Back in Ye Oldie Days, our post-breakfast routine included a thorough hand-washing. On Sundays, when Dr. Science made pancakes,* it was sticky maple syrup that had us turning on faucets with our elbows. But every other day of the week it was fingers smudged with newspaper ink that needed soap and water. Back then, we hated newspaper ink. Back then, we held newspapers by the ink-free edges. Back then, we shook our fists against scientists who could send a man to the moon but not invent ink that blah blah blah.
These days, though, our ink-smudged fingers are a gray badge of honor. We are proud to be among the dwindling (and perhaps only) print subscribers in Our Fair City. Dr. Science likes the Sports section. Never mind that he watched the game the night before, that he can look up the box score on the web. He likes reading the sports section with breakfast. He Who Shall Not Be Named likes the comics. And I like the headlines. Plus? There’s something cozy about sharing a newspaper between the three of us. Sometimes we talk and laugh about what we’re reading. Other times we read silently. But we always leave for work and school the same way: with smudged fingers, each of us carrying a reminder of how we started the day, as a family, sharing the paper.
* Scientific pancakes are in the shape of letters, sometimes spelling out short words. Go ahead. Try to make a pancake that spells C-A-T.
Here at Hotel MomBrain we are entertaining Sister K of Citizen’s Rent. Sister K is smart. Wicked smart. She also has wicked strong hands, which makes MomBrain and her achey breakey back wicked happy. Sister K also makes the Little Guy wicked happy, because she always shows up with her PlayStation. LG doesn’t watch a lot of TV or play many computer games, so a visit from Aunt K is an absolute pigfest of screen time. He is pie-eyed but happy.
Shout Outs … And speaking of cool aunts, here’s a shout-out to Aunt P, whom I have not laid eyes on since I was a star-struck 13-year-old. Aunt P was young, pretty, and wore fabulous boots. She also had serious attitude, and inspired absolute devotion from her nieces and nephews. I’m not sure she ever knew how much we adored her. Here’s to you, Aunt P! Mwah! Mwah!
Greetings from the Holiday Inn, also known as MomBrain HQ. Please do not call us if you are looking for lodging; our hotel is fully booked through the New Year.
Our seven guests are delightful: two Parental Units (PUs, which of course I mean in the nicest of ways), Sister N and Sister K (my sanity and my heart), two 14-year-olds (whose sole purpose is to make me feel old and creaky), and an 8-year-old (a delightful entertainment for the Little Guy).
Of all our guests, the teenage girls have done their job the best. Let me tell you, nothing makes you feel older, fatter, and uglier than going downtown with two lithe, gorgeous sweeties in their size 0 jeans and straightened hair. This is especially true when you are unshowered and wearing an oversized sweatshirt with a big ketchup blob on your left breast. It is even more true when said ketchup blob rides around on you all day without your noticing it.
Even after ketchup removal, the teens just have a way. Dinner that night included a killer salad with many choices of Newman’s Own dressing. The conversation went like this:
Teen 1: Boy that Newman guy sure has a lot of faces.
MomBrain: Well, he’s an actor after all.
Teen 2: He is?
MB: Haven’t you heard of Paul Newman?
T1 and T2: (in unison) No.
Sister N: He’s only one of the most famous actors of all time.
MB: You’ve heard of Robert Redford, right?
T1 and T2: No.
MB: Tom Cruise?
T1 and T2: Yes!!!
Sister N: Paul Newman was in a movie with Tom Cruise – “The Color of Money.”
T1: Ew, he was that gross old guy.
Sister N: (sighing) Pass the salad please.
Pardon my absence, my ducks. MomBrain has been recovering from Thanksgiving, which thank goodness did not devolve into a turkey-tastrophe (unlike past years). And the minute the guests departed and the dishwasher was running for the fourth time, I began a 24/7 practice regimen for The Crawdad Song and Other Favorites. The big performance was Monday night, and except for one jarring ouchie, I rocked. I remembered not to chew gum. I remembered to cut my fingernails. And I remembered that ritardano is an actual musical term and not an insult.
And now for some holiday cheer. Special props to the following elves, who have made me laugh hard in the last few days.
- The Salvation Army bell ringer in front of the drugstore, who yelled “Shit!!!” when a car alarm went off right in front of her.
- The downtown street musician, dressed like Santa and playing Jewish klezmer music.
- The Santa’s Photo Santa, who I saw smoking behind his little red house even though the sign on the door distinctly said that Santa was taking a break to feed his reindeer.