Rustica
Mortality Banana

Skeletulle in the Closet

Patrick says, "What is that word I am looking for? Translucent? Imaginative? Carbon? No! I know!"

I wait.

"Well?" I finally ask.

"Well, what?"

"Well, what was the word you were looking for?"

"I'd rather not tell you. Do I have to? Do you insist that I tell you?"

And I say, no, I guess not, because who am I? The divulge a word or else enforcement committee? No.

But since it seems unfair that I - and I alone - will go to my grave never knowing what word could possibly exist at the intersection of translucent, imaginative and carbon I thought I would tell you that little story.

You're welcome.

I remembered to slather Patrick with sunscreen this morning, just not at a moment when he, I and the sunscreen were all within a hundred feet of each other. This is why he left for the school's all-day outdoor picnic completely free of SPF and glowing like a white beacon of epithelial Danger. I am not as crazy about sun safety as I am about choking hazards, but I am still plenty crazy enough for most purposes. So, of course, I drove to school and, of course, I was late and, of course, I did not know where the picnic was being held. Fortunately it is impossible to march anybody anywhere quickly (as Josephine said to Napoleon when she suggested he put off conquering Russia until the Spring) so it only took three or maybe four u-turns blithely executed on county highways before I spotted a mass of children disappearing over a distant hill. It should have reminded me of the Pied Piper; it actually reminded me of the battle hosts marching from Mordor.   

One of the things I love about Patrick is that he is never surprised to see me, even when I pop out at him from behind a bush as he and a couple hundred of his closest friends parade through a random suburban development en route to The Good Picnic Playground.

"Oh hello there, Mommy," he said as I materialized like a genie and his fourth grade buddy emitted a short sharp scream.

I coated him with sunscreen as he trotted along and then disappeared into the shrubbery again before someone could spot me and deputize me as a parent volunteer.

Caroline believes that you can bring a girl to the hippo seats but you cannot make her sit.

I call this The Dying Swan.

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And I thought I worried about choking back when the children remained in an upright and locked position.

So am I to understand from your comments on my last post that I have never mentioned my first husband? Or, if I have done so, it was with such a lack of emphasis that it failed to register? You stun me. I would have thought at some point I would have put together one of those bloggy lists that are so popular.

Like:

Dummy Dope Things I Did When I was 23 -

1. Start law school
2. Get rid of that nice loveseat
3. Marry Andy

followed by

Marginally Smarter Things I Did When I was 24 -

1. Drop out of law school
2. Divorce Andy
3. Combine ham, cheddar and garlicky dill pickle slices on rye bread with dijon mustard

But I guess you'd know if you didn't know - and you claim you did not.

So when I say that I am afraid that one of my children will choke to death I mean that although I technically know the Heimlich manouever I am aware that I also technically know how to parallel park. Experience, however, has taught me that -  under pressure - my ability to back up at a forty-five degree angle before turning the wheel is nonexistent and I worry that my windpipe clearing skills are ditto. When I say that I am afraid of snakes I mean that I am afraid that one day a poisonous snake will leap out (possibly from a can of nuts but it could be from anywhere, really) and bite me and I will die, like Egypt's queen, unmourned by Rome. And when I say that I am afraid that one day I will be in that tiny private waiting room outside mammography wearing nothing but a hospital robe and that sitting two feet away from me reading Family Circle will be my ex-mother-in-law I mean exactly that.

I just typed a sentence, deleted it, typed another one and deleted that too. Apparently I am not particularly interested in telling you the story of my first marriage. It is all very sordid and embarrassing and there is not a single instant of it in which I appear to be remotely likable.

Tell you what. You tell me about the dumbest thing you ever did and then I'll come back and tell you the painful details (did I mention there were three roommates? and I dated them sequentially? and in the middle of the roommates I abruptly departed for Honduras to catch dengue fever while Julian corped for peace before abruptly leaving Honduras to pick up with the roommates again?) Yeah. It's a sweet romantic tale.

Speaking of actually sweet.

She runs!

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She falls.

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She's okay, folks!

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PS Steve, who is crazy in his own right, refuses to allow me to create a sandbox in the yard because he is worried about random cats mistaking the sand for litter. I pointed out that we could make a cover and he pointed out that we would never remember to put it on. Fair enough. I then pointed out that the random cat who finds its way to our house will be so terrified by the coyotes that the last thing on its mind will be powdering its nose. Steve said no, no sandbox, but look at that great dirt pile I left for the kids! It's even better than a sandbox.

Caroline promptly slid down it on her face.

If one of you wants to mention that the dumbest thing you ever did was allow your spouse to convince you that the dregs of a topsoil delivery qualified as a sandbox substitute, feel free.

PPS I probably should mention that I dread meeting my e-m-i-l because the last I checked fifteen years ago she hated me and she was right to do so. I would be mortified. She was perfectly nice.

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