Sunday, June 19, 2011

Full disclosure

It's a rainy Fathers' Day here in Indianapolis, which is great because I don't think I can have one more bit of fun and still make it to work tomorrow.

I had Book Club Friday night, Jeff played poker and Alison slept over at the Ogdens.

The book was bad, but we had two bottles of champagne and other wine, one pregnancy announcement, one run for state senate announcement and one member's near miss of a threesome when she hopped across the border on weekend of her misspent youth. (I brought the champagne, not the announcements...)

Saturday morning, Ali and had what was my final fitting for our dresses for Jen's wedding. Alison's dress is nearly finished, she'll have at least one more fitting.

That afternoon, Alison had Jenna's 10th birthday party and Jeff and I went to Annmarie's 50th birthday party that night.

But first, there was The Discovery.

While she waited for Miss Julia to adjust her dress, Alison went looking for my phone in my purse. "Hey Mom, what's this?" she said, holding up a tampon.

I sighed. I knew it would happen one day, and I was happy to talk about it with her...but not in the tailoring shop. "I'll tell you in the car, honey, we're almost done here."

"But what it is it?"

"I'll tell you later."

"Why? What is it? Is it for a shot?"


"Is it medicine?"


"Is it candy?"


She followed me into the changing room. It was my fault we were lingering; I had some other clothes to adjust as well as the bridesmaid dresses.

She kept firing questions at me. Now, I'm not usually one to hold back, but I really didn't want an audience for this one. There was an older gentleman in the outer room, I'd heard the bell announce another customer, and there was also Miss Julia. None of the rooms in the place were actually rooms -just thin walls that didn't hit the ceiling.

"Is it a game?"


"Is it a gun?"


"Is it candy?"

"No. I. Will. Tell. You. LATER."

"Geeze! Is it a weapon?"

We get in the car.

"Are you sure you want to hear this?" I asked, rememering her admonition that she wanted to hear the sex talk only once. "It's kind of gross."

"Sure. What is it? Can we go to Taco Bell? I'm starving," she said.

I give her the scoop on the item she had found as well as its companion item, the whys and hows and that it will be something she'll have to deal with sometime soon.

"How does the blood get out of you?" she asked.

As Taco Bell came into view, I went into more detail.

"Huh," she said. "You know Mom, that's not all that gross. I mean, it just happens once, right?"

"No, it happens every month for a long, long time."

"Well it's just once a month, right? I know something that's way grosser than that," she said. "Wanna hear it?"

"Sure," I said, bracing myself.

Her story involved a guy who once ate so much spaghetti that it couldn't fit in his stomach and he had to scoop it out OF HIS OWN THROAT!!!! I had to admit that the pasta story was pretty gross.

Happily, the debate over crunchy, soft or double decker tacos changed the subject. She hasn't yet returned to it. I feared for a while that she'd bring it up at Jenna's birthday sleepover. I could just hear her saying, "Hey, guys, guess what's going to happen to US?!"

But I trusted Amer to spot a flock of seagulls or gazelles or something. I'd gone over there prepared to go to the gym on my way home. My hair was scraped back, I had on workout gear and no makeup.

Before the gymn, I stopped in at Kroger and was lost looking at gift cards when I hear my name. Susie (Ann's sister) and her friend, Mary Ann, who turned out to be super fun, were there, too. We chatted a bit and I said I'd see them later.

I did shower before the party. I even had my hair down, some makeup slapped on and the magic bra that, well, was working some pretty magnificent magic. I spied Mary Ann and went to say hello. She looked at me blankly.

I said, "We met at Kroger..." She took another look and said, "You look different."

At the time, I attributed it to my hair being a crazy mess. But now, I'm thinking it was the extra cup sizes I was carrying. I think I could be a spy with that thing on.
I think anyone who wears one of those things on a first date is asking for trouble. It's really false advertising. And, bonus: there's no backpain with those puppies.

But that wasn't the only Father's Day gift Jeff got.

Alison had a couple surprises, including her trademark greeting card with singing gerbils or squirrels or some sort of furry creature. She settled on some father-daughter metal collar tabs from The Red Envelope and a sweet book, and we took him out for a late breakfast. I think they have some Mario Kart or Donkey Kong in their plans.

