Posts Tagged ‘1999’


February 2, 2013

Recently I went to Disneyland with my mom and grama, because my daughter was performing there. Fun fact: My daughter spotted Orlando Bloom in line for Grizzly River Run, and then to her surprise he was seated with her on the ride.

My daughter’s marching band kicked off the parade. She was right in the center of the front rank, and I had to cry a little bit as they went by.

She’s still itty-bitty, but at least she’s allowed on the rides now.

In 1999 we took all my son’s friends to the park to celebrate his 7th birthday. My daughter had turned 5 the week before, and was a wee 3 feet, 3.75 inches.

This little girl loved to be sped, scared and startled, but she didn’t meet the height requirements for the exciting rides.

Disneyland insists you reach 40 inches to ride Star Tours. Now, I understand not wanting to put a wisp of a child in a Space Mountain seat, but Star Tours is basically a movie. The ride is the illusion of movement.

It broke my heart for her to stand waiting at the entrance, watching younger children run excitedly toward their place at the end of the line.

She never complained once that day, but when I turned back and looked at her, she was watching the boys at my side in line,  and I saw tears in her eyes.

She would have done me a favor to whine and stomp.

She was so close to reaching the requirement, I was cursing myself for not teasing her hair. You wouldn’t have fit a slice of cheese between her head and the bottom of Mickey’s glove. My husband tried to persuade the attendant to let her through. No go.

But halfway through the wait, a tiny hand slipped into mine, and I looked down into a huge smile.

“Daddy put folded park maps in my shoes,” she whispered.

My husband had seen a new attendant start her shift and took action.

The force was with us.

link to photos

The fight story

January 11, 2013

As far as fighting siblings go, I’m a lucky mom.

But last night while I was in the kitchen I could hear those voices that get right under the nerves between my shoulder blades. They use these voices when they’re doing their little dance between outright being bad and not making any effort to keep peace. It involves a ridiculous volley of saying the other person’s name in a warning tone, and making an overly innocent expression.

I can deduce what was going on. My son adores his sister, but he makes sport of annoying her. I’m pretty sure he was doing something with her calculator he thought was funny. He’s funny, but she doesn’t always think so.

My daughter is calm, patient and smart. She stands a lot of button-pushing before she responds, and that she does with flair.

The first time she lost her temper she was 4. Her brother was 6. I don’t know what they were on about, but I walked in the room to see her tiny hands fisted and her face red.

“That’s it!” she exploded. “The next time I have poop on my finger, guess who I’m gonna wipe it on.”

The Little League coach story

January 4, 2013

During the years my husband was the stay-at-home parent, he coached our son’s soccer and baseball teams.

Another father was a Little League coach of badness. He demeaned the boys, and encouraged bad sportsmanship. When they were in the outfield they would boo and yell insults at the batter and pitcher.

He was friendly to my husband and me, but I always dreaded playing his team. It made me sad.

One cold night I was watching practice before one of these games. His team had already warmed up on the diamond. Parents were beginning to fill in the bleachers.

One of the dads sat next to me and made small talk. “Big game tonight.”

“Yeah, and the mood will be crabby over here, you know, with the usual tsking about how mean that coach is, and how negative the team is.”

I should really look at who I’m talking to. It was the other coach, come over to wish me and mine luck.

The doctor’s obituary

December 15, 2012

This may be my last editing-obituaries story.

I was reading an obit one night, and I noticed that “Mr.” Soandso had worked as a physician for 38 years. He held a medical degree from UCLA, and had done a pre-med program at Georgetown.

I called the widow to clarify.

“Mrs. Soandso, it’s our custom to refer to the deceased as ‘Dr. Soandso’ when he had an M.D. and practiced medicine, but the reporter — who knows this — didn’t use it. Were there circumstances I’m not seeing?”

“I’ll tell you the circumstances!” I had to hold the phone away. “That son of a bitch made every boyfriend our daughter brought home call him Doctor. Every one of my friends from work had to call him Doctor. Our damn grocer called him Mister once, and got a curt correction.

“He was a pompous son of a bitch. I spent 38 years embarrassed to death.

