Last week I was working in the yard when S came over and decided he wanted to work with me. He took off into the house and then came back telling me, "Daddy didn't know what I was saying."
Me: "Daddy didn't understand you?"
S: "No! Daddy didn't know what I was saying!"
Me: "Why don't you tell me what you were saying and I'll tell it to Daddy?"
S: "Daddy didn't know what I was saying."
Me: "I know. What were you saying?"
S: "Daddy didn't know what I was saying!"
At this point Ken comes outside.
Ken: "I don't know what he's saying."
Me: "I know."
Ken: Well what's he saying?
Me: "I don't know because he won't tell me what he was saying. Is it just me or is it like Abbot and Costello around here?"
Ken: "He's saying it right now."
Me: "Shovel. He wants a shovel."
Leo plays this game where she'll pick up a Lego or Playmobil piece in her mouth, carry it to the top of the stairs, drop it, and then chase it down the stairs and repeat.
Brilliant! I think she's the smartest cat ever!
Now if only my kids could figure out ways to entertain themselves.
This is a heads up to my friends at the North Falmouth Library. I just ordered up a bunch of books about angels - they are for a Christmas supplement story - I'm not suddenly really into angels. Not that there's anything wrong with that! I always wonder how much the mailman, the trash collector, and the local librarian know about us. An awful lot I would guess.
scene: Middle row of the mini van. Two four year olds discuss their career options: S: "I wonder what I'll be when I grow up? I know! Maybe I'll be an ice cream man!" N: "Yeah! And me too!" S: "Yeah! And me!"
There's a new mouse in the house. I know because I put it there.
It's a pet mouse - the kind of mouse you don't allow the cat to harass.
"Not the mice in the cage, Leo; it's the other mice we want you to catch."
Talk about a confusing double standard.
This mouse takes the place of Gomff, who passed away last month after developing a tumor.
What? You may ask do you do when your son's mouse develops a tumor?
You take it to the vet (of course), because you said you would and you're a good mom who keeps her word whenever possible. Then you weigh the options of mouse surgery, exonerate yourself by asking the vet if you are a bad parent for not investing $300 in mouse surgery, which, the vet even admits may not be effective on a mouse tumor of relatively considerable size. "You're not." He assures.
So you bring your sick mouse home and explain to your son that sometimes there's nothing you can do. And you are sad. And he is sad. And you go out and buy special bedding at the pet store so your sick mouse can burrow into it along with her companion mouse, Martin, and be comfortable.
Now we have a new mouse and instead of asking to special order a "fancy mice" at the pet story (fancy being, from what I can see, another name for "not white"), I simply go in and ask for one of the white mice - otherwise known as "feeder mice," because their usual fate is being fed to snakes and other rodent-eating pets.
When the clerks asks if the mouse will be a pet and I reply yes, he confirms what I already know - most of the mice in the cage are not likely to become pets for 10-year-old boys.
I resist the urge by buy all four mice while the clerk, who seems genuinely happy about his charge's fate, reaches into the cage and says, "who's feeling lucky?"
We named the mouse Al. Short for albino.
I feel pretty good about Al because I figure regardless of how long her little mouse life lasts - it's bound to last longer with us than it would have without us.
Surely you noticed the other day that I posed about my son and his earring and I did not name the post for the song Twilight Zone by Golden Earring.
This was no oversight.
For many months now I've been meaning to write a post to go with that particular song.
You see my twins have these outbursts several times a day wherein they bust out screaming for some minor infraction: he said this broom is black, but it's not it's blue! a drop of milk from my bowl of cereal has spilled on my placemat! You answered my question instead of repeating it back to me verbatim! You answered my question wrong! You didn't answer my question at all! You are paying attention to my brother instead of me! He has more macaroni in his bowl than I do! I have too much macaroni in my bowl! I am not hungry for macaroni!
It's especially frustrating when they melt down over situations they could easily solve themselves such as "my fork fell on the floor!" "you closed the bedroom door!" or "there's no lights on in the bathroom!"
