I was recently at the senior's home - my new favorite place.  I was serving tea and coffee and laughed inside my head when one of the ladies tried to take advantage of my ignorance.  She aggressively requested two sugars and two creams in her tea and seemed quite intent on speedy service.   Fortunately, the volunteer supervisor who'd trained me emphasized multiple times over that volunteers can't serve any food or drink item to anyone unless they've first checked with an RN.  When I did, I found that this little lady was a diabetic looking for a clandestine sugar fix!  It reminded me of my days as a substitute teacher when the kids would take eager advantage of my ignorance of classroom rules.  My new favorite people group is the 80-plus crowd.





Each time I darken the door of the bowling alley, I wonder why it is that I don't come here more often.  I love this place and I love bowling.  Over the weekend, the JoyFam and I darkened away.

We paid the very reasonable lane rental fee and sat down to replace our street shoes with what we all agreed were the coolest shoes in the Universe.  We also all agreed that we'd secretly like to steal our bowling shoes, only we restrained ourselves.  We thought it might look fishy if six pair went missing all at once.   As the kids and I compared newly hippified feet, JoyBoy furtively went to register our names with the teenaged boy at the front counter.  To our great, noisy mirth, we looked up at the screen to see that the kids were dubbed Manstink, Tugboat, Bologna and Bill for all the bowling world to see.  JoyBoy, interestingly enough, had his regular old name and I was shackled with my childhood moniker of Jench.  As in Jench the Wench for those of you not in the know.  The uncomprehending teenaged boy at first spelt Manstink as Mansink, so JoyBoy had to yell out a correction from across the alley to Anabel's combined horror and delight.

I went first and confidently shot a strike.  Wait a minute.  Does one 'shoot' in bowling?  I think what I meant to say is that I bowled a strike.  Anyway, exultation rocketed straight to my head, rendering me stunningly overconfident and my game devolved from there.  There were no more strikes for me for the rest of the hour. 

The hero of the hour was Bill, or Oliver as you'll know him.  He was, to our surprise and great  hilarity, an excellent bowler.  We laughed and laughed as the seven-year-old trounced us all, over and over again.  Each time he'd throw/shoot/wing another excellent shot, he'd dance around in merry triumph, tiny arms pumping high above his bespectacled head.  His little chicken legs clad in his little skinny jeans gyrating about in lordly joy made our time worth every penny just in and of itself.   O my goodness did we laugh at Bill and his bowling triumphs.

The other kids were pretty good too, which I'm quite sure makes us a family of geeks.   Of course, it helps tremendously that we insist upon having the bumpers down, thus eliminating any gutter balls that would most certainly plague us otherwise.    We also have no real problem with lofting.

The JoyBoy was a highly inelegant Second Placer.  With not an iota of humility, he'd dance around in a superiority-induced frenzy, yelling out things like sucka!  you pack of suckas!  as he swung his hips about in a very in-your-face fashion.  Have I ever mentioned that JoyBoy has taught me a lot about parenting?  Part way through our terrifically loud game, another family rented the lane right next to us.  In their ranks were three little children, all under the age of what looked to be 8.  These little children appeared to never have seen anything like us.  They stared and they stared.  They didn't smile back at us when we attempted same because, I think, they were frightened.  For fear of alarming them further, we tried to tone it down a bit.  I mean, we didn't want to look like freaks or anything.  Goodness knows we wouldn't want to malign our true nature.  Our hour came to a close shortly thereafter.   We're going again next week.

We have a little dynamic at work in our family of late.  Little Lucy has just now entered the world of online shopping and is currently experiencing the less exhilarating side of it.  She waits for her treasure to arrive.  She waits and she waits and then she waits.  And then, in a burst of flamboyant frustration, she waits some more.

Every day after school, she asks me if I've checked the mail.  Every day I tell her no.   We then proceed to our next stop and pick up our Bigs and our carpool friend.  Every day Lucy then asks me if we can check the mail.  Every day I say yes and smile and hand her the key as I pull over to the  mailboxes, her daily tormentors.  These mailboxes - they mock her.  They sadden and they grieve her.  She hates these mailboxes and then she tries a different tack.  She's cheerfully manipulative and sunnily, as she makes her way toward these witholding  metal boxes, out surely to thwart the fulfillment of her joy,  she calls over her shoulder, wish me luck!  And then she's angry again as she sorts through that day's contents only to find that all the Universe conspires against her to squash her sunshiney joy.

She's ordered an American Girl bathtub, complete with dazzling artificial pink bubbles.  Daily, she pages through the American Girl catalogue, which is dog-eared and tattered from all the loving perusal it's undergone.  She saves her allowance each week and painstakingly works her financial way toward more American Girl paraphernalia.  She hates that in its company name though, it excludes her Canadian devotedness and says so regularly.  When she's grouchy, American Girl's lack of Canadian-ness is oft lamented. 

So she's just now in that heady, unusual position of actually having ordered something from this precious catalogue of hers.  And now she waits and she decries the state of the nearby Canadian border crossing, which has almost certainly mistaken her beloved bath tub for a kilo or two of cocaine.  She's indignant to be mistaken for a drug dealer.  She wonders aloud if maybe one of these selfish border guards has taken her bath tub home for his own, undeserving little girl to play with.  She vows that she'll check it out very carefully for signs of clandestine play when it finally arrives.  I listen to her and if I'm feeling gracious, I laugh at her nine-year-old obsessiveness.  If I'm tired of hearing all these same conjectures time and time again, I don't laugh and instead, I tell her abruptly one more time about the concept of a postal tracking number.  And then I tell her not to talk about it anymore for today and a fairy-tale mother's smile does not light up my saintly face.

But really, she's so cute.  And she's learning so much.  I love her more - much more - than I love myself and I'm so pleased that it's me God has chosen to show her how to grow to be a patient shopper and so much more.  What a beautiful duty.  What a blessed woman.