Monday, September 21, 2009

It is a definite sign of the recession when on a Saturday night all the excitement in your life is hinging upon the late night bout of Monopoly. Not just any Monopoly. Lord of the Rings Trilogy Monopoly. Don’t judge me. I actually did read on MSN that some economy expert based his opinion of the recession status on the skyrocketing sales of board games. Some other guy based his on the sales of men’s underwear. These people are getting paid for this?!

Yes, once the babies are tucked away in their beds, the adults get their Monopoly on. I always wondered as a child what happened after I went to bed. You always knew that it was something soooo good and that’s why you wanted to stay up. Turns out, that may not have been the case. Personally, I always envisioned some type of cocktail hour. Of course my parents weren’t big drinkers and it’s also pretty doubtful that they were inviting two dozen people over at 8:30 at night just to have a very quiet evening of imbibing whiskey sours or Harvey Wallbangers or whatever the popular drink was at the time, wearing courdoroy sport coats with elbow patches and nylon tricot dresses. I paint quite a picture, don’t I?

But no, none of that likely happened. Now I know. Dave, Collin (live-in manny), and myself set up the board to continue a game of Monopoly. I had taken a picture of the board on my phone and everybody’s deeds and pieces went into separate bags. Yes, that’s how serious this was. Now somewhere along the way, the instructions and rules were lost. We know the basic rules and all so when a question would come up, we would decide on the answer that made the most sense and benefitted us all the most. Because of this, no one mortgaged anything, but all of a sudden we were all recreational loan sharks. “You can’t pay the $390 rent on my property? Pay me $100 now and I’ll take your next two $200 pass and go.” Apparently interest also mounted in those kind of transactions. No money? What kind of properties do you have that I need? You can keep your houses but give me the deed; put the houses on something else.

When you’re playing with only three people, it can get somewhat brutal. As luck would have it, there’s usually at least one person who ends up owning half the board. Then they put houses and hotels (or strongholds and fortresses, in LOTR Monopoly) all over the place. Next thing you know, you’re paying $785 rent on a space whose rent used to be $26. Wow, just like the real world.

After so many turns with the jacked-up rent payments, you start to get somewhat surly. At least this was the case with us. Dave managed to buy out more than half the board and had plopped fortresses on just about every one of them. My money was running out quickly even though I had a good many properties myself. No one was landing on my stuff, they kept landing on the ones where you have to draw a card. That doesn’t help me. During this particular game I started to get a little miffed that every time I would roll the dice I would have to fork over more of my money to Dave. Seemed like every turn would be more of my money gone to Dave. So I started to be a little less than cordial. Collin was in the same boat as I was. He was down to four deeds and twelve dollars.

Finally Collin and I called the game because we were tired of giving our money to Dave. And he never could figure out why I was looking at him all mean.

Next week it’s ‘80’S Trivial Pursuit.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

So sorry for the literary lull in the past few weeks. Again, out of stuff to say. I need to get out more.

Well, in fact, I did happen to get out this past Monday. I had to grocery shop. That’s right. So you know what kind of an adventure that is. Dave was unavoidably detained (practice, ha) so I had to pack up both babies and shop alone. NOW what kind of adventure do you smell? After complaining about it to myself for a little while I decided that I could do it. Then I called The Chicken to accompany me. Hey, ya gotta do what ya gotta do. You try taking an 18 month old and a 5 month old grocery shopping by yourself. Dave swears it’s not hard. He’s never done it, but I’m sure if he did he’d still say how easy it was, even if Sully comes home missing a diaper and Connor is smothered in picante sauce, wearing one shoe, and carrying a kumquat. He’d never admit it if he had trouble. (Not to say that there’s anything wrong with kumquats; I believe my grandfather used to call me one, in fact. That, and a bluejay’s tail.)

That’s one of the ways we differ. If I never admitted to having had trouble, let’s face it, I’d have nothing to write. Well, I don’t have enough to write as it is. My self-deprecation is all I have.

So I saddled up the babies and moseyed along to Kroger. By the time we got there Sully was asleep. I wasn’t about to wake him up just to stuff him in a Snugli. So Connor went in the seat in the cart and Sully, still in the carseat, went in the cargo area. Hmm, not much room for groceries. He may have to hold some tortillas or something. Or a kumquat perhaps. The Chicken and Hannah were waiting in front of the grossly overpriced organic produce, otherwise known as that stuff I can’t afford.

The Chicken had been wise and gotten the cart with a car affixed to the front for little children to sit in. Connor kept leaning over the side of the cart to grin at Hannah and they’d both cackle. So we had to keep the buggies lined up with each other, which the other shoppers just LOVED, I’m sure. Sully was still asleep.

Connor kept trying to climb out of the cart so, since there were two seatbelts in the car, we plunked him in it next to Hannah. Then we made a bet as to how long it would take before he had to be removed from it. The two of them thought it was great fun for a while. It’s always fun until someone gets bitten. We don’t know why it happened, but it did. It could have been unprovoked or Hannah could have poked him in the eye, there’s no way to know.

