Friday, April 22, 2011

A Pirate Concierge Who Audaciously Angers At The Absence of Cantaloupe



It's Easter week.

We are packing our bags and heading to the west coast of Florida, a different sort of fireswamp, but not one with ROUSes (Rodents of Unusual Size). IOUSes perhaps, (Insects of Unusual Size), but definitely not Rodents.

Unless we're talking about the Captain, of course.


As we were making preparations for our annual Easter exodus, somebody seemed to have a problem with EVERYTHING.

We're talking about the Captain, of course.

Initially, he refused to share a suitcase with his sister, because he didn't want his wonderwears to potentially touch her wonderwears.


Really Jake?

"I have to have my OWN suitcase. And it has to be on wheels."

Jake, I don't think you understand. There is not a lot of room at Grandma's, and we have to share suitcases to make room for the other people who are going to be there, too.

"I am NOT letting my clothes touch any stupid girl clothes. And this one time, when we were at Grandma's, and I had to get a change of clothes cuz I was dirty, and it was kinda dark, and I was naked, cuz I just got outta the shower, and I put my hand in the suitcase and I thought I had grabbed my shirt, but then, I pulled out Sissy's wonderwears, and I freaked out. Totally. I freaked out. I couldn't handle it. Nope. I'm gettin' all creepy just thinking about it."

***For the record, "Sissy" is eight years old and is ALWAYS modestly dressed. She is a very un-worldly EIGHT, and her 'wonderwears' have yet to DE-volve into anything freaky. (i.e. no, she does not wear g-strings or thongs.) Does the word COTTON mean anything to you?

I digress.

Upon realizing that I did not have the energy nor the where-with-all to engage the Captain, as supper was cooking, laundry was going full-steam, others needed to pack, and I had to tend to the aforementioned eight year old "Sissy" who is writhing in pain because, allegedly, her brother broke her ankle....on accident.

Billy Two Swords aptly recognizes that I am indeed in the middle of a monstrous maelstrom, by no fault of my own, simply because, I am the Mother of the Spawn.

Two Swords said, "I'm going to go spend some time with HIM and see if I can figure out what HIS problem is."

OMG! Thank you so much, honey, because, really, my plate is kinda full right now. I really appreciate your help.....


One down......

Wait, there's something I need to address here, on behalf of Billy Two Swords (whom I have crowned Father of the Millennium) and me (the vessel that launched the Spawn, in addition to the Genius): We do NOT indulge our children. We do NOT allow our household to be run according to the whim of the children. We are proponents of Biblical parenting, and on the scale of, are we doing a good job as parents or not, well I am going to say YES WE ARE. Our children know that they are immensely loved and adored because we tell them so, about a hundred times a day. If I were to ask them, right now, out of nowhere, "Who loves you?" they both would answer one of the following four entities, "Mama, Daddy, God, Jesus", in no particular order. Our children receive consequences and punishments for negative behaviors, and they receive lavish lauding for any and all accomplishments, even those that fall short of perfection. We have a budding musician and songwriter who we are proud of. We have a little Charlie Hustle of a baseball player who we are equally proud of. We have two little sinners who we forgive and who we love with every fiber of our beings, every minute of every day.

THAT BEING SAID, it takes a village to raise the Captain. It really, really does.

He has never visited a psychologist or psychiatrist before, because, well, his Mama was so extensively trained in child psychology that somebody once gave her a very pretty piece of paper with a gold stamp on it.

And this Mama in particular is CONVINCED that the Captain has OCD (Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder).

There once was a time where Two Swords didn't 'completely' buy-in to my amateur diagnosis, and thought that perhaps we could completely cure the Captain of his 'alleged' ailment through lots and lots of Biblically applied corporal punishment. It wasn't too difficult for me to arguably convince Two Swords that his approach would not work. I have taught Two Swords everything I have ever learned about OCD, and as frustrating as the Captain gets sometimes (okay, every day), we have figured out when to 'let Jake be', and when to throw the hammer down. Sometimes we teeter and sometimes we fall, but for the most part, we beautifully balance the beam (plank) on which the Captain doth walk. Thus far, we have adroitly educated all of his teachers on the idiosyncrasies of the Captain, insisting that he NEVER receive preferential treatment, that he NEVER be treated with kid gloves, that he ALWAYS adhere to any and all classroom/school rules, that he ALWAYS respond with FIRST TIME obedience. We have insisted that if the Captain doesn't obey a rule on the first 'try', that a consequence must immediately follow. We do not allow 'wiggle' room while disciplining the Captain.

At the same time, however, we do allow the Captain to be 'the Captain'. But he does not 'run' this house. Nor his classroom, nor anything else in his life lest the occasional remote control object or his dog. Which is not to say that he hasn't tried. Lord have mercy, he has tried. And continues to try. Or to push. Prod.

