"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Monday, November 12, 2007

Adventures in Babysitting

I haven't much experience in babysitting. Almost none. That didn't stop me when I could help out friends with two young daughters, whom I've got to know quite well. The parents wanted to attend a concert in Portland to celebrate a birthday.

Whenever my priest friend and I met last week, he told me how wildly excited the girls were about having me over. I wasn't sure I could live up to these expectations.

On arrival, we talked about the girls' schedule and I was given a written list of suggestions for children and dog.

After the parents left, the girls showed me some feats of strength in their living room. Then I got a tour of their bedrooms, met their toys, saw their art projects, and so on.

Before dinnertime, I rang up the Chap--who was bringing us pizza--to make the arrangements. The girls have different opinions on toppings (like everything else!) so we had 1/2 Meatlovers and 1/2 Plain Cheese.

Some of us (I won't say who) Played with our Food.

The Leaning Tower of Pizza.

After eating we took the Chap upstairs to admire the cool lava lamp in the younger girl's room, and the artwork in the elder's room, I had the girls put their jammies on. I put on my new-ish sock monkey flannel jim-jams while the Chap popped popcorn for us in the microwave.

After he left, we settled down to watch Ratatouille on DVD. Along with the popcorn we ate chocolate pop tarts.

When the movie was over I read a chapter of a book to each child in succession and turned out their lights.

The rest of the night was my alone time. With the Dog.

He's a ginormous golden doodle. A gentle giant.

I always wanted a pet sheep, except they aren't cuddly. This beast is the size of a couple of sheep, extremely companionable, with a soft, curly coat. When I stretched out on the sofa, he laid on the floor beside me.

It was late. I was sleepy. But this was on...

So I watched it, drowsily. Five years ago when we were at my parents' house on Thansgiving (instead of in the UK) my brother (and I) arrived at a radical theory about Glinda the Good Witch. I won't share it. It would blow your mind and you'll never watch that movie the same way again. I certainly don't.

I had informed the Chap--and the girls' parents when they arrived home, that instead of changing back into real clothes, I would be driving back to the Lodge in my sock monkey pj's. It wasn't far to go, nor did I think there was much danger of getting pulled over on the way.

Well, as luck would have it, while I drove through the night (well after midnight) a police SUV came up behind me, blue flashers going. I wasn't speeding. And I didn't feel my choice of driving attire was criminal.

I had visions of the headline:

State Representative Caught Wearing Sock Monkey Pajamas while Operating a Vehicle in the Middle of the Night.

Obediently I pulled over on the side of the road and thought, "This guy is in for a real surprise."

The cop sped past me, off to capture a real perp or assist in some emergency.

On the road that leads to our road, I met a deer grazing along the verge. There was no traffic at that hour (duh) so I stopped. She didn't seem much fussed about the car. She walked in front of me, to the other side of the road, I followed, rolled my window down, and got this shot:

The Chap was tucked up in bed when I arrived home. The young dogs woke up and greeted me--attacking me with their noses. They were suspicious about my staying out until the wee hours, obviously consorting with Some Other Dog.

Thanks to the holiday, we're all at home today. Together. French toast for late breakfast. Chicken molé for early supper. Nice.

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