Friday, September 25, 2009

When you Give a Girl a Pancake. . .

Text from Cindy:  I miss you.  Can we have breakfast?
Text from Me:  I miss u too.  I have to do errands and take shower.  What time?
Cindy:  Leaving for Perkins 8:50.  Lisa coming too.
Me:  Skipping everything.  See you there.

It is Friday.  On Wednesday, I walked with Lisa and Peg, and Lisa and I went to Perkins after for breakfast.  On Thursday, Lisa and Peg and I walked again, and all three of us went to Perkins.  Now it's Friday.  Here we go again.

Backstory:  For a couple of years, Cindy and Lisa and I frequented Perkins a lot.  A LOT.  We have a waitress, Kathy, who is more like a friend now, who takes care of us, knows us, and more likely than not, loves us.  And we love her.  This past year, we've been there less, for a variety of reasons, but when we all go together,  it's like nothing has changed.  This summer, Lisa has been fighting cancer, and she has been visiting Perkins with her husband after treatments at the Cleveland Clinic.  Kathy has become yet another member of Lisa's Kick Cancer's Ass support group.  Now we hug her and she is "in the know."  It's good to have a pancake connection "in the know."

When we approached the familiar hostess stand this morning, we asked to be seated in her section, but in the sunshine, please, out in the glassed-in porch area.

"Could you please tell her that the president, vice-president and treasurer of her fan club are here?" said Cindy, to the hostess.

Kathy came, with three diet Cokes.  Often,she just brings a fourth for whomever needs it first.  Sometimes, a pitcher.

She teased Cindy about working too much, we discussed Grey's Anatomy, but not the end because Lisa hasn't seen it yet.  And then down to the serious business of ordering.

Cindy first.
"An egg white omelet, veggie.  But I don't like mushrooms."
"Toast or pancakes?" asked Kathy.
"French silk pie."

Then Lisa.
"Kathy, I really want The Traveller, but you don't have it anymore except on the Over 55 menu.  But my body is kind of working like a 94-year old woman lately."
"It's fine, Toots."
"I want that."
"Sausage or bacon?"

Then me.
"I want what I had yesterday, please.  That wrap, but I can't have ham.  Can you sub veggies, please?"
"Can I have Egg Beaters?"
"You got it.  Fruit?"
"Not today."

"Isn't anyone having pancakes?" says Cindy.  "Darn it."
"You can all split a side," says Kathy.
"Perfect," we all say.

We always split a side of pancakes anyway, and she knows it.  It's nice, though, that she tries to let us pretend to order our own meal.

She brings Cindy's pie first.  Cindy runs and swims about 100 miles a day, so the pie probably is burned off before it hits her stomach.  Lucky.

Then three plates, one pancake each.  
"I gave you the pancakes free, girls.  Somehow the pie took the place of the. . . oh, never mind," says Kathy.  We all applaud the free pancakes.

More diet Cokes.  Breakfasts.  More good discussion among ourselves, and with Kathy, when she has time.

Lisa announces that she has coupons, which is a new addition to our Perkins outing.   One for a free entree, one for a 4.99 premium omelet.

"Yes," says Kathy, "you can use them all.  "I'll ring you up so it works out best."

The bills come with stickers and smileys.  We pay.  I think we leave tips that probably amount to about 80%.

It's good to have one pancake on a plate.  It's good when Kathy knows what you like and why.  It's good when Lisa has an appetite.  It's good to gossip and catch up next to the window in the sunshine.  It's good when the waitress is a friend and she hugs you.  It's good to start a weekend with pie in the morning.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ahhhhhhhhh. . . .

Weekend.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.

I woke up to the sound of sawing and buzzing and nail guns outside my window.  The fence is being built.  Adam is rebuilding the fence picket by picket, and today, Jono will begin to help him prime and paint, a deal bartered a few months ago when Jono needed "help" replacing his broken phone AND a broken window in the same day.

