March 27, 2000
Picture Perfect


Tamita from the Accounting Department came into my office last Thursday ... the day I returned to work after my latest excursion to TicTac. "Is that your family?" she asked, pointing to the brand-new photo pinned to my bulletin board.

I nodded proudly.

"Wow," she said,peering closely at our glossy Polaroid faces. "You all look so ... perfect."

And it's true:

The Family Perfect

I mean ... LOOK at us! We could have our own sitcom, forcryingoutloud!  There's earnest, hard-working Dad, home from another day at the box factory ... good-naturedly cracking the same tired joke he's cracked at every Tot Birthday since time began. ("Let's open your presents tomorrow, OK?") He has his arm around Son # Only, who -- at age almost-fourteen -- is busy perfecting his 'I merely tolerate these people because they're family' expression.  Daughter #1  --  fresh from the tanning salon, looking elegant and Flockhart-thin  --  has just moments earlier learned that she got the new job she'd applied for: she will now be the receptionist for a local car stereo dealership, where she assures me there will be "lots of hot guys hanging around all the time."  (Oh yay.)

Daughter #2  --  aka "The Birthday Girl"  --  has inexplicably shown up for her birthday celebration wearing her long hair in two demure braids, topped with a jaunty little Swiss Miss scarf.  (I half-expect her to burst into a chorus of "The Happy Wanderer" at any moment.) Of course, the braids contrast endearingly with the beaded "rave" bracelets around her wrist, the skin-tight jeans, the silver mascara, the three-inch platform heels and the mouthful of braces.

Ah, to be seventeen again.

And then of course there's Mom, proudly sitting in front of the picture-perfect strawberry-and-vanilla birthday cake she baked earlier in the day. (A birthday cake loaded with enough foil-wrapped buttons, safety pins and pocket change to set off any airport metal detector from two hundred feet away: a lethal family tradition endures yet another year.)

Yep. We're a pretty darned nice-looking family, wouldn't you say?

The casual observer probably couldn't tell, just by looking at the photo, that Mom and Dad have been DIVORCED for two years now ... and that later that evening *Mom* will be hopping on a plane and flying 680 miles home to California, leaving Dad and the Tots to eat the birthday cake without her.

Definitely not a storyline you'd see on "Father Knows Best" ... is it?

self-important blurb #1 will go HERE:
it's taking me three times longer than usual to recover from this last trip to TicTac ... as evidenced, I suppose, by the fact that I haven't so much as sneezed on my website in over a week. ["did your airplane crash?" wrote my little pal brucie hopefully.]

nope. the flight was uneventful. the visit was 99.9% crisis-free. the soft taco was perfect. the world's cutest nephew ... still is.

of course, I always feel a little "disconnected" when I come home from a Tot Visit ... disconnected from California, disconnected from The Castle, disconnected from my job, disconnected from the website ... and it takes me a couple of days to feel fully plugged-in again.

this time it's just taking a bit longer than normal.

bear with me. i'll be inching my way back into connectedness this week ... one paragraph at a time.

a year ago

speaking of birthdays:
happy birthday to *my* nice mommy!

here's where i'll ask a *relevant* question:
so who found the $10 I hid in the birthday cake?

[i can hear 'em screaming in tictac ...]

amazingly profound thought of the day:
home is where you hang your head. ~ Groucho Marx (1890-1977) US comedian ~