Monday, May 11, 2009


The dust is settling, and the pendulum is swinging back and forth from the overwhelming to the gloriously silly.

It always amazes me how many singular “non-events” comprise the component parts of our lives. We have been acutely aware that each component is either an adventure, an ordeal, a comedy, or a celebration. You know, you just can’t make this stuff up. Fabricating news is journalistic malpractice.

So here is an unvarnished account of our lives, including the Ides of March, the Ides of April, and the Ides of May. If you hadn’t already noticed, we are devout believers in an Ide for an Ide.

To begin with, Dennis underwent laparoscopic surgery for hernia repair. Although past experience has made us suspicious of surgery that does continue for days and result in profound poundage drop, this was actually a rather nifty procedure. (“Nifty.” Adj. meaning “cool.” Look that up in your Funk and Wagnall’s – circa 1960)

Dennis was so fatigued after trying to keep up with our 3-year-old grandson, Beckham, that I told the surgeon anesthetic was optional. He’d just fall into a deep, drooling slumber in the OR, and be out for the entire hour. Feel free to ressect any organ remnants, unidentifiable floaties, or random debris from previous operations. Dennis actually thought that was funny, but by then, he’d been give massive quantities of the “I don’t care what my wife says,” drug. The anesthesiologist assured us this would help him endure the surgery…and the marriage. We both begged for more.

After the operation, the doctor came out and informed me that they “harvested the hernia” and all went according to plan. I summarily avoided going to the accompanying visual imagery and remained seated biting my lower lip. I would have uttered an “audible” at voice prompt, but “kid fatigue” acted on me like the “I don’t give a ….” tonic. By the time he was wheeled out of the OR, Dennis and I were two minds without a single thought. This was good. This is why we plan to commemorate more “Ides” celebrations for years to come.

Taking care of a little boy reminds one that muscles do tend to flab-up over the years. I don’t mean that our bodies are in disrepair, exactly. We have heard of “muscle memory,” but ours have developed severe dementia and are entering the early stages of alzheimers.

It was hard to maintain the illusion of dignity when certain body parts (which shall remain anonymous) were sagging with a more acute downward trajectory than a loaded diaper. My random components used to be so adorably perky, happy to face the sunlight and greet every passer-by with a smile and a salute. Now these same little guys have become “cellulite noire,” seeking refuge and anonymity in the dark recesses of “slumpadinkas” that comprise my entire wardrobe. I’ve had days when it required a whole herd of sherpas just to haul my cookies into bed. Upon summiting, I fall instantly into an oxygen-depleted, neuron-numbing slumber, known only to novices not acclimated to high altitudes…and little boys.

But, thankfully, Beckham did not know this. He assumed that all bodies are designed to contort with equal agility, and he perceived no endurance differential.

Why, I even morphed into a “foodie,” and we ate things that I’m certain were for external use only, and that could have warranted a call to the Poison Control Center. But Dennis figures what doesn’t kill us…usually only makes us sick.

So, we didn’t concern ourselves about consumption identification, swine flu, SARS, or the black plague. If it was eventually deposited in the diaper, then it obviously cleared the hurdles of the digestive track, and we were good to eat the next item of dubious origin.

I am a grandchild gypsy, and the thing I’ve learned from our wee folk is…many hands make light work…heavy. I love all the help, however, and with our little brooms, we are able to breeze through the daily chores in twice the time. Sometimes task completion is subordinate to a good time.

Ah, life with a 3-year-old. I have learned many important things from my constant companionship with Beckham.

He has taught me that:

  1. There is never a bad time to bounce on the trampoline.
  2. One must remember to secure one’s diaper, or one is likely to be bouncing in the buff. Actually, buff bouncing has it in spades.
  3. No matter how long we bounce, we both exit the tramp, hair crackling with static electricity and looking like Gene Wilder in “Young Frankenstein” shrieking, “It’s alive!”
  4. All wild and ferocious beast sounds are guttural, loud, and unexpectedly endearing.
  5. It is possible to be smitten all over again by the sustained eye contact of a small person who really likes you.

Our time together was measured in “kid hours,” a special time zone that curiously doesn’t last very long. By the end of the day, we were both wanting a bottle.

It’s funny how you can wipe noses and change diapers whose contents resemble amorphous, gelatinous, self-replicating masses of goo capable of taking over the world, and think the kid is heaven’s gift for the salvation of mankind.

Beckham, unlike other grandchildren currently in the witness protection program, does not consider it his appointed mission in life to reduce the entire planet to rubble. But he has a plethora of cutes, and he knows how to use them. Did I mention I’m smitten?

After ten days of sustained, frenetic, aerobic activity living in a universe whose orbit is determined by the moisture content of a loin cloth, I feared this ubergrandma would have to be treated for reckless stupidity. But a short stay in the paranoid schizophrenic department of the psyche ward, and I’m back to normal.

I’ve been thinking about the most recent singing sensation, Susan Boyle. She has truly inspired me. I think I can do that. Apparently all you need is frump…and a phenomenal singing voice. I’m halfway there. And Dennis agrees. In fact, recently a friend told me of a sweet compliment her husband paid her. He said, “ Why would I go out for hamburger, when there’s prime rib at home!”

Dennis said he felt exactly the same way. “Why go out for French fries when there’s a couch potato at home.”

Hmmmm. Somehow it just didn’t seem to work the same, but he explained that’s because we’re vegetarians. OK. Good. I felt a lot better after that, and continued cooking the roast.

Anyway, inside this frumpy woman is an even frumpier woman who also can’t sing. Dennis said that in this economy, there doesn’t seem to be a big demand for “Alfalfa does Phantom.” He said something about “perhaps when pigs fly.” I guess he means when they find a cure for the swine flu. I can wait.

Meantime, it’s May, and the last blooms of the forsythia are giving way to lilacs and trees with blossoms. The world is drenched in fragrance and light. And I plan to purchase a supersize order of French fries, gather all the grandkids on the trampoline, and bounce till the collective static electricity in our hair can be used as an alternative energy resource.

Happy Mother’s Day!

We love you all,

The Clot