Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Sunrise, Sunset

I have taken to (literally) pottering around the garden, the one place those who know and yet love me will never ever think to look for me. I wouldn’t even be caught dead outdoors, which would be a challenge when finding a burial plot for me, but that problem has been delegated to my very competent niece, who for some reason is greatly looking forward to planning my funeral. She even has the burgundy lipstick I requested at the ready.
But seriously, for a germaphobe like me, getting knee deep in mud was considered appalling. I’d only consider getting down and dirty, say if a BBQ rib eating contest was involved. Otherwise, bring on the Purell, I’m not touching anything. I hover around doors until someone opens them for me. Lately, however, I find myself dashing to the garden store instead of the mall.  When did buying succulents ever seem more fun than buying shoes?
Make no mistake; I have not gone all Zen in the membrane. You won’t find me in the garden practicing Tai Chi and trying to find my inner peace with a cup of green tea. That, I assure you, will never be me. Not that there is anything wrong with it, but by order of my general clumsiness I avoid hot beverages and any activity that could require standing on one foot.
Even walking is a challenge for me. When I was scouting for a suitable plot for my father’s remains, I was so busy trying to read tombstones to make sure he would have some suitable company that I tripped and fell into poor Mrs. Amarasuriya's grave.
The poor soul probably had no idea a complete stranger of epic proportions was planning on joining her into the ever after, and I’m sure she was not pleased to make my acquaintance.  My life is a series of such graceful moments and bad decisions. Perhaps that should be the title of my autobiography.
My latest lapse in judgment was just last month, when we finally took a vacation to San Diego. We went to the zoo, which appeared so large, it should probably have its own time zone, if not zip code. Lanes, my dizzyingly adorable seven year old, was fascinated by the sky tram that ran from one end of the premise to the other.  She begged and pleaded to go for a ride on it, but my sensible spouse, P, refused to join her.
He pretended he was tired, but the truth is that he is petrified of heights.  I was not so sure myself, but when it comes to Lanes, I do tend to give in to her whims and fancies. P calls that ‘getting into situations’. Plus, I wanted to encourage her adventurous spirit.  She is growing up fast and soon enough common sense, self-preservation, and my nagging high pitched voice in her head will make her think twice about having fun.
I reluctantly agreed, thinking it’s no big deal. In fact, it seemed like a fun mother-daughter activity. All I had to do was sit, and I know I’m plenty good at that, as the impression of my rear on our couch could prove. However, when the tram moved, sashayed and made rickety noises, I realized we were sitting in bucket, with no seat belt, no helmet, with only a pole in the middle to hold onto.
We were jet propelled across the sky, elements in our faces, on a glorified pail that swayed with the wind. Up, up, up and up we went, as high as the eagles fly.  Lanes squealed with delight. I noticed the elephants below looked like ants when I deigned to look out.  At that point I made the executive decision to not look out. Ever. 
I was swearing in my head with every cool breeze that tauntingly nudged the bucket, so I clung onto the pole for dear life. I began reprimanding myself for taking my one and only child, after all I only have a heir, not a spare, on this ride.
I started saying LOTS of prayers, much to Lanes’ confusion.  She didn’t know why I chose this very moment to have a religious revival. I made a promise that I would never go on that ride again if only we got off safely. The last person to get on the last life raft of the Titanic probably had the same expression I did when I got off.  
An hour later (since we got back to P on foot), P was laughing at me. I was about to collapse. Lanes was screeching ‘again, again’ and laughing at me with her father.  As P shook his head at my bad decisions, we heard an announcement asking patrons not to panic because the tram was stuck! If that happened while we were on it, I would have had a mother of all hyper ventilations and they would have had to send a chopper to rescue us, and I would have made it to the 4 o’clock news. That’s not how I envisioned landing on TV.

In other developments, my little puppy is growing up. Lanes has taken to searching for Taylor Swift songs on uTube. She came up to me and announced with great delight that her favorite artist can make bad boys good for a weekend. She wanted to know if that’s what I did with P. I knew Lanes was looking for a reaction, so I pretended to ignore it but inside I was gesticulating wildly and screaming with horror. 

We will have to monitor her monitor time closely because she found Swift singing at a Victoria’s Secret fashion show on line. She was watching it with rapt attention when I swooped down on her like a falcon snatching a bunny.  Lanes calmly said ‘oh but their wings are so beaaaaaaaaaautiful! Just don’t look at the underwear’.

