Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The wonderous power of movies...bag ladies on the move...

I noticed she was shouting at Santa, though I couldn't hear what she was saying. By the way she was wagging her finger and gesturing wildly, I knew it was serious and Santa was head for the doghouse...again. I was going to ask her what the problem was later but she came up to me first.
Isobel: "Daddy, what does
Isobel: "Daddy, what does shite mean?"
Daddy: "It's the same as the 'S' word. It's the Scottish way of saying the 'S' word. Irish too I think."
Isobel: "Oh I'm Scottish, right?" ( I could hear the excitement in her voice)
Daddy: "Yes, partly Scottish." (I knew where this was headed so I changed the subject)
Daddy: "I noticed you were shouting at Santa, what did her do now?"
Isobel: (letting out huge sigh) "I don't like Santa anymore."
Daddy: "Why not honey? What did poor old St. Nick do now?
Isobel: " Santa's being like shite right now and I seriously do not like it."

I love the movies. The orchestrated scenario of going to the theatre was one of my favourite things from childhood and still one of my favourite things to do, even with my own kids...especially with my own kids.
Going with my mother was usually a breeze. She was either an excellent planner or multi tasker or a little of both. We were in the building and in our seats, goodies in hand before we knew it. Going to the movies with Dad was a little different and it didn't happen very often which is why it never failed to remain firmly fixed in my mind.
My Father hated to miss any aspect of the theatre experience and that included the previews. I can't fault him for it, I'm a preview junky myself. But we never seemed to leave the house on time, which set in motion a terrible chain of events that got worse as we went along. Because we were late leaving the house, we end up in the back of the massive line to see whatever we were seeing.(My Father never thought to take us to a second run movie) Which meant we were in the back of the line at the concession stand. 'Know what you want by the time we get up there.' he would always say and we would inevitably respond that we did. Though inevitably that would change at least six times by the time we got up to the counter. Dad always had the same thing, licorice all-sorts and a Coke. I guess he figured we should be as efficient.
Because we were so behind up to this point it meant the real possibility that we would be unable to sit together. I don't remember that ever happening but I remember being terrified and a little excited at the prospect of sitting by myself in the dark. We would take our seats as the lights went down and My father would breathe a sigh of relief at having pulled it off by the skin of his teeth. At some point before the main feature, I was almost certain to tell my father I had to go to the bathroom to which he cursed and muttered something about a bladder like a little girl. I was never certain what he meant by that and was secretly amazed by perfect the timing my little girl's bladder always had.
Now the kids and I love to go to the movies though I have a few ticks that are holdovers from my days of going to the movies with the old man. I leave entirely too early and I try to cram as much crap in my arms and pockets so I don't have to miss anything.(previews included) All children(read Isobel as The Boy has the bladder of a Nordic god and actually has to remember to go to the bathroom) must go pee before we leave the house AND as soon as we get to the theatre if there is even the slightest chance they will need to go once the movie has started.
I learned something this weekend that maybe I really didn't know or possibly learned and forgot or more likely, learned and it didn't really sink in... Apart from the person who makes a little tear in your ticket, you don't actually need to have any sort of contact with any one in the building aside from looking at them. Nary a word needs to be spoken in this modern age of ours.
Like my father before me, the best laid plans to have us out the door with plenty of time to spare had long since been shot to hell and my mood was starting to reflect it as I barked for the kids to hurry up and get in the car. We drove like a bat out of hell headed down the highway for the theatre and as we entered the building, I saw it there... a glowing bastion of technology and the saviour of dis organized fathers everywhere. The automatic ticket machine. I looked over to the ticket counter and the indecent line that was spewing from it. Cursing out loud now, though still unheard by anyone but me and the kids. The Boy pointed it out.
"What's that thing?" he asked.
"That's the...automatic ticket machine!" I said. (my mood going from black to rosy gold covered, sunshine M & M's quicker than you can say 'we are going to see The Green God-Damned Lantern and you sir, will have the extra large snack box for being an altogether clever ten year old.')
"You have to have a credit card to use one, I have a credit card. I am an adult." I said matter of factly.
"Really?" asked The Boy. "I would have never guessed that."
I couldn't determine if he was being sincere or being a smart ass but I let it go. He did put the ticket machine idea in my head. It the blink of an eye almost literally, we were in our seats. The kids were munching away at their individual kid sized snack packs and I was stuffing handfuls of Snocaps in my mouth before the crappy theatre trivia had ended...the previews hadn't even started yet. I found out later that not only can you pay your admission online but you can actually buy your snacks online too. You can print off a redeemable coupon for popcorn and sweeties and drinks and just present it to the person at the concession stand. There wouldn't be any question as to what you wanted so if you chose not to, you wouldn't even need to speak to the person and still get exactly what you wanted. Or if you would just as soon NOT stand in the concession line, they bring it to you on a rolling cart five or ten minutes before the movie begins. Ho, ho! The time alone this saves absolutely boggles the mind. My father would've crapped his pants with joyful abandon had this been available to him.
I mentioned a while back about taking The Boy to see The Incredible Hulk and how incredibly loud it was. The Green Lantern was twice as loud. I have diminished hearing in one ear and I thought it was loud. I remember watching horror movies when I was younger with hands covering my eyes, peeking out through fingers at parts that didn't sound too scary. My kids watched the movie with hands firmly over their ears. Only lowering their hands when there was little or no chance of anything remotely intense or action packed occurring on the screen. They saw the whole movie but heard only the kissing bits.
Somewhere around the middle of the movie, Isobel began to say she wanted to go home. I figured it was just due to the volume of the movie. I gave her a handful of Smarties and told her it would be over soon and we would go home then She seemed to be OK with that. But as we were leaving and I offered to spend some money in the theatre's arcade and she refused, that I knew it wasn't just the volume of the movie. She went to bed with out incident and seemed to be alright at bedtime. She woke up around three that morning and came into my room crying.
"What's the matter, honey?" I asked her.
"Green Lantrin." she sobbed.
"What?" I asked, not certain I had heard her right.
"The damn Green Lantrin gave me a headache."