Some fence background:  about a week ago, I stamped my foot on the front porch and begged and pleaded the case for a second gate in the fence, at the other end of a long walkway.  I was told it could not be done.  Would not be done.  Absolutely no way.  But knowing my husband, I was pretty sure that what he meant was, "sure."  And I kind of figured that on the day the fence went up, I would see my new gate.  That's just the way it rolls with him.

Abby had dance class this afternoon, so I took her to the studio, and read my book club book for a while in the parking lot.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.  That was nice little 45 minutes of nothing.  An enjoyable read so far, too.  (The Senator's Wife, by Sue Miller, in case anyone is interested.)  Then, haircuts for the boys, which I always need to attend for fear of all curls being lost forever.

My mother-in-law came to pick up Sam for the evening, and Adam and I are going out tonight with our friends to celebrate the fact that my best friend's cancer appears to be gone, gone, GONE.   She has kicked cancer's ass, fighting like a girl, and it's been a long hard summer.  So tonight, we can have a moment of . . . ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.

But just now, I was walking by the fence.

And there's no second gate.

Just rails and posts.  Beautifully constructed pickets, gorgeous design.   Hey, who knows.  Maybe Adam has to put the whole fence up and THEN he has to construct the gate separately and insert it.  I mean, really, what the hell do I know about gate construction?  I'm the first to say that I know absolutely nothing.  I know that he did not want to dig some sort of additional giant post hole--didn't want to fight with the earth anymore-- and I totally get that.   Actually no, I don't.  I just want a gate.  Truly, gate or no gate, it's been cool today to see my husband, my father-in-law and my son working together.  Even Abby primed some pickets.

Hey. . . MAYBE I'm getting the gate for Christmas!  And it's a big surprise.   Ahhhhhhhhhh. . .  I'm on to you, Adam.

You and your "one gate fence."  :)   (Doesn't he look like a "two-gate guy???)


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pandas and Pink Drinks and Percocet. . .OH MY!

Yesterday was a horrible, crappy, no-good, terrible day.  No question about it, no way around it.  A couple of emails that hurt my feelings, a couple of icky situations to navigate, a couple of kids home from school, normal mom worries, a bomb threat at school, WHATEVER. . . but by the end of my day, I was wiped out.  Done.  Spent.  Christy Chafe-- Over and Out.  And by 7:30 PM, I shut it all down and went into hiding.

Not in a closet, or under the bed, but from my computer, my phone, my cell phone, my Facebook page, my family, and the news.  I went upstairs, put on my jammies, washed my face, and climbed into bed.  I took the rest of my drink from dinner up with me.

At dinner, Adam had said, "That's a very pink drink you've got there.  What is it?"
     "Mike's Hard Lemonade."
     "Aren't those yellow?"
     "These are special.  They're the Breast Cancer Mike's."

AS IF I'm going to drink a non-cause-supporting beverage.  Please.

Anyway, back to my hiding in plain sight.  Me, my Mike's, my TiVo, my jammies, and about 17 magazines camped out in bed for the night.  Why, on this of ALL nights, do I have no good chocolate in this house?

And two Percocet, but let me explain.  I am sometimes a walking headache, which I know is a sentence that can be read two ways.  But really, I get baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad headaches.  And to be perfectly honest, I was THRILLED to get a headache last night, because I could reach for the pain meds and know I would snuggle into hiding and eventually fall asleep.

But not before enjoying some Entertainment Tonight, of course, and a new show called "Shark Tank" which I totally recommend.  (At this point, Sam and his panda, Fred, have joined me in bed for a snuggle and Sam is enjoying a little later bedtime, and a mom who is a tiny-bit out of her mind.  I am explaining the concept of the show.

     "You see, Sam, those people with business ideas are like minnows, and that panel of business executives, they're like the sharks.  That's why it's called "Shark Tank."
     "You mean the investors?" he said.

I pulled the covers over my head.

I skim through a TiVo of "Flipping Out," which is so beyond crazy that I am madly, madly in love with it.  Another blog, another time, I will tell you what is on my TiVo list.  It's not pretty, and it's not educational, but I love my TiVo.  Okay, my three TiVo's.

