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August 23, 2004 - 1:05 pm


We donít have roosters. We have crack whores.

So sayeth John Sunday morning at 7:00 after a night of boozing. We had hoped to sleep in, seeiní as the kids were both sleeping over at a friendís house, but apparently the local business women had pressing matters to settle with their business managers, presumably regarding the inequity of the previous eveningís transactions.


We went to LaGrange to celebrate my dadís birthday Saturday afternoon and stopped off at Borderís for a gift card for him and a book for me. I got the card but couldnít find the book I was looking for, so I marched up to the counter to ask for help. There was only one other person waiting and six people behind the counter. Wow, I thought. This shouldnít take long. They all stared at me expectantly as I walked up, but no one asked if they could help me.

So I asked in my most cheerful voice, "Are all of you nice people just waiting back there to help me out?"

One guy spoke up. "Iíd be happy to help you out, but youíre on the wrong side of the counter if you need a book."

And so I was.

As my hollow head slowly filled with hot lava, all I could think to say was, "Well then. I guess we all know Iím a natural blonde, now, donít we?"

And I made my way around to the other side of the counter behind all those nice people to wait my turn. When I got to the front of the line I asked the woman to please put $25 on this gift card and she replied slowly and clearly that this was "an information desk, and someone at the checkout counter at the front of the store, where the cash registers are, would be happy to help you with that, you poor little thing." Okay, I added that last remark, but I could tell by her patronizing tone thatís what she was thinking.

In my defense, I really donít get out in the retail world that much. I shop for clothes twice a year, at most; I buy books and cdís on line. What else is there? Put me in the farmerís market or the grocery store, however, and Iím a machine. I could restock the shelves for the stock boys with my eyes tied behind my back. I can tell you what days they get their fresh flowers, bake their bread, and get their seafood. The deli ladies and I are on a first name basis. I just can't ever remember theirs.

Anyway, after my humiliation was complete, we decided to stop in at Smoothie King next to Borders. Now, John has been complaining lately that he is putting on a little padding around his middle and says his metabolism must be slowing down as he gets older because he canít understand what else it could be. So imagine my surprise when our family walks up to the counter and the guy points to John and says, "Large Chocolate HulK?" John gives the guy a "Dude! Shut UP!" look and tries to blow it off. I check the board and discover the Chocolate Hulk is a WEIGHT GAIN SMOOTHIE. Hmmm. I may be reaching, butÖWhen John handed the guy his "FREQUENT FLIER" card for the guy to punch, I couldnít keep quiet. I still canít.

While at my dadís I took the opportunity to swim laps in preparation for the triathlon Iím doing in three weeks. I set a goal of just fifteen minutes figuring if I canít swim for fifteen minutes, I should just forget about it. Can I just tell you? It kicked. my. ass. I did make it, although I was much humbled by the experience, considering the girl swam laps with me and was not ready to get out when I was.

Later Saturday night we went, sans kids, to the Decatur BBQ, Blues, and Bluegrass Festival, where there were lots of yuppies and lesbians bluesing about capital gains taxes and drinking expensive Belgian style blonde ale. It was really a great time, though, and it only got better when the kidsí area closed. Most people of the parental persuasion headed home and left the seriously low down like myself to carry on. I was gettiní my groove on to the band, and next to me there was this young couple with a 2 Ĺ year old child, whom they paid WAY too much attention to. You know these people: they have one child, and everything that child does is blessed by the angels in heaven, and they insist on tag-teaming every bit of his child rearing (you get the diaper, Iíll get the wet wipes. Iíll wash him, you dry him. You catch his poop, Iíll gold plate it.) Anyway, these two were in my way, dancing with their darling to the Tennessee Waltz which entailed each parent holding onto an arm and tossing junior in the air over and over and over, and gazing at him adoringly every single time. Gag. Iím not judging butÖokay, I am. What the hell is he doing up at 11:00 with a crowd of beer drinkers who have been going strong for six hours already? Sheesh.

In sadder news, we had a death in the family last week. Snapper the turtle, who was about 2" in diameter but a giant in personality, was taken from his outdoor play pen sometime Thursday afternoon and devoured raw, on the half shell, by Toulouse the cat.

The boy first found Snapper (whose name was originally Carl) in North Carolina last summer, and I had been his primary care giver since then (surprise, surprise). I made him a habitat to die for, took him to the vet, fed him countless worms sprinkled with calcium powder and cleaned the rocks in his pond every week. I loved that turtle. He was truly a god among reptiles. Fortunately, I found his remains before the boy did. I was so upset I cried all Friday night, remembering how we used to dance to bluegrass music together after everyone else had gone to bed.

Finally I broke the news to the boy as gently as I could on Saturday. Actually, I totally lied. I told him that Snapper had gotten out and had probably gone to live down by the stream in the back yard. As I was telling him I thought he was going to cry. He was quiet for a minute after I finished and then said brightly, "Could I get a parrot?"


reading - Desser the Best Ever Cat by Maggie Smith
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