Category Archives: Dimples
One of the many attributes that my daughter inherited from me was a love of reading. This can be good, but also has a bad side. We get addicted to books. We wallow in them. As a result, we both have the horrible habit of reading during meals. Since my husband is not a big reader, and it seems a bit rude to completely ignore him the few times a week he is able to join us for a meal, I established the “3-Person Rule.” When there are 3 or more people at the table, no one can be reading.
According to my daughter, this is the equivalent of being banished to Guantanomo. At least 3 times a week, it’s only the two of us at the table because I have to feed her before one of her extra-curricular events and my husband is not home, yet. So, she is happy. And I am happy. Because the book takes her mind off my bad cooking. And I get to read, too.
But when we have “family dinners”, she reads until I, the last one, finally sit down at the table, then glares at me, sighs dramatically, and pushes the book to the side.
That’s when it gets fun.
One of the many attributes that my daughter inherited from my husband was an aversion to small talk.
So, we sit in silence, the three of us, until my daughter says to me, “Don’t you have any stories to tell?” Not because she wants to hear them, but because she is bored. And she refuses to reveal anything about her personal life. And my husband just doesn’t really want to talk. So, it’s all on me – the woman forcing my family to socialize with each other.
And then I rack my brain for a story that I haven’t told a million times that’s appropriate to talk about at the dinner table.
My supply is being quickly depleted.
Today, I couldn’t think of anything. But, right when I ate my last bite (being a teacher who usually has 20 min. to eat, I’m always the first to finish), I remembered something. I regaled them with a true story from a book that I was reading. It involved someone who had been treated terribly as a child by his parents. Not exactly great table talk. But it was all I had.
“So, you see? You are so fortunate to have great parents like us!” I observed.
Without missing a beat, Dimples looked pointedly at my empty plate and said, in her best exasperated tone, “Who won’t leave the table even though they are done eating!”
Ah, the mistreatment that poor child has to endure.
Twenty years from now, she will show up for an appointment with some unsuspecting therapist who will be subjected to an hour of unrelenting anguished tales about the parents who abused her by forcing her to put down her book at the dinner table.
Oh, wait a second. No he won’t.
Because she’ll be too busy reading a book.
Well, it’s sex education time again in the Firepants household. This year, our daughter, Dimples, gets to keep us involved by asking us questions each night for homework. I dutifully answered last night’s questions, so I assigned her dad, Cap’n Firepants this evening’s responses. They were fairly innocuous questions, (“What do you remember about the friends you had when you were my age?”) so I felt like it was a fair request. While Dimples was interviewing him, I took a peek at the ones for tomorrow night, knowing the responsibility would fall back onto my shoulders. The theme for tomorrow seems to have something to do with self-confidence, asking questions like, “How did you feel about yourself when you were my age?” I think I can handle that.
Then I saw the ones for Friday night. Haha, Cap’n Firepants. You’re in for a treat…
“What do you know about sexually transmitted diseases?” I asked Cap’n Firepants right about the time he was feeling like he’d dodged a bullet with tonight’s interrogation.
“Nothing,” he said quickly. The teacher in me was about to reprimand him for lack of elaboration. Then I thought about it. What, exactly, is the right way to answer that question when asked by your 10 year old daughter? Is it better to claim ignorance than to risk implying that we know a bit too much? If I pass the buck to Cap’n Firepants, is he going to shame our family forever by saying too little or way too much? NOBODY WARNED ME THAT I WOULD STILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS INFORMATION 30 YEARS AFTER I TOOK THE CLASS.
Can someone do me a solid and slip me the crib notes?
Lately, I have been the unfortunate target of Well-Meaning People.
One of my students begged to help me after school every day for two weeks. Once he got all of his late work turned in, I finally accepted his offer. I needed to update a bunch of iPads, and his help was greatly appreciated.
You can see where this is going, right?
I’ll spare you the excruciating story. And I will tell you that iPads with cracked screens work surprisingly well – until someone complains about getting glass on her fingertips every time she swipes. Picky, picky.
