The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Good, The Bad and The Hideously Ugly...

A busy weekend, for not much going on, but I had wanted to post something (and never got around to it) kind of touching on a good thing and a bad thing from the weekend. And then, last night, before I got to work on it at all, something even worse happened. Hence, the ugly.

Choosing one "good thing" from the weekend would be hard. The Bucs won their game on Sunday afternoon. A nailbiter with an impossible comeback field goal in the last 4 seconds of the game.

And then Highlander and I were both surprised with how much we liked LUCKY # SLEVIN, which we'd rented from the video store on Saturday. Kind of twisty in the plot department (almost always a good thing) and the acting was something else.

Of course, there's also some [explicit sex scene] that was pretty good, but that just isn't for public consumption.

The "good thing" from the weekend that I wanted to touch on was a Fall Festival at Kid 3's school on Friday night. The kids were encouraged to dress up and so we did a little late afternoon pumpkin carving and grabbed an early supper, and then we all headed over to school to see what we could see.

I'm not sure about you guys, but Fall Festivals seem to be a pretty universal way that the PTA earns money around these parts. Standard fare at these events is a Haunted House, bake sales, and various games of chance. So, I dropped about $10 for tickets and all five of us had an enjoyable time. Kid #3 made herself a witch's hand , and jumped (for the four minute max) in an inflatable bouncy they had out back. Highlander and I had a good time watching her, though it did make Highlander nostalgic for a little of that himself.

A photo booth netted us the Polaroid on the left of Kid #3 in all her ninja regalia. (Now, officially, she's going to be a mummy for Halloween this year, but I didn't have the time...or the make her into one before the Fall Festival, so she took advantage of an outfit she already had for the evening.)

Afterwards, we were off to the Cake Walk. Now, without sounding like "food is everything", the Cake Walk is the breakpoint for me at these things. I don't mind plunking down $10 at these things. (In fact, I've been known to plunk down $30-$40 if I'm feeding the fam there, too.) The money goes back into the school and my kids get to take advantage of that, so it's a good thing.


If someone in my party can win a cake at the Cake Walk, it's been a good night for me. Not that I'll eat much of it. Maybe it's just saving a little something in my own budget.

For the uninitiated, the way it works is that there are roughly twenty spaces marked in a circle on the floor. One body per space and the "carnie" starts up the music. A' la "Musical Chairs", everyone begins walking around the circle, and when the music stops, you stop walking and are left to take your chances with the space you land on. Someone draws a number, and the winner is the person standing on the lucky space.

This was Highlander's first ever Cake Walk experience (and he claims he's worldly...HA!) and while he was a little hesitant, it wasn't like I could take "uh uh" for an answer. See, with five of us, our odds of winning a cake are increased rather dramatically when EVERYONE participates in the same round. So, you see, I can't win, if we don't all play (and that includes Highlander).

First round up and Highlander's number is called. Yeah, Baby. That's what I'm talking about! But wait, before we get outta there, Kid #1 and Kid #2 are bringing home the, cake..., too!! So, for my $10 investment, we got a chocolate cake with white icing, some pumpkin cupcakes and a tub of cotton candy (don't ask me how this qualifies as cake, I have no idea). Of course, I was feeling WAY ahead of the curve here!

Bottom line, it was a fun time with the kids.

As for the bad, well, even though we really enjoyed one of the movies we rented, the other one was a new low in lows...

AFTER SUNDOWN was something I let Highlander talk me into. (See how I put it all on him? Crafty, huh?) How bad was it? Abyssmal may come close.

How did I hate it, let me count the ways. It had terrible acting. It had non-existent directing. The make-up guy should be shot, preferably in a double fatality shoot-out with the sound technician. (But, I implore you, PLEASE have ANYONE else film it!) I'm still scratching my head and trying to figure out how someone's Freshman Film Director's 101 mid-term got released! Sadly, it was nowhere NEAR one of those "it's so bad it's entertaining" kind of things, either.

To sum up, P.U.