I lived in the U.S. for a while and I had heard stories of things like this but never thought it would happen to me. Parking your car at night and forgetting to lock the doors. You come down the next morning and find the evidence that a bag lady or homeless man has been using your car as a flop house. Usually it's just a mess, sometimes it's human waste, sometimes the homeless person in question is still asleep in your car.
I came outside to find Isobel sitting on the hood of my car.
"What are you doing?" I asked her.
"Playing Whitesnake." she said.
It didn't really dawn on me for a couple of minutes what she actually meant. When it did, I actually spoke out loud.
"Oh my god. She's acting like Tawny Kitaen. (for those of you keeping score at home, that is the redhead rolling around on the hood of David Coverdale's car in the 'Here I go Again' video)
I went back out front to say something to her and saw the real reason she was on the hood of my car. The back of my car had become something one might see on a program about hoarders. There were three pairs of flip flops, one pair of Uggs, one pair of high heels. One Dsi(pink) to video games for said Dsi. Two pairs of socks. Story books, puzzle pieces and colouring books and markers...Now had it not been for what I saw next, I would not have thought too much about the filth explosion in my car. There in my front seat (fully reclined) under a blanket and atop a comfy pillow, lay Santa.
Hello, my name is Sid and my daughter is a bag lady...and she has moved into my car.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Old Man and The Pond...The End Of an Era...

We were driving along, the three of us an I noticed something odd. There was no noise coming from the back seat, not a single sound.
Daddy: What are you two doing? It's awfully quiet back there."
Isobel and The Boy: "..."
I learned long ago that when the two of them are this quiet, no good can come of it. I flipped the mirror down to look at them and noticed only the tops of their heads. Both deep in the throes of video game hypnosis. It would be a quiet ride. I only wished we were going further than the grocery store.
Isobel broke the silence.
Isobel: "I forget Daddy, is it just shit I'm allowed to say or can I say bullshit too?"
The Boy: "Izzy! God stop saying both of them!"