Interestingly enough, the next incident also involved iTechnology. In this second story, my daughter is the well-meaning person. I’m not sure she was directing her well-meaning toward me or herself, but I guess that is not the point. Yesterday afternoon, she suddenly felt the extreme urge to clean something out. Instead of applying this new desire for minimalism to her closet or dresser drawers, she decided that she was going to clean out the Contacts on her iPod Touch.
“I got rid of all the people I don’t know,” she told me proudly.
It took a minute for me to recall that our devices are actually registered to the same account. And that the reason she had people she didn’t know under her Contacts was because I had added them to my Contacts at some point. And that the same Cloud that divvies out all of these names and numbers and addresses to all of my various pieces of technology just got a whole lot lighter when my daughter dumped all of the people who mean absolutely nothing to her, completely oblivious to the fact that they were there in the first place because they meant something to me.
And that. was. not. a. good. thing.
So, now, I can FaceTime whenever I like with the girl who sits next to her on the bus.
But I can’t call the doctor whose name I could never remember, which resulted in him being filed under “Stomach Guy.”
I hope the bus girl doesn’t charge for phone consultations about bloating and colonoscopies.
“And don’t tell anyone I’m in the bathroom,” I told my ten year old daughter. This was part of the litany of admonishments about things to not do while she is texting, Facetiming, or (god-forbid) actually answering the ancient phone sitting on our kitchen counter.
“Just tell them I’m busy,” I reminded her. Even though everyone my age knows that’s a euphemism for “she’s in the bathroom,” I was determined to pass on that specific phrase since I had learned it the hard way when I answered the phone as a child and was a bit too honest about the whereabouts of my own mother.
Not that anyone she speaks to even cares what I am doing.
So, the phone rang yesterday. I was (shocker, I know) cooking, so Dimples ran to answer.
“Hello?” Pause. “Hello-o-o?” A bit more insistent this time.
Telemarketer, I thought.
“Speaking,” Dimples said, a bit forcefully.
Why would a telemarketer be calling her? Or was Dimples just pretending to be me?
She listened for a moment.
Then she hung up.
“Um. Did they ask for you?” I asked.
“Okay. Did they ask for me?”
“No. They didn’t say anything.”
“Then, why did you say, ‘Speaking’?”
“Well, that’s what I always hear you say,” she said, shrugging.
After I stopped laughing, I explained that I only said that when someone asked for me by name – not as some kind of angry rebuke to the person on the other end of the phone for not bothering to respond when I answered.
“This is going on your blog, isn’t it?” she asked, as I continued to smile at the thought of her listening to my end of the conversation all of the years, and assuming I had to deal with stubborn silence every time I answered the phone.
“Only if you say it’s okay,” I grinned.
And she did.
While the rest of us were getting ready for the new school year, it occurred to my daughter, Dimples, that Wonderbutt might do better in his lessons with improved vision. He hasn’t asked for a locker chandelier, yet, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.
It became quite clear while we were on vacation that my child has led ten years of a very deprived life. Evidently, this is an ideal child-rearing strategy because it truly makes kids appreciate the simple things.
Chasing fireflies and a light-up frisbee in the dark, playing tetherball at the beach, and taking a satisfying nap in the rental car during a two-hour drive all completely delighted Dimples.
But nothing compared to the ultimate entertainment – the Whirlpool tub in the master bedroom of our condo.
Dimples is not deterred by the fact that this huge tub is in the master bathroom, which is connected to the master bedroom, which is not the bedroom in which she sleeps. Because she is not the master. This makes no difference to her because, by her estimation, these tubs are designed especially for her, and it is her intent to monopolize all use of the tub for the duration of our visit. Any plans that I may have of relaxing with a book and a glass of wine quickly take a back seat to Dimples’ tub schedule.
Just to give you an idea of her complete enjoyment of this amenity, here is a video I took on our last night there. I was standing outside the bathroom door as she reveled in her final bath. So, the video is of the door. So, really, it’s the audio that might be interesting. But there is a picture at the end. Because, despite all evidence to the contrary, I don’t believe in complete sensory deprivation.
