By C. E. Cheese 2005

Dang. I was all set to upload the daily column today when I had a small, nagging suspicion that I had written the wrong one. They’re themed, you see. Checked the list: why, yes. Monday is People. Tuesday is How-To. And Monday is a “long” one, being a back-breaking 550 words. But: I take notes all week for these things, and there’s always something in the pipeline. So I put Gnat in front of her computer – log on to Barbie dot com, okay daddy? – and banged it out. In one hour I was ahead of the game. Hah! And the rest of the day was mine. All mine.

So now I’m wondering if I should use something that happened today in the Relationship column – Saturdays are about Family and Friends and the like, and I have taken this as a license to write about parenthood once a week. I tell you, these themes have freed me up. My job is so much easier now, and it hasn’t cut into my other work a bit. Yesterday, for example, I did the site update, wrote the Bleat, wrote a column, and after all the obligations were finished I wrote a 2500 word Joe Ohio chapter. (It replaces a chapter that was 125 words, and gives me a new plot point for the last third of the book.) This also means I find myself on nights like this, thinking: save the puke-in-a-bag story for Saturday, or tell it now? Now, I think; this page is a little more open, and I think vomit fits here better.

Then again, it wasn’t a lot of vomit.

We went to Costco. Since Gnat has no school Thu or Fri – teacher conferences, where they do Bog knows what – I decided we’d drive out to Eden Prairie, out on the long road I drove daily when she was doing that Power Kindergarten thing at the end of August. I love driving out there; the drive is lovely, full of hairpin curves and lush scenery, and the Eden Prairie commercial district is much nicer than Edina. This is heresy to some – the Strib had a story about attempts to revitalize the very cradle of the American Indoor Mall, and how some are displeased. They want to put up an 18-story condo on the site of a dead movie theater, for example. The reaction of some is equal to New Yorkers who learn that Donald Trump wants to put up a two ninety-story six-block wide condo complexes that will flank Central Park and bathe it in inky shadows half the day. For heaven’s sake. Fixing Southdale will be an interesting project; the nation’s first shopping mall turns 50 next year, and it’s not doing well. It’s not in a death-spiral, and it’s not outdated – 90s design holds up better in the Oughts than 80s design held up in the 90s. I’d suggest they recast it exactly as it was built in 56 and make the place a modern / retro showpiece, but you suspected that, I’m sure. Anyway. The Costco in Eden Prairie doesn’t even have the store’s name at the entrance; that would be too . . . obvious. Merely a driveway that goes up a hill to the store. You have to know it’s there. Gnat loved the store – Christmas lights! Toys! Ice Cream! I found something I’d heard about but filed away in the Someday file - an 8-DVD set of the complete New Yorker, ads and all. Oh my. So I got that, and some soup and some store-brand tissue paper. Also peanuts.

I’m going to start at the beginning and read them all. In the “sitting in the dentist’s waiting room flipping through reading the cartoons and skipping all the tiny useless jewelry ads” sense.

We also hit Krispy Kreme. They were making a fresh batch. Nothing like a fresh one right off the conveyor. I also bought a calendar, because it’s loaded with archival photos from the chain’s history. I swear, I’d go there if they sold cold hard kelp suppositories, just ofr the graphics alone.

On the way back she fell asleep and I listened to “I, Robot.” It’s fun. How will our cantankerous engineers solve the unanticipated conflict in the priority of the Three Laws of Robotics? It makes me feel 14 again, talking about robots and ion drives and space travel with my geeky friend, the tall one who never got to wear jeans, had braces, always had a plaid rayon shirt from Penneys with a plastic pocket protector, and tried in vain to get me to read hobbit books. He knew how to operate a slide rule. He’s a Lutheran minister now. (Just Googled. He’s into environmental theology, and is a registered lobbyist. His picture leaped out – instantly recognizable across the expanse of three decades. The friends you make when you’re ten, twelve? Those you never forget, and no other friendship in your life has the same ease, the shared fascinations, the serious bond. And it fractures upon contact with high school, when the options opened up, and the world splits into factions. Sports, speech, music, slackers, gearheads, drifters. None of my friendships survived the first year.)

Anyway. She woke up looking green, and said she didn’t feel well. Too much doughnut and too many hairpin curves. I took the spare donut out of the Krispy Kreme bag and told her to
boff away, if she had to. And she did. Nothing too harsh, no wracking gasps – just an easy urp. She handed me the bag and stared forlorn into the distance. I tried to cheer her up, but nothing worked. Finally I picked up the bag and rolled down the window: “Fresh Bag o’ Boff! Come and gitcher Fresh Bag o’ Boff!” she loved that. She cheered right up and giggled: oh daddy you’re so funny.

Crude, yes, but dads know what I mean; you’d saw your leg off to get a grin out of your little girl.

Do it again, daddy. Tell them to buy a bag of boff.

So I picked it up with two fingers, and in retrospect I should have remembered: hydrochloric acid. The bottom of the bag gave way. On the Krispy Kreme calendar. Then on my pants. This she found immensely hilarious; she almost voided herself, so great were the peals of glee.

Oh, it’s funny to you, because you don’t have a lap full of boff.

I don’t! I think the answer to that would be yes!

Huh? Where did she get that?

So that’s my day. Not all of it; we had a big night too, since my wife’s at the monthly hen-fest, but I’m too tired to recount it. Now I’m going to post, tuck her in, watch some Crime Story, finish a column and sleep. I hope this has brought a small amount of cheer into your life. If nothing else, it has been instructive.

The gorge, she’s heading for the top floor?

Double bag.

Hey hey! It's a new seven-minute Bleatcast. Subject: ancient pop culture references we may no longer get. Sorry about the lack of RSS feeds & Diner links - events tonight overtook the work I was intending to do. (Among other things, I had to make a Chuck E. Cheese's stop; the picture above is from the video portrait booth. I like the way it makes Gnat look like a character in a Japenese horror film.) Have a fine weekend; see you Monday.


Nutball wingnut sweet neocon nonsense