Which brings us to the "hideously ugly" portion of our show. Highlander and I were playing a little Magic last night and preparing to eat a little dinner, when the phone rang. I answered it, and could not understand a word my youngest daughter was saying on the other end of the line. She was, in a word, hysterical. I could tell they were on a cellphone, but had no idea where they were. Finally, she handed the phone to her father (in whose care she has been since noon on Saturday) and he proceeded to tell me she'd been bitten by a dog.

And my heart sank.

And I tensed up.

And I could hardly find words through my fright and my anger and my worry.

You see, my nearly seven year old has been bitten by a dog in the past. She was only two, but she remembers it. And she's been working through a pretty significant fear of dogs since. Consequently, I'm pretty attuned to how she tenses up and tries to be brave when a dog comes around. She clearly wants to move beyond her fear and, as far as I'm concerned, that's a phenomenal thing for someone her age. But you can watch her and see that it's forced and that she's nervous.

Because of this, I always allow her some room to try to work it out herself while maintaining vigilance to make sure she is not in any danger. If she's brave enough to pet a dog, we pet it together. I'm gonna be right there if that dog makes a move. However "safe" a dog it may be. I DEFINITELY don't leave her alone with a dog, because dogs are animals and no matter how well-trained or "normally well-behaved" they are, they are still animals and there is only so much we can do there. I don't want her to be harmed, but I don't want her to lose the ground she's made conquering her fear over the last FIVE YEARS.

It's not been a little "thing". It's been a life-altering experience for her. For all of us.

So, when I heard "dog bite", the blood left my face. All the progress she's made, gone. Another hit on that same trauma button, and the realization that it may now NEVER leave her. My ex proceeded to follow up "she's been bitten", with "it was an older dog", like that somehow minimized the situation. Then came "there was no puncture", but my eldest daughter said they'd put Neosporin on it. Why, if there was no puncture? Getting information was like pulling teeth. Of course, that's become the way of things between us at this point. And there doesn't seem to be any end in sight there, either.

I realize this was an accident (which seem to be happening with far greater frequency and intensity when they're at their dad's lately), but what I can't understand was why she was alone with the dog in the first place. Why her father wasn't there helping her deal with her issue...making her feel safe. They were at a birthday party for his current girlfriend's daughter. The party was being held at the child's grandparents' house and it was their family pet.

I'm planning to see Kid #3 tonight. To hold her and talk to her and check her arm. Hopefully, it will make us both feel better.


Blogger Esereth said...

I think I've been reading your blog for about twenty minutes.

Thanks for letting me wander around your head.

I want to go to a fall festival.

And I hope your daughter felt better when she saw mom.

10/23/2006 2:49 PM  
Blogger MJ Norton said...

Haven't seen Lucky Number Slevin, but it was one I had in mind to look for once it hit one of our cable channels.

After Sundown was a new one for me. Having since looked it up on imdb (they have a different poster for it) I can understand what the conceptual appeal of it was. I mean, a cowboy vampire out of the old West with the ability to create zombie slaves -- it sounds like a fun time, and sometimes there are wonderful sleeper hits out there that failed only because the genre was too narrow, a lack of marketing money and/or a lack of "name" actors, so I won't fault H for making the attempt.

However, looking at the stills they posted on imdb, yeah, I get a sense of the virtually nonexistent production values and the snakebelly low level of acting.

Yeah, dogs - even well-behaved ones - can be tricky, certainly around strangers but especially around small strangers. Our dog Brody, gone at least 6 years now, was a fun, pleasant, well-behaved dog, but he made a vicious snap at one of my young nieces once.

It's important to remember that they're pack animals, and while a well-socialized dog will accept their place readily with respect to us big dogs, there's eons of instinct going into the drive to put small things in their place in the pack. People forget that too often, your ex among them, thinking that any dog is truly safe around young children it's not well acquainted with.

I hope your youngest is doing well. Letting her know why otherwise nice dogs do things like that is important so she'll understand that it's neither something personal, nor an indication that the dog is innately vicious, nor something she should expect to be a problem through most of her life.

