Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Scales of Justice

We had Bunco on Saturday night so I knew I'd better get a good work-out in before I met up with my long-time buddies. I sandwiched a trip to the YMCA between errands, so I was gone for a good bit of the morning.

About 12:30 I called Jeff with a Kroger question and decided to make sure I had all the things Ali needed, too.

"When are you coming home, Mom?" she asked.

"Soon as I'm done here," I said.

"So, five minutes?"

Probably more. I need to get through check-out and then drive home."

"So, ten minutes?"

"Probably more than that. Why? Do you miss me so very much?"

"Well, yeah," she said. "You have been gone a long time."

The shine on the Kroger tile had nothing on my face as I smiled and my heart soared. She loves me!!! I thought. And then came this: "And, well, I was kind of hoping you'd come home soon because I really would like to have my lunch and I'm not exactly sure how to make it."

My laughter woke up the security guard and I'm sure identified me as a kook. You know how annoying it is to be shopping and have to endure the conversation of your fellow Kroger shoppers? I was annoying and loud about it.

I did, in fact, go home and make her lunch. We had a good weekend. Alison made another cookie creation, this one was supposed to be a house but we gave a wall away to the neighbor girl who had a birthday. So it's more of a tent, but it has a dog and a boy, and Alison did 99 percent of it herself. She even used a paint brush like the Cake Boss crew does all the time.

On Sunday, we convinced Jenna to come over. After a while, the girls decided they wanted to go swim at YMCA. It seemed like a perfect opportunity to entertain them and work off the decadent breakfast Jeff and I had. (Weigh-in Wednesday is going to be ugly.)

Going back to the Y also promised a chance to get to listen, uninterrupted, to new music Jeff had put on my iPod. So it was a win all around.

Kids aren't supposed to be in the Y work-out room so I sent them off to the pool and told them I'd come get them in an hour. Three minutes later, I was two Pistol Annies songs in only to look up to see them dripping next to my ellipitical trainer.

Now, there's a lifeguard on duty poolside, and I can actually see the pool when I look up. But apparently, unless you're 12, you can't swim without having a parent poolside, regardless of whether you are an excellent swimmer or a novice. Both Jen and Alison are fishes. Their presence in the pool would have doubled the number of swimmers. So I can understand how much extra work they would have been. (not)

Anyway, I really wanted to work out, and I hadn't brought my suit. I don't usually flout rules around Alison, but I was trying to get at least 30 minutes in. So I let them try out the treadmill and elliptical trainer even though they're not supposed to be in that room. That bought me 10 minutes.

Then, I told them they could go to the kids play area, knowing good and well that the rule there is you have to be 11 to be on your own.

I called Ali over, looked her in the eye and said, "You can be 11 in there, OK?"

She grinned because she knows that rule, too. "OK!"

Jenna, of course, was listening. "Hey! That's not fair!"

"You can be 11, too," I said.

"OK!" she said.

The little lawbreakers ran off, happy as clams. I had a moment or two of guilt. But I weighed it against what I'll have to face on Wednesday. Don't tell anyone at the Y.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cookie Boss

We've been watching a lot of Cake Boss lately. Cousin Rachael turned us on to it a while ago and Alison has DVRd every episode she can find.

Ali can credential everyone who works at the Cake Boss -- Buddy's -- shop and she's committed several of the episodes to memory. She told me the other day she might need to go live in Hoboken and work for Buddy as a means to learn her new future job -- cake and cookie decorating.

This morning, she must have been plotting her future again when my friend Carey came over.

Carey reminded me of her upcoming fundraiser for Melina Kennedy, and because it's during the week, I asked if I could bring Ali, who'd just emerged from the family room and her beloved television. I told her what we were planning to do.

"I can make cookies!" she informed Carey, who, good person that she is played right along. But Ali was serious.

She trotted over to give her potential client a sampling from last weekend's batch and told her how much her friends like it when she makes them cookies.

Carey nibbled, pronounced it great and agreed to let Ali bring a dessert.

After much debate, the Cookie Boss decided on flags because it's a government event; stars because there are stars on the flag; and a girl because Melina is a female candidate for mayor of Indianapolis.

