My mother was grumpy because it was her job to make sure we were all ready to head out the door by nine-twenty, plus put a roast covered with Lipton onion soup mix into the Crock-Pot, and we all fought her every inch of the way, including the meat and the little foil packet the soup mix came in.
So these days, things are much calmer and there's plenty of coffee and no one cares about the Sunday newspaper and dinner is a much more laid-back affair notable for its lack of silver flatware, good dishes and nice glasses, which all sensibly stay where they're supposed to, which is in the china cabinet. They make grudging cameo appearances on Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter because they can't be put in the dishwasher.
Here are some of the thoughts swirling around in the calm of the day:
1. The annual argument that pits my husband against me and the girls began today, with opposing sides voicing strident opinions on on whether or not the furnace should be turned on. My husband contends that it is mid-September and mid-September is too early to have the heat on. The girls and I offer rebuttal by pointing out that it is rainy and chilly outside, a weather pattern more common to mid-October, which is a perfectly reasonable time to employ the use of central heating.
2. Today is the first Sunday for making a snack to accompany the afternoon's football, so we are having Game Day Taco Dip with tortilla chips. I really like this dip because it's easy to throw together, can be served warm or cold, and it a relatively sensible snack if you make it with neufchatel cream cheese, nonfat refried beans and reduced-calorie shredded cheese - and these little fixes happily are unnoticeable and the dip tastes the same as it does when all the fattening stuff is used. SCORE!
3. I bought a new top yesterday because the hanger on the store's rack had one of those little plastic bead-type things with my size printed on it, but when I got the blouse home, it turned out that it was a size smaller than the size noted on the hanger. Thankfully, I still have the receipt, but wouldn't you know that the store is one out-of-town?
4. Aisling found a piece of piano sheet music in the piano bench today, a copy of Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," and said, "Where did you get this?" I sat for a moment, looking at the music, bemused. That sheet music brought back one of my worst memories, a memory of the night when my friend Lori was being installed as the leader of the Rainbow Girls in New Castle's Masonic lodge. She'd asked me to play this music, which had great personal meaning to her, to accompany another friend of ours, Dave, who had a gorgeous tenor voice.
It was a very dressy affair and I was wearing an outfit of my mother's, one in the late-seventies peasant style, but made with a gorgeous satiny blouse in watercolored lavender, turquoise and lapis, slightly off-the-shoulder and paired with a long, gauzy tiered cream skirt, the tiers banded with the same satiny fabric as the blouse. It was very, very Stevie Nicks. I felt like a fairy princess in that outfit and my mom even let me wear her little diamond stud earrings.
I had practiced on that music for weeks and weeks, both with my piano teacher and with Dave and everything went really well until that night, when even the confidence I'd gained from wearing that beautiful outfit leaked out through my toes once I saw the lodge's ballroom, with chandeliers and lots of chairs set up and a grand piano, all surrounding a highly polished dance floor.
I had a moment of choking stage-fright, worsened by the fact that, in a moment of pee pee-nerves, I somehow managed to flush the entire back of that gauzy skirt down the toilet. I hauled it, hand-over-hand, out of the potty, frantically picking pieces of wet toilet paper out of the hem. There was no time to take a breath and regain my composure because I was due to be sitting on that piano bench in about half a minute. So I wrung out the skirt, which then showed a distressing tendency to cling to the backs of my legs, and tearfully exited the bathroom, only to find that in my absence, all the seats had filled up. I had to walk across that entire huge room under the inquisitive gaze of a big herd of people, all by myself, the heels of my taupe suede Candie's mules click-clacking on the dance floor and my skirt billowing gracefully in the front, but stuck to me in the back from my bottom down to my ankles.
Do I even need to tell you how "Bridge Over Troubled Water" went?
Let's just say that Dave intrepidly sang "Bridge Over Troubled Water," but I was playing something totally different, like maybe a tuneless rendition of "Cecilia" or even "Scarborough Fair." It should have been more along the lines of "The Sound of Silence." Huh.
I was utterly mortified, Dave was nonplussed, and poor Lori. Poor Lori. Here was her shining moment of becoming the rainbowiest Rainbow Girl of them all and there I was, a piano student of TEN YEARS, whacking and thumping desperately around on the keyboard like a possum trying to get out of a cage.
That was in 1978 and here today, thirty-three years later, I still felt a miserable sense of "Dear God, if you love me, please kill me right now," only this time, my undies weren't wet.
What a terrible memory. I wish I'd never brought it up.
5. If you are a lady who goes to a gym to work out, and if you shower there after you work out, but haven't yet taken that small moment of time required to stop at the front desk and rent a locker, be aware that there is going to come a reckoning, a time not specified, when either your shampoo, conditioner or body wash will come open in your gym bag and make a hellish mess that will convince you that it might just be better to pitch the whole mess into the garbage bin and start over, with new sneakers and everything.
6. I love Sundays when you can do things just because you want to, rather than because you have to. Which is why I just put together a loaf of oatmeal bread with sunflower seeds and diced apricots (excellent for ham sandwiches) and am sitting here typing a blog post....instead of working on lesson plans for my Shakespeare and Brit Lit classes. Which I have to do. Right now. So goodbye, and enjoy the rest of your day.