How the Grinch, erm, RahCoon(s) Stole Mah Birds
Spin on a Red Brick Floor

The End of the Day


I got around to remembering to call the furnace company at 10:45. We can come between 11 and 4 today or on Friday. You don't have a service contract. This wouldn't be covered anyway. Act of God. Natural Disaster. Call Your insurance company. Okayfine, I'm on my way. Sigh. Furnace is as old as the house. It's a boiler, the house was built in 1962 or somewhere thereabouts, every year they tell me to replace it but it runs and also I know perfectly well it's THEIR JOB, the OIL company to sell ME a new furnace while I'm standing there looking them dead in the eye asking where on God's good earth they THINK I'm going to come up with $6,000 and I don't see how the damn thing can be called inefficient (particularly) given that my oil bills seem to run less than the average for the same size house (I checked) (and I don't keep it all THAT cold or burn all THAT much wood and Lucia takes stupid long showers if I don't BEAT HER SEVERLY ABOUT THE HEAD, NECK AND SHOULDERS) and even if the maintenance contract is $280 per year (or something like that) it (the furnace) has never really required much in the way of its annual cleaning and so I do carry on...

I was having a cow or baby cows on the way home anyway but there I went, set up my workstation and got back to work. Furnace guy arrived at precisely 2:45 and was complete at precisely 4 PM and charged me precisely $99 for 1 hour of labor, $122.12 for the part (I'll get to that) and $14.04 in sales tax which came to a grand total of $235.16. He then proceeded to spend the next 15 minutes explaining what he'd done and why and never ONCE told me to get a new furnace. Said, the thing started up and ran like a beauty so I figured it wasn't the burner. Look, he said, somebody did you a favor by replacing the burner at some point in time and I've got to tell you that thing hasn't changed since it was made however many years ago (a lot) but for some reason they didn't replace the now VERY OBSOLETE stack control which I just happen to have in my truck and if I had to go GET that part, the original, who knows how long it would take to order, if I could even find it, so now you have a new stack control and here's your new restart and by the way, the old safety on this was ninety seconds, just enough time to blow you and the house sky high. You got 30 seconds now before the light goes on and it shuts down. Much better. Sign here.

I wrote him a check. He wasn't told to collect. They'd bill. I'd just finished paying the oil company off (catching up on the budget payments) and there was no way in HELL I was going to be Not On Top with these guys. He took the check and marked it paid and was on his way.

I have hot water.

Meanwhile Little Girl is home with the anticipated forms and we're reading them together and signing the bottom lines together all to be returned today. School pictures are today so that was done first. Another bunch of photographs that will sit in an envelope forever more but she'll look damn good in the year book because she was up at 6 and I blow dried her hair.

The forms we signed. Agreements to do x,y and z. Or else. I signed. No problem. I always sign. Usually I don't even read. This year Little Girl said I had to read and we were going to read it out loud. Always these things are written in weasel speak (legalese) so it makes very little sense and I deconstructed each sentence and then taught her how so she'd understand what each teacher was getting at. It all came down to this:

  • expected behavior
  • expected results
  • expected homework
  • percentage of grades
  • blah blah blah

You know what it means, I know what it means, sure you want to sign it (rhetorical)? And sign it we did.

With the full knowledge that I don't actually believe in homework for the sake of homework. I've been through this before on this blog so I'm not going to get into it again this morning. I signed because I'm not here to make a stand.

Somebody wrote on my Facebook status yesterday that maybe I should suggest spankings all around with appropriate enthusiasm if I didn't live up to my part of the bargain...


Another said it was too bad Little Girl wasn't around to be tutored in French with his exclusive Peter Seller's School of French:

"Ah-lo, zee minky ate-ah my home work. Zen when I did it for a second time, eet fell into zee puuueel."

Seven years of French and Numbah One Son can say perfectly this:

"All the squirrels in all the worlds" (it's the only communication that appealed to him)

Google Translate gives me this and it does sound about like I remember:

"tous les ├ęcureuils dans tous les mondes"
Lucia dropped French after three years (the first two in the Stamford public schools she loved) because when we came to Weston she happened to end up with a psychotic French woman and realized she'd end up with the same if she continued in high school and switched to Latin. Makes perfect sense to me. Latin lasted as long as it was interesting which also fulfilled the two year requirement and that also (the interesting part) makes perfect sense to me. Everyone else had baby cows. Sounds like a mess of personal problems. I hope they had epidurals.
And finally this:
Little Girl got to the bottom line. Before she got to the bottom line I do need to mention that she did not know we were going to the mall to find a pair of boots. The bottom line was this: this year she is aware of the clothing differences. Middle school. Ack. Here we go. This happened to Lucia when we came here too. Was bound to happen. This summer wardrobes were upgraded and everybody (OK, NOT everybody but enough everybodys that Little Girl cringed at her Walmart Shorts (or they might have been Old Navy, who the hell knows, maybe even Sears, whatever) and went quietly to pieces. One, she said, I'd really like to have one Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirt.
And then the VERRRRRY long conversation about all this. I've been through that before too. I'm not going through it again.
We went to the mall. Outfits she said, I need outfits. Sweetheart, you had 'outfits' last year and promptly dropped all your clothes on the floor and proceeded to wear pieces parts. She wasn't expecting the boots and still hasn't gotten to the point where a cheap pair of boots aren't going to cut it. On the other hand when she wanted Uggs she had to pay for them (except last year when Santa brought a new pair and that won't be happening this year).
We went into A&F. She showed me in sweatshirt version exactly what she wanted. Do you have this in Tees? Uh, no, it's not summer anymore. Check in the back. The back?! You HAVE a back at this store?! REAAALLLLEEEEYYYYY...
I went tearing off to the back. The redline section. Oh great jumpin' whatevers. The very T-shirt so desired for $7.99. You may have two, plus that skirt and the sweater because apparently there are 16 seasons instead of the standard 8 at this place and we are about 6 seasons behind and what with the economy the way it's been.... holy cow. And are THOSE really the shorts your friends wore first day of school??? Weren't their panties showing out the tops and bottoms? No wonder they made you all stand up and drop your hands to your sides and show you that you may not wear anything to school that does not drop to your finger tips. Because most of your friends came to school in bikini bottoms. Denim bikini bottoms. And you thought it was bad in... Jeeze.

Thank you, she whispered on the way out of the mall. She is aware that I've been raw since the beginning of the conversation. She knows how I feel. I know it's unfair to ask her to fight my battles. It's a fine line. We've been through all this.

Small things.


Later yesterday I was looking at those seven pictures and I saw something I don't know that anyone else saw. Between second and third grade there is a difference in her posture and face. That year was hard because things were starting to blow up. Forth grade was the hardest for me to look at because that photograph was taken 8 months after her abandoment, not just mine. She is wounded and confused. I'm reading a lot into this. Fifth grade there is a great deal of defiance and she's grown up quite a bit. Sixth grade, a different soft of self awareness.


So raw.


I have hot water this morning.


Small things.