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• log-or-rhea: n. excessive talkativeness
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May. 21st, 2007 @ 05:23 pm Can I Be the Grandma Yet?
Ask me how last Friday went. Go ahead ... ask!

Well, OK. Since you've asked.

It started fine. I worked all morning and added a respectable number of words to East of Jesus. Then I rejoined my children, and everything fell apart.

I spent the afternoon in Girly Girl's classroom as a parent helper. While the children were out to recess, Mrs. Third Grade Teacher said, "We're having a little problem getting Girly-Girl to do anything, all of us, and we were wondering if you're seeing it at home? She just refuses."

Am I seeing that at home? Hardly! At home she couldn't be better behaved if she really was a Disney princess, and all the dirty, smelly and grumpy parts got edited out. Oh, yeah, and if you believe that, I'm selling shuttle trips to Mars. Bring a snack for the flight: Girly Girl assures me they have McDonalds and AppleBees and Burger King there, so we don't offer meal service.

When school ended, I had a heart-to-heart talk with my recalcitrant daughter. Cue: Tirade #1 (You must obey your authorities!)

Afterward, we walked over to Mad Scientist's school and collected him from kindergarten. As I was walking up the stairs and out, I stopped to chat with a friend of mine, and Girly Girl went on ahead. We finished our hellos, and Mad Scientist and I hurried upstairs.

Girly Girl was nowhere in sight. I checked the front door, and looked up and down the street. No Girly Girl. I went back in and checked both hallways. No Girly Girl. At this point, I told the secretaries she was missing. My friend overheard the conversation, and she began to search one hall while I searched the other. No Girly Girl.

At times like these, I always consciously think about the fact that we'll find her soon. And about the fact that those horrible stories one hears on the news? The stranger abductions, and the baby falling down the well, and the children who wander away and drown or freeze to death or get struck by a car ... they all started exactly like this. A child wasn't in sight, and a parent began looking for her, sure they'd find her at any minute. At what point, I always wonder, does one realize you've crossed the line from Normal Scary Experience into News Story?

She wasn't in the hallway I was searching, but there was one door to the outside, one that we occasionally go out, depending where I've had to park. I opened it, and there she was, at the foot of the steps. "Hi, Mom! I was waiting for you!"

Clinging to Mad Scientist's hand like Velcro, I calmly told her how worried I'd been. Cue: Tirade #2 (Do not leave without telling me!)

I poked my head back in to tell my friend I'd found her, and we walked out together, and across the street. We chatted on the street corner for a few moments, and the next thing I knew, Mad Scientist was no longer with me. He was across the street. I shouted at him for crossing the street without me. Cue: Tirade #3 (Do not cross the street without me! At least, not until you have your driver's license!) I turned back to my friend and said goodbye, then started across the street to get Mad Scientist. But he was standing right next to me. He'd crossed the street to get back to me. Cue: Tirade #4, once more, with feeling (Hello! What did I just say?)

When I ran out of breath, I loaded the kids into the car and drove to the dance studio. As we walked in, I noticed someone sitting on a park-type bench, shouting at herself, but we hurried by. We dropped Girly Girl at the studio, and Mad Scientist and I headed across the street to pick up a couple of pieces I'd left to be framed (a hand-drawn bit of caligraphy and a signed Phantom of the Opera poster Tenor Sensation brought back from NYC for me*).

The owner of the shop insisted on carrying the items back to the car for me (which made him look really handsome, and I almost asked if he'd been working out). I opened the back of the van to find the compartment full of Diet Coke and fizzy water. I'd forgotten to carry in the groceries. Mr. Art Store Owner was afraid the groceries would break the glass, so he asked if I could flatten the back seat.

