Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Isobel meets The Lord...Soup Pot...

      Isobel: "My ear hurts."
      Daddy: "It's from all the swimming you've been doing. It's called swimmers ear."
      Isobel: "I'm a swimmer!?!? Wait,  what, you mean I can't go swimming anymore?"
      Daddy: "Well, you should lay off for awhile, at least going under water."
      Isobel: "That's no fun at all."
      Daddy:(later) "Want to go for a swim, Pick?"
      Isobel: But you said I can't go under the water."
      Daddy: "So go underwater."
      Isobel: "But what about my ear?"
      Daddy: My ear doesn't hurt at all if yours hurts, then don't go under water...it's your choice."
      Isobel: Cool! I'm diving!"

      I guess it's a good thing to let your kids explore the world around them and try new things. Things that their friends do and things that allow them to see how the other half lives. In our case, I think it is the other ninety-eight per cent of the world. There aren't many like us. Today saw Isobel do something I never thought  I would see her do. Isobel went to bible camp.
     I am over forty and I play loud music. Playing even louder music with three and four other very loud musicians while I was younger has left me with questionable hearing at certain time. So when Isobel said that her friend Area 51(one of Isobel's dearest friends) had invited her to 'Bibble' camp and that she wanted to go, I honestly thought I was hearing things.
     Mrs. Narrator had spoken to Area 51's mother and she assured us that it wasn't THAT kind of bible camp. She said that they 'weren't particularly religious' and that Area 51 had a blast there the day before. What the hell (too soon?) I thought. Good to see the other side of the fence once in a while.
      The day started in a typical fashion. We got up later than any of us wanted to and Area 51 and her mother were late picking up Isobel. But get here they did and off went my daughter to bibble camp. Remember not that long ago when we all used to laugh and call her the Princess of Darkness? I'm certain now that shit was all coming home to roost.
      Izzy went out the door just as I got a call from Mrs. Narrator to go to the hardware store and pick up a new air conditioner as our central unit had died the year previous and a window one was better than nothing. It was fast becoming hotter than the hobs of hell in year. Maybe this churchy type stuff wasn't such a bad idea. It was about a quarter past ten and I didn't need to get the P.O.D until eleven thirty. Plenty of time to get the new window ice box, put the bastard up and go save my child from the clutches of frolicking Christians.
     I don't believe...I thought I needed to put that out there, in case there was some doubt. I am not a believer, I have not been born again. The first time was miserable enough. That being said, I was driving past the very same bibble camp that  my progeny was attending. I noticed there were some typical 'Joseph and Mary' looking types and there were also people dressed in togas and wearing oak leaf wreaths on their heads. Christian and Pagan? Unlikely but I distinctly  remember chuckling to myself about the 'not too spiritual' comment of last night and how that was up the pisser just now.
     I was smiling and laughing to myself and then my car died. Just died. No warning, just driving and then no working. Right out front of the church. I asked a big burly fellow out front if he had a car, thinking it might have been my battery. He said that his wife was coming to get him in his car and that he wasn't very mechanically inclined or he would offer more help. I told him he was 'big and looked as though he could push things.' He agreed that he was big and said he would give it a go. We pushed and go it off the road and into the church parking lot.
     "Lloyd is in the office." said the big fellow. "He could maybe give you a hand."
      "Dammit Lloyd," I thought to myself.
      Lloyd was in his office and didn't think he could be of much assistance but was willing to give it a shot. We hooked up the car to the battery cables, still thinking it was the battery. It wasn't.  Lloyd threw up his hands and went back to the air conditioning. I was starting to get the impression that it was love thy neighbour...if you absolutely had to. Do unto others as begrudgingly as possible. Isobel and The Boy would fit into this church like a glove. I wondered aloud if Jesus ever gave up and went swimming when the apostles were being bitchy because the fishing nets were all knotted to hell and gone and it was just so damned hot in Jerusalem these days?
     The time was now about eleven twenty six so I wandered into the church to get Isobel. Just in time to see more ancient Greeks cavorting and singing love love love and looking completely out of place in frot of a cloth draped cross and a giant rendering of the pierced hands of Christ. Somewhere just beyond the stage was one Isobel Baker looking as though she would rather be pulling the legs off of spiders or knitting. Anything but this madness. Finally it was over and out she came to a slightly frazzled,  filthy handed father.
      "Let's get the hell out of here." she said.
      "My sentiments exactly" I thought.
      "How was it?" I asked.
      "REALLY Boring!" she said.  "We talked about god and how god is love and love is god and love is love and blah, blah, blah. I don't want to do that again."
      "OK," I said. "You don't have to. You tried it and you didn't like it. Let's move on."
      "We're not church people anyway, are we?"
      "Nope. Not at all?"
      "Not even Grandpa Ron?"
      "Especially not Grandpa Ron."
      I'm glad she tried something new and I am still stinging at the irony of the heathen mobile breaking down right in front of the church. I think back to last night after she told us she was going to this camp. She walked into the kitchen and calmly (and doing her best Nietzsche impression) announced that "God is dead."
I suggested that she might want to keep that little chestnut to herself until after bibble camp. I'm starting to wonder if she didn't spread it around a little bit. I think I saw a flicker dissent in the eyes of the Greeks...

