Monday, October 25, 2004

Spooky times

Yesterday marked the not-even-halfway point of the 2004 NFL football season. To hail this non-event, we made a ceremonious visit to a pharmacy I shall refer to as Rong-Aid.

It went as it usually does: You go to pick up your prescription, one that you get every month for seasonal allergies, and it's not there, as usual. They ask your name, when you brought/called the prescription in, they check the computer. Calls are made to John Ashcroft to see if you really qualify for seasonal allergy medication or if you're just busting America's chops.

For the first 10 minutes at Rong-Aid, your kids are hopping around like Mexican jumping beans, from blue tile to blue tile across the floor of the store. Then they enter the, "What's taking so long?" portion of the visit. After five minutes of that, which ends with a lot of teeth-grated threats by the adult, the kids proceed into the, "He's touching that!," "She's pushing me!" experience. After LOUD admonishment by the parent, given to hopefully embarrass the children into behaving, they graduate to the "Can we get this--we'll share!" phase. That lasts for the remainder of the adventure. Of course, by the end, they usually DO get something because the parent, who has just dealt with at least two pharmacy personnel and multiple health insurance provider personnel via phone, is battered and broken, and a box of Fruit Roll-Ups just doesn't seem so bad, after all.

Yesterday was a low-key football Sunday, full of fun with Lincoln Logs--Ryan: "These are boring, Mom!! Can't you just get batteries for the SpongeBob video game?!?"--playing with puzzles--Ryan: "I'm done. You do the rest. And why don't you get the batteries for the SpongeBob game?!?"--and reading stories to Ryan--Ryan: "It's not nighttime. And I'm not tired for a nap. Buy batteries for the SpongeBob game!!!" Really low-key.

Cara, meanwhile, "worked" on a school project that's due Thursday. When I reminded her that she pretty much didn't do anything meaningful (read: anything) for the project, she informed me she had PLENTY of time to do it. And she would. Right after "Lizzie McGuire." And "Even Stevens." And "Halloween Town Part Quattro." All the Disney programming she can't cram in during the week. The TV got turned off and I left her typing up the 10 facts for her project while Ryan and I went shopping for new pants for him. At age 4 1/2, he's outgrown his size 3 pants. Whooda thunk it?

Anyway, upon our return, the TV was back on. Cara typed her 10 facts. "I'm done for the day," she announced. With two parents working at home, she's picking up on the workplace lingo. Next she'll be telling me what's do-able by Thursday.

The reason we didn't have a big day planned yesterday was because my bro Joe and his wife Jen had a Halloween party Saturday. For two people who don't have kids of their own, they sure know how to keep the little troops happy. There was a giant moonbounce thing on the front lawn when we got there. "All the juice boxes, soda and water bottles are in the cooler on the patio," Jen announced. Since all the parents were either inside or out front by the moonbounce, that meant UNSUPERVISED DRINK CONSUMPTION!! What every kid lives for.

After a while, Jen broke out cases of sidewalk chalk and bubbles with wands. Wait a minute! It's dawning on me now (I'm so fast...) these were all OUTDOOR activities. Joe and Jen have a newly furnished NEW HOUSE. AaahHA. They ain't no dummies! But, considering we don't even want our own children in our house, I give them credit for inviting not only the kids they're related to, (and therefore may feel an OBLIGATION to have over) but those belonging to friends, neighbors and acquaitances. They say bravery is when you know the danger, but plow ahead anyway. This Bud's for you, Joe and Jen--Mr. and Mrs. Halloween Party Throwers.

Mike and I went to the party as hippies. The fact that Mike had an actual costume on threw people. He got a hippie costume with a peace sign necklace. But he wouldn't buy a hippie wig. So he sported a Mr. Suburban Man Haircut with neon-colored hippie pants, a cheesy blue polyester shirt and a Fred Flintstone fuzzy vest. Like, far out and funky, man. After two hours, it didn't matter anyway, because he changed into regular clothes and pitched the costume into the trunk of his car, where it remains. Enough frivolity!

--Catherine Schetting Salfino

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