As for me, I'm going to finish downloading the photographs that have been living in my phone and camera and then go find a newspaper. I've unloaded enough lately...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Advancing the cause

It was such a big weekend that I didn't have the energy to sort through all the fun stuff. Alison and her Auntie Jen helped -- and hurt me -- today in that endeavor.

Jen started it off by wondering via email about whether she should change her middle name to keep her maiden name when she gets married next month. (I did that and found out later that Miss Manners totally approved.) The mere discussion sounded like a TeamReedblog entry to me, and it just got better. Of course that pushed back all the other stuff held captive in my camera and my memory, but a good story trumps everything…

I gave my opinion about Jen’s future name, and then when I picked Ali up from camp, I asked her what she thought about it. She opined that Auntie Jen's premise was without merit.

"Why doesn't Uncle Peter change his name?" she asked, truly puzzled.

We asked Jeff about it over dinner. He really wanted me to change my name when we were preparing for our wedding, and I waffled for a long, long time. I ultimately gave it to him for a Christmas present in the guise of a brass door knocker for the home we were to move into the following month.

"Back a long time ago, honey," he started.

"You mean back when we were still slaves in the olden days?" she asked, frowning in direct reference to her outrage that women didn’t always get to vote and have jobs and everything she takes for granted.

It was a fun conversation. Suffice it to say Jeff didn’t win her over.

I think Jen is taking Alison’s advice into consideration, and I totally want to be there when Peter hears about it…
Weekend highlights:

Jenna and Ali had a sleepover. They're like old women just gossiping and giggling and having fun every time they get together no matter how long it's been. At one point I had them at Huddles yogurt and they were scarfing down frozen loveliness. I skipped it because I was at my point limit.

"Is your mom still on that diet?" Jenna asked.

"Yeah," Alison said. "I don't really like it. She's not as good a pillow as she used to be."

Alex Ogden was over, too, and he got to come down to Greene County with us for a surprise party for my niece and cousin. (That's two different people for you folks who think the country is full of interesting gene pools...) We went down to one of our favorite places, owned by the family of one of my closest friends from high school. My brother and Lea Anne Blanton were destined for holy matrimony -- I could have sworn it. Every time I see her I think of him and that summer... oh my!

But anyway, we went down for the party and Jeff put on a fireworks show that only set us back a couple of paychecks. (You're welcome, Tom Vielee) We kept Alex for a little while longer Sunday when we got back. But eventually, we had to give him back. On the way home, Alison was asking when we could have both him and his sister Hannah back over.

She sighed. "I like the Ogdens," she said.

I'm sure there's more. I'm going to have to download the camera.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Three Little Rats

Alison came home from her last day of school with a grocery bag and a backpack full of stuff to go through. I like to keep a little bit of her work each year but even winnowing it like I do, I still end up with tons of masterpieces.

Among the keepers this year is My Poem Book. My personal favorite is what was supposed to be a limmerick. In case you can't read it, it is as follows:

The Three Little Rats
By Alison Reed
4th Grade

The three little rats are all ghouls,
Ice water down my neck; Not cool!!!
They like pranks and pies.
And then there's the lies.
They're my cousins on April Fool's!

I told Ali I thought she'd just written my blog for me.

"The cousins don't read that, do they?"

"Aunt Jaime does."

"Well be sure to say, 'Alison was just kidding.'" she said.

I laughed and asked why would I have to do that? Alison loves "the cousins" Rebecca, Rachael and Aleasha. She's spending a week with them this summer if she can behave herself from now until then.

"Because they might want to kill me!!!" she said.

They might want a little revenge. But I think they'll let her live...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

White Bread

Alison was channeling Mel Gibson yesterday.

"Freedom! Freedom!"

Alright. Maybe the call for freedom in Braveheart had bit of a different context, but Alison's was no less passionate. Summer vacation is here and she is thrilled.


The Ogdens got sprung a week earlier and Hannah, proud graduate of the Safe Sitter program, was in charge at home alone this week. Ali got out at 1 p.m. Friday and we picked up the Ogdens en route to the Jordan Y pool.