I think y'all get my drift, but in case you didn't, I'll summarize:

We, Hurricane Rojo and Billy Two Swords, are well aware that our son, Captain Jake Sparrow exhibits many, if not all, symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. We have not had him examined nor diagnosed by a psychiatrist because we don't believe that giving him that 'label' would help him in any other way than how we are already working together to help him. We do not believe that his 'condition' warrants medication at this time, nor at any time in the past. Of course, all of this is subject to change at any time, but so far, by the Grace of God, and with the love and support of a very large contingent of our small community, collectively we have done a 'good' job at figuring out the 'right' way to 'manage' our Sparrow.

I just felt the need to 'throw' that out there, in case one of you were to read of yet another exploit of the Captain and quietly mutter to yourself, "If that were MY kid, I'd BEAT it out of him." It can't be 'beaten' out of him. Trust me on that one. And if this is Captain Jake Sparrow's biggest hurdle in life, then I will get on my knees and thank and praise my God. Because we can work around this little quirk of his. It ain't easy, and yes it can be difficult and exhausting at times, but he is MY son and he brings far more joy and laughter and love to far more people than he does aggravation and exasperation. And as long as we are balanced on THAT beam, we, the village, are successfully and collectively raising Captain Jake Sparrow.

I'm done with my thesis on "How to raise an OCD pirate".


Back to the situation at hand......

Two Swords has entered the Captain's bedroom to see what the deal is with his 'packing' conundrum, as well as to hopefully gain some more insight on what REALLY happened fifteen minutes ago between the "it was a a a a accident!" brother and "MY ANKLE IS BROOOOOOOOOOKEN" sister.

After coming to Reilly the Red's immediate rescue, I have propped her up in the child cave (the den), examined her right ankle, determined that it is most likely NOT broken, applied ice, provided a "i think i'm gonna throw uppppppppp" bucket, and educate her on the 1-10 scale for nausea and for pain. As she has overcome her hysteria and reverted to slow and quiet moaning, I retreat to the kitchen to flip the pork chops.

The Captain informs me that, "Me and Dad have made a different arrangement for packing" and quickly returns to his bedroom.

Okay. Don't care. Stir the fried corn.

From the child cave: "Maaaaamaaaaaa?"

This requires another visit to the child cave. The pain is now an '8' and the nausea is a '9'. I inform Reilly that I will not give her any Tylenol until her nausea goes down to a '5'. The soft moaning returns.

I return to the pork chops.

The Captain must have a "Mom is now available for me to bother" radar as he appears AGAIN to inform me of the following:

"Yeah, so, me and Dad are gonna share a suitcase so I don't have to worry about my wonderwears being FREAKED OUT if they touch any disgusting girl WONDERWEARS."

The Captain has given life to 'wonderwears'. He has animated the clothes in his suitcase. This is beyond any Fruit of the Loom commercial. This is pure lunacy.

In what seems like several eternities later, I loudly declare that supper is ready, and ask everyone to please wash their hands and come to the table.

Reilly the Red's nausea has subsided. I placed a Tylenol next to her beverage.

We four pirates enjoyed a delicious dinner, complete with engaging and comfortable conversation, since we have no broken ankles on our proverbial plates.

Reilly's Tylenol kicks in pretty quickly, and I helped her get to her bed. As she struggled to keep her eyes open, she begged me to wake her up by 745 pm so that she can see 'who got kicked off' American Idol. It is now 722 pm. I have no intentions of doing any such thing, but reassure her that I will watch it and DVR it and she can watch it in the morning, before our westward expedition. And, Ryan Seacrest-style, she is Reilly-OUT! I closed THAT door, blessedly thankful that we have either a twisted or sprained ankle, not a broken one.

Back at the trough dinner table, I notice that Jake has devoured nearly an ENTIRE cucumber, slice by slice. That child LOVES cucumbers. As I watched this herbivorous behavior, I remembered an anecdote from his younger days that I proceeded to tell him.

One of the first 'table' foods that the Captain tried while being weaned from the bottle was......cucumbers. Weird, I know, but not nearly as weird as when Reilly the Red ate an entire onion as if it were an apple, and would NOT surrender it. She never did get sick, but she also never asked for another one again.

But when Great-Grandma Izzy found out that our tiny little Captain had an affinity for cucumbers, she proceeded to scold her forty year old grandson, Billy Two Swords, that babies absolutely, positively must NOT be given cucumbers PERIOD. Humored, Two Swords stood up to the Matriarch of the Great State of West Virginia and said, "If my boy wants cucumbers, I'm gonna let him have cucumbers." Great-Grandma Izzy cursed predicted that giving cucumbers to babies will, um, 'make them crazy'.

