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Went to an apres-softball season party for the eight year old’s team over the weekend.  It was held at the manager’s house, a fairly typical Northern Virginny McMansion with all the designer goodies.  As the families arrived at the house, most of the parents took their shoes off before going inside.

This is a practice that I absolutely, positively loathe, and I stoutly kept my own hooves in their top-siders.  Nothing short of a point-blank request would have made me do otherwise, and even then, I probably would have scowled, er, squinted.

To the extent that this practice is an exercise in “casualness” I would only say that in my humble opinion, a civilization in which grown men and women seek to act like teenagers isn’t really worth very much.  To the extent it’s an exercise in trying to cut down on the amount of dirt brought in, well,  if you insist on white shag carpeting in the public rooms of your house, that’s your own silly look-out.


What with having had an extremely busy weekend wrapping up school and softball and shipping the gels off for a couple weeks, I didn’t get the chance to note that Saturday was the 17th anniversary of the day Mrs. Robbo and I were first manacled together.

We did go out to a nice dinner to mark the occasion, and we’re planning to celebrate a bit more now that we have the house to ourselves for a bit, but I guess we’ve been at this long enough that we’re beginning to think of our longevity more in terms of half decades and decades, rayther than making an especially big deal every year.

In recent weeks, the eight year old has begun to indulge in a game whereby she anticipates what I am going to say in a given situation and says it before I can.  As in:

Self – “Why….”

Gel – “…don’t you girls ever flush the damned potty?”

After which she flashes me the twinkling eye and and the sly grin.

Her elder sisters have started getting in on the act, too.  As we drove the gels to camp yesterday in southwestern Pennsylvania, they kept interrupting my monologues on places of historickal interest.

Self – “Girls, this is Braddock Mountain.  Braddock….”

Gel – “WasABritishArmyGeneralInTheFrenchAndIndianWarWhoWasKilledTrying

ToCaptureFortDuquesneAndGeorgeWashingtonWas ThereAsWell.”

……. ……. …….. …….. ……..

Self: “Girls, this is South Mountain…”

Gel: “WhereThereWasACivilWarBattle….”

…….  ……. ……..

Self – “Girls, can you see that notch way up there on the skyline? That’s….”

Gel – “AManMadePassageWhereTheHighwayRunsThroughSidlingHill…..”

…..  ……   ……….

Self – “Girls, this is the Juniata River Valley which….”

Gel – “WasAPlaceWhereThereWasALotOfFightingBetweenIndiansAndSettlersDuring


I haven’t quite made up my mind whether I should be flattered that they are evidently listening to me, or flummoxed that they find it so easy to anticipate and spike me.

I suspect that, as is so often the case when it comes to dealing with children, it’s really a bit of both.


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June 2010