It's a new van. I don't know what all it can do! But I know the back seat does a lot of nifty things, so I pulled on one of the straps, just for fun. It flopped the seat over backwards, into "Tailgate Mode." I sometimes read the Owner's Manual at the bus stop, so I remembered "Tailgate Mode," where you can sit comfortably facing the rear. I also remembered several warnings in all-caps, "DO NOT ALLOW PASSENGERS TO TRAVEL IN TAILGATE MODE!" Or something like that. But I figured it was a seatbelt issue.

Mr. Art Shop Owner made the appropriate appreciative noises about the cool, seat configurations, and put the frames on the back seat, pointing out how neatly they wedged under the headrest (now conveniently located under your knees).

Art safely in van: check. Small child: um, no check.

Q: Where is small child?
A: Nowhere in sight

He'd been playing on the sidewalk in front of the van--exactly where he should have been--but he wasn't there any longer. I looked up and down the sidewalk. No Mad Scientist.

At this point, I was still standing in the street at the back of the van, with the big, overhead door open. I reached up to close it, so I could go in mad search for Mad Scientist.

The door wouldn't close. I tried again. No luck. Apparently, it isn't just the seat belt that doesn't work in Tailgate Mode. The back door will not close.

So now what? My choices were: 1) Leave two pieces of original art (or close enough), on which I've just spent the GNP of a Third-World Country, lying exposed and attractive on the seat with a sign that says, "Steal Me!" 2) Leave one highly original kindergartener, on which I've spent five of the best years of my life, wandering exposed and attractive through the city with a sign that says, "Molest Me!" or 3) Take a few minutes to move the artwork and flip the seats out of the way, action to be accompanied by earnest prayer in which I storm the gates of heaven with a righteous insistence that my kindergartener be kept safe from Chester the Molester.**

While I stood, doing eeny-meeny-miny-moe in my head, our resident Self-Talker suddenly shouted to me, rather than herself. "Hey! Are you looking for a little boy? He went thataway."

"Thataway" happened to be down the street ... and across it as well! I looked over, but he was nowhere in sight.

Before I could move, Mr. Art Store Owner leaped onto his noble white steed, his armor glinting (funny--I hadn't noticed the chain mail when I was paying for the frames). He waved his magic sword three times in the air and said, "By thy leave, fair maiden" (I giggled when he said "maiden," but it might have been nervous fear), "I shall go hither in quest of yon squire, and I give thee my word I shall not return without the young lad (or the head of the Black Knight, one or the other)."

I shed a few glittering tears that sparkled on my cheek, and bestowed my token upon him (I wasn't carrying a silk kerchief, so I had to give him the paper tab the car dealer put on my key ring last time I changed the oil; you know, the one that says "#576, Stonoff, Blue Caravan, How'd we do?").

Then he said something like, "Nonny, nonny, bling, bling" and rode away.

Still, despite having my very own Crusader (which, no doubt, will come in handy as a second if I'm ever challenged to a duel), I still felt the need to chase yon squire myself. Mostly because *I* wanted the privilege of flaying his skin and tanning it to make a really nice leather wallet.

Instead, like any wilting medieval lily, I just watched as Sir Art Store Owner rode his noble steed across the crosswalk (after waiting for the "Walk" sign, of course) and up the stairs into the dance studio (which is where I suspected Mad Scientist had gone). Then I hurried to move the frames, and closed the door.

Before I could cross the street myself, though, my Noble Knight emerged from the Wilderness of Tutus, with his charge tied across the saddle in front of him.

Cue Tirades #4 (Do not cross the street without me!), #5 (Do not leave without telling me where you are going!), and #6 (You must obey your authorities!)

Somewhere in there, my Knight galloped away into the sunset--without even returning my token! Heck, maybe he was afraid of what I might give as a token of my gratitude, given the token he'd gotten of my favour.***

Anyway, I wiped off Mad Scientist's blood, wrapped him in duct tape (Duct Tape: is there nothing it can't do?), and returned to the dance studio. Plopping down on the bench, I took four Valium, drank a quart of vodka, smoked a couple of joints, got a full-body massage, and tried to relax.

