Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Clownish


This winter, my coat of choice is a magenta knee-length pea coat. I like my outerwear to have a strong visual impact. (Maybe it's because I'm short?) You'll never, never, never ever never catch me in a boring tan trench. Here's a picture of me in my coat. You can't see how long it is but you can see my super-flat, super-dry hair. Winter is here, and it is staticky.

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The new Mrs. B at the kids' school (not to be confused with the former Ms. B, who recently retired) can make balloon animals and occasionally the girls, at the end of the day, have in addition to their jackets (and now hats and scarves and mittens) and backpacks and art projects and other paraphernalia, balloon animals. I suspect that the new Mrs. B pulls out this party trick at the end of long days when the wild rumpus has carried on into the headache zone.

Thanks to the winter that finally descended on us, this is how pack-up now goes:

-pack your bag

-get your jacket

-get your papers and projects in a pile

-put on your jacket

-put on your hat and scarf and mittens

-yes, you do, it's freezing outside

-yes, you do, too

-get your backpack on and grab your pile of papers while I get your brother

-and your balloon animal. Of course.

-yes, you, too

And then I get G and I squish his head into his hat and I squash his fists into his mittens and I zip his jacket and I hop over the baby room gate and I say, "c'mon girls, ready?" and they run outside and squeal at how cold it is and I beep-beep unlock the car and they clamor in from the right and I walk around to the left and I squoosh G into his straps and I beg, "girls, please! It's freezing! Start your straps."

They never do, though. In the shelter of the car, they each take off their hat and scarf and mittens and jacket and throw it all into the front seat, and then they throw their papers on top of that, and on days of good fortune, their balloon animals on top of all that, and then they sit in their seats and start to buckle their straps.

And you may be wondering, as I have: for the ten yards that they are actually outdoors, is it even worth it?

But that's not the point of this post.

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I have, recently, become obsessed with a little DIY project. If it turns out well you'll hear about it soon; otherwise it shall never be mentioned again. This project brought me, earlier this week, using my lunch hour to visit one of those enormous, orange, home-improvement stores because I desperately need navy and silver spray paint, and some bolt cutters. Also, the night before I spent far too great a percentage of darkness in L's bed, snuggling her through some nightmares in one of the rare times that I was her preferred parent, and I discovered that her large window is drafty and cold, so I picked up a few rolls of weather stripping.

I walked deliberately through much of this enormous store, just a busy working woman on a quick lunch errand, traveling through the weather-proofing, tools and paint sections, with a quick detour to daydream over kitchen flooring ideas. I went through self-checkout, which is in fact not self-directed when one buys spray paint and must verify that one is old enough to buy spray paint. I walked out the automatic doors and I crossed most of the parking lot when I noticed two men who were walking towards the automatic doors and sort of staring at me. I smiled my best "I'm polite but that doesn't mean you should talk to me" small smile but the one on the left spoke anyway.

"Ma'am," he said, "you dropped your balloon."

I looked at him blankly and he pointed to about ten feet behind me, where in the middle of the parking lot lay Mrs. B's latest gift to my first-born, a pastel blue dog.

{Flashback: as I got out of the car to enter the store my long coat swept across something in the passenger seat. I didn't see anything or feel anything as I brushed my behind, and got out of the car thinking nothing of it.}

{Sudden realization: I just walked a mile of home improvement store aisles with a blue balloon animal climbing off of my magenta backside.}

"Oh," I said casually. "Thank you. My daughter would certainly be upset if I lost that."

I backtracked, and then I carried my spray paint and my bolt cutters and my weather-stripping and, of course, the balloon animal very quickly through the cold, dry air to the car.

I deposited them all in the trunk -- not on the front seat. Pin It