So there's this walking on eggshells dance that I do as the main caregiver to twins who act completely high strung around their mother - I hear they are delightful around other people and they certainly don't pull this sh*t in their dad.
And although I know many things to avoid in order to stop a blood curdling outburst before it happens, I am still subjected to multiple freak outs per day wherein my normally delightful children turn into screaming mimis in a nanosecond.
These scenarios remind me of the Twilight Zone episode "It's a Good Life" in which there's a small town being held prisoner by a monster who is able to unleash untold misery on the townspeople for seemingly innocuous infractions such as firing up a record player, dancing, or thinking bad thoughts.
After Rod Serling is done with his prologue he introduces us to the monster who turns out to be a five-year-old boy. A five year old Billy Mumy to be specific - remember him? From Lost in Space? Of course you do.
Anyway. Back to my story.
Make no mistake - the boy is not a proverbial monster as in:
"Hi Honey, how were the kids today?"
"They were monsters, where's my glass of wine?"
No no, he's a real monster who turns towns folks who piss him off into scarecrows or jack in the boxes with the least little provocation. Needless to say the townsfolk proceed more than a little cautiously around this young feller.
They should have considered themselves lucky he wasn't a twin.
So it used to be that if you saw four people sitting on a park bench and three of them were reading books, magazine, newspapers, what have you, and the fourth was staring aimlessly off into space - we'd assume that the fourth person was a slacker and a loser with little upstairs to sustain him or her intellectually.
Now if we see four people sitting on a park bench and three of them are staring at their iPhone, smart phones, iPads, what have you, and the fourth is staring off into space - we assume that the fourth guy is intellectually superior to the three others because of his ability to be entertained without the aid of an electronic device and therefore the only one capable of sustaining deep thoughts.
I asked my husband to buy more plums at the farmers market but they were sold out. Instead he brought home organic nectarines from the grocery store.
"The cashier rang these up as nectarines but they're plums right?"
Yesterday the farmers market was in town again so I went and bought plums myself.
H. looked at them and said: "Those are the biggest grapes I've ever seen."
"That's because they're plums."
You'd think my family had never seen fruit before.
song: Grapefruit-Juicy Fruit • artist: Jimmy Buffett
It's ironic that the Sirius 80s station reminds me of high school (class of '86), when the 70s on 7 reminds me of college since that's where I discovered the classic hits station WZLX. And the cheesier the 70s hit - the better thanks to the Lost 45.
Turntables, I hear, are making a bit of a comeback. The proof being quite a few listings on Walmart's website. Good news because my Barry Manilow records have been gathering dust in the attic for way too long.
It's funny that cassettes we can throw out (at least I have) but vinyl we hang onto as if deep down we know it's got more intrinsic value.
The phrase panem et cirenses came up twice in 24 hours in two very different books that I am reading. This being no coincidence it must be noted and commented on.
In Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture Ellen Ruppel Shell defines the phrase, which translates from the latin to bread and circuses, as "the art of plying citizens with pleasures to distract them from pain." In this case it seems to be all about making us think we have choices. Like when we have 75 choices in breakfast cereal but none when it comes to health care. Mockingjay, the third installment in the Hunger Games trilogy says that panem et cirenses is a phrase coined to describe Rome - a city where "in return for full bellies and entertainment, his people had given up their political responsibilities and therefore their power." Translated to the present I think Susanne Collins is saying it's like when we pay more attention to what the Kardashians are doing that what's going on with our own 401Ks.
Woah. And I thought Bread and Circus was just a defunct natural health food chain that got swallowed up by Whole Foods.
song: Send in the Clowns • musical: A Little Night Music
Deb at Kicking Corners is encouraging her readers to keep scraps of paper and pencils around the house and office and in the car on which to jot down ideas when they spring to mind.
I like this idea as I'm definitely peripatetic. As soon as I sit down to write all my ideas flee.
