Not So Simple

Yesterday, I was scheduled to sit at the desk in the museum, so I rode to work with my husband. When he was late leaving his office due to a telephone conference, I, of course, had to wait for him, which isn’t usually a problem. But last night I had to attend practice for our Christmas program.

So, our answer to the dilemma of cooking and eating dinner in the fifteen minutes I would have at home was to grab a pizza from a convenience store between work and home.

Apparently, that was the incorrect answer.

Because, while waiting in line to pick up the pizza, we heard the following discussion from the two in the kitchen:

“They ordered a large sausage and pepperoni.”

“The pepperoni pizzas are there. The sausage pizzas should be finished in a moment.”

“No, they wanted sausage and pepperoni on the same pizza.”

“On the same pizza? Maybe the sausage is hiding under the pepperoni.”

Two heads bent over a large pizza, as they sliced through the cheese in the hopes of discovering disguised sausage.

“I remember making sausage and pepperoni.”

Finally, the two had to concede that they evidently had no large pizza with both sausage and pepperoni to give us, but they would immediately start one. And they offered us the bill so we could go ahead and pay and lessen our extended wait by a few minutes, anyway.

But as we were standing at the cash register, from the kitchen we heard, “So . . . sausage and pepperoni? One sausage, one pepperoni? Oh, on the same pizza?”

Although my husband’s eyes bugged out a little, he waited until we were back in the car to burst into laughter.

So simple. And yet, apparently, so complicated.

Just like life.

Well, my life anyway.

And that’s why I laugh.

 

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Barbecue Sauce with Compliments

Last night, I prepared roast beef with potatoes and carrots for dinner for probably only about the third or fourth time in my life. Then I remembered why I rarely made the dish.

Younger is not a dedicated fan of roast beef.

“I don’t hate it, Mom,” he assured me with a shrug. “I just don’t really like it.”

But then, later, as I worked on my computer, engrossed in writing a Christmas play, Younger wandered into the living room. “Mom, the reason I don’t really care for roast beef is because I feel like you chew it and chew it then finally just have to give up and swallow,” he told me. “But –”

And with the upturn in his voice, I was totally preparing myself for him to tell me my roast beef was chewable, a compliment of sorts, one I would have accepted, as I have no illusions of myself as a cook.

I straightened my shoulders a little.

I started to smile.

“But,” he continued, “if you put a little barbecue sauce on it, it just slides right down.”

Some sons brag on their mommas’ cooking.

Mine, they apparently suggest barbecue sauce to help it all go down.

That’s lovely.

Just absolutely, perfectly, fine-and-dandy lovely.

The Philosophy of Life

So, Monday was the first day of Younger’s senior year. Monday, the day of the solar eclipse. The solar eclipse that Younger wanted to travel to see in totality.

Instead, he had to settle for a ninety-eight percent solar eclipse.

So, early Monday, standing outside his bedroom door, I took a deep breath then rapped my knuckles lightly against the wood. “Morning,” I sang lightly, poking my head in.

“Hmmph,” I heard from the pile of bedcovers.

“Hey, Younger, if you get ready quickly, I can take you to breakfast before school.”

One eye appeared, blinking at the light. “McDonald’s?”

And for a few brief moments, I was pleased that I had brightened his day just a bit. But, once he was begrudgingly prepared to venture toward his last high school year, I could not find my car keys.

You need keys to venture.

So, instead, after frantically searching for several minutes, I grabbed the keys to our 1996 Ford F-150. A bit of a rougher ride than the car. But, except for the steering wheel cover that long ago degraded into sticky rubber particles, not a completely bad drive.

Well, and except for that forgotten refrigerator in the back.

“I’m not getting McDonald’s, am I?” Younger commented as we stood shoulder to shoulder staring at the freezer door wedged at an awkward and askew angle between the refrigerator and tire well.

But we embraced our inner redneck and climbed into the ancient truck, not getting above fourth gear during the entire thirteen miles. But we, eventually, arrived successfully at the stoplight in front of the school.