So I stood at the deli counter and The Chicken wheeled Hannah and Connor to the bakery in search of something for Connor to bite that wouldn’t tell on him for it. I don’t blame her, I’d tell, too. Actually, I’d like to but I have no one to tell. It’s hard to tattle on someone when you’re the one who’s supposed to fix it. They came back holding some kind of lemon doodle muffin top deluxe. Don’t go looking for them; I don’t think that’s what’s printed on the package. Either way, it worked.

Sully woke up while I was getting my turkey sliced. And we continued, picking stuff up and placing it around the carseat. By the time we hit the Canadian bacon Connor had thrown his cookie to the floor of the car and Hannah had stomped it. Then he bit her. Again. Yes, I have THAT kid. That was when he got moved back to the seat in my cart.

Now rarely having taken my children shopping without Dave, there are some things that had not yet occurred to me. For example, as I was picking out bread I pushed the buggy to the side out of the way. When I turned back around, Connor had raked three boxes of Little Debbie football shaped brownies into the seat with him and was holding S’Mores. Remember: Do not place child too near shelves or you will end up with things you didn’t know you bought, ie, cornichons, capers, cocktail onions, and little bottles of ketchup. I did let him keep one box of brownies, though.

After I stacked as much as I could around Sully, stuff started to fall on him. So we unearthed him from my cart and transplanted him in The Chicken’s cart; all of her groceries came to my buggy. Soon, The Chicken was both holding Sully and pushing the cart. No simple task, I might add.

We were about three quarters of the way done, all the way to the cheese. I picked up some Monterrey and Pepper Jack and tossed them in. I was edging toward the eggs when The Chicken got my attention. Connor had reached back, grabbed one of the blocks of cheese, and bitten through the wrapper into the cheese. The Pepper Jack. I snatched it from him and went to get a fresh one, all the while he made faces and said “Hot!”

Perhaps this is a good time to add that Connor has a habit of grabbing whatever he can from where he is sitting and chewing on it. Wedge of cheese, bag of frozen crinkle fries, Hot Pockets, what have you. Packaging means nothing to him except a little extra chewy bland taste.

About that time Nonnie showed up and found her brother, my uncle Mike, so she dragged him over. The Chicken deposited Sully with Mike. We talked for a little while as Connor pointed at the drinks and said “Dink” and “Co-Co”. (Co-Co is Coke.) It was getting late and he was getting ornery and whiny. So much so that I wanted to just smack upside the head with a Fresca. But I didn’t.

I needed something on the next aisle so I left Sully and everyone else to finish up. As I reached for a container of almonds, I turned to see that Connor had purloined the bottle of Dawn and had a sip. Not a second later, he erupted. He threw up twice right there in the salty snack aisle, Aisle 13. That’s what you get for drinking dish soap!

Now as an interesting aside here, before I had children the thought never crossed my mind to instinctually catch anyone’s vomit. The reflex was to back up always. Having kids has now made that reflex to lurch forward, which I did. I can’t say that I’m fond of it. Now that I think about it, why catch it? What will it help? What are you going to do with it? I have no idea.

I asked a lady nearby if she would just stand and watch Connor, still shuddering from the taste of regurgitated Goldfish and Mountain Spring Dawn. I trotted to the next aisle and enlisted help of The Chicken, who went to the customer service desk for a clean-up team. I grabbed Sully’s spit-up cloth and wiped Connor down, and also the cart handle, and the diaper bag that was under him and in the line of fire. Then I backed up the cart and got out of the puddle of yuck. The second eww factor here: Some other guy shopping didn’t notice it and rolled right through it, never looked down.

So vomiting soap seemed to quiet him down. Not that I want to start using it as an actual remedy, but at that time it worked. I kept waiting on him to start burping foam. It never happened, but there were a few little bubbles on his tongue. After that I went to get in line to check-out. There were two lines open and about three people in each line. I waited and waited and waited. I had to grab a pack of Reese’s to give to Connor to pacify him, oh, and to get the taste out of his mouth.

Finally, Nonnie, The Chicken, Hannah, and Sully joined me. It was taking so long they got Connor and went outside. Ah, precious alone time. I don’t care if I was standing in line at Kroger, to me it was quiet. I kept waiting on the women in front of me to be done unloading her groceries. I swear her cart must have had a false bottom. She bought, like, $600 worth of stuff.

Eventually it was my turn. Mr. Checkout Dude had scanned enough stuff so that there was no more room behind him and also no bagger. I offered to bag my own groceries just to keep it moving. So that’s what I did. I started bagging stuff and slapping Kroger stickers on the big stuff, moving pretty quick. He was impressed apparently. How hard is it, really?

So at least I know that if the Board of Education ever goes under, I’ll have a good paying job at Kroger.