I have several memories from my childhood that are permanently etched into my brain. One is of my father's jeans, with his legs still quite inside them piercing the water beside me as his hands reached in to pull me out. I had wandered down the shore when we were on holiday. I kept wandering until I was literally in over my head. I have no memory of any of it except the jean covered legs and the hands pulling me out.
I have another very clear memory of getting up early with my father-very early on a Saturday morning to go fishing. He was wearing jeans and sneakers, a t- shirt of some description and a black cardigan he called his fishing sweater. It smelled of cigarettes and bait and I can still smell it and feel the warmth of it as he draped it around me when I got cold sitting in a boat in the middle of Lake Ontario. Again, I have no memory of the rest of the day, not what we caught (if anything) nor when we went or with whom but I remember that sweater and I remember feeling a bond with my father that I hadn't felt to that point...I took the kids fishing this past weekend, Father's day.
There are certain things that one must have when going fishing and I endeavoured to introduce Izzy and The Boy to these unwritten rules of the sport. For example, one must have a fishing pole. Now you might take it for granted that everyone knows and understands this concept but when I mentioned to Isobel that we had to go out on Saturday to get her a fishing pole before we went fishing on Sunday she asked, 'will I really need one?' I couldn't tell if she was being serious or existential. With her, either could be the appropriate answer.
The second item, is a tackle box. Not essential for everyone per se but at least one member of the fishing party should have a reasonably equipped box of lures etc and be willing to share with the others. In our case, The Boy has a flashy newer number that has a handful of lures in it and mine is a well worn beat up dull orange piece of crap that doesn't fit all of the necessary things a parent is required to bring when taking his kids fishing and it is held shut by a cotton hair tie.
Isobel thought it was the greatest treasure chest she had ever seen when she opened it up to view the contents within.
"When do I get my own box and things?" she asked referring to the multicoloured lures and plugs inside the box.
"Learn to fish a little bit better and then I'll get you one." I said.
"Do they have pink ones?" she asked hopefully.
"I imagine so," I said. "I think you can just about get every colour you could think of."
"O.K.," she said. "But until I get mine can I be in charge of this one?"
"O.K." I said. "But you musn't touch anything inside of it. There are hooks all over and I don't want you to get stuck on one."
She agreed not to touch anything without asking me first without any sort of complaint at all. This in and of itself damn near floored me.So I let her carry it all she wanted, which she did with an air of authority. She might not have been allowed to touch anything but she damn sure wasn't going to let anybody else touch it while she was on the job.
And so it was off to get her a pole. There were many to choose from and she chose a snappy Tinkerbell number with a light up handle. A decent amount of line and a decent amount of test on the line. I learned from an earlier fishing venture with The Boy, not to underestimate the power (read blind luck) of the junior fisher as his first time out with me, he caught a three or four pond bass that nearly yanked the pole out of his hands-but didn't break his line (thank-god).
We cashed out, got in the car and were headed for home when I noticed she was quiet. Abnormal for her especially after getting something new. Usually she will chirp away for hours to her minions about the wonders of her new things.
"What's the matter?" I asked her.
Her eyes began to well up with tears. "I didn't really want that one." she choked out.
We were nearly home or I would have taken her back into the store to get a different one.
"Honey, all the poles were the same. All the light up ones wee the same. Just different pictures. Which one did you want?"
"Spiderman." She said.
Up until this point I didn't think she even knew who Spiderman was, let alone want a fishing pole with his picture emblazoned on it.
"Trust me baby," I tried to soothe her. "They are all the same and Tinkerbell will work just as well."
"O.K." she conceded.
As fate would have it, just as I went to string up ol' Tinkerbell, the line snapped and the reel seized. My brain snapped into high gear.
"Get in the car guys." I yelled out to them. "Izzy's pole is broken so we're going back to the store to get her a new one."
We got back to the store, returned the old pole and got a new one AND returned back home all before you can say 'Spiderman who?' and with her light up Mickey Mouse fishing pole, Isobel was all set to head out to the pond.
There is a third thing that i believe is essential for the true fishing experience, that is a hat. A fishing hat. everybody has one of one sort or another...or at least should have one. I had my beloved Montreal hat and Izzy her Purple Dora baseball hat but The Boy's hats had all become too small for his head.
He disappeared upstairs and came back down with one on his head. He went to the bathroom mirror and re-emerged after several minutes of adjusting to get it just right.
"You can't wear that hat Buddy," I said.
"What!!??" he asked incredulously.
It is worth noting that the hat was striped red and gold with the words High Times emblazoned across the top of it with a giant pot leaf smack dab in the middle of it. A gift from his father some time ago.
"Oh, because it's so dusty?"
"Yeah," I said. "You know how Nana hates when things are dusty."
I lent him one of my hats and we were out the door, finally and within twenty minutes were standing on the shore of my mothers pond poles in hand ready to make lasting memories.
I am a lure fisherman and The Boy fancies himself the same. He caught his bass on a top floating lure after all. Isobel opted for the more traditional worm, hook and bobber route. The Boy cast his line out as I put the worm on for Isobel. She made her first cast and it was a beautifu l one. The furthest she had cast since getting the pole. (at least an hour of practice casts the night before had clearly paid off)
"Izzy I'm telling you that you are going to catch a fish almost right away fishing with worms."
The word had barely left my mouth as she got her first hit. I figured she would be a bit panicky when it happened but she handles it like pro.
"Daddy, I got a fish, I got a damn fish! Holy Crap I got Fish!"
"Reel it in." I said as she wound up her line. It was a sun fish and a decent sized one at that.
"That's not as big as the one i got." said The Boy.
"No, this is only a sunfish," I said. "But if I were catching pan fish for supper, this one would be big enough to keep>"
"Really?" he asked. "Good job Izzy." (To his credit, The Boy got a decent sized one too)
Sadly though, this was the best our day was and it was never that good again. We did learn some things though. That Isobel is the world champion sunfisher of all time- she caught them all day, even when she said she had had enough and merely dropped her line in the water by mistake. Not to mention that of the six fish she caught, two of them were with a bare hook. (I guess it still smelled like a worm) We also learned that The Boy is as skillful a tree catcher as ever I've seen. Present company included and that he is now convinced I owe my father at least $6000 in lost fishing lures ( I do remember a Daredevil he was a little miffed about at the time). And most importantly, that an adult and two children can never fit comfortably nor fish successfully in a paddle boat. I don't care how skinny the family is or how active the fish are. It can't be done.
I don't remember who said it, It may have been Abraham Licoln or it may have been me, though it seems awfully profound to have come from someone like me but there is a saying that goes something like this; "The man who has everything is the man who can look in his child's eyes and see the love therein." I went out there hoping to put a memory in my kids that would last a lifetime and came away with one of my own...Best Father's Day ever.