“Don’t you dare put ‘Dr. Soandso’ on his obituary. I’m having my revenge, and you’re not spoiling it.”

Mr. Son-of-a-Bitch it is.

Never do this

December 8, 2012

When I was editing obituaries, I used to have to sit with the original form submitted by the family, and make sure everything in the story matched what was written in pen by the bereaved.

It was an extra big deal to make sure obituaries were accurate. To this end, I had to call survivors, even on anything the family itself may have written wrong.

One night I was doing the math to make sure the birth and death dates made the lady 90, when I realized both dates were the same, but with different years. If she was 90, it was only for a few hours.

It would be an easy mistake for a grieving son to write the death date on both lines absent-mindedly.

The family said, “Yep. It was her 90th birthday.”

Oh no. “Were you with her?” It was OK for me to be nosy. At least, I always told myself that.

“Yes, she died at her birthday party.”

I scanned the form. She died of a heart attack.

Good Lord, they couldn’t be that stupid.

I had to ask. “Was it a surprise party?”

I’m of a firm mind it’s wrong to startle the tar out of old people.

He hung up on me, which was fortunate, because I was crass enough to fall into a fit of laughter.


My grandparents’ song

December 5, 2012

On the morning of my grama’s first anniversary after my grampa died, she walked into the kitchen and turned on the radio.

She was stunned to hear “If I Loved You” from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel. It was their song.

Who’s ever heard this song on the radio?

The last time she had heard it, Grampa was singing it to her on their 50th anniversary, seven years before to the day.

Today would have been their 69th.

Where’s that from?

November 28, 2012

I love to play guess-what-this-line-is-from.

When I was a teenager, my best friend and I would make lists of lines from songs and present them to each other in first period study hall. I remember in my sophomore year chewing on the line “Strangers making the most of the dark” all day.

I could hear the melody and hum the next line, but it wasn’t until dinner that the answer came to me.

That’s my idea of fun, for sure.

I also play this with movie quotes. There was a poster at Blockbuster –101 famous movie quotes, can you name the films? — that I wanted bad. I would have put it on the wall and then thrown a party to see how many people gathered around and tried it.

But this was when I was subbing, and no way was I going to spend $15 on a poster, knowing I didn’t have the money to throw me a see-who-gathers-at-my-new-poster party.

I found it online for $8 plus shipping, but I still won’t buy it. That’s how cheap I am.

Today I’m sharing a movie quote challenge that I have chewed on for years — and even Googled, which I frown on as the height of cheaterpantsery — and can’t find the answer to.

In 1999 my husband and I rented a VHS movie with the following line: “Yeah, but if less is more, think how much more more is.”

I thought this was the funniest ever. I don’t remember what movie it was. I thought it was American Pie, so I rented it and watched it again. No dice.

Now I’m setting the spinner to All Play.

If you know the answer, you win.

And because the chewing will finally end, I’ll win too.

Daddy’s girl

October 4, 2012

My daughter went shopping with a girlfriend today. I planned, out of consideration, to swing by an ATM and get her her allowance first.

She was shocked.

“I’m supposed to go shopping with only $20?”

“That, and the money you’ve saved for occasions like this.”

That sat well.

When Daddy wandered in the room the conversation had turned to what defined ‘necessities.’ She was arguing that when he took her shopping for her eighth-grade formal dress, he bought her two of them, and she didn’t have to pay.

“Yeah, I wouldn’t have done that.”

“I should have gone to Daddy this morning.”

This is when my helpful husband disclosed he would have given her $200 and told her to have a good time.

My son and I cried Daddy’s-girlism.

I had to remember the room-painting story to them.

When The Baby was 4, my husband and I spent a long day stripping her wallpaper. This was in a 100-year-old house. The wallpaper was stuck in places to drywall, wood and concrete.

We textured and painted the walls, and finished at about 4 p.m., just in time for me to primp and leave for work.

I went in to kiss my husband goodbye. He was coming down the ladder, two steps from the bottom, and was exhausted. He was glad to be done.

My daughter came in on my heel. She looked around the room with a big smile.