“At least we beat the traffic,” Younger managed a bit of optimism.

“Yeah,” I glanced at the lo-ooo-ong line of cars snaking behind us and turned into the parking lot with a sigh. “Yeah, well, we might have actually been traffic.”

As he slid from the truck seat, Younger hiked his backpack onto his shoulder. “It could have been worse. That’s about all I can say about it.”

I think, sometimes, that is the philosophy of life.

It could have been worse.

And that’s about all I can say about it.

 

 

 

Balancing Act

Younger had to entertain himself last night at the restaurant. So he begged a penny off of me and confiscated both of our forks.

Balancing Forks 2

He then trapped the penny between the tines of the two forks, pointing in opposite directions, then balanced his creation on the lip of his soda mug.

Balancing Forks 1

He was impressed with himself.

I asked him, “Do you know how many hands have touched that penny? And now that penny is wedged into my fork?”

“Well,” he drawled, “after a while, the number of hands is immaterial.”

He’s not nearly as clever as he thinks he is.

Well, he might be as clever as he thinks he is.

But he’s not as funny as he thinks he is.

I better not die laughing, anyway.

What Have We Learned Today

I am in the middle of grading first and second drafts of final essays and am not finding my family amusing at all, so I thought I would share an old story from 2005 when Younger first started his educational career . . .

Last year, at our conference with Elder’s teacher, she announced, “I have learned so much.”  But with Younger we heard stories such as when his kindergarten teacher explained that the principal would take the Good Citizen to McDonald’s, Younger told her, “Now, when you said that about McDonald’s, you re-ee-eally got my attention.”

And when another kid was apparently poking him relentlessly with a pencil, Younger announced, “Now, I’ve asked him nicely to quit, but if he don’t quit pretty quick, it ain’t gonna be so nice.”

We pray that all of his teachers will have a sense of humor.

And a lot of patience.

What Does Tomorrow Matter

Today, I thought I would share an old story from 2006. Younger would have been seven years old . . .

Younger does not like chicken.  Not even a little.  And mashed potatoes are only a little higher on his list.  So, yesterday, at school, for lunch, he ate grapes.  Then he wanted Pop Tarts immediately upon his arrival at home.  Instead, I fixed him a plate of leftovers – meatloaf and corn.  And, later, when he was still hungry, he consumed a corn muffin.

I thought he had been appeased.  But, apparently, I was temporarily insane, from which I was cured at bedtime when Younger’s caterwauling echoed through the house.

“Younger.”  My husband stuck his head in the boy’s bedroom.  “What is wrong now?”

“I’m hungry,” he wailed.

“I’m sorry,” my husband responded, leaving the child to persevere in his attempt at pitiful moaning.

But after a few more minutes of his racket, I climbed the stairs.  “Younger, I want you to stop.  Now.  Or you won’t be able to play Nintendo tomorrow.”

“What does tomorrow matter,” he cried dramatically,  “when I’ll starve to death tonight?”

And it was at that point that even I started to doubt he would live until morning.

Mug Shot

On Tuesday, Elder skipped class to participate in his first presidential election then met me for a quick meal at his favorite sandwich shop.

Standing in the line at the counter, I tilted my head, eyeing him. “You need a haircut, Elder,” I told him, despite my best intentions. Usually, I try to leave minor decisions to the boys, so that my voice is heard on the major ones. But seriously. With his long, wild, frizzy curls and scruffy, full beard, he looked like he had just emerged from the woods after a six-month hibernation. I did manage to add the conciliatory, “At least a trim.”

“Yeah,” he agreed, easily. “But I probably won’t have time to come back home until Thanksgiving break.”

“You can find a place in Columbia,” I suggested.

He shook his head. “Nope,” he pronounced, a simple statement of loyalty to the one who has cut his hair for the last five years or more. “Besides, at least now people can recognize me from over a block away.”

Which, I guess, means he doesn’t intend to rob a bank or participate in any other nefarious activity where recognition is a disadvantage.

So, you know, that’s a relief.