Friday, November 11, 2005

How to entertain yourself in Iowa

I'm home with the family in Iowa for a well-deserved four-day vacation. And I've already packed a lifetime of adventure in the last 48 hours. Here's some of what I've done:

Play with the kids
Yesterday I had lunch with my nephew at his kindergarten, which is in my old grade school. As we walked the halls from his classroom to his cafeteria, I had more flashbacks than Rush Limbaugh discovering a box of OxiClean under his sink. After that I was a mommy helper (OK, assistant mommy helper) with my sister at my niece's preschool. It, too, was in the same building where I had gone to preschool many, many facelifts ago. But the building had undergone so many renovations since then (and I was only four at the time, so what the hell do you people want from me?) that I really had no recollection of being there.

Laugh at the kids
Example! My niece is turning four on Saturday (which is the reason I'm here) and there's a princess party in the works for her and a bunch of her friends. And her gay uncle. But my niece is in a mood. A mood that sometimes prompts her to discipline the adults around her with grave threats of retribution. Today, for instance, she was so upset that she didn't get any candy at the drug store that she declared she was canceling her party. Never one to deny my niece the right to make important decisions, my sister calmly reached for her cell phone and started calling all the guests to tell them not to come. And the frantic panic in my niece's voice -- "I changed my mind! I changed my mind!" -- as the enormity of her hasty threat started to dawn on her would have been funny if it hadn't been so damn hilarious. The more my niece pleaded for her very princess-themed life, the more my sister and I laughed and shook and could NOT look at each other. (The party, you'll be pleased to know, did not get canceled. Fortunately, nobody my sister called was home.)

Example! The day I arrived, my niece and a friend were playing superheroes. My niece had a towel wrapped around her neck and a vast array of superpowers at her fingertips, and she was enjoying to the fullest all the exciting corporate benefits of being Woman Woman! (I have no idea what the Woman Woman! costume looked like in my niece's fertile imagination, but I would hazard a guess it involved something with ruffles, a Bob the Builder hat and perhaps a set of Barbie earrings. And definitely some sparkly lip gloss.)

Notice the gays
The gays, they're a-teachin' our kids, they are. I counted at least one gay at each school I visited yesterday. Unfortunately, neither had much of a sense of style, so my niece and nephew are being deprived of a positive sartorial influence at their respective places of education. Which is both a damn shame and a national tragedy. Why hasn't Pat Robertson spoken out about this? Oh, yeah. Maybe he's too busy kickin' godless, monkey-shaped Pennsylvania butt.

Two words: Ample parking! Two more words: Manageable crowds!

We hit the pre-holiday sales with a bunch of storewide coupons in hand, and I must say we've made a killing. In addition to getting a bunch of holiday shopping crossed off my list, I've also bought myself an entire new set of Big Boy Dishes at almost 75% off (I'll post before-and-after pix when I get home so you can see how profoundly sad juvenile my old dishes looked), a ton of foo-foo gay knickknacks to replace the ghetto gay knickknacks that are currently taking up valuable display space at Shoebox Manor (also at 75% off), some of my favorite Old Navy ringer tees on sale for 50% off and a warm, delicious dinner at Taco Bell. God BLESS Taco Bell. (Just don't stand behind me for a couple more weeks. I haven't eaten at Taco Bell in at least a couple years, and my plumbing is still getting used to its beany goodness.)

And more!
I have much more to tell you, but I have to go throw some children in the air. Stay tuned ...

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