Then she said, “Daddy, will you make me a pink checkerboard ceiling?”

He gave me my kiss and switched direction. He never reached that first step from the bottom.

I got home eight hours later to find him washing up.

The checkers were perfect.

He was wiped out. He curled up around her little finger and went to sleep.

The birthday gift

August 16, 2012

Today I am a 42-year-old.

Twelve years ago, at my 30th-birthday party, I opened my gifts in front of family and friends.

I got a Winnie-the-Pooh piggy bank, recipe books, marmalade, and towels. Uncle Mike gave me fuzzy handcuffs.

Later I opened a gift from a friend who had come out from Boulder. I shook the box, which held a camera. I said, “I’m trying to guess what it is, because Katherine said it’s an obvious gift for me.”

My paternal grandfather yelled out, “Oh boy, more fuzzy handcuffs.”

My grampa’s death

July 24, 2012

My grampa died on this date, 12 years ago.

About three months after we discovered the tumors in my son’s head, my grampa was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

This was out of nowhere. He didn’t smoke or live with a smoker. He was a watercolor artist.

The doctor told him he had about a year to live. It was March.

I came by the house sometime that spring and found him repaving the driveway. I sat in my car for a second shaking my head that he would spend his remaining time doing this.

I must have had a face, because he pointed to it when I approached and said there was a crack.

I thought, ‘What did he care?’

It later occurred to me he didn’t want my grama to have to deal with it.

Everybody handled his impending death differently.

He didn’t have the fighting spirit my mom wanted him to have, but he was cooperative. He drank the tea she gave him.

Nana took him for a weeklong camp with Deepak Chopra.

Then one morning in July my grama got up and went to the bathroom. She hurried, as always, to get back to the bedroom before my grampa beat her to making the bed.

She found the bed unmade. With a peek into the family room she could see he had fallen back to sleep in his recliner. She smiled at that. She made the bed.

Then she did her face and hair.

When she went to him, he had his hand on his chest, and he wasn’t breathing.

He was warm.

She calmly called 911, and then my mom. She says his spirit embraced her. I believe this. She’s never done anything calmly.

She knew it was over.

We realized in the aftermath they hadn’t believed the doctor. There were no plans, except to go on a cruise. They had tickets on a ship that left the day of his funeral.

Nana even discovered afterward there was a mix up with their life insurance, and they weren’t covered.

We all jumped in and helped with arrangements for the body, the service, Nana on her own.

I wrote and delivered the eulogy.

People asked, how could I do that?

How could I not? I had too much to say.


June 30, 2012

Today I clicked on a link on My Oldest Friend’s blogroll. The post began, ‘I think my husband and I should divorce.”

She goes on to say she feels a little dirty enjoying the right to be married, earned by her heterosexuality. She likens it to being a member of a country club that excludes people of color.

I left this story as a comment:

When my son was in first grade his friends joined Cub Scouts. We explained to him that this group was in the news because gays and atheists were not allowed to be members, and that in this family we don’t join groups that exclude.

I got a call mid-year from one of his friends’ moms, who could barely talk through her laughter.

She had asked him why he hadn’t joined Scouts. He told her “I’m not allowed to be in Boy Scouts, cuz I might be gay.”

Close enough.

Sick day

March 30, 2012

I have a nasty lung thing going on. Mostly I’m staying in bed.

The last time I felt this icky I had strep throat. The kids were 4 and 6, and daddy was on full-time kid duty, because I was mostly staying in bed.

One afternoon he had to go to a place, and the kids climbed on the bed with me to be supervised.

There’s only so much we could do to pass the time. By early evening I was teaching them how to make prank phone calls.

We were calling The Uncles in Boulder, and giving them the classics. Yes, their refrigerators were running.

Our last call was to Uncle Jer. Could he name three cars that start with P? If so, according to my son’s little 6-year-old voice, he would win a million dollars from KWZY fm.

Jer listed Pinto, Plymouth and Pontiac.

All together now: I’m sorry, those cars all start with gas.

Jer started to cry. “I miss you guys.”

Aw. He wasn’t even mad about the million dollars.