This weekend will see something come to a close that will affect all three of us, Me, Izzy and The Boy. Mrs. Narrator's roller derby trips are over until October. That's not to say that we won't do anything fun or interesting as a whole family unit but the dynamic of it all will be entirely different. I know the kids are excited about the prospect and so is Mrs. Narrator but I can't help feel a little melancholy about the loss of my Friday night dinner companions and my shopping buddies.
And so gentle readers, the kids and I have decided that such a monumentous occasion deserves an event equally monumentous to mark its passing. Something worthy of remembrance and celebration with song and merriment for years and generations to come.
We sat down, the three of us and decided that this weekend, our last weekend as a power trio, we will Get A McRib and see The Green Lantern and Perhaps Do A Little Light Shopping!
O.K so we don't aim high...what do you want from us? Revel in your mediocrity, we do...at least with Mrs. Narrator being home on the weekends now, the kids can stop carrying around the cardboard cut out of her. It tends to block the rear window when we're driving around...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Father's Day...Santa, Jesus Christ and Everybody else...

She has taken to talking into the T.V remote like a cell phone again. She has done this virtually since she could talk. I don't recall anyone ever demonstrating this to her, she just sort of picked it up.
Isobel: (into T.V. remote) "So anyway, I was just downstairs with my Daddy and we were...wait, just hold on...(to me) yes?"
Daddy: "What do you want to drink?"
Isobel: "Hold on a minute, I have to take this call. (Back to T.V. remote) "So like I was saying, I was just downstairs with my Daddy and my Daddy is going to take me fishing but I'm scared because my brother is allergic to worms."