I tried to flip through "Vogue."  Then "Us," then "People," but I was too tired to turn the pages.  So lights off.  At least four more magazines were on my feet.  Could. Not. Kick. Off.

Adam came in the door and stopped short.

     "This is not like you," he said.
     "I know," I said, muffled into the pillow.  "I'm all done.  Stupid day. I hate this day."
     "I know you do," he said.  "Hey, can I use your laptop?"
     "Sure."  He opened it and sat down on the floor.

Here?  He was typing in my hide-out?  Soon he left.  Either that, or I fell asleep.  I'm not entirely sure.

I have to say, it's harder than I thought to hide out from all of these things that connect me to the real world, or at least, my button-click-world.  And it's easier than I thought to escape to things that really matter.  Snuggles, sleep, peace.   This morning, I eased back in, slowly.  Got the kids off to school, stopped for a quick sugar-free Red Bull (okay, slowly is relative,) went to the library, and not until about 10:30 did I open my laptop, look at my phone, check back in.  Big deal, right?  A few hours, taking a break.  But it makes a girl see how easy it is to be too connected to meaningless things, to be too reachable sometimes, and how much can be gained from taking a small step back into her real, panda-filled, occasionally-prescription-drug-influenced, TiVo-wonderful world.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Labor Day Weekend and the Lake's Gone MAD!

It's Labor Day Weekend at Indian Lake, and it's SUNNY, which means there will be boating, there will be swimming, there will be eating and plenty-o-cocktails.   Apparently, it also means that the wildlife has gone stark raving mad.  There was a crazy-weird spider perched on the doorframe of the cottage yesterday (some sort of "Orb Weaver") which almost sent my brother Rayo into the next county to enjoy his Labor Day festivities.  There have been large blue herons landing precariously in trees, and for the first time in many years, a white duck.  I don't want this to sound duck-racist, but when I was a young girl, the whole duck population was white.  They have been gone for years, and truly, I have no idea what happened.  Did they breed with other ducks and change the look of their "people?"  Do they find a better lake?   Indian Lake has been home to many Mallards and brown ducks (I'm sure there's a much more technical name, but for now, I will just refer to them as the "common brown duck") for years and years.  One, in particular, that I am not fond of at all, for he quacks his fool beak off at almost exactly 6:00 am every morning.  You might wonder how I know it it is a boy duck, or the same common brown duck?  I just know.    Anyway, yesterday, floating together in perfect harmony, a brown duck and a white duck.  It was just so nice to see ducks getting along like that.  I say, Happy Labor Day, ducks.

Everyone is also constantly on Bald Eagle watch, for the eagles have landed and nested at the lake.  This has caused my dad to have 100 pairs of binoculars at the ready, including one GIANT pair that make him look like The Fly when he uses them,  for any given bird sighting, or in case a neighbor is doing something shady.  It's like, "Hey, is that an eagle?  Oh, what are those people carrying in their boat?  And it looks like Bonnie and Joe just got here."    Last night, we were trying to get him to focus in on Jono's game score in Mentor, but no avail.  Sucky binoculars, Fly.

We've added Nerf Darts into the equation this weekend, and though I tried to get Sam to stop shooting my nephew, Gabe, Gabe informed me that he was totally open to being shot anytime, anyplace.  So the rule is, only shoot the dartboard and any person who is okay with being shot.  If you don't want to be shot, just tell someone.  Real world, take a note.  If you don't want to be shot, just tell someone.  Problem solved.  

Also, the whiffle ball bats have become light sabers, and apparently, if you put yours down, you have officially "quit" and others can double up on their saber-ness.

There has been some power garage-sale shopping.  Abby and her cousin went trolling for treasures and came home with. . . um. . . treasures, let me tell you.  A purple shag rug and a color-changing fiber optic lamp.  "I've always wanted one of these rugs," she said, as it's draped around her neck.  Shudder.  I'll be washing her.  And the rug.  "I really want to get rid of  my rug anyway, and this is perfect."  I think of the 8 x 10 Pottery Barn rug in her room and how it's not going to be replaced with a $2 purple yard sale rug.  "Super!" I say.  The lamp is glowing in the cottage bedroom that Abby shares with my niece and it is kind of funky.  My nephew bought a $1 electronic organizer.  The possible-pleatherette case was totally worth the price.

