Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Reprecussions of Playing Scrabble against an only child

The Man Who Lives In My house used to refuse to play scrabble with me.  Because I always won.  As a sibling-less child, he played board games with his granddad while his grandma hissed in the background, "You let him win, Clair, YOU LET HIM WIN!"

I learnt at my mother's knee.  She never let me win.  It was educational.  I did get pretty good.  My mother and my sister (The Nice One?  She is also The Smart One.  If you combine those two things, doesn't that create The Annoying One?  HMM.) can beat me, but not too many other people can in the three dimensional world.

The only way to beat Bad Grandma and Abbey is if I cheat and sneak extra tiles, which I have been known to do. (You can't cheat on the iphone.  Frustrating.)  Recently, The Man has discovered the scrabble app on his iphone.  He has been practicing

He can beat me quite easily now, although he uses all those stupid words that are not really words, like "qi," and "ki".  Technically, this is not cheating, but I don't consider those to be viable words.  Using them is inelegant and smacks of desperation.  On my planet, you can only use words that are actually  part of your vast and evocative vocabulary.  Don't you concur?

But I digress:  he spent a night with my parents a couple of weeks ago.  I got a gleeful text:  "I  BEAT YOUR MOM AT SCRABBLE!"

My mother refused to comment. She just made a hmmmph noise.  This evening I arrived at her house with the Hooligans in tow. We are spending the night and meeting up with The Man tomorrow.  After dishing up icecream for the Hooligans and walking the dog, my mother whipped out her iphone.

"I got this great app for playing scrabble," she mentioned casually. "Look, I have 5 games going with complete strangers.  I'm not winning all of them, but I'm doing pretty well."

Just then my phone rang.  It was my sister.  "You know how The Man beat mom at scrabble two weeks ago?"  I asked her, (She did.  He made sure to tell everyone.)  "Now Mom's playing iphone scrabble with complete strangers.  She's not going to let that happen again.  Uh oh, Abbey, she's continuing to play with one hand and she's flipping me off with the other. 

It would behoove The Man not to become complacent, is all I'm saying.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Moody Revenge

We drove to Portland for my sister (The Nice One)'s birthday.  The larger Hooligan came prepared, with a smart phone and large ear phones--the better to pretend he was somewhere else, like a really cool techno party in space.  Yeah.  Awesome.

I tried not to mind that he doesn't like us anymore.  He gets this from me, in spades.  I was an insufferable asshole as a teenager.  I've been hoping that owning up to  this and eating lots of crow about it would insulate me from having to co-exist with similar behavior from my child(ren).  No dice.  Remorse gets you nothing.

Towards the end of the drive I asked him to turn down the volume in his headphones because if I could perceive his techno (which I could) it might damage his hearing, which might interfere with his future music appreciation, etc.

"You just hate techno,"  he snarled, his voice cracking.  (Well yes, I do, am I so transparent?  Well, yes, I am.)  "I love techno,  I'm always gonna love techno.  I hate your stupid music.  Why do you have to listen to NPR?  I hate the music they play in between stuff.  It's so stupid."

What is he talking about?  They play Ratatat when they transition on NPR.  They love techno as much as he does.

He was able to emerge from his funk and be fairly pleasant at the birthday breakfast.  (I locked all technology in the car for the duration).  Afterwards he went home with my parents while I ran a couple of errands and the Smaller Hooligan accompanied Senor Cupcake (the nephew) and his mamas to the park.

I called my mom (Bad Grandma) after about an hour and a half, "Is the Larger Hooligan being reasonable?"  I asked,  "Or is he lurking in a corner with those damn headphones? "

"He is being delightful," answered my mother smugly,  "I don't know what you're talking about when you say he's surly."

"Mom," I begged,  "I know that it must be incredibly tempting for you to egg him on after what you put up with from me, but please, The Man Who Lives In My House is at a meeting in Canada for this entire week and The Larger Hooligan is very nearly larger than I am.  Could you please, out of the goodness of your heart, encourage him to cooperate insofar as he is able?"

Bad Grandma laughed her evil laugh, "I was glad that I was always bigger than the two of you. I must say."

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Don't take your hooligan shopping

There were some needs in the Hooligan wardrobe.  The smaller one has outgrown his sneakers.  The larger one's t-shirts have become an embarassment to me.  He could care less, but gets annoyed when I make him go change before we have people over for dinner or something.

I took them to Portland.  My plan was to have lunch with my parents, go downtown and have a fun time shopping, and then back to my folks' for dinner before going home.  This was a great plan except for the fun time shopping part.  We found a parking spot between REI and Powell's.

 I wasn't trying to challenge them.  We weren't shopping for me!  I know they have limits! I had no intention of so much as pausing in front of the window at any of those lady stores they hate so much.

Inside REI, they went straight to the display of flashlights and pocket knives.  They were loathe to come look for anything they actually needed.  They kept asking to go across town to the army surplus store where they could buy a de-activated grenade.

"But that serves no purpose," I explained.  "And besides, you already have one and ninja stars, as well, because your father is so very nice to you.  We are here to get some things you actually need.  You get to choose.  I won't have to return anything because you don't like it or it doesn't fit.  This is a good thing!  You get to make decisions!  Just try it on!"

They rolled their eyes at me.  "Can't you just order us stuff?"

Truly, I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  I suppose I should've just run with this:   Hell yes I will order stuff.  I will order striped shirts and plaid button downs and bow ties, also pants with little whales embroidered all over them.  I will order saddle shoes.

Forget about cool!!  I could make them look so adorable if they would let me!  They have no idea what risks they are taking here.

I dragged them upstairs.  There were actually no loveable sneakers, in the smaller hooligan's opinion.  And only one t-shirt that fit and wasn't made of something so high tech and organic that it was a reasonable price.  We did, however, find excellent snowboots, which we bought a size too large. They should last through this year and into next, and they were on super sale.  Apparently they are "cool"  as well.  Isn't that nice.

Boys are mysterious creatures.  After a short trip to Powell's for some dis-topian sci-fi and the latest Wimpy Kid (ugh), we got back to my parents' at dinner time.  My mother had spaghetti and meatballs simmering on the stove.  My sons joined my father on the couch, where they happily watched some show about war.  With everyone settled and an hour before dinner, my mother and I zipped over to the nearby shopping center, where we shopped and chatted peacefully, without buying a thing.