So after re-telling the Cucumber Prediction to Jake, the conversation went West to Cantaloupe Town. Literally.

The Captain exclaimed, "Grandma Diane BETTER have me some CANTALOUPE."

My eyes met with Two Swords, and a hint of friskiness was in the air. The Captain very rarely uses the telephone. Much to the disdain of grandmothers and aunts alike, the kid just doesn't like to talk on the phone. But to quote Fergie and the Black Eyed Peas, 'I Gotta Feeling....that Tonight's gonna be a good night."

Two Swords said, "Well, you better call her and make sure she has some."

I responded with, "She might need to put it on her grocery list for tomorrow, and you know how far Grandma lives from Publix - she won't be able to make another trip once she's back home."

We succeeded in our mischievous gentle nudging when the Captain jumped from his chair and said, "I'm callin' her RIGHT NOW!"

Two Swords dialed the number for him.

And ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you..........

The Concierge.

Jake: Pap-pap?

My Dad, Pap-Pap: (Heavy, long, loud sigh, to be heard in Montana) WHAT, Jake?

Jake: Can I talk to your Mom? I mean, can I talk to your wife?

Pap-Pap: Can you talk to WHO?

Jake: Grandma! Can I talk to Grandma Diane?

Needling Pap-Pap: What do you want to talk to her about?

Jake: I need to discuss some arrangements with her.

(Two Swords busts out laughing so hard I thought he was going to break his recliner)

Needling Pap-Pap: What? What KIND of arrangements, Jake?

Jake: I need to discuss the arrangements for coming to your house.

Needling Pap-Pap: (knowing full well that he doesn't have the patience nor the energy to combat whatever it is that is about to exit the mouth of the Captain) Yeah. Hold On.

(Background noise on other end of phone: "Here. Your grandson wants to discuss the 'arrangements' for the weekend." "What arrangements?" "I have NO idea. He wants to talk to YOU about the arrangements.")

Grandma Diane: Jake?

Jake: Hiiiiiiiii Grand-ma Diiiiii-annnnnne.

Grandma Diane: What are you doing?

Jake: I'm sittin' in my dad's lap talking to YOU on the phone. What the heck do ya think I'm doing?

Grandma: Well, what can I do for you.

Jake: You got any cantaloupe?

Grandma: Do I have any WHAT?

Jake: CANTALOUPE, Grandma, CANTALOUPE. You got me any?

Grandma: No, I don't but I can put it on my list if you want some.

Jake: You better or I'll get really angry.

(WTF? Seriously? 'you better'? To his grandmother? Ugh.)

Grandma: Okay, Jake. I'll get some cantaloupe. Pap-pap likes it too, and I know how much YOU like it. I don't want you to get angry. Okay?

Jake: Yeah, whatever, um, can we discuss some arrangements?

(Honestly, this child has never uttered the word 'arrangement' in his life prior to this evening, and he's flaunting it like he's a newly crowned Miss America sashaying down the Atlantic City runway.)

Grandma: (Oblivious to the need to FURTHER discuss arrangements with any pirate, let alone the Sparrow, since all necessary and pending arrangements have already been discussed with the Sparrow's PARENTS) What kind of arrangements, Jake?

Jake: All kinds of arrangements, Grandma. (By this time, he is comfortably settled in Two Swords' lap, he has his feet crossed at the ankle, one hand holding the phone, the other used as a tool to animate his conversation to a person who can't visualize him. Note to self - Skype might be in our near future.)

Grandma: Like.....?

Jake: (waving and weaving his right hand and nodding his head to and fro as he rants) (deep breath) Like, sleeping arrangements. Do I have to sleep on a mattress?

Grandma: You can sleep on the couch if you like.

Fist pumping Jake: YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! I like sleeping on the couch Grandma and do you know what, well the other Friday I think it was the other Friday or maybe it was the other Friday, well, I did a good job at my baseball game so my Dad said I could watch appropriate TV in the den and if I fell asleep on the couch that he was okay with that and do you know what happened well while I was sleeping I accidentally fell off the couch and landed on the floor, the brown floor, you know, the wood one, the one in the den, and I fell off and I got back on the couch and I went to sleep and i fell off again maybe even a couple more times but I wouldn't get hurt at your house cuz you have a rug by your couch.

Grandma: Um, okay. What's Reilly doing.

Jake: Wellllllllllllllllllllll. She's sleeping because I kinda sorta, um, ACCIDENTALLY broke her ankle.


