it the most ridiculous thing in the world? Quite possibly.

When I was ten years old we went to Italy to visit my grandmother and on the way back we stopped in Montreal or Toronto or possibly both to visit more of my dad’s family. My aunt gave me $20. This was 30 years ago. I don’t think there were candy stores back then. I certainly didn’t give a shit about Nerf guns. I went directly to the mall (I think we were in Scarborough?) found Music World (or A&A Records and Tapes) and bought my first cassette tape: Olivia Newton John’s Greatest Hits. It cost the entire twenty dollars. It was worth it. I had absolutely no regrets.

Still don’t. Wish I knew where the tape was. Probably in a box. Probably somewhere in my house, knowing me.

A while ago — years? — we started our kids on allowance. We ask that they divide their allowance into savings, sharing (charity), planned spending (things you’re saving up for) and mad money. Being us, we don’t enforce the planned spending as much as we could, (“I totally plannnnnned to buy these Pokemon cards…just a minute ago?”) but the savings and the sharing are untouched. And our kids understand money. They understand the value of a dollar; how much I get paid, how much goes to daycare and car expenses, etc. They don’t get everything they want, not by a long shot. Sometimes they get unexpected treats, like an ice cream cone for the walk home from daycare, but more often I say no to their ever-more outrageous requests.

Sometimes, though, money appears in your hand for no good reason and yes, the smart thing, the adult thing to do, would be to save it, but the human thing to do is to want to turn it into something that gives you pleasure. Maybe that thing will only give you pleasure for an hour. Maybe it will give you pleasure for a lifetime. I don’t feel like it’s something I should lecture about. The only way to learn which things are good investments and which bum is by experience.

This afternoon, Eli ate a lot of jelly beans. I didn’t pour them into a bowl for him the way we did yesterday. He held the bag and he ate them and ate them. He also ate dinner. Then he had a baseball game. Then we came home and he had a bowl of cereal, which gave him a stomachache.

How is my foreshadowing? Is it good?

After brushing his teeth, he started to cry. I feel like I’m going to barf, he wept. Eli can really weep about barf and he’s usually right. Arlo got out of the room. Eli barfed. Three times with increasing violence.

When my kids barf I do a little flowchart in my head. Barf: food poisoning or virus? Oh god I hope it’s not a virus. I’ll have to take tomorrow off work. We’ll all be sick. There goes the rest of May. Wow it’s very violent vomit. What did he eat today? Cereal. Before that. Jelly beans. Before that. Cheese toast. Before that. JELLY BEANS.

As the smell of jelly beans permeated the room — no, they were not even semi-digested — Eli started to wipe off his mouth with his sleeve. I feel way better, he said. Oh good, I said. Way too many jelly beans today, he said. I think so, I said.

And then, feeling a lot like the lowest clown on the clown totem pole, cleaning up the clown car, I mopped up a lot of pink, sweet vomit, and thought fondly of the beer in the fridge downstairs.

Full circle! Happy Victoria Day!

In No Particular Order

I saw a crow eating a dead pigeon while I was walking through downtown this afternoon.

A man walking the other direction on the sidewalk, who saw the crow eating the pigeon at the same time as me, met my eyes and we both affected a wide-eyed horror face, and then we both looked at the tour bus that was stopped for the light, but none of the tourists looked out their windows to see the bird carnage.

I continued eating my most delicious falafel sandwich as though I was a crow and my delicious falafel was my pigeon.

When I got back to the office and told my co-worker, let’s call her Laughing Elder, about the birds, she told me about once seeing an eagle steal the food of a crane and the crane losing its mind with anger.

Last night I started reading “H is for Hawk” and it is exactly as good as all the reviews say it is.

Last night I also bought two Foo Fighters albums and finally indulged my love of All Things Rock and Grohl. Yes, I just said that. You are embarrassed for me. I hate puns. Unless I am making them.

I feel like I should be embarrassed for loving the Foo Fighters as much as I do. Yet, they write the songs that make me pound the table and bang my head while keening to the sound of perfect harmonies, so I guess I will not apologize. Also, Dave Grohl is an excellent writer and drummer, and shouty in all the right places.

That was the first song I heard this morning on my music player on the way to work and yes, I was a little overtired and happy that it’s Friday, but it was more than that. The song in my headphones at 7 am on 8th ave waiting for the bus made me darn near euphoric. I thought I might cry, vomit, become hysterical, and pass out on the sidewalk.

(It is possible I could use a good night’s sleep.)

