And here we go with the rest of the day…
11:35 a.m.: We hit the road after hearing the Midget change
her mind about 12 times regarding the car we should take. We settled on the
Civic, as it was 31 degrees when we left and while the heater on the classic
works, it’s still a classic heater. I swear, I don’t know how people survived
in the winter during the ‘60s in these boats.
11:47 a.m.: We pass by a Lowe’s which has people pouring in
and out of the parking lot like bees to a hive. When I was a kid, Mom used to drag
me out to the Black Friday sales. For some reason, in digging through the
fliers this year, the sales didn’t look all that good. I’ve got to admit, it’ll
take a really good deal or a really desperate year for me to head out and go
head to head with the overweight soccer moms who have their kids’ names
tattooed on their inner and outer thighs. Those women are mean and will likely
kill me for sport.
12:03 p.m.: We enter the bowling alley. The place has been
open for three minutes and there are already two families bowling and three
guys at the bar asking for a second round. Have I mentioned how great it is to
live in Wisconsin?
12:05 p.m.: The Midget is arguing with me. Even though I had
her put back her cash, she squirreled away $2 in her shoe and is demanding to
pay for her own bowling shoes. I put the $2 on the counter finally, handed the
woman my credit card and then palmed the cash. The rest of the shoe buying
experience passed without incident.
12:10 p.m.: The Midget picks out a pink ball, which is good
because it’s the lightest they have. (8 pounds) She then demands that she will
not be using the ramp. Fine with me. When you have to wait 4 minutes as you
watch the ball travel the length of the lane, it tends to make the game last a
bit longer, so you get a little more for your entertainment dollar.
12:12 p.m.: Another family joins us. Midget immediately goes
into turtle mode and is hiding from everything. She then takes the pink ball,
staggers up the lane like a drunk running for a free beer and pitches the ball
down the lane.
12:13 p.m.: Rolling… Rolling… Rolling…
12:14 p.m.: I step away to get her a glass of water.
12:15 p.m.: Still rolling… Bounce off the bumper…
12:16 p.m.: Ball knocks off about four pins and then stops
in a cluster of pins. We do a high-five.
12:20 p.m.: I get the first strike of the game, which
excites the Midget more than usual. Then, the disappointment sets in, “No
cartoon!” she wails. At the last place we bowled, whenever you got a strike, a
spare or a split, a mini cartoon would run in place of the score for a couple
seconds. They were cute and fun, but this place didn’t have them. Major bummer.
12:25 p.m.: The guy bowling next to us has three kids who
are all running around like their asses are on fire. When they bowl, the kids
grab a random ball, go running full speed at the lane and then throw the ball
almost overhand down the lane. I figured I’d ask the dad to impose some
discipline, when I noticed he bowled the exact same way. That’s right: “You!
Alright? I learned it by watching you!“
12:30 p.m.: I racked up three strikes in a row, otherwise
known as a turkey. The monitor now fills with a dot-matrix turkey. “LOOK!” I
exclaim to the Midget. “A cartoon.” Her response: “I no like turkey.” Sigh…
12:50 p.m.: First game is almost over when she decides she
wants a blue ball. The balls are all color coded with pink being the lightest,
orange being slightly heavier and so forth. Blue balls are 10 pounds (go ahead.
Laugh. Get it out of your system. I’ll wait.) which is way more than she can
already carry. I make this point and she insists she can do it. I hand her the
ball and tell her if she drops it, we’re done. Stubborn little cuss…
12:52 p.m.: She lugs the ball back to the lane, puts it on
her shoulder and shot puts it down the lane. We have to work on her technique.
For her second roll, she pushes it all the way up to the lane, rolls it as hard
as she can and falls on her ass with a resounding “THUD!”
12:53 p.m.: “I OK!”
1:10 p.m.: The place is starting to fill up with other
wandering families who apparently didn’t want to go shopping and have nothing
better to do with their kids. If I’m a lousy parent, at least I’ve got company…
1:45 p.m.: The Midget has tired over time. The balls are
getting pushed with much less force and she keeps falling down on her way back
to the seating area. Apparently, I’m tiring as well. Strikes are becoming 9
counts with less action in the pocket. I’d kill for a strike right now. More
specifically, I’d kill the kid on the next lane who keeps running up to throw
his ball and sliding about a quarter of the way down the alley.
2 p.m.: We head to the snack bar for lunch. The Midget
orders a hot pretzel and I’ve ordered ahigh colonic coney dog with chili and
cheese basket. The Midget complains that her food is hot. I can’t fault her for
that. I hate hot food. I always did. Still, there comes a point where you need
to eat. The pretzel was developing that hard crusty outer shell it was so cold
and she was still telling me it was hot.
2:10 p.m.: One of the perils of snack bar TV: They’ve got
old black and white photos ofJohn Wooden (UCLA’s great coach of yore) on the
air. They’ve got guys talking about him. Of course, there’s no sound so I can’t
tell what is going on. Immediately, I panic thinking that he’s dead. I can’t
get a signal with my IPhone in snack bar, so I’m trying to wander around and
get a signal. I eventually look back and they’ve got a similar shot ofDean
Smith (UNC coach of yore) up and the same thing is happening. I calmed down and
went back to waiting for my hot dog.
2:11 p.m.: My hot dog arrives and looks like what you would
imagine a $1.50 bowling alley chili and cheese dog to look like. The chili had
no meat in it and had the consistency of diarrhea. The cheese was glowing
yellow. I ate it without thinking twice. It then dawned on me: I have a
slow-eating child next to me and a 15-mile drive home. This could be
2:20 p.m.: As the hot dog turns, the Midget tells me she’s
full. I push two pieces of the pretzel toward her and tell her she needs to eat
these. In mid-complaint, she starts coughing and gasping uncontrollably, worse
than I have ever heard it before. She can’t breathe and she’s turning purple.
I’m whacking her on the back and she’s coughing and gagging. She keeps making
these sounds like she’s going to puke, so I stick the pretzel dish under her
mouth just in case. Eventually it passes, but she’s freaked out. We decide to
go. As I pick her up, she croaks, “My money! Do you have my $2?” Yeah, she’s my
2:30 p.m.: Midget passes out in the car while we drive home.
We’re on a two-lane highway with limited passing. I’m going about 5-10 over the
limit when I get dusted by a guy passing on my left. A second car is climbing
up my ass. I noticed something about these cars: They were likely worth about
$11 combined. I don’t understand this phenomenon. When I’m driving on the
freeway next to Jaguars, Porches or Corvettes, they tend to be about 5-10 miles
an hour over the limit. The guys driving the 1988 Chrysler LeBarons with no
headlights and a rear quarter panel held together by masking tape are the ones
cooking down the road like Ricky Bobby.
2:35 p.m. When we get home and I have to pick her up out of
her seat, she lolls her head to the left, opens her eyes and says to me, “Don’t
forget my $2.”
2:40 p.m.: The hot dog moves forward. Immediately upon
finding the basement john, the phone rings. Two minutes later, it rings again.
I don’t get this. The phone doesn’t ring all day. Ever. The minute I enter the
restroom, it’s ringing off the hook. I think AT&T has my bowels on retainer.
2:50 p.m.: A quick peek in on the Midget reveals her sitting
up in bed. She sees me and quickly ducks under her covers and starts fake
snoring. I’d chastise her but suddenly…
I’ve got to pee.
Thus ends the furlough.
Thanks for letting me share your air. Be back next week.