The texts were disjointed like our conversations tend to be also. Two or three subjects woven together in such a way that it’s impossible to quickly sort out which is what. If our conversations were electric wires, we would have burned our house down long ago.
“This is the white for positive, right?”
“And the black means negative, I think.”
“So what’s with the green one?”
“Uh, a ground wire. Yeah, green/ ground. They sort of sound alike.”
“Okay, so why do we have this red one? Does that rhyme with dead one? I don’t think electricians wire houses by rules of poetry.”
“Uhhhmmm, you got me, Cher.”
“I know. That’s the problem, Sonny. I got you, babe.”
Despite years of dysfunctional parries and repostes, I replied to my bride’s texted questions about my back’s current condition and perhaps dancing later, depending on the metastatic status of my sciatica. I replied honestly and affectionately, and then added a note about our daughter going home early to care for our sickly grandson. I thought she’d want to know about Max’s condition since she loves that little boy more than her next breath.
Well, it just goes to show you not to think for others or try to read another’s mind. It’s comparable to trying to fly your neighbor’s helicopter, which will only ensure that yours and his helicopter will both crash and burn most horribly.
She flipped the script from one expected outcome—dance practice, to another—her ladies group. (I like how those dashes work visually. Yes? Can I get a million cyber Amen likes?)
“Should I go to the ladies group?” she texted me. Well, I’m thinking she’s asking if she should stay home with Max. Then a separate text came under that one. “It’s up to you. I don’t see any point in aggravating your back more. If you think the exercise will help, we should go.”
Okay, which part of the text should I reply to? It was not clear to me what she wanted to know. I tried to insert my reply between the two parts so it was clear I was replying to the ladies group part. “No, Grace did not want to disrupt” I replied.
A minute later she called me. “I’m confused. What are you telling me? Should I go to the ladies group or dance practice? I need to tell them which.”
“So, once again I answered a question you did not ask.”
“Yep. You do this all the time”, she added. “You should blog about this.”
“Wait a minute, you are endorsing me to blog? Authorizing me?”
“Yes, as long as you make me look good.”
“My bride, you always look good…. and that’s a good line.”
“Don’t use it. Don’t put that in.”
“So, you just want me to put in the parts that make you look good?”
“Alright. You got it, baby.” (I had parts of my anatomy crossed when I said this. Don’t you bust me out either. Okay? Double pinky swear, my blog blood brothers and sisters.)
“So what are we doing tonight?”
“That’s probably best. You can stay home and help Grace if she needs any help.”
“Yep. That’s what I was thinking.” (Which is completely not what I was thinking. I pictured myself on the recliner drinking a cold beer as my legs short circuited and finally submitted to the lightning storms that erupt across my nether nervous system as my glazed eyes tracked CNN’s latest disturbing trends in the news… “Wolf Blitzer here. Today President Trump ordered troops to New York and Hollywood to arrest comedian Stephen Colbert and actor Alec Baldwin for irritating his humorless heart and hurting his infantile presidential feelings. His recently fired Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, reported a major, major diaper change is in order. Apparently Mr. Trump was not vaccinated for hyper lying/ verbal diarrhea B.S. as a child.”)
When I did get home grandgirl Leah was in bed “reading” a chapter book to her stuffed black dog. By this time, however, 9 month old Max had crawled up and fallen out of his crib, in a face plant. He was sleeping but on crisis coma watch. This was not the outcome I’d anticipated, which goes to show that expectations often boomerang on the expecter.
“You know, Grace, Child Protective Services is gonna love you. Max chokes; Leah falls into the brick hearth; now Max face plants on the hardwood floor. Yep, foster care.” Actually she and Stu are very good, attentive parents. Just young kids get into stuff that hurts. I walked into an airborne golf ball as a six year old kid. Six stitches above my right eye.
I settled next to Leah on her bed. She opened her chapter book and put her finger on page 32 very officiously. With great verve and panache she invented a story of a girl whose little brother fell out of his crib. He had to go in the ambulance to the hospital after his head splattered on the floor. I gasped at all the appropriate points, which reassured her of her oratory. “And then what happened?” I gasped like someone on the news.
“Hannah grew up into a real person. The end.”
“That’s it? All that drama and then she just ages out of an exciting childhood? Man, that’s so disappointing!”
“Granpa, kids grow up one day. That’s how we get adults.”
“Oh, who knew?”
“Everyone knows that, Granpa”, she replied with the same officiousness.
“I remember when your mommy was a kid. She was doing gymnastics on her bunk bed and fell onto the floor. I took her to the Emergency Room while Auntie Erin went to dance practice.”
“Just like Max!”
“Yep, it’s hereditary.”
“What does her red it tarry mean, Granpa?”
“It means you do what your parents did when they were kids.”
“Oh, why is it red?”
“Uh, because her blue it tarry means you don’t do what your parents did.”
“That’s you, Granpa. You are Blue it tarry.”
“I think you are right, Leah Bird.”
“Granpa, I am not a bird. I’m a person.”
“Oh, my. I can’t wait to text you.”