Month: November 2011

My granddaughter’s a girl!

When the Snaotheus Bunch were up for my birthday a couple of weeks ago, Honorable Granddaughter Chilkat discovered one of the manually operated fans that go everywhere with me. These are, evidently, an oddity so near extinction that strange children will walk up to me and ask what they are. Toddlers who can’t ask simply stand and stare at the fan in motion. They seem entranced by the fact that a not-electrical device can blow air over your face.

But I digress. Chilkat sat on the couch, holding the fan. I sat next to her, on tenterhooks, while her mom sat on the other end and nonchalantly did whatever she was doing. Having experience of three successive babies, I was alert for the first r-r-rip of the fan, expecting her wee little hands to pull it apart rather than go with the sideways open/close motion.

Chilkat turned it around and around in her hands, inspecting it closely.

She moved it back and forth. She moved it up and down.

She pulled one edge piece to the side. The fan opened. Her eyes lit up. She pushed the edge piece in the opposite direction. The fan closed.

She giggled.

And she repeated the sequence.

Open . . . close.

Open . . . close.

Open . . . close.

By this time, I was practically biting my fingertips, awaiting that big sideways r-r-i-p-p-p.

Open . . . close.

Open . . . close.

This continued for some time; long enough for my Mental Baby Behavior Pattern Monitor to send up an alert: Warning! Warning! Infant behaving outside expected parameters! Warning!

Open . . . close.

Open . . . close.

What is this? I wondered. Any of my kids would have ripped it apart by now. . .

Mental Baby Behavior Pattern Monitor went into high gear, digging through ancient files to seek an explanation for this unusual behavior.

Open . . . close.

Open . . . close.

MBBPM popped a card up from the deck.

Aha! Got it! Delighta is a girl!

The babies I have experience with were boys (boyoboy, were they boys). Boys’ El Destructo modes flip on way sooner, and with way more force.

Open . . . close.

This is gonna be fun. Yep. 🙂

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Like Mark Twain said. . .

. . . reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.

My friend Ann called yesterday evening.

“I got home today to find a message on my voice mail from your mom. Um, I know she’s not really, well, with it mentally, so I took it with a grain of salt, but. . . did you know she thinks you’re dead?”

“She what?!?”

“I didn’t quite get it all, but it sounds like she thinks you’re dead.”

I checked the incoming call list. Nothing from Mom. I called Mom. No answer (no surprise). I tried again, several times over the next hour or two. After all, I’d just seen her the day before.

Eventually, I called the nurses and told them what I knew of the situation. They laughed, said she was in the activity room watching a movie (my mother? Watching a movie?!), they hadn’t heard her express any worry about me, and they wouldn’t bring it up unless she did, since we all assumed she’d forget about it by the time the movie was over. I called Mom a few more times after that but didn’t get her. Again, no surprise.

Nine p.m. and the phone rings (she’s usually logging zzzs by 8 p.m.). It’s Mom. I pick up the receiver and say hi.

“Rob?” she croaks. “Is that you?”

“Um, this is your daughter,” I said. “Why were you calling Rob?”

“My daughter?!? Anna?? Is that you?!?”

“Yes, Mom, it’s me.”

“Oh, you’re alive! Are you really alive? Are you in the hospital?”

“No, I’m fine. I’m at home. Nothing’s wrong. Nothing’s happened.”

Turns out she’d “had a vision” that I’d been in “a ter-r-rible car accident” (you have to read that with her solemn intonation to get the full effect) and been killed. She’d been looking up phone numbers “all day long” (which could really mean all day, or just the last couple of hours) and calling my friends to ask if they knew I was dead. Fortunately, Ann called or I’d never have known, because Mom did not try calling me (or at least she didn’t think she did).

Obviously that would have been useless, since I was dead. :wry grin:

Except for the fact that the poor dear was frantic, it’s kinda funny; but my goodness, how she must have been frightened. What makes me squint is her use of the word “vision.” It was probably a vivid nightmare, but. . . as my friend Rick and I were discussing, there is that filter in your mind that tells you whether something’s real or imaginary. Apparently poor ol’ Grandma’s is either stretched to its limit, breaking, or done gone. Sigh.

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This. Is. Bellingham.

“Nice basket o’ squash you got there,” said the wine-and-beer guy at Haggen’s.

“Thanks,” I replied, looking down at my pile-o-squashes in the basket.

“Or wait,” he added. “Should that be squashes?”

Ensued a lengthy conversation about changing language, descriptive vs. prescriptive language-use sources, and the evils of a language lacking a neuter pronoun (which results in constructions such as “any person can eat if they want to,” which remains up there near the top on my Gharstly Pet Peeve List), with an intelligent, articulate guy who has at least one graduate degree in French. Working in the booze section at the grocery store.

Thing is, you can find these kinds of people all over town, a lot of them with PhDs in something-or-other. It’s part of our charm.

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