July 30, 2014

A return to the beginning

This evening I had the chance to hang out with the Andy sisters.  We were neighbors up until T. and I were in the 6th grade.  Sophie came with me.  It was the oddest thing--spending time with people from the opposite ends of my spectrum.

We hadn't lived in our house on Lawman Ave. very long when they moved in.  It was early evening at the beginning of September, and my mother was allowing me to make my first practice run darting across all the neighbors' backyards to return home from my grandparents' house on the other side of the block ("Don't stop anywhere.  Don't talk to anyone.  Come straight home.").  I sincerely didn't MEAN to stop.  I was running home with my tangled hair flying behind me when I spotted the two girls who weren't there earlier.  I stopped in my tracks.

They were exploring their small fenced in backyard.  Girls to play with.  I was terribly shy and had absolutely no idea how to approach them, so I did the next best thing and stared openly at them from behind the trunk of a tree.  The tree in which we would eventually spend so much time.  They quickly spotted me and called out.  I froze in terror.  I felt silly continuing to hide at that point, but I had no idea what else to do.

Soon after I found my hiding spot, someone came home and brought the girls food from McDonald's.  Oh, surely these were the luckiest girls alive!  My stomach growled watching them eat their dinner.  One of them--I can't remember which--held out some french fries in my direction.  An invitation.  Food!  My shyness couldn't resist and I left the safety of the tree.  I completely forgot that I was supposed to be going home for dinner.

July 29, 2014

Through rose-colored glasses

I rounded the corner from the produce section to the meat department by way of the deli counter. I remember because I made a conscious effort not to buy any pimento cheese spread and 99 times out of 100 I manage not to. Anyway, I spotted the bag full of tiny plastic cups--marked "Party Cups"--on display at the end of a rack next to the booze room. I immediately thought, "Sophie would love these!" since she is partial to all tiny and/or colorful things, particularly things capable of pouring. I often bring her some small item from the grocery store (a sheet of stickers, a ripe avocado, a fruit she's never tried--and here it is more like 1 time out of 3 in the managing not to), and after doing a quick mental calculation of the ratio between the odds of injury and/or mess and the odds of fun and possibly educational in some fashion, I grabbed them.

They thrilled her, of course, and she immediately began stacking and unstacking them and admiring them in the sunlight.

Ivan walked into the living room drying his hands on a little green towel and observed, "Shot glasses."

"What?" I was confused.

"Shot glasses," he said again. "You bought our daughter shot glasses. I mean, Party Cups? Come on!"
I hadn't really thought of them that way, but, truly, I'm not sure I can recall having any OTHER kind of party with cups this size. Though there are no doubt an infinite number of ways to do so.

July 23, 2014

Mugs is a funkfest; someone's talking junk.

One of my "neighbors" down over the hill is blasting "Jump Around." It's like 1992 all over again. Which was a good year, incidentally. But c'mon, WVU students, I still have a couple weeks before I have to deal with this middle of the night business. Pack it up, pack it in.

July 9, 2014

Something in the universe wants me to buy pasta.

Yesterday when Ivan came home from work, he said, "I have to show you what Monica gave me."

"Who is Monica?"  I asked.

"A co-worker," he responded, "and a--what do you call it?--'couponer.'"

He proudly brought over five coupons for Barilla brand pasta and warned, "They're only good for a couple more days.  At Giant Eagle."  Apparently if we were to buy any two boxes of Barilla pasta, we could save $0.55.  Five times.

I didn't really take him that seriously.  I vaguely wondered how this had come about (Did she bring them specifically thinking he would want them?  Did she have them and he expressed interest?), but truthfully was tired from a long day and it didn't seem important.

"So should I go to the store and get them?" he asked hopefully.

"What?  No.  Ten boxes of pasta?  Are you insane?"

He seemed surprised.  I continued, "Besides, I guarantee the store brand we buy for a dollar and like just fine is cheaper at full price than Barilla pasta is with these coupons.  In fact, I would put money on it.  Which seems ironic."

"Oh, okay," he said with a hint of disappointment.  "I just thought it would save us some money."

Looking back, I think I was not very charitable in that conversation.  His financial habits have often been a point of contention in our relationship.  I'm the one always suggesting ways to save money.  I'm the one giving lectures about cutting back, doing without.  And while it seemed strange to want to buy ten boxes of pasta when we only eat it on occasion and out-of-the blue to bring home coupons, this was a genuine attempt on his part to please me in that way.  I should have been kinder.

Sophia, however, was excited to come across the little stack of colorful papers that were now on the end table.  She carried them around the rest of the evening, and added them to her collection of colorful paint swatches that she like likes to pull in and out of the little drawer of her table and the microwave of her play kitchen.  At bedtime, she grabbed her favorite two blankets and two stuffed rabbits, and then rushed over to scoop up the coupons.  She often takes random things to bed with her.  Since she's so good about her bedtime and can chatter to herself and play happily for as much as an hour if she's not yet tired, I didn't think anything of it.

This morning she brought all the coupons back down to the living room with her, and when it was time to go she grabbed those, too.  "Honey, why don't you put the coupons on the table and then you can play with them again when we get home?"  I suggested.  She smiled at me and carried them over and tucked them into the little side pocket of the bag I was carrying.  I laughed.

So.  Here I am.  With the capacity to purchase 10 boxes of discounted pasta, sitting at my desk.

July 1, 2014

A tiny, stoic sentry

At the end of every day, when I crawl into bed next to my husband, there is a part of me that stays alert, a little part I save just for my daughters in case they need it -- a tiny, stoic sentry who never sleeps and guards her post alone.

- Kate Rope, The Bittersweet Loneliness of Motherhood