Holding the Fort and One's Tongue

My wife and son have absconded themselves to Paris, leaving me here in beautiful Athens county with Olivia. Lisa has to go to Paris twice a year as a part of her job as the director of the American office of the international bibliography of classical studies, L'Année philologique. It's a nasty job, but somebody's got to do it. But if you're going to take someone along to carry your bags for you, I hardly see how a twelve year old boy can really fill the bill as well as a 48 year old man.

So, instead of going to the Musée d'Orsay with my lovely wife, I went to Kroger's with my lovely daughter. Olivia is only 5, but she's really quite mature for her age and I'm quite sure that it will be only a matter of a year or two before she gets to go with mommy. Eventually I'll get invited along, too, I suppose, but it's starting to look like Lisa thinks that I've been over there enough for one lifetime and it's time to start saving a little money.

Kroger's is no Musée d'Orsay, of course, but lest you think it's not as much fun as going to Paris, let me just tell you that there's a Starbuck's in there and they sell sushi. Olivia always wants to get hot chocolate from the Starbuck's, so that's a big help to me: I can use it as leverage. She's not always on her best behavior in Kroger's, you see. She wasn't bad this time, but she was a little more, well, "energetic" than the management usually allows for, so I had to deploy my Secret Weapon: settle down or no hot chocolate. Of course she just got worse, though still it wasn't as bad as it might have been, since she wasn't carrying. But at the checkout she asked about the hot chocolate, and I asked if she had done what I asked and been a good listener. Instead of answering, she put her hands on her hips and declared, "You can be really annoying sometimes." She doesn't know the half of it.

When we got out to the car, I unlocked her door for her so she could get in while I put the loot into the trunk. As she got into the car, she turned her back on me and said with just about the most exaggerated sarcasm it is possible to put into one's voice without seeming to be hot dogging it, "Thanks for the really great time at Kroger's, dad!"

The drive home was not too bad, since I mostly thought the whole thing was funny and she had already moved on to an explanation of why she didn't really think I was stupid just because I wasn't letting her have what she wanted. When we go to Mass tomorrow morning I will take along, for her infotainment during the drier parts of the liturgy, her copy of L'abécédaire de l'ART, which Lisa got for her last year in Paris. It features artworks from, among other places, the Musée d'Orsay.

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