Constant Reader, if you haven’t caught on by now to my offbeat but — so far — highly effective method of parenting (two daughters, nine and 11, smart, healthy, independent thinkers, funny, and … okay, in therapy, but let’s just say I’m giving them a running start), then here’s a little vignette to give you some insight.
First: yes, I drive a mini-van.
(I caved because my Fender Stratocaster, (search “Classic Series, metallic teal green for mine), the Ovation (acoustic w/pickup), the Fender passport sound system, the mikes, the props, etc. were getting too big for the old, beat up but extremely cool black-with-black-tinted-windows Chevy Blazer SUV the girls and I used to tool around in. So Peter talked us into a — I know, GOLD, would you EVER have THOUGHT? — Chrysler Town & Country, of all things, but d’y’know, it’s GREAT? EGAD.)
We’re driving home from this:
It’s Spring Break. We’re broke. So we get up early to visit Peter, then on to a client meeting, which is awesome cool, because it’s at a Rita’s Ices and Shakes. This means chocolate Mistos! Then we’re free for the rest of the afternoon, which sounds like fun, until we realize that we are
(a) out of money, and (b) out of gas.
But look: no, really, look: it’s okay, because
(c) it turns out the cash card has magically sprung a money leak after all.
So we can afford eggs and butter at the 7-11. And gasoline for the van, which is a greedy little bugger.
So we arrive at aforementioned 7-11, and splurge on Snickers, because they are seventy-five cents, (an awesome Spring Break deal). Besides, Peter just taught us an extremely cool version of Crazy Eights, which we are anxious to resume.
Plus, we are all curious about what, exactly, will be for dinner. Mom is not famous for her reliability about dinner on an every-night basis.
The girls start chanting: “Five – foot – long. Five- foot – long…” Which, it seems, is the TV jingle for SubWay.
Which, it seems, is a suggestion for dinner – and which, it seems, costs only five dollars. But, it seems, I have eggs and butter nestled cozily in my passenger seat, already paid for, making five dollars seem exorbitant, having, unbeknownst to them, settled nearly seventy dollars into my gas tank.
(You, Constant Reader, at this point might be wondering, perhaps, if there was a sale on commas while we were out? No. Apparently I have developed an unfortunate fondness for them today. Hmm.)
Meanwhile, back at the ranch – or actually, the van – the question of dinner remains unanswered. What is a mother (who herself isn’t hungry; Snickers really DOES satisfy) to do?
Head for the Dollar Store!
We love the Dollar Store. No, really. We love the Dollar Store. We do holiday shopping there, even. Today, for example: We bought two brooms, which we needed because we literally lost two this week. (Don’t ask.) Where else can you buy a broom for a dollar? And, if you need it – in the very same store – bins, binoculars, toilet paper, toys… it’s mind-bogglingly beautiful.
We love it there.
My nine-year-old bought Chinese Finger Traps. (And brooms. Like I said…)
The ride home:
Youngest daughter: I’m stuck.
Me: (Appalled. This is supposed to be the brainy one, who explained to the older one how Australia – again, with the Australia – is a continent AND a country) You got YOURSELF stuck?
Oldest daughter: You push your fingers IN to get them OUT.
Youngest: I did. Now they’re too close together.
Me: So I guess they really work, huh?
Me: So, how do they work, anyway? Not like bear traps, right? You don’t cover them up with leaves and just hope someone sticks their fingers in, do you?
Youngest: Ah! I did it! No – you play a joke on someone, and get them to put their fingers in.
Me: Is there ANYONE left in the world who doesn’t know that it’s a trap, though?
Oldest: (dismissively) You can always tear them apart if you get stuck enough.
Youngest: I know what I’m gonna do as soon as I see Dad.
Oldest and Youngest: So what’s for dinner?
Me: (to the youngest, who happens to be brilliant at entertaining herself) Is there ANYTHING you can’t have fun with?
Youngest: (completely serious) Dog turds.
Me: (laughing hysterically, hardly able to drive.)
Oldest and Youngest): What? What’s so funny?
Me: Dog turds are just… funny. It’s a funny phrase. Like the word “pudding” is a funny word. (I then break out into even more hysterical peals of laughter.) Like “dog turd pudding.” Now: THAT’S what’s for dinner, guys.
Oldest: (who has discovered my blog, and in general, thinks I’m a tad silly) Are you SURE you’re not on crack?*
Me: (pulling the van into the driveway, and hustling the kids into the house with the eggs and butter under my arm) Hurry up inside, girls. Your dog turd pudding’s getting cold.
* Earlier post, where my mother – incorrectly – suspects that I am on crack, but will not admit it to my face. Note, Constant Reader: I actually READ that post out loud TO my mother this morning. She laughed – a lot, but her response: “I love you. Good luck today.”