Jake: It was a accident! See Mommy told us we were playing too rough and we needed to settle down or go outside but we didn't want to go outside hey did you know we have a turtle now that Daddy found and we named him Nerdel the Turtle and he eats strawberries and grass but if we touch him even a teeny tiny bit my Mom makes us wash our hands cuz she says that turtles have really weird germs but I really wanted to call him Bob I wanted to call him Bob William Fallon isn't that funny Grandma but yeah me and Sissy were hanging upside down off the back of the 'new' couch and Sissy started to fall and asked me to help her and wellllllll I ACCIDENTALLY pushed her instead of pulling her and her round bone on her foot smacked on the yellow floor I mean the new yellow floor the wood one and she started crying and screaming and I ran to my room really fast but Mom doesn't think it's broke so you're sure I can sleep on the couch because I'm sick and tired of sleeping on a mattress.

(clearly, this spawn of mine needs to see Slumdog Millionaire. Ugh.)

Grandma: (by this time, nearly stunned into silence) Oh. Well I'm glad her ankle isn't broken. Maybe you shouldn't play so rough inside the house.

Jake: Yeah. Um did I tell you about the suitcase arrangements because maybe you need to know that me and my dad are sharing a suitcase cuz we're boys and we're sharing a boy suitcase so that I don't have to worry about my wonderwears touching any girl wonderwears and it would be fine if they touched my dad's wonderwears cuz him and me wear the same kind even the same colors sometimes but his are bigger than mine cuz he is bigger than me and boy I sure am excited about playing in that big sand pile.

Grandma: (doing her very best to keep up with the 185wpm NASCAResque piehole) Um. Okay, but I thought the sand pile was gonna be a secret?

Jake: Yeah well mom and me had to negotiate something earlier and she told me if i did what she wanted me to that she had a big secret to tell me but i couldn't tell anybody but i couldn't help it that it made me so excited that i told everybody all about it at dinner and now i'm wondering what other kind of fun arrangements you might have for me like if the boys i mean daddy and pappap go out fishing and i'm stuck there with all the girls except for uncle chris he's not a girl but i'm sure I can have lots of fun with the sand pile and my mom told me i had to bring like ten pairs of clothes because i was going to get super dirty on that sand pile and what did pappap need all that dirt for or did he just get it for me because he knew i was coming and he knows how much i love playing in sand piles cuz remember the time that i wasn't supposed to play in the sand pile and i did anyways and pappap got really mad at me and just kept screaming JAKE JAKE JAKE all day long but I'm wondering what other kinds of fun I will have oh yeah my mom told me that you said you have a dvd player for the house we're staying in so i got my movies picked out already and i'm bringing Happy Gilmore cuz I think i'll really like it even though I've only seen pieces of it i never have seen the whole thing to the end and a Spiderman training video where i can learn all of Spiderman's moves and that would be really cool if i learned some of his moves and then i could try them out on the sand pile oh and i'm bringing the really old Ninja Turtle movie that Uncle Chris said he used to watch when he was little and maybe we can watch it together cuz I know how much Uncle Chris likes movies too.

Grandma: Well, Jake, it sure does sound like you're excited to come see us.

Jake: (Violently nodding his head) Yeah. I really am. I'm really excited. 'specially since i don't have to sleep with my sister UGH and I don't have to worry about my wonderwears touching any girl wonderwears and yeah i love that sand pile and i'm really happy that we got these arrangements all worked out.

Grandma: (most likely still in shock upon learning that her grandson has suddenly become an enamored Concierge) Well, let me go then, so I can get your cantaloupe because I don't want you to be ANGRY and please hug and kiss Reilly for me and try not to hurt her anymore because that might make ME a little bit angry, too.

Jake: (Laughing) Okay Grandma. I'll see you tomorrow. But don't forget the cantaloupe.

Grandma: Okay Jake. I'll see you tomorrow.

Jake: Bye Grandma. I love you.


Jake: DAD! Grandma made the arrangements (yeah, um, he heard he entire two-way conversation, Rain Man, he already knows) and I don't have to sleep on no stinkin mattress and she said it was okay that my wonderwears won't touch no girl wonderwears and she was going to get my cantaloupe and she's happy that i picked out some movies for my down time.

Dad: Dude, um, how much 'down time' do you think you're gonna have over there?

Jake: You know, like when you and Pappap get back from fishing and everybody is working hard to get the boat cleaned and the towels and bathing suits washed and you are helping Pappap to clean the boat and the girls are cooking supper and the boys are cleaning the fish if they caught any and that's my down time to watch my movies all by myself inside while everybody else is working. i might have to get more than three movies ready.

A Concierge.

A Concierge Who Happens To Be A Pirate.

A Pirate Concierge.......

A Pirate Concierge Who Audaciously Angers At The Absence of Cantaloupe

Sounds like I'll have plenty of yarns to spin when we return from our Western odyssey.



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