Tuesday, April 08, 2008

In which I still fail to get drunk

Now, see, this illustrates a concern I have with white-bread ethnocentric America.


The map shows the recognized boundaries of North American countries circa 1847. Yes, folks, California, Arizona, Colorado, and even, indeed, Texas did once belong to Mexico, and before that Spain, and before that various Native American nations. And let’s not forget that once, even Russia had vested interests in 1800’s western North America south of the 54th parallel.

Apparently, some folks ‘round these parts are up in arms that a capitalist, free-economy company dared to advertise to their market audience in Mexico with an historically accurate cartographic representation of North America about 150 years ago. Hey, we weren’t always all about Mom, apple pie, and Arab land-holdings. Once, we were just along the eastern seaboard, you know, where all those Liberals live. Texas, folks, remember the Alamo? Yah, hey, you remember it because Texas was part of MEXICO, lads. What, you thought Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie were tryin’ to build a fence to keep the wetbacks out? I don’t see the Guyanan’s all atizzy because they aren’t shown separated from Venezuela on the map, either, but we all know they’re lazy communist cocaine growers anyways, right?

Now, aside from the very rare rum-laced concoction, I don’t drink alcohol, and I wouldn’t be drinking vodka should I ever decide to imbibe more. So, I’m not about to start driving under the influence just to show solidarity towards North American-historically-informed Swedes and thumb my nose at Americans ignorant of their own freakin’ history. Instead, I’ll just complain and grumble here. I’m all for getting more drunks off the road and into a more functional, rational lifestyle, so I encourage these misanthropes to go ahead with their boycott and stop drinking Absolut vodka. I rally them to go even further and stop drinking their imported Mexican tequila, Canadian beer, English ale, French wine, and Japanese sake. While they’re at it, why not stop guzzling the homegrown moonshine and Bud Light. Maybe they’ll get a clear enough head to pick up a book and LEARN something.


Friday, April 04, 2008

You're a true -ooh-oooooh-oooooh Mom

So, I went to WalMart last night. It was a furtive pilgrimage. Unlike the Hajj for millions of people, I make every attempt to avoid a trip to the Red Plague. Only under extreme duress and need do I dare cross the threshold, and always, my first thought is, "Where are the greeters?"

Funny, that. Do they still have them?

BigFeet is the latest victim of the flu at our house. It's making the rounds slowly, just as one person is on the road to recovery, the next person comes down with the telltale chills and hacking cough. So, in an attempt to give him a break, I took the kids to the recently-reprieved McDonalds in town.

It wasn't so long ago McDonalds was visited by the Littlefeat clan even less than WalMart. We'd tease the kids as we were headed "into town" across the pass that we were going to McDonalds for dinner. They hated it. The old McDonalds in our little-ish town (is a small town defined by having only one McDonalds?) was dingy, dirty, roach-infested, and had a climate control system in the two-story playland that never worked. This is a bad thing for a two-story greenhouse in August in the Mojave Desert. McDonalds was a place to be feared, loathed, and used as a threat like the boogeyman.

Then, they razed the old McDonalds and built a brand-spankin' new one right next door. We can now park where the old playland used to be using our own car's air conditioner to stay cool, stroll through the footprint of the deepfryer with nary a burn, even eat some edible food in a picnic where the kitchen used to be..... if picnicing in a parking lot is your thing.

Not too long ago, as the elder two were at a birthday party, I had taken S to a craft show at the rec center, and then decided it's now or never, let's give the new playland a chance. At least she wouldn't cry and beg to be dropped off on the side of the road before ever going into the building. I believe it was her first ever visit to the Golden Arches. She loved it, I liked being able to actually finish a meal, such as it is there, and even have a chance at a refill of soda while she bandied about the next-to-last accepted forced segregation in our North American culture (just before public restrooms) - where kids are seen and not heard on the other side of three-inch plexiglass. Ever since, after giving a detailed report to my children on the bubble walls, working heater and air-conditioner, and complete lack of (at least visible) roaches, when one or the other of us parents needs a bit of time home alone, the other will pack the kids up and fill them full of deep-fried grease and potato-laced ice cream, with a futile attempt to mitigate the health hazards by ordering apple dippers instead of fries.

So, as mentioned earlier, BigFeet was sick, the girls and I went to McDonalds. I brought the backpacks to do our homework there. A was star student this week, so her backpack had some of her favorite things from home in it for her one chance at show-and-tell for the whole school year. I burrowed through her pack, taking out some of these treasures as I looked for her homework. (Kindergarten? Homework? What the hey?). Hours passed, the kids played, added, subtracted, played, told time, colored, cut, pasted, played, read and wrote.

Eventually, we had to return home. I gathered up our stuff, threw out our trash, located shoes, herded them out the door, and piled in the car. I was intent on them falling asleep before we got home, which they didn't, so we played one of our little games with no name. I'm sure you all have at least a game or two with no name, right? This one, I let the kids tell me which way to turn in the car at intersections as I drive. We discover the town, taking unexpected turns, finding cool houses and abrupt cul-de-sacs, and chatter on excitedly as we explore together.

We played that for awhile, and on my way home from B-hill, they fell asleep. As I trundled A into bed, she asked for her Hannah Montana doll. A is afraid of all toys in her bed except Hannah. It's her one "special" toy, and I totally, absolutely, positively knew it had to be in her backpack because she had show-and-tell that day. I remembered removing it from her backpack at McDonalds. I searched her backpack. I searched N's backpack. I searched my purse and the car. I told A I'll be back, even though by then she was deep asleep, and headed back to the playland. I searched every bench, the slide, behind the furniture and play structures, the bathroom, I even dug into the trash. No one had seen it. No one had been there after we left.

But it was gone.

Her one favorite toy, the only thing she'd fight her little sister over about who got to play with it, her absolute most favorite thing EVER that she took to school to show her classmates, even though she told me she was worried that she might loose her in the classroom, but I told her not to fret, Hannah will come home with her.


Kidnapped by some evil elf somewhere snickering in the vents, I'm sure.


Thus, my late-night trip to WalMart. I tried Toys-R-Us, but for some reason, they close before 11 at night. I had to search through rows of Hannah dolls while being watched by yellow smiley faces, worried that I may not get THAT particular Hannah, the one who says, "Sweet nibblets", wears a red jacket, and has star earrings. But, I found her. Several packages deep behind mundane mute Hannah Montana dolls, she lurked. My status as caring Mom was saved.

I spent the next hour trying to unpackage her from the shackles of her box, then placed her in A's bed, safe and sound, with only the nagging ethics of if I should tell her that I lost her doll and this is a new Hannah to bother me. She'd figure it out. After all, her big sister gave Hannah a bath the other day, frying the circuit boards, and she only sings now if you raise her right arm above her head. The new one? Sings. Talks. Just push her belly button. Dead give-away clue to Mom's indescretion.

I told BigFeet about my crime against all things A this morning as I headed out the door to work. I told him to go ahead and tell her it's a new one if she asks. No use lying to a five-year-old, and if I'm lucky, she'll think me a hero to brave the midnight streets of Las Vegas for her.

Not one minute after I was on the road, he calls me and plays, "You're a truuu oooh ooooh ooooh friend" in my earpiece. He found Hannah, the old, handicapped one, on the kitchen table under some (yes, I admit it, although I hope it was at least clean) underwear he had thrown on top of her as a joke.

She never made it to McDonalds. She never was thrown in the trash or stolen by a mischievious elf.

I went to WalMart at near-midnight to buy a doll my daughter already had.

But, at least now, there will be peace when both youngest girls want to play with the blond pop star.


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