OK, so it wasn't really me channeling Al Pacino in Scarface, but I did introduce Alison to a friend she may not come to love: our Honda, HRX 217 Versamow lawn mower.
I've been telling her for a couple years now that she could contribute more than staying on the couch as I do yard work. When she was small, it was a nice little time for her to safely spend with Blue's Clues or Total Drama Island -- or on really great days, a book. But she's taller than me now. She's old enough to safely mow.
In truth, I was extra motivated by a piece in the Huffington Post that asked if parents were getting a raw deal these days when children are cossetted and ferried from one event to the other with no room for chores.
Alison has had regular chores for years now, but her childhood and mine or Jeff's is markedly different.
I took her and a friend to see "Book of Morman." She's had massages and manicures. She's flown more in her short life than Jeff and I have collectively. This year we added Jamaica (Thanks, Grandpa) to her passport and later (Thanks Tracy & Eric.) we hope to see it stamped with Paris, France.
Let's just stop there. She has a well-marked passport and she can't even drive. Hell yes she can mow the yard!
While she agreed to do it with only a little protest, it is also true that as I pulled the mower out to the front yard she was trying to escape out the dining room window. She had one leg out the window when I came in the front door.
Where did she think she'd go? I don't think she'd thought through the rest of the escape. She truly didn't think I was serious. She has so much to learn.
I had mowed the bigger backyard the night before, and truth be told, the front yard didn't really need a trim. But I was fired up. If the Huffington Post hadn't already reminded me that I was coddling my only offspring, Amer had just posted a video of Jenna taking over the task for her older brother, Drew.
Ali didn't have a chance. When I gave her her Saturday suprise, she immediately called Jenna, who was unaware of the video. "Did you mow the yard today?" Ali demanded, not even saying hello.
"What?" I heard Jenna say as I walked by.
"Did. You. Mow the yard today?!" Ali asked. "Because my mom says you did and if you did, then I have to. Thanks a lot, Jenna!"
More appropriately: "Thanks Amer!"
She did a fine job. True to its claims, the Honda fired up on her first pull of the rope. Once she'd mastered holding down the bar while pushing, the mower took her up and back and around. I stayed out there picking up a wheelbarrow full of sticks from a recent spring storm. She had a hard time navigating the corners and I muted my ears while she figured things out.
After we did the yard, we replaced the front door glass with the screen and declared ourselves done with chores for the day. (She'd already powered through the dishwasher and laundry, and trash day is Friday.) She didn't hug me and profess her gratitude for my instruction, but when her father came home, it was as if she was two again and had mastered tying her own shoes.
"Guess what I did!" she exclaimed.
Like I said, this was more an instructive chore than a needed one. He said something about it being a great thing to get done.
"Yeah, it wasn't that bad," she allowed. "But now I think I have to do it every day!"
She is not unfamiliar with dramatic expression.
Speaking of drama, she and Asher were my dates for "Book of Mormon" Thursday. Asher is a new friend she met at Herron High School so we're not quite as tight yet as say, Jenna, Bree, Alex or Hannah. But we might get there. They had an awesome time and it was super fun listening to them sing along or exploding into giddy laughter at some of the outrageous lines.
Last night, Jeff, Ali and I went to our first Indianapolis Indians game of the season. Ali was on her way to the bathroom when Bree, from the first-base side, spotted her hair. They spent most of 6th, 7th and 8th innings together.
Despite Jeff's rally cap -- a concept new to Ali -- the Indians lost thanks to an 8th inning home run and good fielding in the 9th. We dropped Ali off at Asher's for a bonfire that turned into a sleepover and got home to have Jeff realize he'd left his phone at the ballpark.
I didn't remind him that back when we were dating, he'd done the same thing. Yes, that was 20 years ago, so I guess if has to happen, a 20-year-gap is a good stretch to go between. He fretted a lot, castigated himself and started counting up the dollars this was going to cost us.
This morning, though, our new best friend, Eddie, called to say the cleaning crew had both found the phone and turned it in. So it's down there waiting on him. That rally cap might have worked, after all.
So here's a slap in the face for you. I was part of an Indians season ticket group back when the Tribe played at Bush stadium on 16th Street. We had a ton of great times on those old wooden bleachers.
Clay Miller's "Uh-oh spaghettio" oath lives in infamy. Some one who'd lost his shirt once got smacked by a foul ball so hard you could see the ball's stitching on his torso for the rest of the game. So much fun. Here's the slap: the Tribe celebrates playing at The Vic for 20 years this year. Gulp.
Yes, we still have the tickets. Clay is still part of the group. We need to get the gang together again sometimes. If we can all manage the walk...
So it was mostly a great weekend. I woke up with another eye issue, much like I had a while ago and I ended up with a third diagnosis from a third doctor. Ugh. This one says it's environmental, likely, so if he's right, I need to suffer a bit more to see if he's right. If it IS something in the yard, I'm so screwed.
It's been a really weird spring here, weather wise, but right now, the yard is really pretty. I'd hate to think one of those pretty flowers is secretly out to get me.