Meanwhile, she is growing physically as well.  Lanes will need braces or spacers or something else that sounds like one of Santa’s rejected reindeer.  Her jaw is too small to accommodate her teeth.  This is yet another one of my delightful traits I have deemed fit to pass down to this poor child.  There should be a ‘do not swim’ sign and twenty life guards next to my gene pool.

Her orthodontist showed us a gadget which looked like a medieval torture device. Lanes was lounging on the dentist chair with her legs crossed at the ankles and her elbows relaxed on the arm rests, looking like she was flying first class to Hawaii. She was facing away from me, gazing out the window, probably waiting for a cold drink to be served to her, so she missed the look of dismay that was flashing across my face.

Like a cross between the village idiot and town crier, I wanted to flay around the place insisting that thing was not going in my baby’s mouth.  However, when I heard words like ‘restricted airway’ and ‘pulling teeth’, I realized it would be for the best. Lanes, bored with the view of the highway,  came to investigate and by some miracle decided the device was quite neat, but announced that she would much rather have some braces, preferably with color options.

Leave it to Lanes to request dental procedures like she was ordering from a menu. She was delighted when she found out she could have four braces for now. Meanwhile, P and I were about to collapse, hoping our dental coverage would be of some help with this entire procedure.

While we remain on the fence about this, Lanes is determined to get braces. No doubt she will try to wear us down with constantly asking for it. I must say, it’s quite an effective torture technique. With her growing up, almost every day is a battle of wills between mother and daughter. P, as usual, escapes the drama on account of his ‘selective’ deafness.

We went for an event at Lanes’ school, and all the second graders were asked to come up to a stage, where they were asked what happened to them when they got into trouble at home. Lanes, sitting on the front step with her feet going in different directions, hands on her chin, with her mouth wide open, looking the epitome of boredom, perked up immediately.

She caught my eye in the audience and she glared at me daringly, with a mischievous smirk playing on her lips. I couldn’t believe that after all the times we have told her to participate in school; this would be the first time she would listen to us.

My heartbeats sounded like a loud swirl in my chest, and I contemplated fainting and causing a diversion. I was too far in the row to run and pull the fire alarm. Other kids chimed in with innocuous comments such as ‘it’s ok, don’t do it again’, ‘thank you for saying sorry’. Who are these parents? Mr. Rodger’s neighbors? 

When Lanes is in trouble, I go up an octave, steam pops out from my ears, and my pony tail swivels around my head. There is usually most certainly a firework display to follow.  I definitely tend to join the crazy train when it comes to Lanes not listening to me.

Just a few weeks ago, she miraculously found her neon blue piggy bank, and despite my lengthy lectures on economics, Lanes insisted that every single penny must be spent on her next outing. She had scrimped and saved spare change so that she could buy an ice cream cone. That was her lofty goal when she was four years old. The pig went MIA, probably did a world tour, and voila was in our living room three years later.

We were all delighted for her when it resurfaced, and by the weight of the pennies, Lanes decided she was very rich. She had $5. With a little help of her father, she wound up with $8.  Ever one to get super entangled in my dealings, she wanted to come to the garden store and buy something for herself.

My nutty sister and her brood were visiting, so I thought it would be a fun activity for all of us. I pawned her off on my nieces and went to accumulate herbs for my next project. Lanes went about finding something for exactly $8, after I reminded her that there was such a horrid thing called taxes she should account for before making her purchase. She will make some credit card company very happy someday.

I was thankful she only had $8 and left it up to my nutty sister to deal with. When I found them at the cashier, my nutty sister was looking thunderstruck. Her eyes were wide and her eyebrows were so far up her head, they might as well have been an Alice band.

Lanes came running up to me saying she bought an ornamental duck for exactly $8. The duck was wearing a cute chef’s hat and apron—and a sign that said ‘I Kiss Better Than I Cook’.  Lanes was in fits of laughter as she told me it would be funnier if it said ‘I Cook Better Than I Kiss’.

The only consolation I had at that moment was knowing that when we relayed this story to P later and showed him the duck, he would look quite ill. The look on his face was classic.

He had the same expression he did the time when Lanes was a year and a half and our neighbor’s son, two months older than her came over with a flower and kissed her on the cheek. His mom and I ‘oohed’ and ‘awed’ at the cute Kodak moment, but P said ‘well that’s not necessary, it’s not necessary’. The teenage years should be fun!

Next time, accounts on the alleged secret life of my nutty sister's postman and my attempts to get back in shape. With that I must sign off. More musings from BC next time….

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