Letting her know that, on some level, little strangers are more threatening to dogs than grown-ups are is a tricky lesson to convey, but it's an important one.

Saying that Neosporin on unbroken skin reminds me of taking antibiotics for a viral infection comes to mind, but that would be mean. ;) In either event, if it makes the recipient feel better then it can be seen to have done a good thing.

10/24/2006 10:21 AM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

Esereth -

Thanks for stopping by and squishing around in the gray matter. Hope you stop back by.

My daughter's current frame of mind seems to be pretty good. She's bouncing back very nicely and thanks for your concern.

Mike -

LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN is definitely worth the rental price. In fact, since ours isn't due back until tomorrow night, you should stop by and watch it at our place...;)

AFTER SUNDOWN, however...::shiver:: I intentionally didn't post the link to imbd, though, in all fairness to my readers, I probably should have. And, yeah, I (foolishly) gave H the benefit of the doubt on this movie choice, too. But, see, the way this works NOW, is that next time we go to the rental store, I've got a little ammunition. It'll be like:

H: Let's rent [insert really uninteresting 'guy' movie here]!!

SF: Um...I think not. You remember that whole AFTER SUNDOWN fiasco? Yeah. We're TOTALLY renting LAKE HOUSE this time. Oooh, and maybe TERMS OF ENDEARMENT, too...

Dog stuff. After an exhausting day yesterday spent trying to get information necessary to file the LEGALLY REQUIRED reports and AVOID UNNECESSARY RABIES SHOTS for my child (and my ex should REALLY talk to his attorney about how this stuff will not play well in court when you are trying to convince the judge you are acting in your CHILD'S best interest), the doctor advised that there were INDEED puncture wounds. Of course, there were also TWO bites. So, gee, all of a sudden, the neosporin makes more sense.

As always, thanks for your concern for my kiddos. As indicated via email, I have talked to her about dogs' behavior (in an effort to minimize further trauma) and can only assume my ex has.

10/25/2006 8:03 AM  
Blogger MJ Norton said...

Oh, God, not THE LAKE HOUSE.

Having spoken in some detail (part of lunch conversation) with someone who sat through it as one of those compromise rentals my impression is that for maximum viewing pleasure H is advised to remove both testicles and one lobe of his braind prior to running the disc.

Make the best (as I'm sure you will) of all the doggy to-do.

10/25/2006 8:54 AM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

Hey, Mike. Being with me is no easy gig. Just ask any stranger on the street.

Save Your Friend!! Do it before it's too late!!!!!

10/25/2006 9:58 AM  
Blogger AaA said...

I would just like to point out that you only get to veto ONE movie based on After Sundown.

This rule of 'single-use only of mistakes against the errer' is universal, and applies to all aspects of life. You get to use a mistake against someone ONCE.

So if it's a big mistake, use it for something BIG. Because you only get to use it ONCE.

For example: Say H backs over your mom accidentally with a car. Three months later, you are caught cheating at Magic, and when H calls you on it, you say: "Oh yeah, well you backed over my mom with the car!"

That's it. It's used up. You wasted a bunch of it, and it spilt all over the ground and drained away. You never get to use it again. See, these guilt bubbles come in various sizes, but once they're opened, that's it. Much like trying to uninvent nuclear weaponry, you can't put the leftover guilt back in the bubble.

I felt the need to advise you of this on behalf of all men everywhere, as all women everywhere need to learn this.

10/25/2006 8:44 PM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

Heh. Nate, you're so funny...

Of course that's not the way it works, but thanks for the chuckle...;)

And, hey, I'M not the one who cheats at Magic.

10/26/2006 11:25 AM  
Blogger Highlander said...

She is so. ::darkly::

Cheats cheats CHEATS.

ALL her decks have blue in them.

10/26/2006 6:51 PM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

Ooooh, BABY!! You know I get all heated up when you snivel like that.

10/26/2006 7:51 PM  

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