A friend of mine had given Isobel a Barbie suitcase complete with a collapsible handle and wheels at the bottom. She was beside herself with excitement.
"It's just like Mummy's suitcase that she takes to Mexico.
"That's right."
"I'm going to take this to the Mexico house when we go. Where did I get this suitcase?"
"My boss gave it to you, he has a little girl who is older than you and doesn't play with it anymore. He thought you might like to have it."
"Yep. Open it up."
She opened it and you'd have thought she was looking into the briefcase from Pulp Fiction.
" "Oh my god Daddy. It's full Barbie stuff! Look.
And it was full of Barbie stuff. Dolls and clothing, pets and appliances. Stuff she didn't have and stuff she liked.
"Look at this doll Daddy, I didn't even know I wanted this!"
Then she pulled out a toy washing machine, identical to one she had been given sometime ago by one of the other generous parents of girls that are out growing their little girl toys.
"Oh my god Daddy, look." she held up the machine for me to see.
"Oh look, another washing machine. Now you can do twice as much laundry." I said
"That's not funny Daddy...really... not funny."
We were driving along, Izzy, The Boy and me. I'm not sure how the conversation came around to the subject it did but from out of nowhere, Izzy asked "Daddy, is this the holy crap handle?"
I spit my diet Dr. Pepper all over the steering wheel and asked her to repeat herself,which she gladly did.
"Is this the holy crap handle? D says this handle is called the Holy crap handle. Is it?"
"I've always called it that." I answered.
"Really, Daddy? You said crap not shit?"
There are time when being lax with your children about the uses of vulgar language can reach up and bite you on the ass. This was spiralling into one of them rapidly."
"Well I might have called it that word too." I said.
"What word Daddy," she asked me. "Shit?"
Now I can't swear as to her intentions but from where I was sitting and the tone of her voice, I would swear she was goading me into saying it.
"What?" she asked in an indignant tone. "You don't care if I say shit."
"Well I said that but I didn't exactly mean..."
I am amazed that I didn't slide off my seat there and then as my ass had clearly been bitten completely away at that exact moment.
"Let's just talk about something else." I said.
"O.K." she asked hopefully. "What should we talk about now?"
"Well we could ..."
"Look Daddy!" she shouted. "A Jesus Christ cross!"
"A what?" I asked.
"A Jesus Christ cross. You know... Jesus Christ?" She closed her eyes, stretched out her arms to the side and wiggled her hands around. More like Jesus Fosse but I got the gist of what she meant.
"Ummm yeah?" I said.
"D says that Jesus Christ is real. Is he real, Daddy?"
"Well," I began. "The Romans were very good about keeping records and they say that..."
"And D says that Jesus came here to save soap."
"Soap?" I asked.
"Soap." she said. "If you love Jesus then he will save you and your soap."

For those of you who regularly read this little blurb, you will be happy to know that Isobel and Santa have mended there relationship and are friends once more. To those of you unfamiliar, Santa is an electronic dancing and singing Christmas decoration that Isobel has a love hate relationship with.
We were in our usual after school positions, I on the treadmill and Izzy playing with the treasures in the basement. I noticed she was carrying Santa around and cooing at him in a very motherly way.
"I see you and Santa have patched things up." I said.
"What?" she asked.
"The last time you played with Santa, you weren't very happy with him." I reminded her.
"Oh," she said. "I like him again and I don't really have anybody else to play with. Also he finally learned how to listen to what I tell him."
He new favourite song came on my ipod (Hocus Pocus by Focus. She likes the yodelling guy) and she was singing and dancing with Santa. Telling him to rock out and pounding his fist in the air. Once the song ended, they took their bows and went back to playing. She set him down on an uneven surface and told him to stay there. When Santa started to shift she turned on him.
"Stay there I said." you could hear the venom rising in her voice.
He slid even further and she drilled a plastic cup at him. Had he been real his eyes would be watering like a tap.
"I said stay there, god-dammit!"
I wish strength and patience to whatever boy Isobel decides is going to be her husband. He's going to need it...and maybe a crash helmet...