So I carried a notebook around all day and kept it nearby while I worked my way through my to do list (wash kitchen wall, make guest bed, plant lettuce); but the stress of knowing that I was prepared should a thought arise effectively kept the ideas from flowing.
I was reminded of this little ditty though - an autograph book poem from middle school. Remember autograph books? Can't think. Brain dumb. Inspiration won't come. Poor ink. Bum pen. Best wishes. Amen.
Isn't it time we retired the milquetoast moniker "Isn't Falmouth Nice?" Nice? Is that the best our town leaders in the 1970s could come up with? Nice? Did no one have a thesaurus? There's about 50 synonyms for nice on thesaurus.com, couldn't we update nice to something a little more colorful? I mean second-grade teachers require their eight-year-old students to use more descriptive adjectives. The only thing worse than "Isn't Falmouth Nice?" would be adding a lame qualifier to it like "Isn't Falmouth Really Nice?" What about some alliteration? Isn't Falmouth Fabulous? Isn't Falmouth Fantastic? What's so great about being nice anyway? Nice guys finish last. Nice girls don't get asked out on second dates. And as a motto it's such an easy target whenever two differing town factions are in disagreement say over wind turbines or the pledge of allegiance or the location of farmers market. Editorials and letters to the editor spring up like weeds with folks wringing their hands, and bemoaning us all to harken back to the good old days when Falmouth was so much nicer than it is now. Isn't Falmouth Nice? isn't even a statement. It's a question. Maybe a rhetorical one but who knows? As far as we know, we don't even know IF falmouth IS nice. We're just waiting for someone to confirm our suspicions. We're that painfully shy girl at the junior high school dance who needs the acceptance of her peers in order to feel good about herself. Like the town's in need of a good dose of self-esteem. As a town on the whole it looks as if we're insecure AND unimaginative.
song: Wouldn't It be Nice? • artist: the Beach Boys
C: "If Charlie Brown never wins a baseball game, how come his team always makes the playoffs and then loses?" Me: "Maybe someone else is the pitcher for the winning games." C: "Yeah, but Charlie Brown's the manager." Me: "It's a comic strip. You may be over thinking it."
Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice. I say it will end with a kleenex in the eye. At least it almost happened to me. Yes folks it's not texting while driving that you have to watch out for, or even yanking on your cell phone; blowing your nose behind is what's really dangerous. I've been doing all sorts of things while blowing my nose lately: blowing my nose while working on the computer, blowing my nose while hanging laundry, blowing my nose while disconnecting from computerized phone calls from political pundits, blowing my nose while sitting zazen (which surely never happened to Buddha); so I'm surprised it took so long for this incident to arise. By freak chance I was in the car alone when it happened which was a good thing because a) I couldn't take my whole family with me, and b) I couldn't be mocked by them after the fact either. What happened was I went to blow my nose and when I lifted the tissue to blow, a corner of it poked me in the eye causing my eye to close so forcefully that a piece of the tissue got caught in my eye and tore off. My eye started running, my arms started flailing, I couldn't see anything and I was on the highway doing 60mph. Luckily there are days when being a townie comes in handy because even half-blind and crying I could find my exit and pull over towards it all the while seeing the phantom headline in my mind - "Mother of Four Killed by Kleenex on way to Library. Family Left to Pay Overdue Fines."
H says that we're on an awesome vacation and that we're having twice as much fun as the twins are in Maine. "We have fishing and standing on the roof of the shed. All they have is going to the beach."
I guess it's better to leave a vacation still wanting more than to leave sick of a place.
We ate lunch at the tea room on the grounds of the lighthouse at Cape Forchu and topped it off with wedges of cheesecake in a tea cup with chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and a cherry - the tiny tinker. My eldest son noted, probably correctly, that with the exception of a slice of 13-layer cake - which was actually a mistake - he's never seen me order dessert out to eat before. I said it was a special occasion because we were on vacation but I think it was really the appeal of alliteration.
song: Saturday Night Special • artist: Lynyrd Skynyrd