Avowed chocolate hater, she even agreed to use chocolate for the hair and eyes to accurately depict her honoree. (She's watched a lot of Cake Boss; I was mildly shocked that she didn't suggest doing model donkeys out of fondant and modeling chocolate.)

Later, as she was decorating, she looked up, icing dripping on the counter instead of the cookie, she looked at me and said, "Hey, Mom. Am I gonna get paid for this?"

I explained to her the concept of an in-kind contribution. She wasn't sold.

"So basically, I'm being kind but not getting paid?"

Yes, I laughed. Out loud. But it was a nice laugh and I tried again to explain the various ways one can show support for a candidate even before you vote. Despite her disappointment over the compensation plan, she didn't waver in her work. And she seems excited about going to the event.

I've been on political sabbatical for a while now, but I really like Melina. I'm not trying to turn Alison into a little political junkie but she's seen more than her fair share of Power Puff Girls episodes. She needs a little better image of a mayor and some real-life girl power, if you know what I mean.

Truth be told, she's going to the even to show off her wares rather than to learn about how city government could/should be run. But it can't hurt her to see a room full of vibrant women who want to make their community better.

So anyway, if you're in town and you want some kick-ass cookies, or if you want to hear from the woman I hope is our next mayor, let me know, and I'll let Carey know.
I'm pretty sure she'll let you come.

You'll have to work out your own in-kind contribution...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Cutting deep

It was a very long week and we had a lazy Saturday. Oh, we got our usual chores done, but that was it. Ali managed to get a few of her chores but she had a few treats between reading on the couch, playing computer in her room and watching TV.

At one point, she was about to receive another small favor and I remarked that she had a pretty good life.

"I have a good Mom. There IS a difference," she said.

Little suck-up.

Earlier, we were discussing what we will do tomorrow when Drew and Jenna come over. All of Ali's ideas were good, though most involved my credit card, but they were very girl-focused. I kept reminding her that we needed to think about what 12-year-old Drew might like.

"I do not understand the species of boy, Mom," she said in frustration.

I stopped myself from revealing that she never would....

When I dropped Ali off to play at Jenna's Sunday afternoon before the big sleepover here, Alison was plotting ways to torture Drew and Jenna was plotting a way for him to NOT be involved in HER sleepover. Drew, I'm sure was upstairs in his room on his knees praying to avoid both the girls.

Turned out, everyone got their wish. Tom devised a plan for Drew to be his own man and the girls have been here whooping it up.

They wanted to sleep outside in the tent but didn't last beyond 30 minutes. Used to be, Alison was a backyard nature lover. Last night she got spooked by a car alarm and the memory of a guy in our neighborhood walking to his car with guns. I didn't stop to see if they were real, and he isn't a regular so we were hoping he was a grandson now long gone. In any event, she decided it would be best to sleep indoors in case his visit was longer and he was out at night.

Today has been cookie decoration day. In between rolling them out, cutting them out and decorating, we had an interesting coversation about the girlfriend code. They were making me listen to rock-n-roll music and "Jessie's Girl" came on.

I felt compelled to inform them about the girlfriend code.

"Mom. I've known about the girlfriend code since first grade," Alison said.

"Really? What it is?"

"You can't go out with your friend's boyfriend," she said.

"Who told you THAT?" I asked, a bit outraged at having my role usurped.

She sighed. "You did."

"I did? Really?"


Man, I'm ahead of the curve, I thought, wondering what had prompted it then. And then, I'm the one learning:

"You know, Miss Cheryl, if he's moved on and she's moved on, you can date your girlfriend's OLD boyfriend," Jenna said.

Moved on? Moved on? What does that mean?

"But what if she still loves him and he's the only one who's moved on?" I asked.

"Well. "You know, if it's over," she said.

I almost turned them around and them look me in the eye. "The code says you can't date your girlfriend's boyfriend. Period. That's it," I said. "That's the code."

Without even seeing them, I knew they were rolling their eyes.

"Why are we even talking about this?" Alison asked.

"Because it's my job to teach you stuff. Like the code," I sputtered.

Jenna laughed. "Yeah. Like she learned her code back when she was a girl. Like back in the fifties!"

I'm still trying to get the last bits of blood off the floor. You know, the ones that dripped when I removed the knives they were sticking in my heart. My old, fading, barely beating heart.