Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Rude Awakening


Yesterday my dear husband took care of my paper route for me. When he volunteered to do so, I quickly fell back into a nearly comatose slumber and did not surface again until 6:58 when I heard my almost 10-year-old son's desperate cry, "Mom, have you seen my Scout shirt?" Talk about a rude awakening...

As a matter of fact--yes, I HAD seen his Scout shirt. He wore it on Thursday (two days prior) to his den meeting. As I recall, he had a hard time finding it then too. When he came home from Scouts that day, he put his shirt on the kitchen table and immediately went about the business of finding something to eat. Later, either before or after dinner, I asked him to put it away... NOW. He immediately picked it up and walked out of the kitchen. I had high (albeit unfounded) hopes.

"Put away" obviously changes meaning from one generation to the next. I am only beginning to understand this. My generation would not have been searching frantically for their Scout shirts two minutes before they are supposed to be at their meeting point for a Webelos Day Camp. My son's generation seems to prefer living on the edge... the very edge.

Even as I was rushing and ranting and looking for his Scout shirt, I was desperately trying to remind myself, "This is not your problem. Do not make this your problem. He didn't put his shirt away. He never puts his shirt away. Do not make this your problem." No doubt this is the mantra repeated at the weekly meetings for Mothers of Losers Anonymous. (No, I am most certainly not calling my son a "loser" except in the most literal sense of the word.)

My favorite "loss" is that of THE important paper that needs my signature. Right now. Or actually five minutes ago, because somebody is going to be late. Never mind that it was handed out over a week ago.

"Have I seen it? Probably. It was yellow? Well, I HAVE seen a yellow paper--or ten. Could it have been among the 97 stray sheets scattered around the office floor looking like they "just missed" their wastebasket destination?"

A sigh.

Oh--then maybe I haven't seen it.

Seven o'clock. "They are going to leave without you if you don't just go. WEAR SOMETHING ELSE--YOU HAVE GOT TO GO!"

What I meant was, "Why don't you wear something else. You really ought to get going."

Note to self: Remember--this is not your problem?

He rushes downstairs to find "something else," and I stroll into the office and spy something behind the wooden trunk. Something blue. I pick it up. I walk downstairs.

"Oh, NOW you remember what "put away" means... Would that be for your generation or for mine?"

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Little Won't Hurt



On occasion, I have had fellow mothers tell me that they don't have time to read. Really? No time to read? Not even a little bit? My husband would agree with them. In reality I don't really have time to read... but I do it anyway. I find that I have to be somewhat selective, though.

Last night (actually this morning) at 12:30 AM I finally finished reading The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. All 482 pages of it. I had to stay up and finish it, because I knew sleep would elude me until I did.

I have had my head buried in this book for the better part of a week now. I knew that reading it would be no small task... but I did it anyway. It started innocently enough (as all good temptations do)--I downloaded the sample on my Nook just to see if the subject matter would be of interest. And it was. The next thing I knew I was downloading all 482 pages--and the rest of my week was history. (My dearth of journal entries and blog posts confirm this.) Sigh. The book was one mystery upon another mystery, and if that wasn't enough to keep me turning pages (which it was), the chapters were relatively small (51 chapters in 482 pages) so I could nearly always convince myself that I had time for just one more chapter... "It won't hurt--just a few more pages... It will make you feel good--and probably answer some of your questions." The only redeeming quality of this little temptation is that it eventually comes to an end--until I get the hankering for another fix.

Funny how non-fiction books don't pose the same threat. I can usually set those aside for weeks (or months) with good intentions. In the meantime, they get lost in a stack of "highly recommended" non-fiction that I intend to get around to someday. Whenever someday is.

Since finishing the book, you can probably imagine that I have been at a loss for what to do with my time... besides catching up on all that I have left undone for the better part of the week, I mean. As it turns out, my washer and dryer are still in working order and I suppose I could say the same thing about me. For now.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Death of Our BBF


I mean, Death of our B, BF--that would be our Betta, Blue Fish. We adopted [bought] Blue Fish on April 20, 2007. That was the day after my second son's sixth birthday. For some reason I let him have a fish. I wanted to name him Charlie--the fish, not my son. My son wanted to name him Blue Fish. Obviously, I lost.

Bettas live between 3.5 and 4 years in captivity--that is, in fishbowls. They are the ONLY fish suited to living in bowls, because they breathe air as well as water... Also, they don't play well with others... and this is where my knowledge of the species ends. I guess I won't be writing a book.

In November we thought Blue Fish was seeming a little lethargic and that he might die over Thanksgiving weekend, but he bounced back. Lately though he has been hanging around the top of the bowl, seeming unable to swim to the bottom. Many of his food pellets were laying bloated on the bridge with him showing no interest in their consumption.

Last night I looked in the bowl and wondered if Blue Fish was still breathing. This morning my son was sure he was dead, so he touched him with the end (not the prongs) of a plastic fork. Blue Fish darted away like his fins were on fire, but the start probably gave the old fish a heart attack. He was floating, tail down and lips to the surface by this afternoon.

After dinner we gave him a proper burial in our garden (a generous term, for sure). I wrote and my husband read the following eulogy:

Here lies Blue Fish,
A fish always true to his name;
He lived in humble circumstances
Never seeking fortune or fame.

Clearly his life was well-rounded...
Ever living in a bowl.
Given the chance, he would
Likely claim to have lived mostly "half full."

The depth of his life was 10 inches--
From top to bottom, at most.
Surviving nearly four years
Like that surely deserves a toast!

In the end, he grew weary
And his stroke lost its speed--
Yet he continued to hang on
Until he could no longer feed.

He made a grand centerpiece
And a conversation start,
But making a petless boy pet-FULL
Was his most cherished part.

So we bid a fond farewell to Blue Fish and wish him well in that big ocean in the sky where we are certain all bettas go after they die. Au revoir!