The Hess Report

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Mission Impossible

Joy was making dinner. She needed two things from the store: bread crumbs and cream of celery soup. In the time it would take me to run to the store, get the things and come back, she could just get the rest of the things ready to throw in the oven. It would be timed perfectly. Even though it was 10 degree F outside, I didn't stop to grab a coat, because the Mission Impossible music was playing in my head...

Dum - - - Dum - - - dum - dah
Dum - - - Dum - - - dum - dah
Dum - - - Dum - - - etc....

The bread crumbs, both plain and Italian should be with the... bread? Nah, that would be stupid. They'd be grouped by function, like the pasta and tomato products are stocked together. So... baking needs? Nope. With the rices and grains? Nope. Time was running short, and I didn't want Mr. Phelps pissed off. With the potato flakes? Grrr.

The desperation was evinced by the fact that I had decided to ask the next Shop 'n Save employee that I saw. I hate to do that. One came down the aisle, carrying a can, looking to restock it. I'd seen her here off and on, so I knew that she had worked here for a while. She looked around, trying to find where to put the can she held. I could see the same frustrated "Grrrr" building inside her that I had just experienced. She shook her head, annoyed, and stalked off to another aisle.

Uh oh. If she can't figure out where to put that can of tomatoes, then I'm totally screwed.

Sour cream is easy. Its with the dairy. Across the aisle from the dairy cooler, I see a shelf with Shake 'n Bake, crackers, and... (rim shot) bread crumbs. Right beside the bread. Grrr.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

I Guess It Starts When You're Young

It's not the fact that Lucy are Maddie are running around the house like crazy, flapping their arms squeeling "POOLA!" and "DOAGIE!" that bothers me. Nor the fact that it's chilly in here and Maddie's wearing shorts and a t-shirt. What's bugging me is that Lucy is pretending to be someone named Michael, but is wearing a pink leotard with a denim skirt and hat set. I asked her why Michael was pretending to be a girl. According to her, he's not pretending to be a girl. He's just dressed like one.

What exactly does it mean when your three year old daughter is pretending to be a male crossdresser?

Sunday, January 11, 2004

The Sweetness of Good Sisters

I found something unusual on the kitchen counter tonight, which I asked Joy about. It was made of two pieces of green neoprene, taped together on all sides but the bottom. The pieces were cut more or less in the shape of a horse's head and neck, with the details and outline drawn on in magic marker. Obviously a kid creation.

Joy explained that while her and I were getting ready for church, Maddie and Lucy were trying to assemble the goods to play the Nativity. Lest you think my last name is Flanders, they pretended to be Frodo and Gollum at bath time, respectively. Meanwhile, back at the creche, Lucy could not get past the fact that we do not (surprisingly) have a donkey stuffed animal. I think that it is the only animal of which we do not have a plush representation. (Cow? Two! Sheep? Two! Mice? Too many to count!) But for lack of a donkey, the whole production was in jeopardy, and Lucy was extremely upset. Instead of throwing in the towel and telling Lucy to piss off or to just be a little more flexible and pretend that the horse was a donkey, Maddie got out the scissors, tape, markers and neoprene/foam stuff and made Lucy a donkey finger puppet.

And yeah, it was just laying around later, so I'm sure that neither of them attach any kind of significance to it. But that finger puppet will find it's way to a land fill over my dead body.

The War Begins

We were straightening up the house this afternoon so we could face the coming week with a modicum of post-holiday house-ordered dignity. Maddie was playing on the kitchen computer. She mentioned, quite off-hand, that a girl in her school had told her a grown-up joke. Of course, that could be anything from "What do you call a guy with no arms and no legs in a ditch?" to "Three gay guys are having drinks and discussing the disposition of their dead lover's ashes..." to "Wrecked 'em? Damn near killed 'em!" Whatever the case, I acted like that it was nothing at all and said "You give me her name! HER NAME! GIVE IT UP!" Wait. That wasn't it. I said "Oh. Was it funny?"

"I didn't understand it."

"Oh. Did she think it was funny?"

"She didn't understand it either."

"Right. If you tell me, maybe I'll get it."

"I told you. I didn't understand it. I can't remember."

Fair enough. I don't remember differential equations, and I actually used to understand those.

But it leaves me wondering about the parental equivalent of a defensive array of C-130 gunships.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Only a few words on Thanksgiving. Apparently, I was under the wrong impression as to what "giving thanks" is all about. I thought it was about reflecting on the undeserved things that are good in your life, including the genetic and material fortunes of birth that almost everyone reading this certainly enjoys.

But from my own experience and that of pretty much everyone else that I talked too, "giving thanks" in the context of Thanksgiving Day in this country means gorging yourself and tolerating the company of people you wouldn't normally lend a pen to at work if they didn't happen to share more of your genetic code than the general population. And lots and lots of travelling.

Oh well. Live and learn.

Edit: Sorry for this post. I'm sure it represents only a small portion of the population, not even really including me, most of the time.

Happy Birthday to Me
I'm way behind on this stuff, so I'm going to be brief. Well, not brief brief, but its not going to be as lengthy as I had originally planned.

On November 23, I turned 33. I don't hit a prime age for another four years. I have Dad to blame for thinking about stuff like that. For some reason while I was growing up, special mention was made on a prime birthday. Primeless, my big day fell on a Sunday this year, which was nice. I always envied the kids who got to play hooky on their birthdays, and I never did. So not going anywhere on my birthday feels like skipping school to me, even now. It also meant that the girls were going bonkers on Saturday in anticipation of their birthday plans for me.

So we buckled, and they got to pony up on most of the presents a day early. I got some really neat stuff. And dinner was great. Gourmet!Joy spent, quite literally, hours over two days making my birthday cake: a chocolate-orange torte. Though it was less than an inch in thickness, it had several layers, including a rich chocolate filling, slivered almonds magically prepared, candied orange peel made from scratch, and a light chocolate crust. It was un-freaking-believable and rich beyond belief. I think it was the best dessert I've ever eaten.

Sunday morning, the kids climbed into our bed around 8 o'clock and lavished me with all the affectionate birthday-like attention that a father could ask for. Let me just say that I am treated wonderfully by Joy, Maddie and Lucy on every day of the week, and even more so on the weekends. We're all so happy to have unencumbered time together that it usually turns things up a notch or two on the nice-o-meter. But in my life so far, that Sunday is without compare in the sheer volume of love and good feelings bouncing around the house. It was so palpable that if you had brought Hitler's desiccated corpse into the place, it would have sat straight up and said "Ja. Sogar kann ich die lieben fühlen."

Great birthday. Fun presents. Incredible food. And man, was I feeling the love. (Speaking of which, if you've never checked out the artwork of my artistic alter-ego Harkyman, you should bop on over and take a look. And thanks to Jim Markham ten years ago for the slogan.)