About Me

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Five years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Going Out with a Bang, a Squeak, and a Squawk. And Three Pound Bag of Birdseed

I drove in to work again on Tuesday. I was astounded at having been able to stay awake until nearly midnight the night before. I guess my inner night owl is still alive and well and lurking somewhere inside me, along with my Tina Turner legs. However, on Tuesday morning my inner lark, which has hijacked my life ever since Firstborn went to kindergarten, grabbed said inner night owl firmly by the beak and proceeded to peck the stuffing out of her. I did manage to get bathed and shampooed and into lovely clean clothing, with clean socks and shoes that would fit on my sleep-deprived feet. I did not manage to do all this in time to catch either the 7:12 or the 7:26 train.

But there were compensations. Gas has not yet reached $4.00 a gallon at my local station. I paid $3.829. And a small pack of gum is less than $1.00 [39¢], so I was able to break a five for my $4 parking fee at the lot down the street from the office, right where the bus from the train station would have let me off. [Good thing I drove in, because the last two eBay boxes came in the mail.]

And on the drive in, there was a pickup truck. With a bumper sticker. And of course my camera was locked in the trunk with my bags, so no visual. But it read, “Jesus called. He wants His religion back.” And I thought, “Amen, brother! And did you know? It’s back! Would you like to know more?”

I was kindof hoping for an opportunity where we would both be stuck in traffic, next to each other, and I could let him know. But apparently this wasn’t the day for it, because he switched lanes, and both lanes kept moving fairly smoothly.

I’m not big on evangelizing. I don’t keep a stack of Books of Mormon in my car, ready to hand off to unsuspecting strangers. [I do have a handful of pass-along cards in my bag, in case I stumble into a gospel discussion with somebody and they want to know more.] Basically, if someone asks me a direct question about what I believe, I’m happy to tell them far more than they probably want to know. But I think my big strength is in being happy. I think my general level of happiness is sufficiently unusual that people are apt to notice it and wonder why. And that’s my lead.

The day got better and better. As I said, my last two boxes from eBay arrived, and the contents were intact and as described, or better. If not for Knit Night, I would have been tempted to postpone organizing that last ginormous box and to spend the evening slicing vegetables paper-thin, instead. Yes, my mandoline is here. And my mandoline cookbook is packed away.

My square salad plates are also here, and another oval platter.

But this? This is the best part of the day, and for this you had better have an empty mouth and an empty bladder. Make sure that your tray tables are in the full upright position, and that your seat belts are buckled.


My cell phone rang shortly before lunch. Normally, I turn it off as soon as I get to work. As it turns out, it was a good thing I had left it on. It was another call from the vice principal. My child was in her office. Again. With an accomplice.

The vice principal was polite but Not Amused. LittleBit is no longer exempt from her finals [I do believe that her earlier six-day stint in the academic slammer already took care of that, but who’s counting?] and will be taking them in “Choices”, or in-school suspension. She will get to walk [at graduation] on Saturday.

LittleBit respectfully pointed out to the powers-that-be that she and her partner in crime had chosen a prank that involved no vandalism and no bloodshed. Just the natural hysteria which results when thirteen mice and four doves are released on the second floor of a high school as the bell rings at the end of class. They had even thoughtfully scattered an entire bag of birdseed along the baseboards so the doves wouldn’t get hungry.

Pure pandemonium. I’m sure that even Shakespeare would have been impressed by the alarums and excursions.

It was so difficult not to snicker outright when responding to the vice principal. I thanked her for calling me and said, “Holy cow. Well, she is really going out with a bang and not a whimper, isn’t she?” I’m not sure that that was the response that she was looking for. I felt sorry for her; it was so obvious that she just wanted this year, and this day, to be over.

I turned off my cell phone and put it back in my bag, then fired it up and called the school. “Ms. X, is LittleBit still in your office?”

“She just stepped out into the hall. Would you like to speak to her?”

“Yes, please, if you don’t mind.”

LittleBit came on the line, “Yes, ma’am?”

“Do not show any expression on your face. Who was your partner in crime?”

“BestFriend, ma’am.”

“I need to tell you that I am far less upset by this call from the vice principal than the last one.”

“So we will be discussing this at home. I understand.”

“There may be chocolate involved.”

“I see your point. Yes, ma’am.”

“I love you.”

“Yes, ma’am. I’ll talk to you tonight.”

My only real concern at that point was where they had gotten the mice and the birds. I would have been seriously angry if they had liberated them from the science lab.

BestFriend’s mother is the manager of our apartment complex. I was pretty sure that she would be as amused by this prank as I was, but I thought it wise to check. I called her office and got voicemail. So I sent LittleBit the first of a barrage of text messages, asking “Is OtherMother mad?”

“No, she bought the mice and the birds and brought them to us at school.”

“Tell her Death By Chocolate, on me, at 6:30 tonight, for her and BestFriend.”

“I have to pick up Fourthborn and FiancĂ© from work, first.”

“Just bring them with you when you come. And please tell me that the speaker-phone wasn’t on when I called Ms. X’s office.”

“It wasn’t.”

Whew! Here we have our beloved [headless] miscreants. We were all laughing too hard for me to get a good picture.

And a lousy picture of OtherMother with her niece. At least you can see how much her daughter resembles her.

The picture that I took of Fourthborn and FiancĂ© just basically displayed their jawlines and the writing on her shirt. Notice how I cleverly manage to avoid being photographed. And heeere’s dinner: OtherMother’s.

And mine.

From there I went to Knit Night an hour late, where I spent part of my time joining two blocks for the blanket we are making for Bookgrump’s niece. I got to hold my friend’s new baby, who is young enough to still smell like Heaven.

And on the way home I picked up two party tacos from Bueno, for dessert. I somehow managed to stay awake until a little after 11:00.

Can’t wait to hear the comments from Firstborn and Secondborn. I was nowhere near this mellow when they were this age. I would have strung out Firstborn for the fire ants to eat. I would have raised an eyebrow at Secondborn, and she would have sent herself to her room. It has been a long and difficult year, and I am nearly as ready for school to be over as the students and the teachers, and this silly prank has done much to redeem the sweet, old relationship that LittleBit and I once had.


Jenni said...

Ok so I am glad to see that you have loosened up slightly in your old age. I am just not sure that chocolate is the correct response to the prank. What am I supposed to tell my kid! Lol. So out of curiosity, what did she do the first time that she got suspended?

Tan said...

Just to let you know, I was the kind of parent who got banned from jazz band events because the teacher thought I was causing the ruckus. Who me? Never!

leslye said...

Can't begin to express my joy that there was no bloodshed! Little Bit, if I wasn't proud before, I am now. A thouroughly tasteful prank becoming to you and BFF. Love you

Julie said...

Ah, the interconnectivity of lives. I was at the boys school for kindergarten graduation yesterday and was talking to another parent, one who also happens to have a senior at the same high school as Little Bit. She told me about the prank, and how her daughter apparently caught one of the mice and was wanting to bring it home. (Of course, she didn't want the mouse to come home, hence her sharing the story with me). Little Bit's fame is far reaching.

Lena said...

OH my goodness! This one brings me out of lurkdom. This brought much joy to my morning!