It’s mildly disappointing to travel 900 miles in 2 and a half hours and find out you ended up exactly where you started. Particularly if you spent $1000 for the pleasure.
You may have surmised from the last post regarding the unceremonious deposit of Wonderbutt (and his sister, Mrs. P.I.B.) at the kennel that the Firepants family was about to embark on a vacation.
We live in Texas. We flew to Nashville for the first leg of our trip.
As we wandered around downtown Nashville, I had my camera ready for exotic pictures of this new locale. But it turns out Nashville is just like San Antonio – only more. It’s like someone turned on the Texas radio station in their Ford pickup and cranked up the volume full blast just to make sure the cows on the ranch in the next county could hear.
More cowboy hats.
More country music.
Same street names.
Same tourist traps.
I might as well have just stayed at home and taken a cab downtown for half the price.
I tried to hide my disappointment and to enthusiastically involve the family in my observations.
“Look! There’s a poor homeless person on the sidewalk playing a broken drum!” I’m pretty sure it’s the same guy I saw in SA three days ago.
And then I saw it. I jumped up and down (to the chagrin of my husband, Cap’n Firepants, who prefers to blend into the crowd).
“Look! Look!” I pointed to the novel sight – something we definitely do NOT have in San Antonio.
“What?” my 10-year-old daughter cried.
“A bar! On wheels! That you pedal! Down the street while you’re drinking!” I exclaimed.
Finally – something she can write about on her, “What I Did on Summer Vacation” essay.
Note to self: when you make your plans for Independence Day next year, make sure you have an Exit Strategy.
I happen to be a great planner. Let me rephrase that. I am a control freak who obsessively compulsively devises a step by step Outline for every Outing scheduled for our family. Independence Day is no exception.
“So, first we will arrive at the mall at 4:00, and get our prime parking spot. We will shop until 7 when the stores close, then eat at the restaurant where I have made reservations. We will take potty breaks after eating and then retire to the parking lot, where we will take out our chairs from the trunk of the car, and settle down to watch the wondrous display of fireworks provided by the amusement park next door without having to pay their entrance fee OR deal with their claustrophobic crowds.”
I must admit that the potty breaks were not in the initial Plan, but were wisely inserted by my husband and daughter.
Everything went according to the Plan. The problem was what had not been included in the Plan…
“Ouch, these ants keep biting me!” my daughter, Dimples, exclaimed. Apparently, our prime parking lot property was crawling with the critters, who seemed only interested in 10-year-old toes.
No problem. My husband, Cap’n Firepants, carved out a nice little spot in the trunk of the car for Dimples. And I tried not to concern myself with what the rest of the population of San Antonio, who had obviously posted some viral Tweet of my Plan and completely filled the parking lot , would think about a family who stashes their child in a car trunk.
Of course, once the fireworks started, Dimples realized her wonderful nest verged on child abuse due to the fact that it was facing the wrong way. This forced her to stand up to watch the display, which caused some grumbling and a donning of her father’s shoes in order to stave off any errant ants that might feel the need to crawl miles up the side of the car to feast upon her toes.
The show was great, and the entire parking lot of people seemed to experience a group camaraderie as we oohed and ahed over the “Lights of Liberty” for an exciting twenty minutes.
It was all well and good until it was over.
And that is where the Exit Strategy would have come in handy.
The problem was that, while everyone had arrived in the parking lot at different times, we all seemed to have the same Departure Time in mind. Which meant that no one. got to. leave. Ever.
I spent the next two hours picturing the havoc that a herd of zombies could easily wreak on a parking lot of people stubbornly glaring at the lanes of immobilized cars and willing them to move the f- out of the way. I realized that the same people who enjoyed a certain fellowship with me moments earlier would not hesitate to mow me down now just so they could get in line to leave ahead of me.
I contemplated how useful my fully charged iPad might be if I needed to fend off desperate mobs of people trying to get the bottled water we had stashed in the car.
Fortunately, it was not necessary to sacrifice my iPad, the bottled water, or my 10-year-old daughter. After two hours of complete congestion, the lines inexplicably began to move, and we finally arrived home, safe and sound and with great resolve to never go through that experience again.