"So, Hannah, how many times did you call your mom while you were in charge?" I asked.

Her tart response: "It's not how many time I called my mother. It's how many times my mother called me!

Hannah was apparently dodging calls from two aunts, her grandma and father as well as Karin. I'm not sure how much time she actually got to be in solo charge, as opposed to the tele-sitting, but both she and Alex were in tip-top shape.


Alison rarely gets into trouble at school, but we usually ask her for a conduct report at the end of the day. While she escaped her last day without even a hint of need for discipline, there were some shennanigans involving some of the boys in Alison's class. "What happened to them?" I asked. Ali's teacher, Mrs. Zinkan, isn't known for her benevolence.

"Oh, there was a little bit of this and a little bit of that and a whole lotta conduct cuts!" she reported.


Weeks shortened by a holiday are always bad for me at work because I get all caught up in trying to cram 5 days of work into 4 days. This week was complicated by my taking part in a little field trip for Ali and her early release from school on Friday.

So if you had the misfortune of working with or around me this week, I apologize profusely. Please forgive my shortness, abrupt or incomplete answer, non-answer, oblivian or general bitchiness. I'll be better next week, I promise.


Going on the field trip was fun. Picking her up from school was better. The chatter between Ali, Alex and Hannah is better than Bravo TV. It's just silly and fun.

"Hey Alex, what's invisible and smells like carrots?"

"I don't now."

"Bunny farts."

Doubled over giggles.

"Hey Mrs. Reed. Did Ali really eat a light bulb when she was little?

"Well, she had a piece of glass in her mouth but I don't know that she actually ate an entire bulb," I said. "Her father was on duty. I wasn't even in the house."

"Yep. That's how it happened," Alison said solemnly. The incident was one that scared the bejesus out of Jeff. Who was in charge. I was not there. Ali claims she remembers it. I don't think so. But it makes a good story.

Along this vein, we learned that Hannah once pushed a popcorn kernel up her nose and ruined her mother's Saturday night. Alex ate a penny. "It came out in my diaper."

More giggles.


So a few years ago, Alison came home from Jenna's house raving about her breakfast.

"Mom! Miss Amy makes the best toast. It's soooooo good. I had five pieces."

Toast? She makes toast?

"Yeah. I don't know how she does it. It's the best thing EVER."

So of course I had to call. It's white bread. Plain white bread. Probably not even a bunny on the bag. Put it in the toaster, press the lever and voila! The best breakfast ever.

So not fair. We live in Broad Ripple. We embrace diversity. White bread sneaks into our house only when I forget to tell King Rib that we don't want the white bread that comes with our ribs.

We have whole grains. Piles of fruit. We eat vegetables free from the goo of melted cheese or Ranch dressing. Maybe a little spray butter. (I do shave my legs religiously. We're health conscious, not crazy.)

Anyway, last week, I encouraged Jeff to pick up a loaf of white bread to surprise Alison. (How sad is it that white bread can be a surprise?) She's been loving it.

Last night, the Ogdens were here after the pool and buckets of Huddles frozen yogurt. They were all hungry, but Team Ogden was committed to a dinner with their neighbors. I didn't want to ruin their dinner.

"Hey guys. Want some white bread toast with butter?" Ali suggested after I said I thought mac-n-cheese would fill them up too much. I brought them grapes and bing cherries.

"Oooh. White bread? Yeah!!! That would be awesome!"

(Karin's a whole-grain girl, too, apparently.) So they scarfed down the toast and everyone was happy.

Alison even cooked. Sort of. "Mom, how do you turn on the toaster? How do you set the time?"

No, we don't have a fancy toaster. This is just proof that Alison could be more in charge of her own culinary destiny...

This morning, she asked for more toast, but allowed that I could make it for her. She was on the couch downstairs with cartoons ablazing.

"You could put some of that butter on it, too," she called. "You know, that creamy kind you make?"

That would be unsalted, Kroger brand butter, melted just a tad so it spreads easily.

Clearly, I'm every bit the top chef Amy Tokash is....