Ah another Father's day is nearly upon us. That time when we celebrate all of those things that Father's do for us, like cutting the lawn, raking the lawn, bagging up the clippings, washing the deck. So we get Dad a little something to let him know how much we appreciate him and then we let him get on with cutting the lawn, raking the lawn, bagging the clippings, washing the deck...
Here's how Mother's day usually goes around our house...most houses I suspect. Mrs. Narrator gets up later and the kids give her flowers and cards and then she goes off to roller derby for practice and I look after the kids because it's her day and that's what she wants to do on her day. And why not? She's earned it, right? On Father's day, Mrs. narrator gets up later (more than six hours in bed and my back is buggered for the rest of the day. Really) I cut the lawn and then she goes to roller derby and I look after the kids. Did you see the difference there? No flowers AND I get to cut the lawn!
Seriously though, I really don't much care about Father's day. It's a silly thing to celebrate your parents just because they're your parents. Birthdays I get. It's saying 'you've made it another year and we're glad, here's some cake.' When you get older it's saying 'holy shit you're still alive and we're all amazed, here's some cake.' But to celebrate the instinct to reproduce seems a little contrived and Hallmarkish to me. But the kids love to make all the school made gifts that they just know you're going to love and like the giant light up Hawaiian ties I keep hoping for and never receiving (not that I have an office job to wear them to) you can't say no to them.
Mrs. Narrator asked me a while ago, one of my first Father's days, what I wanted on MY day. I had to think about it. I could have come up with a whopper of a selfish bastard of a thing to do and likely would have gotten away with it because it was my day. The first thing that came to mind is still on record as one of the best Father's days I have ever spent. I took the boy to See the Incredible Hulk (the one with Edward Norton, not the one with the Australian guy. A good film but the Norton one was a little less convoluted...I digress) It was his first movie in Dolby stereo and the first really loud scene that kicked in scared the holy Jesus out of him and he shot most of his popcorn into the seats in front of us. I will always remember this day.
So for Father's day this year, The kids and I are hanging a sign on the door, packing a lunch and going fishing. It'll be Izzy's first time drowning worms and The Boy is fast becoming an Angling legend. It is going to be chaos and madness and arguing and who gets to go first and shouting and yelling and tears and laughter and maybe even a fish or two...and it's mine, all mine...
Happy Father's day from all of us at Fuzzy Blue Chair to all of my fellow Dads. Have a cold one and put your feet up but not for too long, that grass isn't going to cut itself.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Earache v 2.2...Isobel is not allowed to touch the closet, ever...

When she was much younger, Isobel was like many children and put things in her mouth. (is it a food/not food kind of thing like sharks do with surfers?) If you're lucky, you catch everything in time. If you're not so lucky, you hope that what goes down will come out and that it didn't have sharp edges.
Daddy: "What's that in your mouth?"
Isobel: "Nothing."
Daddy: "What was that in your mouth?"
Isobel: "A stone." (She was starting to tear up quickly)
Daddy: "What!?! A stone, what stone?!?!"
Isobel: "This." (she showed me a small oval piece of glass with very round edges. The kind of thing one might put in a vase to hold dried flowers in place. Glass yes but if she was determined to swallow something, this was the perfect thing.)
Daddy: "Did it go all the way down?"
Isobel: (nodding her head as gigantic tears rolled down her cheeks) "Yes"
Daddy: "Well that's good to know and with a little luck, in a day or so you can tell your friends you crapped a marble."
Isobel: "Really?"
Daddy: "Uh-huh."
Isobel: "Cool..."