Things have been at a low ebb for a few weeks; the evening sportsball activities are taking their toll and Eli in particular, being of a slightly dramatic persuasion, has a tendency to complain that he is tired, has only ever been tired, and will continue to be tired until his dying breath. Which will be tired.

Wednesdays are our busiest evenings; baseball starts at 5:45-6, then Arlo does soccer at 7 at a different park, and we don’t get home and into bed (the kids that is) until at least 8:30, sometimes closer to 9. Then up for Thursday at 6:30.

Wednesday I picked up the kids at daycare at 5, as usual.

Eli: Ohhhhh I am so tired.
Me: Gosh you do sound tired.
Eli: I think I should skip baseball practice.
Me: Oh yeah?
Eli: I’m too tired. I just..I just…
Me: We’ll see.

It should be noted that wednesdays are my busiest day at work. On Wednesdays roughly 80% of my day is on my feet, and 60% of my day is talking to clients, and the rest is either going to the bathroom or taking public transit, where I am also standing. Wait, no, I sit down in the bathroom. But stand on public transit. So I was tired too. I did not want to take him to baseball. I wanted to change into sweatpants and drink wine and drool myself to sleep.

Arlo: ..and I don’t have my shin pads.
Me: Hm?
Arlo: Remember I had to have my shin pads or I couldn’t go back to soccer? And I looked for them but I didn’t find them.
Me: Did you look *everywhere*?
Arlo: I think so.
Me: (suspects not)
Arlo: ..anyway I might find them. But if I don’t, we can go shopping.
Me: Pardon?
Arlo: For black pants and a white shirt.
Me: Pardon?
Arlo: Tomorrow is the May Day assembly at school. So we need black pants and a white shirt.
Me: Not for the assembly, surely. For the actual ceremony, next week…
Arlo: My teacher said for tomorrow.
Me: (plots teacher’s demise)
Arlo: So…we can go shopping if we don’t go to soccer.

Yes. Doesn’t that sound fun? Car, mall, kid, evening. No sweat pants. No wine. No drooling. I am DELIGHTED with this counter-proposal, and yet there is SOMETHING missing. What could it be. Could it be..that if I’m not GOING OUT I don’t want to GO OUT.

On we walked, Arlo bouncing along, Eli slouching.

At home, I made them grilled cheese sandwiches and thought about it. It wasn’t a baseball game, just a practice. Was it absolutely necessary that we go? Would it injure anyone’s character? I decided no and texted the team to let them know we wouldn’t be coming. I texted one of the parents from Arlo’s class and asked about the dress clothes for the Thursday assembly. She replied yes, and lol, and ha ha. I looked for Arlo’s shin pads and did not find them. I considered that he might have hidden them, but remembered that he loves soccer. Decided to cancel soccer too. Went to the mall and bought black jeans and a white collared polo shirt and was happy that we have two incomes right now so I could just go to H&M and buy the kid clothes and not worry about it.

Arlo has the right kind of body for H&M, spaghetti-like. The clothes fit him and we moved on quickly. I got to my sweatpants, my wine, and my drool. As Arlo himself is fond of remarking, it was not the end of the world.

Plus he is cute.

IMG_20150514_170213660

Fairness-ometer:

Eli got a cheese hat from his uncle who drives a truck and was in Wisconsin.

IMG_20150514_182432349

On and On, Around and Around

I almost wrote this blog post on my phone, using the free wi-fi available at the ball park, while Eli practiced baseball and Arlo practiced hockey with a tennis ball (ALL THE SPORTS AT ONCE PLEASE) but people talked to me so I listened to them and then it would have been awkward to pull out the phone again. Plus I have fat, fat thumbs that do not do well with today’s smart phones; my old phone had a little punchy-in keyboard and that was great but the touch screen, I am not used to it. It is not used to me. I watch teenagers text on public transit and their thumbs move like hummingbirds and their mistakes autocorrect — or don’t — and they don’t even stop to read over what they’re writing, they just hit send and apologize later.

On Saturday night SA and I went to see the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra perform Mozart’s Requiem and on our way home on the skytrain we met up with a few hundred people who had been to see Def Leppard. A lot of them were very young. A significant number were older than me. I know from my high school facebook friends that many people my age also attended the Def Leppard show. Armageddonit.