The duck is quacking at me, so I'm going to head downstairs to begin the Labor Day festivities.  But don't worry.  It's not 6:00 am.  It's more like 9:30 am.  But it's 5:00 pm somewhere. . . .


Friday, September 4, 2009

Open House, Open Mind?

Reflections on Jono's High School Open House:

English:   I sat in the desk, listening to Jono's teacher talk about the coursework for the year.  Poetry.  Short story unit.  Vocab.  Romeo and Juliet.  "Oh," says the teacher, "We're not only going to READ the play, we're going to act it out.  With costumes.  And watch the movie."  Adam whispers to me, "I am SO glad I don't have to do this again."  I say to him, "I wish I could take this class."  I picture myself as Juliet.

Biology:   There is a big tall desk in the front of the room with lots of projection equipment and a faucet.  It looks exactly like the science lab in my high school.  I am flashing back to Mr. Heim who was probably about 27 years old, teaching me Honors Biology II.    How did a baby teach me anything?  That explains why I don't understand cell respiration.

Gym:  I hate this I hate this I hate this I hate this.   Hated it then, hated it now.  Please don't make me climb a rope.

Spanish:  No comprende.

Algebra:  Seems like a nice guy.  I could do this, I think.  I could maybe give this a . . .  oh, who the hell am I kidding?  Where's that nice English class again?

I now know why I still have dreams about school.  You know, those horrible "did I take the test, have I ever attended those classes?" dreams.  Adam and I got lost 10 times at open house.  Our 10-minute classes were overwhelming,  the 5- minute "switch" times weren't long enough at all,  and the hallways were long and scary.  When I am in the elementary schools, I feel to big for the space.  Here,  though it was an amazing place, I was completely out of my comfort zone.  I felt younger than the children who were guides.  What a testament to the fact that the high school is raising up confident, strong students.

Jono is in for an amazing experience.   But would I ever want to go back to high school (except for one quick cameo of Juliet?)   NO GRACIAS!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Attack of the Dawn Doll

     So, this morning, I'm minding my own business, running to Target to return one of Abby's less successful shirt choices, pick up a pencil sharpener, find jeans for Sam, and get Klondike bars.  It was a perfectly productive morning, and I was heading out of the store, and there she was.  The woman who, two years ago, asked if I was pregnant, when I most certainly was not.  Oh, Lord, help me now.  She even called my name to get my attention.  Can't I just let a bad bygone fat day be a bad bygone fat day??     We engaged in the small talk, the chit-chat, the "how's school, how are the kids, blah, blah, blah" but the whole time, I'm seeing us reflected in the Target window.  And here's what I'm thinking.  "She's no bigger than a Dawn doll, and why is she attacking me?"  All chit-chat aside, I'm sure the undertone of the whole conversation was, "we both know what you did, and now here we are."  Does anyone else remember what a Dawn doll looks like?  About one-third the size of a Barbie, way smaller then Skipper, the oft-forgotten sister.  And that is exactly the size of this woman. a pocket Barbie.  I could technically put this woman in my pocket if I needed to.  I checked myself out in the window, covertly.  Hair? Fine.  White v-necked tee?  Good.  Boobs?  Good.  But ohmygod there is a giant, aqua, bulky fleece tied around my waist and I look like I'm wearing a fuzzy life preserver.   I wanted to scream in the middle of our conversation, "I took a 2 mile walk this morning and it was 50 degrees when I left and it's almost 70 now!" or maybe "there's no baby in here!" but I didn't.  I just made a silent, solemn pledge to stop tying sweatshirts around my waist.    
     I'm disappointed that the Dawn doll got the best of me.  I should have just offered her a Klondike and been on my way.