A week into her recovery from the crippling earache and all seemed to be on the mend... for at least a couple of days anyway. By Saturday afternoon, we had scrapped her plans of going to a birthday party and I was loading her into the car and heading for the after hours doctor.
Her mood was better but I could hear her whispering to herself on the way "this really hurts my ear.' It was funny and heartbreaking all at once. And when she declined the opportunity to keep playing my Ipod, I knew that it was really bugging her.
Mrs. Narrator had prepared a note for me for the doctor, detailing medicine doses and times for that day and all other pertinent information one might need when taking a child to a medical professional. I promptly left this at home along with her health card. A small green card without which it is next to impossible to get the receptionist to open the glass window, let alone see a doctor.
Maybe it's my personable demeanor or maybe my boyish good looks and charm coupled with the fact that the room was filled with other dads with other sick kids and I would bet my children's college education that not a single one of them had any sort of relevant information as to the nature of the child's illness...just like me...I'm sure it also helped our cause that the receptionist said 'Isobel, right?' as we walked up to the window.
We checked in and sat down to take our place among the walking wounded. Dads and their kids, who all had the same look of confusion on their faces. The fathers with a look of 'somebody call my name and tell me what to do next because I haven't the foggiest clue.' And kids who looked like they just didn't want to be sick anymore. And elderly people who just looked tired and worn out. Not necessarily sick so much as used up...And Izzy and me.
A man came in in a wheel chair and I knew Isobel would have something to say about it. She did.
"Why is he in that?" she whispered.
I was about to say something when the man in the wheel chair spoke up.
"I have a disease," he said. "Messages from my brain get lost and tell mu muscles to rest when the should move and to move when they should rest. That's why my legs are shaking and that's why I have to sit in this chair."
His legs were shaking, terribly and I never did figure out if the man had heard Izzy or if he was intuitive enough after so long in the chair to explain things to children who were obviously inquisitive about his situation. Whatever the answer, he explained himself better than I ever could. He got called by the nurse and Isobel and I went back to sitting and waiting.
In the morning before we left, Mrs. Narrator had remarked that The Boy had various ear problems in his younger day and they always put him on Zithromax. She wondered aloud why they had not put Isobel on it in the first place as the medicine she had been put on seemed to have a diminished effect on her ear.
Finally we called out of the ticket area and put into the departure lounge. Normally this will add at least another forty five minutes to your Doctor wait time, even Izzy knew this and complained 'Now we really have to wait.' The Doctor came in after a couple of minutes. I reached into my pocket to retrieve the list of information and when I realized I hadn't brought it with me, I began to founder hopelessly and stutter like a fool. Muttering things about fever and banana medicine tasting awful and how you just can't get a good health-care in the back of your car anymore. I thought of all the fathers sitting in the waiting room, helpless and lost and realized I had just crossed the line and joined their ranks. Mercifully, the Doctor had long since tuned me out and was looking at Isobel's ears.
"Yes," the Doctor began. "Quite a nasty infection. I'm going to put her on a heavy dose of Zithromax and it should burn out the infection in a couple of days."
I laughed out loud (thinking back on it now, it was an inappropriately long and loud laugh. The kind generally made by people of questionable wit who find themselves in uncomfortable situations.) I went on to explain to her about the conversation I had with Mrs. Narrator about The Boy and his messy ears. She actually looked at me and blinked, not saying a word for what seemed like an hour. She finally broke the silence saying she would just go and get the prescription off the printer. As she left the room I got a look from Isobel that said I was not the only one who was mortified by unbelievable 'Dadness.' As we were heading out she assured us that Isobel would be feeling much better in a day or two and with script in hand we headed out to the drug store.
We handed the pharmacist the piece of paper and I knew Izzy was already feeling better because she insisted on shopping and getting a bouquet of lollipops for her and also one for The Boy. We stepped up the pharmacist's counter to pay for the medicine and for the suckers and the pharmacist asked Isobel if he could have one of the suckers as he was explaining to me the dosage of her antibiotics. Izzy played a little bit shy at first but when he said he really wasn't going take a lollipop, she sort of warmed up to him. It might help to note that the pharmacist was a middle-eastern man.
"Daddy," she kind of half whispered. "he must have already been to the beach."
"Why?" I asked.
"He's got a tan." she said.
I laughed. The pharmacist laughed and gave her a big gumball out of the bucket on his counter...she was already feeling better...

I don't know why but Isobel's closet door has a lock on it. The keys to this door have been hanging on a little fuzzy picture holder that sits on her dresser, since forever. Of course like anything else, if she gets it into her mind to play with something it becomes open territory. She doesn't know the real use of most of these things and they tend to fall by the wayside. It's never been a problem before.
Of late however, Isobel has taken to playing with the lock on the door while she is picking out her clothes for school and closing the door just enough to get it open up again. A kindergarten version of dancing in front of the tiger's mouth only this time she got bitten.
She closed the door tight and said to me "It's not locked or anything."
Which told me immediately that it was locked, which set off a frantic search for the keys to open the door, which set off the boiler in my brain which drove my frustration levels through the roof. Packing it in for the night after realizing there was nothing I could do right then and so I would deal with it the following day.
I used to have some degree of skill with opening doors using credit cards and the like...these skills have long since left me. Round one to the door. I decided then that I would take the door off the hinges and there is something to be said about the craftsmanship of a door that is over a hundred years old. The frame is, more or less, intact and the door is open. After much swearing and cursing and sweating and telling my daughter that she is "Not going to touch the god-damned closet door ever again."
She started crying. "How can I pick my clothes if I can't touch my door?"
"Well you have to...you'll just...awww crap."
She is much smarter than I'll ever be...(as an addendum to this, this afternoon I was looking for the television remote which has disappeared into Isobel's play world somewhere. I put mu hand between the cushions of the couch, one of the usual remote hiding spots and lo and behold I pulled out...the closet keys.)