The Symphony was splendid. I sat listening, thinking of better words to use than awesome. Fantastic. A delight. An older woman sat next to me. She was there with friends, but they had seats together and she was visiting from out of town so she bought a ticket on her own. She was from Montreal and she had never seen the Requiem performed. At the end she stood and applauded and shouted Bravo! and then leaned down to ask me what I’d thought. Wonderful, I said. It was. A symphony is one of those things that you take for granted until you are staring at it, bathing in it, wondering how on earth anyone ever thought of Music Composition or Symphony Orchestras. Seriously. It could be so, so horrible, but it isn’t, it’s amazing.

Three days earlier I saw Neko Case perform at the Vogue theatre and she was sublime. Her voice is like warm honey. Sometimes it turns and there is a knife blade, but before you can really process that you heard a knife blade, she’s back to honey. She has magnificient, red hair and she wore tights with skeleton bones printed on them. If I could switch places with her, Freaky Friday style, I totally would.

*closes eyes* *opens eyes*

Nope, still me.

Yesterday it was ALL THE CELEBRATIONS for Eli’s birthday, which is today. Today he is seven. But yesterday he was six and 90/100ths and we had a birthday party at the movie theatre. Three friends fell ill over the weekend with a mysterious feverish virus, and in retrospect that’s probably a good thing because six boys in a movie theatre was enough and nine might have killed me. The party was not Pokemon themed, although I did put Pokemon cards in the loot bags; there is a store at a mall that sells ‘grab bags’ — 20 cards for two dollars, and one of them might be rare. Eli also received a lot of Pokemon cards as gifts, and the sharp intakes of breath around the table when he opened the blah blah blah blah something or other E.X FULL ART! was something to behold. How to shut up a room of 6-7 year olds: put a giant shiny card in front of them. Magic.

Eli also received some money as a gift and when asked what he would do with the money he replied, I will buy more Pokemon. When asked what he would do if everyone he knew stopped playing with Pokemon, he shrugged in his inimitable way, and replied, I will put them away and wait until they’re popular again.

Smart for seven. Maybe too smart. Age of reason: achieved.

DSCN6514
(then-ish)

“One nice picture. Come on.”

IMG_20150420_062920663
(now-ish)

OKAY

I was on my feet all day. There had been a power outage overnight and all the computers were buggered. The printer drivers were uninstalled. People were panicking. The magic machine that works with a computer that still runs windows 2000 (!!) did not come back all right from its spontaneous reboot, unsurprisingly. It was kind of like a computer stroke. And now that machine slurs a bit on the left hand side, as it were.

I don’t fix the computers at work, don’t get me wrong. But I sure do use them.

There was also a lot of: people and talking and being in charge and being okay with that but by the end of the day starting to be kind of sick of it. Someone else be in charge, please.

Sidenote: I was thinking today about the special value that I bring to the workplace because I’m a parent: initiative. There are step-up people at work who are not parents, and there are hang-back people at work who are parents, to be sure, but speaking for me only I can say that I am definitely more step-up than hang-back since having kids. I spent six years in charge of children. Who’s going to clean that vomit? I am! Who’s going to make a plan for the day/week/month? *half-hearted-hoorah* I am! Who has to just hold her nose and do the thing because there are no other adults around and children can’t do this particular thing. I am! Why not. This translates well to an office environment. Well, this particular office environment.

Of course we all draw the line at washing peoples’ dishes, you know that staple workplace sign “Your mother doesn’t work here: clean up your own dishes!” we have one of those at work. But if something not dishes or pest-control needs doing, I’ll do it. Even if I hate it. Because it’s probably better than vomit.

Then I hopped the train, then bus, then home, got the car, got the kids, bought them Wendy’s for dinner (best mom ever!) made them cry because no time to play Plants Vs. Zombies 2 (worst mom ever!) hustled us all off to baseball at 6*, sat on the field for 90 minutes while Arlo alternately did his homework, ran laps around the field, and hassled me about playing Plants Vs. Zombies 2, came home and hustled them into pyjamas, made Eli cry again because I refused to sleep with him (??) and Arlo started referring to himself as a bad kid because he keeps asking me the same thing over and over so I had to explain he’s not a bad kid, he just makes bad decisions sometimes, as do we all, and he said, with a cocked brow, well, I AM bad sometimes…and I realized he wants to be a little bit bad, so that’s fine I guess I can call him bad. Not a problem. My blond boy with blue eyes who resembles a 70s Wayne Gretsky right now. You so bad.

IMG_20150408_185725954

Go to bed, bad kid, I said, and now it’s 8:20 and I have some wine and my feet hurt from standing all day, and my butt hurts from sitting on the fake turf field for 90 minutes and you could be forgiven for thinking I’m never happy. Ah but I am.

