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The middle daughter turns nine this week.  Everyone always remarks on what a sweetheart she is, what a happy and well-behaved young lady.  However, I am increasingly of the opinion that she is turning out to be somewhat like Plum Wodehouse’s Stephanie “Stiffy” Byng.

Recently I came down to the basement to discover her and her younger sister amidst a virtual Sargasso Sea of toys, clothes, shoes and other assorted flotsam.  Being in no mood for such disorder, I snapped into my drill sergeant impression: “You! I want [this set of toys] put away, I want those shoes organized, I want that wrapping picked up, and I want it now!  And you! I want [this other set of toys] picked up, I want those DVD’s back in their cases, I want all coats collected and hung up and I want it now!  Move! Move! Move!”

Or words to that effect.

A minute or two later, the soon-to-be nine year old sidled up to me.  Her eyes were red and puffy.

“Daddy,” she said in a meek voice. “I need to tell you something.”

“What is it?” I asked. “What’s the matter?”

“I have the words inside me,” she replied in a teary voice, “but I’m not sure I can make them come out. Oomp!

“You can tell me, Sweetie,” I cooed. “What’s on your mind?”

“Well….,” she said, “You know how you’re always telling us not to say ‘I want, I want, I want’? Well, you were doing it just now and..Ooomp!…well, I feel like maybe you’re setting a bad example.”

Although I could not admit it to her, I have to say that a certain part of me was impressed with the gel’s strategic thinking.   Not so much, of course, that I was going to let her get away with it.

“Sit down,” I replied, my voice no longer cooing.  She sat down.

“Now,” I said, “When I tell you not to say ‘I want’, what sort of wants are you usually talking about?”

“Um, things,” she replied.

“Right.  Now, when I say ‘I want, I want’ to you, what am I usually talking about?”

“Um, us doing our jobs and behaving.”

“Exactly.  Now, do you see the difference between the two kinds of ‘I want’?”

“Yeeessssss…..,” she replied.

“Excellent! Now quit stalling and get busy!”

As she moved off, I would swear I caught a flicker in her eyes that said, “Oh well, it was worth a shot anyway.”

What better way to get back into the bloggy groove than by joining in on a meme?  I got sent one just before the hols, but did not have the chance to reply.  Soooooo, here we go.  (Left-overs can be pretty handy, eh?)

The rules of tagging are:

1) Link to the person who tagged you ( the Bovina Bloviator).

2) Post the rules on your blog.  (Keep reading.)

3) Write six random things about yourself.  (Id.)

4) Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them. (Naw. If you want to play, consider yourself tagged.)

5) Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog. (Id.)

6) Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Okay, enough with the bumf.  Here are six random things about me:

1.  I am punctual to the point of obsessiveness.  It has become such a neurotic tic with me over the years that I cannot be late even when I’m trying to be.

2.  I have never outgrown my childhood fear of latex balloons.  Even now, I point-blank refuse to get into a car with them, and will not stay in the same room as them if I can possibly avoid it.  Thank Heaven for the sturdier mylar ones that simply won’t pop unless actively assaulted.

3.  I love garlic.  I would use garlic-flavored toothpaste if it were socially acceptable and commercially available.  I reckon the fact that I’ve never been attacked by a vampire is somehow related to this prediliction.

4.  The touch of unfinished wood gives me the screaming heebie-jeebies.  I have a terrible time with such items as certain wooden cooking spoons and my childrens’ Kapla blocks set.

5.  I very seldom lose my temper.  However, I get irritated quite easily.

6.  I don’t like cats.  Cats, however, seem to like me.  A lot.  Go figure.

We got back last evening from our extended holiday travels safe and sound, although when Mrs. R went to get a couple of new tires for the family transport this morning, we discovered that the thing’s entire undercarriage – including brake pads, springs and alignment – was shot to hell.  How we ever managed the approximately 1200 mile round trip, I really don’t know.

It was a pretty good break, altogether.  My thanks go especially to the nice Irish-born priest at the Church of the Holy Cross, Vero Beach, Florida.  His Christmas Day homily snapped me out of what was threatening to be a bad funk based on my discombolulation over spending Christmas in a subtropical climate with my very secular in-laws.  After he set me up, however, the rest of the hols there passed (at least for me) in fairly joyful serenity.

On the other hand, so long as I am in a Church-going vein, I must lodge a faint protest with the folks at the Church of the Holy Family, Hilton Head Island – where we spent our New Year celebration.  Although their yellow pages ad stated quite specifically that their Vigil Masses for this time of year were held at 6 o’clock, it was only after we arrived just before then on New Year’s Eve to find the place deserted, went back to our house and called, that we discovered the Vigil for the Blessed Virgin was to be held at seven o’clock that evening.  (We went back, of course.)  My protest at having to make two trips is lessened by the fact that in addition to telling everyone to turn off their damned cell phones befor the Mass, the rayther severe lady in charge also reminded everyone that sneaking out before the end of the service was not a nice thing.   Good on her, thought I.

 Anyhoo, here I am once again.  It will take a couple of days to sort things out and get back into the bloggy groove and I have much to tell if I can ever get my thoughts on track, but never fear, Robbo has returned.


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January 2009