Archive | June, 2010

the milano skirmish

22 Jun

On Monday, the swimming pool is closed.  Which means that we have no entertainment and no supper.  Because I have decided to see how long I can go without turning on the oven this summer.  It is simply too hot at 100 degrees to walk into my office parking lot, enter a broiling car, drive home in the heat because the car hasn’t cooled off until right when I pull into the driveway.  Then I have to brave the 100 degrees again to get into the house, and after all that, ain’t no way I am turning on the oven.  I already am an oven.

So tonight for supper I served popcorn and watermelon.  On my bed while Anna and Henry watched Benji.  I almost never urge them to watch something on TV, but Benji is a classic, and it was 100 degrees.  And Anna requested popcorn.  Henry requested watermelon and apple juice.  Wade, as you would expect, was at Joseph’s house.  After the movie was over and Anna wanted to know “what’s for supper?” I fixed a paper plate of artfully arranged ritz crackers and gouda.  they loved it.

Anything that I could conceive of preparing or picking up sounded so HOT, and after all, they were happy.  I read a book about budget living one time (yes, really.  I will read anything.) and the author is a grandmother and she said “when did we decide that a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and an apple isn’t a nutritious supper?”  And I completely agree with her.  As if I am doing their little bodies a favor by getting them a McDonald’s happy meal or a  wacky pack from Sonic.  Our thoughts about what constitutes nourishment are so bizarre in American society.

My greatest cooking failure as a mother is breakfast. I stay up too late thanks to the internet and I rarely sleep through the night thanks to Henry and his night wanderings.  So I have a hard time getting up in the mornings, and once I do, it is a race to get myself plus three children ready to go.  I usually have help in the form of Miss Pat or my mother-in-law, who is reportedly looking very, very tired in the mornings.  But when they are not here to pack lunches and provide breakfast, we just do the best we can.  Which is how the now-famous “Milano Skirmish” occurred.

Because Henry idolizes Wade, he picked up on Wade’s total and complete fetish for Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies.  Wade doesn’t ever eat anything and I live in constant fear that he will blow away with the tumbleweeds in West Texas, but if he sees a new bag of Milanos (orange, mint, milk chocolate, double chocolate, original – doesn’t matter – it’s all the same to him), he doesn’t set it down until every last Milano is GONE.  I don’t know whether 12 or 16 come in a bag, and I will probably never know because I only see the bag in the grocery store, and then empty in the garbage can.  As far as I know, Wade takes them into his room straight from the grocery bag.  he is serious about his Milanos.

The other morning I heard a ruckus, and I emerged from my chamber, half-dressed, to impart some gentle motherly wisdom about sharing or loving or helping or something else noble.  What I saw was Wade screaming at Henry (which NEVER happens) because Henry would not let go of the bag of Milanos.  I grabbed Henry and yelled “QUICK! WADE – get the bag!” and he did.  Then Henry was screaming.  But I went on back to my room to continue dressing.  Then I heard Wade yelling at Anna.  When I came out again to sweetly inquire as to the nature of the problem, Wade was beside himself.  It seems that Anna had thrown away a perfectly good Milano cookie. 

I asked her to explain, because in this house we do not throw away cookies.  There is always someone who hasn’t had breakfast – child, dog, Mom.  Anna explained that Henry had already bitten off the Milano that Wade had handed to her.  I said “I don’t care.  That is a perfectly good Milano.  Now I expect you to get it out of the garbage can and eat it (as long as it wasn’t touching anything yucky).

She was a trooper and responded with “I’m sorry, Mom.  I won’t do it again.”  And then she ate it.

I wonder how the old folks are tonight

2 Jun

Tomorrow my parents are traveling to “the city” (as we metropolitan types like to call it) to celebrate 42 years of wedded bliss.  This is a marriage that has weathered all the challenges you would expect and then some.  Some of the points of contention that *I* remember (and I am sure I was not privy to most of them) were the great soccer-ball-picture-frame plan; the duck-hunting lease or purchase that my mom fondly named the “duck hole”, as in “I can’t believe you want to throw all our money down a duck hole AND invite all your hunting buddies over for breakfast at 4:00 a.m. all winter long”; the skilfull raising of two perfect children; my mom’s legal re-adoption of her maiden name after at least 20 years of marriage; wacky in-laws; friends’ divorces; grown children’s crises and heartbreak; house renovation and homebuilding tribulations; transatlantic moves; military service; numerous puppies; grandchildren; dramatic family vacations; medical school and residency; my mom’s master’s degree in history and her plan to move away from all of us to attend law school; illnesses and surgeries; bad habits; investment disasters; IRS audits; and business break-ups.

I think they have just sailed right through.  Thanks in large part to what I consider a reluctance to discuss the ugly things.  In my family, we may throw out a barb here and there, but if no one catches it, looks it over, and says “just what exactly do you mean by THAT?!?” then it never really happened. 

What do I know? I am just a child of the marriage.  I am sure that the real skeletons are still being kept from me, but I do know that they have made it look easy, and if there’s one thing I know for certain, it is that marriage for any length of time ain’t easy.  Congratulations on such a big accomplishment.  I hope you have at least 42 more great years.