I said to Arlo when he told me he was a bad kid, what we are doesn’t define who we are. Sometimes I’m happy, sometimes I’m sad, sometimes I’m mean, sometimes I’m irritating. Sometimes you’re bad, but that doesn’t make you a bad person. The only thing I can say with certainty about you is you’re human.

All of us mostly happy, a little bit mean, totally imperfect. Everything is okay.

* Working full time with kids in daycare and doing an organized sport that demands two evenings a week is as challenging as I thought it would be.

PS: Go Yankees.

IMG_20150404_092120675

Go Team!

Interest in organized sports waxes and wanes at our house. Luckily no one is serious about being a hockey player. Arlo thinks he might grow up to play in the NBA. Eli claims his favourite sport is golf. This may well be true. It’s hard to tell with Eli.

Back in the winter, Arlo asked to play spring soccer. It should be noted that spring soccer is different from regular season soccer, in that our west coast regular season is from September to March. Six weeks to get you used to being on an field, another six where you freeze your ass off in the rain & snow, six more to build fortitude. We WILL make it to March. We WILL get the medal.

Both kids played soccer in kindergarten. Both kids opted not to play again in grade one. But lots of Arlo’s classmates play soccer at lunchtime so he expressed an interest. Spring soccer is less intense, in that there are no games, only a weekly practice/scrimmage. My hope is he’ll refresh his actual soccer skills (different from the schoolyard gravel pit skills I suspect) and decide if he wants to do regular season in September. This past year he played basketball from September to March and boy did I like that. Uh, he did too. But basketball is a very parent-friendly sport. One hour, once a week, played inside. They run a lot and jump and learn skills. And then you get on with your weekend. No thawing your frozen fingers and toes by the fireplace. No practices on weekday evenings to be worked around dinner and two working parents’ schedules. None of that. Basketball. ALL THE WAY WITH BASKETBALL.

Last year Eli said he wanted to play baseball. Baseball season had already started, that’s how he knew he wanted to play; his friends were playing, and he kept seeing people playing baseball and it looked like the best thing ever. The grass is always greener. Because it had already started I didn’t want to sign him up, besides, soccer had just ended. So we put it off to this year. This year he is a Rookie in Little League. There are two games per week and one practice. They’ve scheduled extra practices for this week and we’ve attended two in two days. Well, I didn’t. I stayed home. Thank god, because yesterday it was gale-force-windy and then started raining, and today there was hail and more rain. So we’re back to thawing fingers and toes by the fire. The uniform is adorable, though. Little baseball cap. Little jersey. Eli is number 8.

People take their baseball seriously. There is an opening ceremony. There are organizers. I think I have a volunteer job but I’ll have to have someone remind me what it is. Field prepper, I think? The next few months with two evenings a week eaten up by sportsball, one of those evenings with two children doing different sportsball in two different locations at the same time, well, it’ll make or break me, I’m thinking.

And then everyone gets signed up for more basketball. NBA or bust.

Thanks to Our Sponsors

This week has been brought to you by:

— Moisturizer. Because my cuticles and nails are incredibly dry and jagged and horrible.

— Halls cough drops, without which I would not have slept on Monday and Tuesday nights. Damned throat tickle. ALTHOUGH I could do without the inspiration printed on the cough drop wrappers, in English and French. ALLEZ Y yourself, cough drop.

— The drugs called “montelukast sodium” and “albuterol” which help Eli go from coughing all the time to not coughing all the time, instead of to bronchitis/pneumonia/whoknowswhat. I love these drugs.

— Zadie Smith’s book N-W.

— Outkast’s song “Hey Ya” which I remembered and listened to several times this week.

— Seriously, Zadie Smith forever. Interesting, to me, that I brought this book home from the library last year and stared blankly at it for three weeks and then returned it. As though one’s emotional life, if taxing, can sap the ability to understand and appreciate good literature. Here is a bit I read on the train this morning that made me memorize the page number so I could find it again later:

“Felix spotted a wayward shiver in her eyelid, a struggle between the pretence of lightness and the reality of weight. He knew all about that struggle.”

There are some books you read to escape into, and you barely read the words on the page, just skim for the gist, like shoving chips in your mouth so the salt will take hold of you faster. Books you read to pass the time. Books you read to lull you to sleep. There are some books you read because they are good for you, the kale of the book world, and when finished you say, well, that was HEARTY. And then there are books where the flavours meld perfectly with one another, where the nutritional value is balanced with the combination of sweet/salty/spicy in your mouth, where you slowly open them to read — carefully — each word because each word is worth it. This is one of those books.

