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Monday, April 14, 2008

Birthday Party

One of School Lady's daughters had a birthday today. Her big sister caught me just as we started the bike pump episode (see post below) to invite me over. "In about an hour and a half," she said. "We just put the meat on the grill."

The bikes got pumped, I did my shopping up by Roosevelt and Canal and the taxi driver didn't kill me on the Ryan coming back. (I'm in a hurry today so the taxi was worth it to get home that much sooner and go to School Lady's house.) Before shopping I thought I would stop at Barbara's Bookstore and find a book for her, but since I don't really know what she'd like, I decided to make a birthday card instead. When I got home, I made a birthday card by just drawing some colored balloons on a piece of white paper. Inside I wrote up my own gift certificate for one free book, which she gets to pick on a shopping expedition with me.

Over at the house, it looked like the gate to the back yard was locked, so I rang the front door. School Lady's youngest daughter answered and led me down the back stairs. That was the first time I'd been in past the living room. The room arrangement is a bit odd--living room, kids' bedroom, kitchen, back stairs. The parents' bedroom is to the right of the living room. The basement is rented out now; I don't know about the second floor.

When Iris read the card, she said, "Cool!" to the idea of going book shopping.
School Lady was out getting ears of corn at the store to put on the grill, but Mr. School Lady was grilling tortillas and the last bit of carne asada. There was a piece of meat left for me, with the last cebollita (little knob onion). There was even a teeny bit of spicy guacamole left and some rice. The oldest girl was with her mother at the store; the three younger ones, including the birthday girl, were playing soccer in the alley with their cousin. I talked a little with Mr. School Lady. He was surprised Dawn's mom hadn't come. (Later, School Lady confirmed she was meeting with people somewhere else. She has a lot of places to be these days.)

Quite frankly, most of the time I think Mr. School Lady is a shiftless bum. He had on a full set of clothes today--usually I go over and he's hanging around the house in a t-shirt. But maybe there's more to the story than I know. I think I heard he is on disability; if that's even true, what the disability is for I don't know.

To his credit, he said something today that I agreed with. His point, if I understood rightly, was that too many people around here spend all their time mired in their sad stories. Sometimes it's OK just to have some fun.

After I ate and watched Mr. School Lady feed the dogs tortillas, I went out to the alley and ended up playing goalie with the girls and their cousin for a little while. I think having me on goal partially evened out the unfair advantage the youngest had playing on the team with their cousin--a guy in his 20s or 30s, I'd guess. I blocked a few shots, anyway, and I think the birthday girl herself scored once while I had her back on goal. We rolled out some garbage cans to mark the goals, and when cars came we would just roll the cans back to the side to let the cars pass. It was getting too dark to see when we quit.

I never did get to eat the corn, but I did make it through half a large pickled jalapeno pepper. Thank goodness for tortillas with spicy food!

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