Middle Aged Treehouse

I'm only mature in years.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bad words / badder words

It's not unusual for there to be a school age child or two hanging around my workplace. Since Higher Education seems to be a landing pad for tired, aging creatives dropping off the fast track, my office is extremely understanding about this.

And since I have more office toys than most, the kiddos tend to show up at my cubicle, squirming and fingering all the shiny things.

My boss's son Austin is a bright, polite third-grader with a two-year-old baby sister. We were making small talk this afternoon when he informed me, "Olivia is learning bad words."

Well okay, now. Finally, something interesting!

"Really? What kind of words? Where did she learn them?"

"Mostly from my grandmother, and me."

My mind went back to Kate's first curse word, which she picked up from my mother at age two. She had repeated it into her PlaySkool My First Tape Recorder over and over as if she were summoning some kind of mother ship, relishing each syllable:

"Godddd Dammmit. GAHD daahhhmmit. God damMITT. "

My mother had cried with embarrassment when I popped out the cassette, labeled it with a Sharpie and tucked it away with Kate's first lock of hair.

I said to Austin, "Yeah, my two-year-old also learned her first bad word from Grandma."

"Really?" He was wide-eyed. "What word was it?"

"A really bad one. I can't say it."

"Please? I'll tell you Olivia's if you'll tell me what Kate said."

"Okay. It was "G-D."

Austin's face clouded.

"What's... "G-D?"

Uh oh.

"Oh, nothing."

"You know what Olivia says? Olivia says 'shut up.'"

"Really? Shut up?"

"Yeah, and once I think she said 'crap!'"

"Austin, those aren't such bad words!"

"Yeah, they are. They are if you're my age!"


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Vexing questions

Where does Prince shop for clothes?

Is there Scrabble in Slavic countries, and if so, are the vowels worth more points and the v and y and worth practically nothing?

Why do old people drive so slow? Don't they realize they don't have much time left?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Prayer for the Child Who Has Moved to New York City

I'm kind of a half-assed Christian, I'll admit. I usually wait to get into deep and meaningful conversations with the big Creator and Mr. Jesus when I'm on a really turbulent aircraft. Living in a part of the country where there's a lot of fire and brimstone, finger pointing, hating, smugness, judgment, damnation and very narrow interpretations of things has caused me to not care much that I don't attend church on a regular basis. My disdain for most organized religions (an oxymoron, if you ask me) has pushed me into developing my own little personal church that I carry around with myself. So much for that "where two or more are gathered" passage. Anyway, the Church of Tracy does have routine prayers and rituals. Here is one I enjoy daily.

Dear God,

Please let Kate travel swiftly and safely on the subway each day. Keep her from falling into that electrifed pit just inches from her feet when she overconfidently stands past that yellow line the MTA painted for a reason. Please guide the crazy smelly people who are panhandling for money for crack and booze to get nicer lives so that my daughter won't have to pretend she is listening to her iPod or doesn't speak English. Guide them away from her sweet young face and let them not realize she is traveling alone. Let the streets she travels daily be smooth and free from ankle-cracking potholes, puddles, ear-shattering noises, dog poop and cat-calling construction workers who whistle and shout things to her in Spanish and Italian. Help Kate remember to wear her baggy raincoat over her clingy audition dresses so that said catcalls are kept to a minimum. Help her to find the right subway stop so she doesn't have to call upon her acting skills to appear brave when the walk to the museum turns out to five blocks through Crack Alley. Let the GPS system in her iPhone not fail her and may she always get a strong signal. Thanks ever so much!

Your faithful-in-her-own-way devotee,

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Warming trend

Earlier this week, I leaned down to turn off the electric heated seats in my car. Guess what? They weren't on.

And you know the little cans of compressed air people keep near their keyboards to blow off dust and dog hair and sesame seeds that fall off their bagels? They work great on sweaty, flushed fifty-year-old faces. Several times a day, I grab that can and blast away the effects of my broken down, midlife thermostat, my hair lifting and flying behind me like a Scavullo model.

Check me out, Paris Hilton. I'm HOT!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Boy Mom

Today is Sunday, day 2 of my "All about boys" weekend. Dave is out of town, Kate's away at college, so it was just me and my 15-year-old son. And his pal. And ACDC.

It started with the first swim meet of the season yesterday morning. I did my best, though I still earn a solid C -minus in the sports mom department. For starters, I wore the first thing available: the t-shirt I slept in, a pale green number commemorating the 2000 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream the Musical, (about which I am very sentimental, since I designed and built over 100 costumes for it). Having learned from last season that being a swim parent involves at least 4 hours of sitting on a cruel metal bleacher seat, I went prepared. I grabbed the plastic circa 1974 stadium cushion my parents recently returned to me, adorned with my own high school mascot. Oh, and I took some knitting. And some reading.

As I sat among the screaming sea of Mustang spirit red and blue, I realized what an odd bird I was. Even the color of the hat I was knitting was wrong, a parent pointed out. Was I imagining that I was getting squinted glares for my folded copy of the New York Times? No matter. My son was thrilled that I was there for the entire day, even if I did accidentally cheer several times for another boy who looks remarkably like my child (it's so hard to tell when they take off their glasses).

The rest of the weekend went (forgive the pun) swimmingly. Some of the high points:

• Jack's group lunch / movie date with friends while I avoided housework off at home
• Swim team party at local arcade while I made a feeble attempt at that housework
• Hosting a sleepover with Jack's friend Connor, which required nothing more than inflating a guest bed and cooking a frozen pizza
• Breakfast at Krispy Creme
• Trip to hardware store, rolling eyes when boys laughed at word "hard" and horsed around in the trash can aisle as they modeled makeshift Star Wars costumes they made with the merchandise
• Buying mulch and chrysanthemums at the hardware store, creating an allergic reaction in Connor
• Taking the boys to Blockbuster once the minivan was properly aired out
• Watching the boys eat burritos larger than the average newborn infant (okay, I had one too)

I'd say it's been a pretty great weekend so far.

Where the boys are: it's a little noisy, sugary and greasy, but it's nice.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hello again, dusty little blog!

I'm back!

Has is really been over a year? I had to get Kate off to college. But now I'm sure I'll have plenty to share.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Quip of the Day

From a co-worker:

"Why are there so many half-assed people in the workplace?
Not me. I use my whole ass!