— The prospect of the four day weekend (easters Friday and Monday the glorious, sleeping-in brackets to this normal weekend.)

— Various pale ales.

Onward, Easter-ocity!

Saturday

Efficiency is everything on weekends. I know the last post had a link about how to have a proper day off and that’s nice but right now we need to get shit done on weekends. If we get our shit done, we can relax.

Right now, 3:30 pm, is the relaxing time because we already: got groceries, bought sports equipment for the children, did laundry, made more granola for the week, tidied the kitchen, took down the garbage, showered and etc. The kids of course know not much of this other than we make them do stuff to feel part of the efficiency wheel. I don’t want them to feel left out.

This morning they were dragging their feet when we wanted to Get Going and after asking nicely several times, I said look, do you think I would PREFER to be going to a giant used sports equipment sale on a Saturday morning? That is NOT what I would prefer. I am doing it because YOU want to play baseball and soccer and so you need four thousand items and that is why I am MAKING you brush your teeth at 9 am on a Saturday, so we can get the groceries before the crowds arrive, and get the sporting goods, and get HOME in time for your friend to come over, which I ALSO arranged for you, so the LEAST you can do is cooperate.

They brushed their teeth.

I came downstairs with mad eyebrows and SA said, are they being assholes? and I said no, I am, but I feel pretty good about it.

Because by 12 pm we were home and had lunch and all the sporting goods we need (seriously; a jock strap? A helmet? I doubt very much anyone aged 7 … well, maybe. There are wunderkinds of all kinds I know) and could get ready to play the rest of the day away. I even made brownies. I even let them have some of the brownies. I’m not heartless.

My body is also, I think, trying to be efficient, by compressing what used to be five days of bleeding per month into one and one half days of bleeding. Though I am certain my hormones do not read this blog I still wish to say it: Body, this plan is flawed.

Now I must go eat some iron.

To Do: Day Off Edition

1. Sleep in. If you’re me, sleep in two hours because you went to bed two hours later than usual, with a net gain of 0 hours. Still, it feels good to get up AFTER the sun for once. Not that the sun is out. It’s raining. Because SPRING!

IMG_20150320_104751658

If you’re the kids, claim all week that on the day off you will sleep in. Then get up 20 minutes later than usual. Technically, yes, sleeping in. Practically speaking, no.

2. Have a leisurely breakfast eaten in courses: the yogurt course. The hashbrown course. The strawberry smoothie course. The cereal course. The other yogurt course. Actually that’s just Arlo, whose body might possibly be planning to grow a foot in the next two weeks.

3. Take a long shower with no rushing.

4. Wear a comfortable bra. No pinchy or binding bras on a day off.

5. Consider wearing tights all day but decide on weekend jeans. Because it’s the weekend! At work we wear jeans on our non-client-related days but the jeans still need to be, you know, nice-ish jeans. Not faded, comfortable jeans. Those are weekend jeans now.

6. Pin back the sides of my lengthening hair and end up with bangs? Apparently?

2015-03-20-130750

7. Take two hours to leave the house because I keep getting distracted by the Internet, which doesn’t exist at work and which I’m too tired to catch up on after work. Looking at the Internet is like watching TV after being without one for twenty years. *Stare*. There is so much internet.

8. Go out for a brief errand and buy the on-sale chips. I have lots of chips but these are the best and they’re on sale. Feel very laying-in-stock-like-an-adult about this.

IMG_20150320_140345478

9. Treat the children to lunch at a fast food restaurant and watch cricket on the television while they consume, respectively, a Shamrock Shake, and a Cadbury’s Easter Creme Egg McFlurry (BARF).

10. Listen to the sound of cars swooshing over rain-soaked streets. Putter. Colour. Do laundry.

11. Listen to Arlo and his friend, who have not played together in a coon’s age, work together on a Perler Bead design for a solid hour, while they discuss life, the universe, basketball, life’s ambitions, their favourite pop songs, what it was like in Waikiki (where the friend went for some of Spring Break), and other issues relevant to the 8-9 year old set. Delight in their sedate, cooperative friendship.

