Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Real Baby Bear Comes Back--and Strikes Back

On my bookshelf is a well worn book club edition of The Second Lady by Irving Wallace, published in 1980. It’s a Cold War political thriller about a KGB plot to abduct the First Lady of the United States and replace her with an almost perfect double in hopes of gleaning a vital piece of classified information from the President.* Needless to say, the imposter made a few blunders that nearly blew her cover and raised a few suspicions among certain members of her staff.

But not the President. A typical husband in the grand American tradition, he didn’t notice anything the least bit different about his wife.

The First Lady’s mother would have known something was amiss—if she weren’t conveniently deceased.

Which brings us to Baby Bear. I recently blogged about his uncharacteristically good behavior this summer. I’ve been wondering if he was replaced with a Second Bear these past two months, only to be switched back last week when Mr. Lucky took our older son up to Georgia to visit his grandparents. Baby Bear suddenly went back to being his old rampaging, pillaging, plundering self. Do I detect a sinister KGB plot, or a mere reaction to his father’s absence?

I wanted our chocolate beagle, Bart, to go to Georgia with them. Mr. Lucky agreed, until the night before his departure when his father called to declare, “No dogs!” Showing no fear of his own wife, Mr. Lucky complied. He was gone four days, leaving me with the Bear, two dogs, and no car. And—perhaps worst of all—no chocolate.

So what went wrong in his absence? An homage to the late Mr. Wallace and The Book of Lists of which he was co-author:

1. Bart is the same dog who balks at going outside when his master is away. I suppose I should be thankful that when he expresses his displeasure, at least he does it on the bathroom rug.

2. Barely an hour after Mr. Lucky left, the remote controller for Baby Bear’s Playstation went kaput and I couldn’t get it to work again, not even after charging it up or with the cable still plugged in. I had to call Mr. Lucky on his cellphone for advice. Well, okay, not so much for advice as to cuss him out for having the temerity to leave me when he should have known the controller would die an hour later. He instructed me to turn off the Playstation, unplug everything, then plug everything back in, and reboot the Playstation, talking me through a convoluted process that reminded me of when they tried to restore power to Jurassic Park and get it back online. And while I didn’t have any velociraptors chewing my arms off, I did have to contend with two barking dogs, one angry, frustrated Bear, and a thunderstorm that caused a sudden power surge, briefly knocking everything out and ending our phone conversation in a burst of static. Mr. Lucky probably thought I slammed the phone down on him in rage, and I wouldn’t have blamed him for making the assumption.

3. Later, the controller decided to work properly again. Then Baby Bear dropped it behind the entertainment center. Retrieving it was a job for Indiana Jones, complete with huge clouds of old dust, falling objects (note to self: next time, remove framed photos from top of entertainment center before venturing behind it), and sights no human has seen for seven hundred years.

4. Baby Bear has rediscovered water. When he isn’t dumping it on himself, he’s The Human Fountain, throwing and spewing it all over the house.

5. He’s figured out how to turn on the shower in his bathroom. The shower makes almost no noise compared to the tub faucet, and he seems to know it. I lost count of how many times I found him sitting in the tub beneath the shower spray. Sometimes he was clothed, sometimes not.

6. He loves to rock back and forth. He rocks hard enough on the family room sofa that he can actually make the sofa itself rock back, and a new hole in the drywall behind it.

7. Mr. Lucky called the next morning from his parents’ house. His father had taken his mother to an appointment, and since he didn’t have a key to their house, he and the Crown Prince would be stuck there for a few hours until the parental units came back. I was hard pressed to commiserate with his dilemma.

8. Not surprisingly, I have 0 words to report at the weekly check-in for the
TARA Book Challenge.

9. I had no chocolate.

10. And I still have no chocolate. I AM OWED CHOCOLATE!

*Now why can't I write blurbs that concise for my own books?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Puzzle Time: Find the Hidden Stains in This Granite!

What I like about my granite counter: It looks clean when it isn’t.

What I don’t like about my granite counter: It looks clean when it isn’t.

I can’t just wipe and walk away as I could with previous kitchen counters. No, I have to turn on every available light, and examine the counter from every possible angle, squatting down till I’m eye level with the surface, to better see the spots I missed. I may have to run my fingertips across the surface as if I’m reading Braille, when in fact I’m scanning for little dried blobs of food stuck to the counter, that require more elbow grease than in the initial routine wipe. Then comes the removal of fingerprints. This is followed by another examination that reveals streaks from the wiping.

What I need—but I don’t think it’s been invented yet—is a handheld “granite counter stain detector.” You wave it just over the surface of the counter and whenever it detects a hidden stain, it beeps. The bigger and gunkier the stain, the louder and quicker the detector beeps.

I’m reminded of something Dolly Parton’s character said in the movie Steel Magnolias: “There is no such thing as natural beauty.” She was referring to how a woman has to put a lot of effort into keeping herself attractive.

I think she could just as easily be referring to a granite countertop.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Portrait of a Blue One-Eyed Mummy

That's really Baby Bear wrapped in a fitted bed sheet he pulled from the linen closet for an extremely rare midday nap on the living room sofa.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Baby Bear: 56 Days Without Making Me Scream in Horror

You know how some construction sites come with signs boasting X number of days since an accident? Or maybe you’ve seen that old episode of The Simpsons and the trailer park with a sign crowing Y number of days since the last tornado. I may be tempting fate with this post, but as of today, it’s been 56 days since the last DOBBO, or Disaster Of Baby Bear Origin.

The last DOBBO was on June 6th, when he upended his TV onto the floor so he could use its table as a boost to reach the pull-chain on his ceiling fan.

Not that I’m complaining, but we’re more than halfway through summer vacation and he hasn’t committed any blogworthy atrocities. No floods. No new holes in the drywall. Nothing broken, either on him or around the house. No manager in a pizzeria walking up to me and saying, “Excuse me, ma’am, but is that your son behind the counter throwing calzones at the health inspector?” None of that. And I’ve even cut back on his medication doses!

His typical summer day consists of playing Crash Bandicoot Warped—every day he rips through most levels with minimal loss of life; he knows all the moves and where to jump and pick up gems, what to avoid and how. And yet, he doesn’t use his two thumbs to manipulate the Playstation controller like most mortals. He uses but one hand.

He’s also very much in love with his cordless battery-powered keyboard that we gave him for Christmas. It’s about 37 inches long and so lightweight, he carries it from one room to another. When he’s not playing Crash, he’s playing tunes and rhythms on this keyboard as he rocks back and forth. We use rechargeable batteries in it and I have to charge them up every night after he goes to bed—where he sometimes takes the keyboard to let the rhythm sounds lull him to sleep—because they’re never good for more than a day and if the keyboard dies on him—well, you don’t want to know.

Let us close by knocking on wood.