Alison was outraged that I'd even thing about going to Hooters. How she knows so much about it, I don't know. I suspect I need to limit her screen time or at least monitor it better.
"These are the things you have to do when you have siblings, Ali," I said as we drove downtown today to see my sister Debbie, her husband Steve, their daughter Annie and her boyfriend, Justin.
Fresh from her first babysitting gig for three children, Alison contemplated the obligations that family brings. She decided she might still want to have a sibling, but only if she could train him or her to act like she liked.
I wished her luck with that and advised her that I was pretty sure she wouldn't be too scarred by the visit. And while I was sure it was OK for her to go in, it wasn't where I wanted her to work later in life.
"I checked to be sure you could go in. Hooters even has a children's menu," I said.
"What kind of parent brings their kid to Hooters?!" she exclaimed. "I mean other than you."
I explained that Debbie and crew were in town for a Colts game and that they were pre-gaming at Hooters -- likely because it was Justin's choice.
"Is he, like a teen-ager or an adult?" she asked.
"He's Annie's boyfriend so he's between 25 and 30, I guess," I said.
She was curious because at school this week, they had a lecture -- "A promise to keep" -- which talks a lot about abstinence. She learned there, so she informed me, that teen age boys experience a lot of lust, so Hooters made sense if Justin were a teenager.
We agreed that boys are weird at any age. She sighed. I sent up a silent prayer that she wouldn't ask the waitress to put some clothes on -- a request she'd made of an earlier Annie boyfriend when she and the Ogdens had happened upon him and he happened to be shirtless.
We managed to survive without issue, though Ali worried a lot that someone from school would see here there. We actually had a great time; Ali kept her Puritanical utterances to a minmum and the food was good! It was a lot of fun catching up and meeting Justin for the first time.
It was a minor miracle that we even got down there. I spent about six hours working in the yard yesterday and there are parts of my body that aren't speaking to me. I was determined to finally distribute the mountain of mulch I got from Karen and Pat Terrell. It's been sitting in the yard for about three weeks now -- a nasty cold had sidelined me last week.
When Karen offered free mulch, I said yes because I had flower beds in need of some help. And the price was right. Blinded by my frugal nature, apparently, I didn't think about how much mulch an ancient oak might make. But when the big-ass industrial truck pulled into my yard, I learned. And it was only half of the tree! I seriously think the pile was taller than me.
Yard work at my house is a solo sport. Neither Jeff nor Ali want any part of it. I like it, though. While nature does sometimes fight back - and I have the scars to prove it - I like the solitude and the labor of it. I'm not especially talented at gardening. I buy plants that are hard to kill and don't mind being relocated on occasion. I'll paste in some yard shots from prettier times of the years.
I'd planned to share the mulch with another neighbor. But there was only one dump site and mine was the lucky first stop. My first mulch sharer backed out but another woman in the neighborhood wanted some. I put some in my next door neighbor's yard, too. But man it was a lot of mulch.
At one point, I was tossing ground up tree around the huge oak in my front yard and I wondered whether if the living oak was offended by the thought of the dead one being sprinkled around its base like cannibalized ashes. I decided it was a circle of life kind of thing. Hakuna Matata, man. Right?
In addition to shoveling the mulch and putting it down, I picked up leaves and limbs and general yard waste; moved some rocks around to cover roots and then cleaned up the mess I made. There's enough lactic acid in my musculature that if I punctured myself, I'd drip like a maple tree in November.
When she starts prancing around in those tiny little volleyball shorts that "everyone is wearing Mom, so I need to, too" I'm going to remind her of our trip downtown today...