Then Girly Girl's dance teacher stepped out, leaving her class unattended. I cannot tell you how rare that is! (Hint: never happens. N.E.V.E.R.)

"Um," she began, not an auspicious start. "I thought you should know, Girly Girl is on the wall" (that means "in time out"). "She just won't do anything I tell her to do."

Cue: Tired # ..., no, TIRADE # ... What number was I on? Oh, hell, never mind. I don't have the energy.

I listened politely, and then said, "I see. Wow. Yeah, that's a real problem. I'll tell her mother when I drop her off." Then I took Girly Girl out for ice cream and bought her some new fingernail polish and a drum set.

No children were damaged in the making of this blog entry, though I cannot say the same for all parts of children, since Mad Scientist lost some hair from his forearms to the duct tape.

*I'd expected a miniature Statue of Liberty made of resin, so I was thrilled! But he can still buy me great presents, even if I'm the grandma.
**Did I ever tell you we considered naming Mad Scientist Chester? Mars thought it was a great idea, but I worried that he'd be called "Chester Pester" or, even worse, Chester Fester!" But the final kabosh came when my friend Jules said she learned all about Chester the Molester in Stranger Danger classes.
***Of course it's the British Spelling! When's the last time you heard a fairy tale set in America? Hmmm?
About this Entry
Don't Panic
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Date:May 22nd, 2007 04:07 am (UTC)
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So just how grey are you these days? I swear my hair colour is directly connected to my 'worry about children' meter... *sighs*
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Date:May 22nd, 2007 04:14 am (UTC)
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Well, I'm still calling it "Salt and Pepper," but that might be wishful thinking on my part.

Maybe I should call it "Rock Salt and Sea Salt."
[User Picture Icon]
Date:May 22nd, 2007 02:07 pm (UTC)
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Grey salt and kosher?
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Date:May 22nd, 2007 04:02 pm (UTC)
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ROFL! Perfect. Grey salt and kosher.

Except I'm not.
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Date:May 22nd, 2007 04:05 pm (UTC)
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well... grey salt is french, at least.

and, by the way, what the hell? we haven't talked in *forever*.
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Date:May 22nd, 2007 05:12 pm (UTC)
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Well, I can fake french as well as I can kosher. "Grey salt and kosher," it is.

Yeah. Sucks. Nothing's wrong though. I totally adore you, and I miss you. I've logged onto Chat several times looking for you, but you haven't been on when I was (my chat time tends to come after kiddies' bedtime these days, which is wee hours, your time). And I'm avoiding hanging around on Chat because I get so easily distracted.

During the day, I'm pretty focused, trying to finish EofJ (damnit!). But there's hope: I'm literally 90 percent of the way through my outline (and that means more than 90 percent of the way through the story because the end of the outline contains bits of dialogue, etc., that I grabbed as they flitted through my brain). I'm going away this weekend to hide in a hotel and finish the damn thing, once and for all. Then I have until the last week in July to get it in showable shape before the Seattle writers conference.

Sometimes I can chat in the afternoons a little though; I'll look for you (not today or Thursday, but maybe tomorrow).
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Date:May 22nd, 2007 05:26 pm (UTC)
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ooh, nearly finished new book. I'm DYING to see it when it's done. Much luck *smooch* And understood. I've been a little busy with several projects lately myself. Ask me later.

And, also, nifty! If you sign on in the middle of the day and i'm not there, just send me an email. I'm always looking for my email to distract me.
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Date:May 22nd, 2007 10:17 pm (UTC)
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How can you possibly have spent the afternoon with MY children and thought they were yours?! Oh wait, I'm not brave enough to put any of my girls in dance class. (And I knew Mad Scientist would be coming BACK across the street as my son has done that very same thing.)
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Date:May 23rd, 2007 02:13 am (UTC)
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haha, you're a great story teller. Thanks for giving me a good laugh, and I'm sorry it's at your expense. ;)
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