Saturday, July 12, 2008

No NO-Neck Monsters


I didn't raise two no-neck monsters.... they turned out better than average, excellent in fact! Because of that, my summer has gone all pear shaped. There's no one around except me, Big Daddy, an old foolish dog, and one obese cat... whose a bit of a slob. This is our first summer without the offspring and I'm feeling nostalgic for the past...or at least someone else to pick on. For many years, as a family, we drove the 1,000 miles up to my in-laws cabin in the northwest. I would pack the car with a staggering assortment of child friendly snacks (not the usual, edible food stuffs) the crap with a shelf life of at least 50 years, predominantly the color orange, and smelling like the underarms of an old polyester shirt. I purchased dot to dot puzzles, books, and the newest travel games, whose impossibly small pieces were hopelessly lost while trying to tear the package open with your teeth (child friendly scissors are only useful to small fingers, single sheets of paper, and mature adults). Of coarse all these items were discarded or eaten before we reached the first gas station. But, get this...I'm no fool... or a stranger to every parenting book published (one of my favorites being, " Get Out Of My Life!.. but first can you take me to the mall!?")....I know my way around an "I message" and can successfully con my way into any childs' bedroom for at least 10 minutes..... positive reinforcement was always my preferred modus operandi. There are of coarse situations, that... honestly, no parenting book fully appreciates or offers any REAL constructive solutions for......like barreling down the highway with two kids in the backseat who have "eye spied" the last cow an hour earlier and are aching for some physical contact. You could feel that innocent energy turning toward the dark side.... at any moment, orange stained fingers, would try to play "type writer" on the bony ribcage of the other backseat inhabitant. That's when two crisp fifty dollar bills would appear.......I know what you're thinking... but seriously, twenties weren't enough or even worth the risk! I would wave them around slowly, so that both pairs of eyes( glazed over by too many carbohydrates) could lock on, and take in the enormous power I held in my hand. Manna, so to speak, an unexpected source of help or gratification! (The alternative was to pull over at the next truck stop and sell the little ones to the highest bidder). After terms were negotiated, all I had to do.... to nip any foolishness.... was to flash a fifty and pretend to stuff it down my bra! Any commotion coming from the back seat would instantly transform itself to..."Why, sister would you care for a chip?" and the reply," Yes, please...generosity is such an admirable trait in a young man". And so it would go, snark free until we reached our lake destination, and then it was business as usual. I normally spent my time relaxing on a raft outside the range of the super soakers and a few strokes ahead of my son, who took an inordinate amount of pleasure, calculating how far he would have to leap off the dock, to soak me and the book I was pretending to read (those swim lessons were SO not a good idea!). We spent a small fortune on ice cream cones at the rustic (dump) market across the road, which had a socialist manifesto of sorts, in big red block lettering above the front door. We once purchased a box of cereal with a "sell by" date of 1985, five years too late. There was always a feral looking momma cat, and a litter of kittens, in a cardboard box out back........"MOM, you don't even have to pay us the fifty bucks,pleeeeease, they're soooo cute!" The market always smelled like cat piss, old Twinkies, and the garlic bait the local fisherman swore by. For some insane reasoning we were willing to take our chances with the ice cream, although Grandma (who smoked two packs of Virginia Slims a day, rendering her taste buds useless) found earwigs in her maple nut ice cream cone once. We told ourselves it was bug infested only because no one else ever ordered it.... except Grandma once a year. We would spend two glorious weeks at the lake and then make the long journey back home...... tanned, relaxed, and ready to do business!

6 comments:

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

Why do grandmas always go for the crappy flavored ice cream? My grandmother would serve maple nut ice cream for MY birthday. I wanted vanilla. And she always had German chocolate cake (blech!) for MY birthday. Why?!?!?!?!?

Jonah K. Haslap said...

That was a lovely memory. Can I steal it?

Mrs. G. said...

Sweet, sweet memories. And for my grandmother, it was Black Walnut. WTF?

Jan Taljaard Winje said...

Delightful writing, Peggy! You are inspiring. And hilarious.

TheresaJ said...

Hi there -- what a wonderful blog you have! Enjoyed going down memory lane with you, as I am in a similar boat these days. Thanks for commenting on my blog and introducing yourself. I'll surely be back. Feeling a little more social these days... getting used to the aloneness of the empty nest. Just remember -- we raised them right if they fly from the next. I'm left with a cat and a dog too... although a little dog. Ahh, the similarities!

Nice to meet you!
- Theresa

Minnesota Matron said...

The Matron is living in the opposite end of the spectrum. Sometimes she thinks about her offspring leaving. Because there's a seven year gap between numbers one and three, she has a long road ahead before that empty nest. But she's already counting. Hope you find beauty, peace and some fun in the new space!

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I'm the twin troll on the right
I was born a twin, although I was the first one to appear, so maybe that makes me the normal one. Anyway, my mother was fond of Toni perms in the 50's and thought our straight blond hair could reap the benefits of that products curly promises......questionable! The hair solution was so nasty all the windows and doors had to be opened, any food product left out on a counter had a slight mystery flavor, the cat stayed outside for a week. And the end result...well, my twin and I refer to that period as the "duelling Bozo's"

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