Saturday, 28 July 2012

from playing dolls to kicks and falls

There are ordinary days where everything is swimming along, just a normal day, and suddenly (suddenly) you realize: the kids are growing up.

We threw out Rosey's bedraggled playhouse today. She was teary-eyed but agreed that it was time - it was ripped in a few places, and creased in others - and only squeaked a little. She kept a glittery painted piece "to have" and we cleaned out the front porch of about a million (hint: Roo does NOT EVER NO NEVER need any more Barbies) plastic dolls......

and then we put up a punching bag. So the boy can round-kick and front-jab.

Wow, they're growing up.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

the horror of it all

We're moving the office at one of my jobs - started this morning, will probably take another stab at it and complete the move next week. We're moving into some offices in the same building as the public library - I don't think I need to tell you that I'm looking forward to this!

But today was moving day, and it was sweaty and grunt-y and not-so-much-fun, made even less so when it was discovered that our secure locking storeroom....wouldn't unlock. So I had to babysit the document boxes until a solution could be found. "No problem!" I thought. "I'm AT THE LIBRARY. I"ll just grab something to read."

(There was a certain amount of glee running through my psyche at that moment.)

Really, what could be better? I'd just.....

Then I realized I was too early and the library didn't open for another hour and the earth wept and teeth were gnashed and a storm blew in. Or maybe that was just me.

Yes. I was LOCKED OUT of the library.

Thank God I have a Kindle app on my cell phone.

Monday, 16 July 2012

uncle ford

Uncle Ford was grinning at Clary when I came into the kitchen, bumping her shoulder all friendly-like and leaning in to whisper. She shoved him away when she heard my step on the stairs and turned to me. "Kitty! What are you up to today?"

Yes, it was strange having my friend date my uncle.  Aunt Maud would never let Ford forget that he was thirteen years older than that Johnson chippy. After all, (disapproving sniff) what would the neighbors say? I think if she didn't have such a broad and obvious sweet spot for Ford, Maud would have hassled him until he agreed to give up the foolishness of dating a local girl. But he was the son of her favorite son, so she grumbled and tight-lipped and yet did nothing concrete to stop his budding romance. If she'd cut off his allowance, he'd have straightened up. Uncle Ford was very comfortable having his life financed.

After all, what was worth more - independence, or free room and board?

I smiled at Clary. "Just finishing up the dishes, then I might have a walk down to the wharf.  There might be some bluefish in."

Uncle Ford mugged at Clary, winking at me. "Never mind her, Clara. Let's take a drive."

I dumped the dishes in the waiting water, trying not to be a little hurt that I wasn't the one Ford wanted to take for a spin (I loved riding in his convertible!) and blocking out most of the noise they made giggling at each other before they left.

Finished at last, I took my book into the front parlour and was just getting comfortable when Aunt Maud's bell went off. It wasn't three seconds later that I heard her call for me. (Maud was never a patient person.)

Grumbling a little, I got up. It wasn't until I was right outside her door that I remembered I'd forgotten the tea. On the off chance that she wanted something else, I stuck my head in. She was scowling down at her mail and barely looked up. "Tea, Katherine. My tea. Stanton will be home soon, and he doesn't have time to wait."

I made a face at her grey curly head and went back for her cup.

The front door slammed just as I got back upstairs. Grand-dad's voice boomed along the halls. "Where's my girl?"

"Just a second, Grand-Dad. I'm up with Maud."

A minute later, he pushed the door open himself. "Hello, Maudie." His voice was soft. Grand-Dad was always very gentle with his sister, even when she was being her worst cantankerous self. I'd only heard him raise his voice to her once. He winked when he saw me.

"What are you doing inside on such a beautiful day, Katie-girl?"

Aunt Maud harrumphed. "Katherine is finishing up in the kitchen, and then she is taking me to my bridge club. As she usually does on Wednesday afternoons, Stanton."

Grand-Dad coughed and sent her a chiding look. "I thought Katie might like to come out with me this afternoon. I don't have any appointments this afternoon, so I thought she and I'd get a breath of fresh air. Perhaps Ford would take you to the club."

Maud grumbled, but agreed. I hurried to change out of my dungarees and jerk a quick comb through my hair. Where were we going to go today?

My grandfather knew everyone in town. As we strolled along, he'd point to a house and tell me stories about the people that lived there. Or, even better, stories about the people that used to live there and how things were when the town was thriving and new.

And sometimes - sometimes, I could get him to talk about my mother.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

auntie maud

'What?' she said, looking up from her ledger, blinking at me over her half-spectacles.
'Nothing', I shrugged, 'Just wanted to see what you were up to.'

She gestured at the half-eaten lunch there among the blankets. 'You can take that away, Kitty. I'm finished."

I wanted to scold, to tell her she should eat more, that her doctor and my grandfather and her friends said she should eat more, but I held my tongue. Some things just aren't worth fighting with your great-aunt about.
Besides, she would eat, sooner or later. She was just in a snit (although she'd never admit to it) about Uncle Ford courting 'that woman'. And I hovered on the fence, afraid to comment for fear I'd piss her off, since she owned the house I lived in - and 'that woman' was my best friend.

Clary and I didn't meet under the best of circumstances. I spent a few years wishing she would just move away, since she and I both picked out Daniel Randall for our beaus. (A mistake I quickly rectified when Dover came home the first day of seventh grade and told us his new pals' nickname at school was 'Dandy Randy.' Maud did NOT approve.)Still, he was a hero at school (my brother included) because he could spit all the way across the cafeteria, and he had a habit of leaving frogs around for Miss Venie to find, usually with great screaming and flapping (even for a teacher used to boys and their tricks.)

One night at the Grange Hall we both ended up in the bathroom at the same time. She asked if she could borrow my lipstick (I said no, of course, it was my favourite one, the perfect pale pink to go with my dress) and was totally disarmed when she cheerfully plopped her purse down in the sink and said 'I didn't figure you'd let me, but no harm in tryin'. Can you believe that Eddie Myers? I'm almost certain he put his hand on my butt.' I couldn't help it. I leaned over and said, full of scorn, 'Don't you know if someone's hand is on your behind? I'd slap Eddie Myers, if I that was me.' Clary brushed some wisps of hair back behind her ears. 'Weeeell,' she said, looking intently in the mirror, 'I'm sure somebody touched my butt. I'm not sure, though, if it was Eddie. Could have been (she cut her eyes up at me) Danny Randall.' I sucked in my breath. "You are rude, Clary Johnson! I shouldn't even be talking to you."
I turned to flounce away and she reached out and grabbed my arm.
"Don't be mad, Kitty. I was jus' playin'. Besides, everyone knows he's been looking for you all night."
She was lying but I ate it up. "You think so?"
Clary nodded. "Sure. You gonna kiss him?"

Great-Aunt Maud cleared her throat. "Kitty, why are you standing there? I asked you to clear this away! Now run on and go find your Uncle Ford. I need him to do something for me."
More like making sure he wasn't out on the porch kissing Clary Johnson, I thought, but just nodded. 'Of course, Aunt Maudie. Want me to bring up some cookies later with your tea?' She hemmed for a moment. "Who baked them?"

 I grinned at her. "Mrs. Johnson."

Yarn over and over

Someone, an old babysitter maybe, taught me to crochet when I was six. I remember making long braided loops of yarn and thinking how pretty ...