The Calm Before the Storm

It’s 11:43 a.m. I have, I think, roughly forty-five minutes before the Rug Rats return. Forty-five minutes of peace and calm before the madness begins again. Forty-five minutes until the shouting, screaming, hitting, kicking, climbing, jumping, crying, begging, laughing, dancing, candy-consuming little bundles of joy burst through the door screaming for Uncle Chawee. From that point on, I will be under assault by children.

Olin will come running to pounce on my peaceful rest and composure. He’ll climb onto it’s shoulders and beat it away with a tattoo of drumming hands, relentless in his desire to display his violent affection.  He’ll screech and whine and beg and plead until either he is allowed to play video games or until I play a video game whilst he watches, offering a non-stop stream of loud and repetitive advice.  I generally try to encourage him to play but he insists that I watch, ensuring my inability to concentrate on anything by constantly demanding that I “watch this!” “Watch this, Uncle Chawee! Watch! Are you watching? Watch me! You’re not watching. Look at me!”

Competing for my attention will be big sister Tato. (Tato used to be Toto but the littliest indian now refers to her as Tato. So will I.) Tato will be right behind little brother. As soon as his attention is split between me and the game, she’ll charge. “Will you play a game with me? Can we play cards? Will you come up to my room? You want to play “Scrabble”? Come with me! Come with me!”

This will, of course, infuriate Olin. “Chawee is watching me! Chawee! Look what I can do! Watch me! Watch me!”

And then the fight will start. Olin will insist I watch. Tato will insist I play with her. And the Littlest Indian, rapidly becoming my favorite of the three, will watch or do his own thing. He is the only one that does not appear to need me as a source of entertainment.  He’s pretty self-contained.

Occasionally he’ll join the fray, generally as an unwilling participant or pawn. He’s pushed aside, picked up and moved, commanded to act, commanded to stop acting or wielded as weapon or king-maker.  Our usual interaction involves him making a series of indistinguishable noises that approximate speech, mumbled around the shield of his pacifier.  I have no idea what he’s saying most of the time. His preferred method of communication is a whining grunt and a pointing finger.  “Uh! Uh!” <Finger point>. I generally nod and verbalize my agreement. This typically satisfies him and he goes about his business. We get along well.

***

I think there’s more to be said in this post but I hear a car door. At least I think it’s a car door. My peace is about to be shattered and time for blogging is coming to an end.  Maybe there will be more tonight when they finally drift away to bed.  One can only hope.

My fight or flight instinct is kicking in. Maybe I should hide. But where? The only place I’m safe is…ah, yes…the bathroom.  It’s the one private place for which they have a smidgin of respect.  I still have to lock the door and they hover outside the door waiting impatiently for me to emerge. They shout and bang on the door and shove little fingers underneath it, begging me to come out, but they can’t physically get to me while I’m in there.

But that won’t stop them from trying.

Too late. Tato is here. “Peaceful time is over!”,  she says.

Don’t I know it.

Going Home

Good evening! Not sure what I’m here to post but I figured I shouldn’t let another evening go by without putting something in this space. Do I have anything to say? Not really. I can’t say that ever stopped me from speaking in the past. Why should it stop me now?

Let’s deal with the minutia of the day, shall we? First off, and apropos of nothing, I forgot my belt this morning. It used to be that wearing a belt was not  a requirement in my daily dress. Now I find that I feel naked without it. I was self-conscious about my lack of accoutrement all day long. Kinda’ threw me off my game. Not quite as badly as wearing my underpants backwards all day but definitely in the same vein. Maybe I should start a checklist in the mornings to make sure I have everything I need and it’s all right-side forward before I leave the house every day.  Probably not a bad idea.

Song of the morning was “Berlin” by Intercept. I’ve blogged the lyrics to this song once already but it hasn’t made the morning mind rotation until now. It was rapidly overwhelmed upon wakefulness by an old camp favorite, “Rejoice in the Lord Always”. That’s a happy tune for a morning. It didn’t help me remember my belt but it was cheerful.

Heading home to North Carolina this weekend and looking forward to that in the extreme. In case you’ve been living under a rock or outside the United States, UNC is in the Final Four this weekend. The last time they won the championship, big brother Bigwig, niece Toto and I were in the Dean Dome watching the game on the big screen.

Toto was about four at the time and, with two minutes remaining in the game, had had enough. She was whining and ready to go home. With one minute to go in the game, the partisan crowd started to awaken to the fact that we were going to win and began to vocalize the same. Toto woke up immediately and did her best sorority girl impersonation all the way to Franklin Street. It was good times. Hopefully we can repeat the experience for the benefit of her little brother.

There are also others to see whilst I’m in NC.  I’m heading the beach for a few days with Tiger and Bee for our sorta’ annual outing.  I couldn’t make last year but we spent a lot of quality time the year previous MySpacing at one another from across the room. I hope Bee has a laptop this time because I’m certain we’ll Facebook the hell out of beach other this time.

Besides Tiger and Bee, I’ve got to see if I can’t make time for a few other friends while I’m traveling. Pooh for one. Haven’t seen her in some years and it’ll be good to catch up.

Jeffrey for another. Haven’t seen him in even more years. I don’t think I’ve seen him since our graduation from high school, really.  Jeffrey is one of my first, and oldest, friends.  I’ve been chatting some with him on Facebook and it’s really taken me back. I’ve been trying to think of a time when Jeffrey wasn’t my friend and I don’t seem to be able to remember that far back.  He just always seems to have been there. Since Kindgergarten at least. It seems like whatever I think about from my youth, Jeffrey was part of it. He was part of school, part of the swimming pool…just part of life.

And he always seems to have had a moustache, at least if my memory is correct. Jeffrey is one of those guys that, even when he’s clean shaven, you’d swear he had a moustache. It’ s like a moustache of the soul. It’s just part of who he is. I’m pretty sure it’s always been there, though not always visibly. Even when we were five. I’m pretty sure.

Anyway, Jeffrey was my first best friend. I remember this very clearly. David S., Steve Y., Jeffrey and I were…well, best friends, but once, when we were playing kickball, David turns to Steve and claimed him as his “best” friend. I remember feeling very territorial and, much as Britain and France raced one another to colonize the globe, I felt that I needed to call dibs on a best friend.  I turned to Jeffrey and asked if he wanted to be best friends, he said yes and that was that. We were best friends.

All four of us. But in pairs.

For a while there, it seems like we did everything together. We hung out at the pool in the summers, playing “Black Magic” or ping pong or whatever. We’d have sleepovers at somebodies house, doing stupid things like eating chili and then taking a laxative, just for “shits and giggles”. That was at David’s. At Jeffrey’s…well. I remember breaking into his father’s liquor cabinet once. That might’ve been the same night we spent mooning cars on the highway.

Yeah. That sounds plausible.

Funny thing is, I remember breaking into his father’s liquor cabinet but I don’t remember actually drinking. I’m pretty sure we didn’t. At least, I’m pretty sure I didn’t. I dunno. Maybe I did.

I’m one-hundred percent certain that we spent a good hour mooning cars on the highway, however. That was good times.

Sorry, Ma.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to some time in NC. I miss my folks and I miss my friends and I have to say that, for the first time in my 38 years, I’m a little homesick. Maybe I’ve been spending too much time in the past lately, remembering way back when. Maybe I’m getting old. Maybe everybody else is getting old. Whatever it is, it’ll be good to go home again, if just for a while.

I think that’s it for me, folk. Bedtime beckons. Good night to all and, to those in NC, see you soon.