12. Hear Uptown Funk on the radio three times. Do not mind one bit.

13. Have no plan for dinner and have lots of time to ponder and get creative with what I’ve got around the house.

14. Have some gin.

15. Enjoy that I am having gin instead of smelling the wet feet and jackets of strangers on public transit. Pine fresh gin, it’s what’s for .. nearly-dinner.

2015-03-20-171821

16. Wish the Internet a Happy Friday.

Just Like the Fantasies

When I was considering full time employment and fretting about the children having to leave the house at 7:35 instead of 8:40, coming home at 5 instead of 3 pm, I consoled myself by thinking about how nice it would be to walk the ten minutes home with them, downhill, as it happens, chatting about our days and regrouping before hitting the house for dinner/video games/wrestling etc.

We’ve been blessed with extraordinary dry, sunny weather since January; only a few terrible rainy days, so the walking-down-the-hill part has come true. But the conversations often veer more towards Pokemon, whether I can go to ebay with my credit card and buy them (OK, Eli) rare Pokemon, how tired our legs are, how we wish we had gum or snacks or licorice in my purse (also Eli) –in other words the kind of grousing that happens when children are tired, hungry and out of their routine.

I get it. I sympathize. I often sit on the bus before I get off at their daycare, and think Well, I could just stay on the bus and go home and leave them at daycare until 6. Technically. But I don’t. I pick them up.

The last two days Arlo has asked me very complex questions. Yesterday it was about tax. Today it was about wages. These conversations carry us all the way home. Trying to explain adult life to a child is this heart-rending event, where I want to explain it just right so he’ll have the Right Idea about things, but in terms he can understand, while still imparting my values.

YES I overthink everything always. Yes.

Today, he mentioned vacations. “I only get so many days,” I explained. “People only get so many days for vacation. It’s a trade-off. We work, make money, get vacation days, have money to pay for vacations…”

“Well,” he said. “You could work at Subway!”
“But I wouldn’t make as much money.”
“Why not.”
“Because Subway pays .. not very much money.”
“Why?”
“Because it’s not a very hard job. And you don’t need to know anything special to work there.”
“You have to know how to make change. That’s hard.”
“Yeah…”

Eli interrupted to mention how much he would like to take more vacations. I started following that train of thought but Arlo said, “Anyway, go on. How much money do YOU make? And what are YOUR qualifications?”

Indeed. How did I end up where I am? Luck; some good, some bad.

We ended the conversation when we arrived home. I told him that I started out working for minimum wage in the cheese shop, slicing meats and cheeses.
“Where you cut your finger almost off!*” said Eli.
“I’ll probably do that someday,” Arlo said.
“Oh yeah?” I’m not arguing. The child is … inattentive.
“Well most people do, injure themselves somehow, at some point.”
“True.”
“Like a broken arm, or a gushing wound!” crowed Eli.
“Yes like those,” I said.

And then we shut the door behind us, and started in on dinner, video games, and wrestling.

*meat slicer, meet pointer finger, 1994? she said, tentatively?

Skunks

Every night, a take-home-reading book comes home from school with Eli. He is meant to read aloud to us, in the grand tradition of grade one classes everywhere, possibly? Arlo’s class did it too (although we had to log the books, which I did not enjoy as a concept because paperwork).

Arlo didn’t like reading aloud to us; he muttered and read really fast. It’s a good thing we knew he could read because it certainly was not proven in his grade one year. Eli can also read, and while he *claims* he doesn’t like reading to us, he actually does; after protesting, he is an expressive reader who sometimes uses funny voices and accents. This evening he sang a page of the book to me and then asked if I liked his opera.

Anyway, the books are not that great. They’ve progressed since Dick and Jane but not much. The series we see a lot is about a magic key and a bunch of multicultural British children who have adventures. Now and again there is a mystery or a one-off story about a kid named Pippa who wants a blue balloon but her father only has green balloons.

But tonight’s book was called SKUNKS. It was full of (semi-) interesting facts about skunks; they are black and white, they have three warning stages before they spray you, they are immune to bee stings and often attack bee hives for the honey. Seriously, I learned a great deal. But the best part was the page entitled Skunk Dancing. READ ON AND ENJOY:

IMG_20150304_191229067

Now, do you think that’s true? I know there are a couple nature-knowledgable people who read here from time to time. I have no reason to doubt the take-home-reading-book-about-skunks but I also enjoy imagining the person who wrote the book throwing in a page of total bullshit just because it was his last day on the job, or he wanted to delight a bored family somewhere. Either way. Skunk dancing, you guys.

OK. Duck dancing. Good enough.