Saturday, July 07, 2012

Musings from Missouri

---Formatting ebooks is not for those who would give up easily. I don't, thank goodness. And I'm glad that I started with a smaller project this time. My longer works will require a bit more patience and the less learning I have to do when I'm formatting them, the better. I've finally finished Sing and it looks pretty good, if I do say so myself.  July 15th is advancing very quickly now.

---I have always rather liked Daddy Longlegs. Harmless enough, perching quietly in corners, skittering across the floor on their long needle-thin telescoping appendages, just trying to stay out of our way. They eat aphids and caterpillars (not mosquitoes, I was disappointed to learn), and typically don't raid my cabinets or refrigerator (which is more than I can say for the bipedal critters in this house). We always have a few hanging around during the summer and we let them go about their business. However, this summer we've been besieged by them. Several hundred of them have taken to hanging around our window units, probably trying to stay cool and collecting the condensation. This would be fine if they didn't also decide to go exploring at night and run across my face while I'm sleeping, end up in my plate at dinner (Yum! Did you grow these potatoes yourself?), or--ye gods--in my hair while I'm writing. I seem to be the only one they bother like this--which is a mistake as I'm their only real defender ("Don't kill it--put it outside" is an oft heard cry around here). We've gathered large bowls of them (one can see the occasional tiny legs dangling over the rim, just under the edge of the lid as we carry them through the house, like an odd salad made by the matriarch in the Adams' Family TV show), carried them into the nearby woods and let them go. They return. Vacuuming them up clogs the hose. Clancy likes to hunt them, but he's not so enthused about them when they outnumber him.  An eviction notice has been posted. They've been warned to vacate the premises or suffer the consequences. Like any other guest that's overstayed their welcome, we no longer like them as much as we did before.

---Sam (who you might remember is thirteen)  knows more than I do--about everything--even when he doesn't. I took him shopping for clothes earlier this week and sent he and his father off to pick out some blue jeans while I went off to pick the boy up some socks and underwear. When I returned I found Gary with two or three pairs of jeans draped over his arm and Sam holding up one of those expensive pairs that already look faded and stained. I nixed the expensive pair and asked to see what else they'd picked out (I'd already said no to t-shirts with skulls on them, so my stock had already taken a nose dive as far as Sam was concerned. I don't think decorating t-shirts with dead people is especially tasteful and the grandfather he's going to see won't either).

 I could tell at a glance that the jeans wouldn't fit Sam, though both men argued that they would. So I sent Sam to the dressing room to try them on. Gary and I stood outside waiting for him to come out and show us. A minute or so later he came out holding the new pair and announcing triumphantly that they fit just fine. "I want to see," I said. "Go put them back on."

Mumbling under his breath (do they think we're deaf?) he went back inside. This time he was gone for at least ten minutes. "What's taking so long?" Gary said.

"He's trying to prove me wrong," I replied."The pants don't fit, but he's trying to force them to."

A few minutes later, Sam came out of the fitting room. His slightly over-sized t-shirt was covering the top, but he was walking in mincing little steps and I could see that the crotch was hanging about four inches too low (I am still trying to work out exactly how he expected this to pan out in day to day life).

We were in the middle of the store, but I decided that this bit of stubbornness warranted some embarrassment. So I pulled up the tail of his shirt ostensibly to check the waistline. As I expected, half his derriere was hanging out the back and and the belt-line of the pants is riding somewhere near the nether regions of his lower torso (I'm not super mean--I made sure we were standing between racks of clothes so no one else could actually see anything, but Sam didn't know this). "Your waistline is up there." I poked him just below the ribs. "And as much as I liked seeing your little butt when you were a toddler, I'm pretty sure that at your age that it's considered indecent exposure. Try pulling them up."

He made a half-hearted attempt to do so. Of course, there was no way this was going to happen. His dad snorted softly, trying not to laugh. My point was made. I sent him back to the fitting room.

"Why is he so determined to fit into smaller pants?" Gary wondered. "It's not like he's not already skinny enough."

"He's not. He just didn't want me to be right." (The story of my life)

I returned to the racks and located the size I knew would fit. Gary tossed them over the door of the booth. Shortly afterwards Sam came out and modeled them for us, all the while grinning sheepishly--they looked great on him and a quick check told me they were properly pulled up. Later on, I compromised and let him buy a single pair of slightly more expensive jeans that already looked faded and stained (Why after all this did I indulge him? Because when I went off to find better fitting jeans I stood between the shelves of folded clothes with my head resting on the shelf laughing as I mentally replayed his efforts to walk normally in the ill-fitted pants and by the time I returned, any faint stirrings of irritation had faded and I realized that adolescence angst is sometimes simply funny).

To his credit, on the way home, he thanked us several times for the new clothes as he looked through the bags. Somewhere in the soup of adolescence is the sweet kid of yesteryear.


Hal Johnson said...

"Somewhere in the soup of adolescence is the sweet kid of yesteryear." I'm going to do my best to keep that in mind for the next three or ten years.

Andrew McAllister said...

I thought you might be interested to hear that I have published my first novel! I've put up a post on To Love, Honor, and Dismay with a description. Hope all is well with you :o)