While typing this, one of the men working in our house, asked me a question which I couldn’t answer. He and his partner are walking around my house in their socks, as though they live here shouting to one another in Albanian. It made me wonder about people who make a living doing work in people’s homes.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that people need money. Moreover people need to work where they can find employment. However I don’t think everyone is cut out for working in someones home. I think it would be hard to meld into someone else’s world, if only for a short period of time.
I’m always amused by how many people prepare their homes for the coming of the cleaning lady. And once the cleaning begins, I’m not sure who is more concerned about the house us or the cleaning lady. It’s like we have to remind ourselves she is working for us.
Baby sitters are like this too. They come to take care of the kids and then after awhile, they are snuggling up on the couch with a blanket over them or enjoying dinner with the kids. I don’t really mind it, but I do find it amusing and curious. I don’t know that I could blend in so well into someones home. But these people hang out, enjoy our space as if it is their own, do their job and then leave. And with babysitters, it seems like many of them find it hard to leave once they’ve set down roots in the house.
What kind of person is drawn to connecting with another family so intimately and why? I smile wondering if we’ll soon get into fightswith the plumbers, babysitters, or cleanning lady over what show to watch on the tv.
Thanksgiving is one of those holidays I struggle with. I like the idea of it, but have difficulty with the realty of it. Perhaps it has something to do with us being a relatively small family, but I’ve been to larger functions that don’t feel right either.
In my mind, we’re supposed to have loads of people, lots of food, and kids everywhere. And it should not be quiet. People should be talking, laughing, and generally getting along. In realty, we usually have more food than we need. And it often feels like we are milling about the house or watching tv, waiting for dinner. Some of us participate by peeling potatoes, while others do the serious cooking. Actually, I don’t mind peeling potatoes.
My favorite part of thanksgiving has been the gratitude list. We hang a big sheet of white butcher paper on the wall and people share whatever they are grateful for. Its not unusual to read about candy, politics, family members alive and dead, tv shows, games, and more. Also I’ve enjoyed going to the parade with the kids. One year, we met some foreign students visiting the city and invited them to join our celebration. I liked the randomness of that experience.
As I write, I see what I want to build from. It is important to me that the kids experience something special whether we have 7 people or 27 people. I’m thinking of going to a church service, maybe stop by a museum for the kids, and even going out for a meal. I think since I’m not bound by rigid holiday traditions, I’m still in search of pieces of the Thanksgiving puzzle that feel right.
When I heard that Obama was considering Hillary as Secretary of State, my mind started thinking about how Obam, Hillary and Joe will work together. At that point, I heard the tune to ‘l’m Hardrock, I’m Coco, I’m Joe.” I thought Barack would likely be Hardrock. Though its a stretch, I’d pick Hillary for Hardrock and Joe Biden for Joe. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NT5Ohgl7eTM
If you’ve never heard of Hardrock, Coco, and Joe, then you were not watching morning tv as a child in the Midwest. It was not uncommon to see these guys sing on cold winter mornings until Christmas. This was before cable and the land of a thousand channels. So snuggle up with some hot coco and jam to Hardrock, Coco, and Joe
My son asked me for some one on one time. I took a pass on some work I had to do and decided to make the most of this opportunity. For all the things we are scheduled to do, it felt good to have some unstructured time together with him. My wife suggested a movie, but G rated movies are hard to find. So I stumbled on to a link that led me to ComedySportz4kids. I love improvisational theater and want to expose my kids to it, so I went for it.
I kept it a surprise. We took the train into the city for the 2:00p.m. show. It was $8.00 to get in. It was satisfying watching his nearly seven year old mind trying to figure out where we were. As we sat outside the main entrance, a group of thirteen boys came in for a birthday party. I momentarily feared it would be us and a group of kids all together. But then other kids came with their parents.
They led us into the intimate theater. We sat in the front row, though there didn’t appear to be any bad seats. . Two of the three performers came around in a red shirt and a blue shirt to get ideas from the kids for the show. They seemed quite comfortable being around kids and engaging kids. The kids ranged in age from as young as about 4-10.
The whole show involved the the red and blue guy and a man who played the coach. They found a way to include the kids ideas and more importantly the kids into the experience. My son was a part of a farm animal orchestra. Also he had a song improvised about his name. The performers made a whole scene with songs about a girl in attendance based on limited information she provided about herself. The performers succeeded at giving the kids room to be silly, loud, and very active.
It was a very fun time. We talked and laughed about it the whole way home.
I know everyone is talking about the big inauguration bash for Obama in January. And there is no doubt that this will be a hard ticket to get and valuable one to have. But I think there is an invitation more valuable than that- an invite to Sasha or Malia’s first birthday party.
Can you imagine receiving the little birthday card in the shape of the White House? Inside you’d see their hand writing inviting your kids to the birthday party in the red room? It would be one of those parties you’d most definitely want to attend, even if it is a drop off.
Perhaps upon entering the party, the kids could do a limbo under the security screening wands. Can you imagine a round of hide and seek in the White House? This could be followed up with a race up to the top of the Grand staircase. What kid wouldn’t want to play pinata in the Oval office? Who wants to play musical chairs in the Cabinet room? And before cake, how about a game of egg toss in the China Room!
Most likely, the White House kitchen staff would prepare pizza and a cake in the shape of President Obama. I guess if they wanted to be silly, they could use the old mold of George Bush looking like Alfre E. Neuman on the cover of Mad magazine. And perhaps the girls could have their friends sleep over in the Lincoln and Queen bedrooms. Can’t you just picture the girls singing Hannah Montana songs talking about which Washington page is cute, gay, or a nerd.
As the evening gets later, can’t you just picture the President shouting,”Sasha, Malia, its time to go to bed NOW! They’d likely giggle and try to show off to their friends, “Ok Mr. President.”
My son is in first grade. He loves it. He brings his lunch to school. One day, he was complaining about something I put in his lunchbox. I suggested he try what I remembered doing, which was trade what he didn’t like with another kid. He immediately cut me off, “we’re not allowed to trade.” And then my wife chimed in, “because of allergies.”
I think of myself as pretty open minded, but in all honesty, this bugged me. I don’t know why. Perhaps I felt like others were intruding on my memories and the opportunity to share them with my son. It happened another day when I made him a peanut butter and honey sand which. “Dad, I can’t bring that to school, because one of the kids is allergic to peanut butter,” my son said. “You mean you can’t eat a peanut butter sandwhich in school?” I asked in a tone clearly suggesting I was annoyed. Fortunately, when I spoke to the teacher she informed me it was Ok if he sat at the peanut butter table.
So just when it appears we have opened up as a nation in our support for Barack Obama, segregation in the schools continues between the peanut butter eaters and the just say no to peanut butter people. If you are thinking I need to read the latest research on peanut allergies or see a kid suffering with it, don’t bother. I’ve already had that happen when I’ve expressed what I’m writing. I thought we were entitled to freedom of speech, even on sensitive matters like peanut allergies.
I’m not disputing the evidence or the realty of the allergies, but I am saying it makes me wonder about the hundreds of kids I knew as a child. How did those kids manage? Did anyone know? Has anyone gone back long after childhood and sought reparations from Skippy or Jiffy peanut butter as other victims/survivors have?
In some ways, if I was told children have bologne or headcheese allergies, I’d probably have an easier time understanding their struggle.