May 11, 2001
All The Buttons


Cathlene The New Receptionist Person called me to the front desk in the middle of the morning yesterday.

"There's something I need you to take a look at," she said vaguely. "Can you come up front for a minute?"


Being called to the front desk is almost never a good thing these days. Usually it means 1.) Dyspeptic UPS Guy is here and he's asking for moi, 2.) I'm gonna be spending my lunch hour playing fill-in receptionist, or 3.) somebody has ordered 15,000 new fax toner cartridges, all of which need to be installed IMMEDIATELY ... and I'm the only one in the office wearing the official *Fax-Toner-Changing Uniform* (white sweater, dry-clean-only white slacks, fresh manicure).

But it was actually happy news waiting for me this time.

"Surprise!" Cathlene said, beaming. "Somebody must really love you!" And she pointed to a huge, balloon-festooned bouquet of flowers, perched on the end of the reception counter.

Flowers from Jaymi/Jamie!

"Happy Mother's Day!!" reads her card. "I hope you have a great Mother's Day! Enjoy your 'flowers.' I love you very much.
Love, Puss."

Color me totally flabblegustered.

Daughter #1 had somehow managed to push ALL of the most important buttons in one fell swoop: the element of surprise ... the luxury of flowers, delivered to my office ... voluntary use of my special nickname for her ... inclusion of winky-winky family *in-joke* (the word "flowers" in quotation marks) ... even the miniature picture frame attached to the vase. Plus her timing was exquisite. Not just because Mother's Day is right around the corner, and now I don't have to worry about whether or not they'll remember (or whether or not I'll "remember" to pay their AOL bill this month) ... or because I've been feeling sort of beaten-up by life this week and having somebody make a little bit of a fuss over me doesn't exactly suck (because it doesn't: in fact, the older my children get, the groovier my Mother's Day presents seem to get) ...

... but mainly because I have been desperately in need of a dose of *Tot Connection* the past few days. Sometimes this noncustodial mom stuff is tougher than it looks.

"Are you OK?" Cathlene asked. 

I know she was waiting for me to offer up some commentary. Look! These flowers are from my oldest daughter, Jaymi/Jamie!  (It says "Jamie" on her birth certificate, OK? If I'm just patient and don't make a fuss and go along with it, someday she'll go back to the *real* spelling!) Aren't they beautiful? Isn't she the best?!? She's almost twenty, btw! She lives in TicTac! She and her ex-fiance are thinking about getting back together!  (If they can get the restraining order lifted, that is!)  She and her sister are going to be my co-maids-of-honor at my wedding in July! When she was a baby, she used to call tomatoes 'oodle-doodles'! How cute is THAT?? Plus she's got an adorable little mole on the instep of her left foot! 

But I really didn't feel much like talking at that particular moment.

So instead I simply nodded, and I smiled at her through tears (damn! I've GOT to get that waterproof mascara!!), and I said "Yeah. I'm fine. Thanks." And I picked up my flowers and brought them back to my office and I closed my door for a little while.

Have a great weekend, everybody ... and don't forget to call your mom. (And if you don't have a mom to call, call somebody else's mom and 'borrow' her for a few minutes. *Good Karma Points* are transferable.)

p.s. *i'm a big doofus* part one: happy ever-so-slightly-belated birthday to one of the finest human beings on the planet -- no! wait! to one of the finest human beings in the UNIVERSE! -- the incredibly beautiful, wonderful, incomparable fifiotoole. [*i* wanted to send you flowers on your actual BIRTHDAY, feef ... but bottlenekk said that HE would take care of it.]

p.p.s. *i'm a big doofus* part two: uhhh ... who wanted invitations again? in my haste to transfer from the not-so-groovy ISP address to the groovy-domain-name address, i have somehow managed to misplace my list. drop me a line if you'd like to be included.

p.p.p.s. coming next week: the great *waterproof mascara experiment*!! internet journaling will never be the same! [yawn.]

p.p.p.p.s. special note to daughter #2 and son #only: no ... you're NOT off the hook, as a matter of fact.

one year ago: extending the sentence?
[the more things change ... ]

throw a rock