Saturday, August 25, 2007

Conversations with G

While playing a game at the park:

G: ... So I'm going to do this, and then you're going to do that, capish?
Me: Capish? Who are you, the littlest mafioso?

While thinking up names for dogs:

Me: Spot.
G: Fido.
Me: Rover.
G: Bingo.
Me: Fluffy.
G: Hernandez.
Me: Okay, you win.

While G is showing me how she's styled the hair of her extra-large My Little Pony:

Me: That is one big pony.
G: Yeah, she could cause mayhem in Ponyville.

Friday, August 24, 2007

You learn something every day

This week, I discovered that I am not a disgusting lazy slob. I always thought I was one because I never did as much housework as P, and because I've spent the last year failing spectacularly at keeping things neat. Well, it turns out that I'm not a slob at all, I just can't stay ahead of the kid messes. I cleaned up the first night G was away at my mother's house, and everything stayed clean with only minimal maintenance. It was amazing! I'm actually a very tidy person! Who knew?

That said, I missed G and her whirlwind of mess a lot, and I was very happy to see her when my mother and stepfather brought her back. I didn't end up doing much while she was gone, but I did go to see Stardust on Tuesday night. I loved the book and was afraid I was going to hate the film, but it grew on me as it went along, and ultimately I enjoyed it a lot. The actor who played Tristran was suitably adorable, and Michelle Pfeiffer was stunning. (My mother, who had been to see it with my sister last week, said "There's something wrong in casting when a 50-year-old woman is hotter than the young female love interest.")

I went by myself, which was fine -- I was worried about crazy people like the guy G and I saw at Nancy Drew* sitting next to me, but everyone observed proper half-filled theater etiquette and left a two-seat buffer zone. It did make me miss P, though. We always went to the movies together, and since he died, I've always gone with G. It was a bit sad to think that after she leaves for college, I'll be going alone like that all the time, and coming back to an empty apartment afterward. Oh well, that's ten years from now -- no point in worrying about it until it gets here.

*Crusty old man sitting alone, eating a massive bucket o' corn, talking to himself and belching loudly at intervals. I tried to tell myself that he was a vintage Nancy Drew fan from back in the day, but I suspect he was a pervert there to ogle Emma Roberts.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Cutting loose at Casa de V

G is spending a few days at her Grammy's house to help fill the child-care gap between the end of day camp and the start of school. When I dropped her off last night, my mother recommended that I use this kid-free time to "act like a grownup." I asked her what she meant and she said "I don't know -- go out to dinner, or meet a friend for drinks, or do something, because who knows when you'll have the opportunity again."

It wasn't a bad idea, but unfortunately, almost everyone I know would have to hire a sitter and plan a week ahead before engaging in reckless grownup fun. So here's what I did after work instead:

1. Went to Nordstrom Rack to spend a $50 gift cheque, but found nothing I wanted.
2. Took my car to the do-it-yourself car wash for a good cleaning.
3. Got ogled by every guy who was there washing his car. Criminy, you'd think they'd never seen a woman operate a high-powered vacuum hose before.
4. Bought a burrito.
5. Drove down our old street and pretended I was going home to be with P.
6. Went to my actual home, ate, and got into bed with the cats and the laptop.

Soon I will resume watching the Doctor Who DVD I fell asleep in front of last night. Woo hoo! Wild and crazy!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

On a much less serious note

I had yet ANOTHER dream the other night in which Roseanne Barr was my mother. WTF is that about? My actual mother is not even slightly like Roseanne Barr, so why does my subconscious insist on assigning her that identity?

I'd consult a therapist, but I'm afraid I'd see Roseanne in all the Rorschach inkblots!

With outstretched hand

At the gas station this evening, I was approached by a young man who asked me, very politely, if I had a dollar to help him get some gas. His plaid shirt and khaki shorts were clean, but his car, parked at another pump, looked nearly as old as he was.

"Hold on and I'll check," I said.

I screwed the gas cap back on, replaced the nozzle, and went to look in my wallet. It was empty -- I'm a debit-card junkie and rarely carry much cash -- so I scrounged up a few quarters from the ashtray and handed them to him with an apology for not being able to give him more.

"That's okay," he said with a smile. "Thanks so much, you're a doll."

"Mom, what were you doing?" G asked as I got back into the car.

"Giving that man my quarters so he could buy gas," I said.

"But I need those quarters in case I see a gumball machine!" said G.

"Well, he probably needs them more," I said, and started the car. "What's more important? Buying gum or helping someone?"

"Helping someone," said G in tones of deep resignation.

I know half of you are most likely thinking You got played, and maybe I did. But my policy on panhandlers is this: If someone asks me for a dollar, and I have it, I give it to them. I've never gone out panhandling myself, but I've been poor enough for it to seem like a real option. I've lived in places where it wasn't unusual for embarrassed-looking neighbors to knock on the door and ask if I could spare a can of corn or beans, anything so they could give their kids some dinner. I know that it is possible to be a totally honest person, with or without a job, and still be so broke that a dollar can make a huge difference in your life. And even if nine out of ten people who ask me for that dollar are scam artists, I'd rather give it to all of them than risk missing the one who really needs it. If that makes me a soft touch or an easy mark, so be it. (By the way, had I ever doubted this approach, the incident of the amazing reappearing $10 bill would have changed my mind.)

For G, who has never known an instant's deprivation and is still young enough to be almost totally self-centered, it's difficult to understand why Mom would give perfectly good gum-machine quarters away to some guy at a gas station. I hope she reaches that point someday ... although preferably without the hard life experience that got me here. I wouldn't wish that on anyone, least of all the person I love most in the world.