Right after I completed that last post, I got straight to baking and made these insanely decadent chocolate walnut brownies. It was maybe 7:30am when I announced to the kids what I was doing and from then on in, they were fixated on some fairy tale world where they are allowed to eat brownies for breakfast while draped over the couch watching cartoons.
"Where are the brownies? Why is taking soooo looooong?" My daughter whined. "They are in the oven baking and then they have to cool down before we can touch them, let alone eat one." I tried to explain. I swiftly followed with, "But you haven't even had breakfast yet so this isn't even a problem. How about some eggs?"
Needless to say, by 10am, B had delivered a very prettily arrayed platter of brownies and the good looking survivors of his cookies to the family next door. I had included a nice card for the boy. I felt all neighborly.
Then it was time to get ready because I had been invited to a high tea birthday party for a work friend of mine. It was at a swanky place in Boston and this is also where I learned that if they serve alcohol, any establishment in Boston, no matter how posh, is obligated to have a wide screen TV turned onto a sporting event. It really was discordant to see chandeliers and individual pots of tea combined with baseball in the background but that's Boston for you I guess.
In my quest to be more sociable, I am practicing the art of asking people more questions about themselves. It is a time honored tactic in business and life to just let people talk about themselves while being interested (and if not, feigning being interested). I do this pretty well with my friends and work colleagues (being really interested that is) but not so great in the little interactions.
There is a new door monitor at my son's school for the extended day program. The old monitor was this young outgoing college kid who seemed to remember everyone's name and I genuinely liked her. She left to get her first real job so the door was open for someone new. I decided to try out being social with her. Then it went horribly awry.
You know how if you ask someone if they had a nice weekend or if they are having a good day and they say yes or no and add a few details but keep it pretty light? Not so much this lady.
I have to describe her so you can properly envision this. She is a slim short haired lady who looks to be about 40. She wears very trendy clothing, such as Jeggings and I want her to teach me how to use makeup because hers is immaculate. She has a warm friendly smile and demeanor and is originally from the UK so she has a lovely accent.
Here are two conversations that happened, the first on a Friday, the second on the following Monday.
Me: Hi, how are you? Any big plans for the weekend?
Her: Oh yes, I am going to go dancing with some friends of mine! They are much younger than me, in their 20s! But I love to go dancing and I am quite good at it. I do the hair, the makeup, put on the short skirts and the heels and just keep on dancing while drinking lots of water. Of course I have to pee a lot but it keeps me dancing all night!
Me: That sounds like fun, where are you going to go? (I don't actually know of any clubs since I think the last time I went dancing at a club was a decade ago but I was trying to use open ended questions).
Her: Oh well I am not sure, last time we went to Howl at the Moon and all these handsome young men came over to dance with me and after grinding against me I had to tell them they had made my day because I am 61 years old. I told them that they just danced with "Granny" and they ran off and I laughed.
Me: Wow, you look fabulous! I would never think you are older than 40! (At this point, I am starting to walk to the stairs to go up and look for Liam, other people are now coming in and waiting for her, looks like a good time to exit but no, she follows me halfway up the stairs!)
Her: I believe in making each and every day count in life. I wake up in the morning and give thanks for everything. I find things to be grateful for like if a child gives me anything, even a scribble I just gush thanks all over them....
At this point, I smiled and said something about that is a great attitude and used the fact that other people were milling around her trying to get her attention as my springboard to leave and get my son.
The following Monday:
Me: Hi, how was dancing?
Her: Oh so fun! I decided that since my kids are grown, I retired from teaching, I look fabulous so I have decided this year I am going to get myself a hot little boy toy because these are the times of the Cougars!
Me: (laughing a little awkwardly) Well, why not, right?
Her: Yes, I believe in making each and every day count in life. I wake up in the morning and give thanks for everything....
She launched into another version of this spiel.
You know what I forget? I forget that sometimes when you open up and try to be social, you open the door to people who sort of make you not want to be social anymore.
I was relaying these conversations to B and he said, "Doesn't she know this is New England where people don't talk to each other!" I laughed and said, "I know, the only reason I could stomach half of it is because I lived in California for 10 years!" It was a joke people.
Another incident in my quest to be more social occurred this past Sunday. I got up and was at the grocery store at 8am while B and the kids stayed home watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in their PJs. As I pulled into my driveway, car full of bags, my cell phone rang. It was the father of one of the girls in A's daycare room. I had met him just once. He called to see if we wanted to do a playdate that day. I said yes and then he gave me the details.
Turns out he and his wife were recovering from the flu. They were both in Tamiflu and not had any symptoms for 48 hours. Their daughters, who had not had the flu, were going stir crazy so they were trying to line up some play dates. I offered to have their daughter come to our house and he said, "Great, I'll drop her off in 45 minutes."
Now I am not the best for thinking on my feet in the moment but I knew 45 minutes was a stretch so I let him know we were still in PJs, hadn't had breakfast yet, etc and he was fine with it.
Sure enough, he drops her off and as he is walking out the door calls over his shoulder that he will come and get her at 2pm.
Four hours later. A 4 hour play date.
Now, yes there are some things the kids can do on their own to play together and not need us to chaperone or cruise direct but those things were short lived. For 4.5 hours (because of course he was 30 minutes late), B and I led games, did crafts, and all but offered a magic show to keep them entertained.
We haven't had many play dates that involve the parent just dropping off a kid. I would say this is our second one ever. I had no real frame of reference but I suspected this was extreme. Sure enough, Chickenpig let me know via FaceBook that what we just experienced was not in fact a play date but rather "babysitting."
After they left, B and I were both so exhausted we turned the TV on for the kids and laid down for a bit.
Being neighborly is exhausting!!!