      We got a pool of sorts. It's one of those store bought deals that is a couple of steps above a kiddie pool. It's a big blue soup pot and over the course of the last two weeks, it has been a godsend. To Izzy and I anyway.
      Isobel has been in the pool before it was hot enough to merit swimming. She was in the pool the day it was officially full. The temperature, though we had no thermometer at the time, I would hazard a guess was somewhere in the neighbourhood of about sixty five.
      A nice bath temperature is about eighty to eighty six. Sixty five degrees and I am bitching about ice cream headaches because my beer is too cold. OK, not really but sixty five degrees is pretty cold. I went swimming the following weekend with Isobel and I will say that it is a good thing I have bred. I don't imagine I will have any viable 'swimmers' after the refreshing dip.
     The pool now is at a balmy eighty six degrees and Izzy and I are in it every opportunity. Even Mrs. Narrator got her hair wet the other day. No really, her hair-WET. The Boy, had no idea we have a pool. But the heat from the computer is helping him to maintain that well sought after sticky complexion. So we got him off the computer for about ten minutes yesterday and led him toward the pool with a trail of promises of more computer time. Now we can't get him out of the pool. At least the internet is free.
      I was not in favour of the pool at first. My biggest complaint was that I would be the one doing most of the pool work. As it turns out, I am the one doing most of the pool work but I am also doing the second most swimming. Maybe that's a fair trade...somehow I think I am getting screwed on the work front. I also just know that I am going to come home to a gaggle of sweaty derby women fouling the waters of our soup pot with victorious sweat.
      It's a good thing that pools make for cooler heads and cooler heads will always prevail. That and the derby women know I like decent scotch.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Electronic Love and Hate...Worried But Not...

      Isobel: "Daddy, when are you going to work?"
      Daddy: "About nine o'clock."
      Isobel: "So you would have time to watch me in the pool?"
      Daddy: "I'm writing. If I get this finished in time then, I will come and watch you."
      Isobel: "So that means never, then."
      Daddy: "If you keep bugging me it does.,"
      Isobel: "I was just saying."
      Daddy: "And I was just saying, every time you stop to ask me if I can watch you swim now, which you                are going to do, then the longer it is going to take me to write.
      Isobel: (Stomping toward the stairs) "I was JUST saying."
      Daddy: "And if you pitch a fit and stomp upstairs, you can forget it altogether."
      Isobel: "Crap...I'm going outside."

      The Boy has an obsession...it is the computer and he is hopelessly obsessed with it. In much the same way that a junkie needs his fix, The Boy needs that box. He has been threatened with losing it...ad nauseum. He has a six hour time limit. He has lost it and gained it back and lost it again and he will continue to lose it and win it back again I am certain. None of it has curbed his enthusiasm or behaviour..
      I'm not sure I see the lure of the games he plays. There are games (some which I play myself) on X-box and Playstation which are like playing a cartoon. The graphics are beyond realistic but he insists on playing games that look like the came out sometime in the mid eighties. Blocky slow moving awkward characters and completely lo res graphics and backgrounds. It's like wandering around in a bad digital photo and he is nuts about them.
      I asked him what was so cool about the games and he answered without really answering; "They're really cool and imaginative and ...really fun." So are jigsaw puzzles but nobody ever got hollered at over them.
      "If you don't put down that god-damned edge piece, you won't see another jigsaw puzzle for two weeks." It even reads ridiculous.
      So it must be something else. I thought back to my own obsessions when I was his age. For the most part it was music and wanting to play it but and it is a gigantic but, I remember running up a healthy phone bill
back in the days of pre-recorded dial a porn, courtesy of my father's dirty magazine collection. I think two or three hundred dollars is a conservative estimate of just how hung up I was on Traci Lords and her ilk. But there isn't anything like that on any of his games and even if there were, eight bit boobies wouldn't be worth the price of admission.
      Still, he is hooked and I needed to know why...
      I don't think I had an aha moment about the whole thing but I think, after listening to a few of his gaming conversations, I got it. The Boy has ADD and one of the results of this condition is that his social skills can be a little behind where many think they should be. I don't intend this to be a debate on the semantics of where a thirteen year old boy's social skills should lie but suffice it to say that we felt they might be a little behind. At any rate, it was when he began playing these games that we noticed a change in him. He started swearing and even dropping the occasional, unintentional F-bomb and laughing and carrying on with the people who were in his headphones. All the things that one figures a budding teen aged boy should be doing-he was now doing. And I think I figured it out.
       There while he was sitting at the computer, was all of the social interaction with his peer group with no repercussions. No
other boys to tell him what he said was stupid to his face and embarrass him in front of has friends. Nobody to gang up on him and maybe pick on him or bully him because they think him different. Why wouldn't he be obsessed with going back to this place? I don't know if it is populated by people like The Boy but I suspect there are more than a couple.
      I think, and I may be stretching a little or maybe not so much, that all of this cyber confidence building has translated into the real world. He has had little or no problems with anyone at school, I don't recall hearing anything about him being picked on this year. Sure he is getting older and hormones will change everything but I'd like to think that this particular rabbit hole he has gone into with so many other kids, has given him an arsenal that he might not other wise have. And that's pretty god damned amazing...as long as he doesn't go over six hours.

      Izzy went back to the doctor today. A follow up to headaches she had been having a while back. As for the headaches, we were mostly in agreement that it likely had more to do with dehydration as anything else. There was however, something a little more shocking. On the first go around, her blood pressure was on the high side. High enough that that they took three more readings
      Now my family has a history of kidney stone making and so urine tests were ordered to rule out any connection between kidneys and blood pressure. (of which there are a fair amount) I wasn't really worried as I figured the doctor would have shown some sense of concern if she thought there were something really amiss.
      I wasn't worried until Mrs. Narrator visited the Google Doctor and came up with a gruesome list of insidious diseases that attack children and cause high blood pressure. I might be a little worried now. I still think that the doctor might have said something like; 'Mr. Baker, I don't want to alarm you but it could be...' right?
      I'm going to be pretty pissed off when it turns out that she had high blood pressure because she was afraid to fart in the doctor's office.