Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Just one more thing about Gibson........

I know I've posted a lot about Gibson lately, with that whole solo-bike riding thing and all, but I have one more thing I want to share. He's into photography. I don't know if it has anything to do with the fact that the poor kid has had a camera shoved up his nose since the day he was born, or if it's just coincidence that he likes it as much as I do. Whatever the case, I just got a few pictures back of some shots that he took with my camera -- which happens to be film, not digital, so when I let him take the shots I wasn't sure what we'd get. I was impressed with the results and thought maybe you would be too.

He took this one:

And this one:

And this one: (Of course you have to make considerations for the subject here......)

At 5 years of age, he can get everybody centered and in focus, which is more than I can say for my grandma, who has been systematically cutting off every body's heads for 82 years now. (And don't worry that my grandma will be offended by this. She knows..... She once took a picture of my cousin running at a track meet and the only part of Jill actually in the picture is her left foot. The rest of her has run off the right side. How do you even know that it's Jill? Because my grandma says so. It's hilarious. Truly, it is.)

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pictures. Courtesy of my budding little photographer.......

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

In a split second

Gibson outgrew me the other day. And it only took a split second. In less time than it actually took me to write these words, everything changed. Even if he didn't realize the shift in the universe, I did. I felt it, and it was huge. You see, The G-man announced on his 5th birthday (which happened in July, in case you are wondering) that now, since he was a big boy, he was going to ride his bike without training wheels. And while it's fair to say that the kid is determined, he's also incredibly cautious, so after much careful consideration he decided the best way to learn would be in the grass.

So there we were, in July and August mind you, running back and forth and back and forth in the yard -- him pedaling the best he could over the uneven terrain, and me holding him steady. And that's how it went day after day after day, until one day when he eventually made it out to the sidewalk. OK, actually I think I may have insisted on it, but I couldn't take running in circles in the back yard in 115 degree heat for another second. I figured that if I could at least get him on the sidewalk he might be able to pick up some momentum and start to get a better feel for it. I don't know if any of you have ever spent any amount of time lumbering along behind a small bike like the hunchback of Notre Dame, but I was desperate for the kid to start to feel the balance. If he didn't start to get it soon, I knew I was going to have to make appointments with a chiropractor for the next year. And as happy as I was to help Gibson master the art of riding a two-wheeler, my patience was starting to grow thin. I think blazing sunshine and intense heat do that to a person. As the months wore on, each time we would take off down the sidewalk I would think to myself "Please....Please......get it this time....... I don't know how many sweat filled trips up and down the sidewalk I have left in me!"

Then one day we ended up in the street -- him pedaling a little bit faster and me not holding on quite so tightly. He was getting better at holding his own, but he still needed me. "Don't let go mom!" he would tell me nervously as he wobbled and peddled. "Don't worry, I won't." I would say reassuringly, as I ran along beside him. I didn't need to hold his seat anymore, even though he wanted me to. Instead I'd touch my fingers to his back so he would know I was there. And that's really what he needed -- just to know that I was there. This was our routine, and we kept it up for a couple of months.

As fall started to creep in, and the weather got more reasonable and the leaves began to change, we got new neighbors. One of them happened to be a sweet 6 year old named Alex, and Gibson could not have been more excited. They played together non-stop, and became instant friends in the way that only kids can. Then one day Alex showed up at our front door with his bike. "Hey Gibson! Do ya wanna ride bikes with me?" Gibson was so excited he couldn't stand it. "Yes!" he exclaimed, "Just let me go get my mom. She helps me." He came rushing into the house with his bike helmet already attached securely to his head. "Mom!” he said, excitedly, “Alex wants me to ride bikes with him and I told him that I needed you, so can you come out and help me?!" "Of course!" I replied. I hung up my dish towel (I'd been cleaning up kitchen) and headed for the door, being especially grateful that it was only 65 degrees outside. I got Gibson situated on his bike and the 3 of us headed off down the street. The happiness was radiating out of Gibson. He couldn't believe that he was actually riding his bike with his friend. And that's when it happened -- that specific moment when, with 4 strokes of his pedals, he outgrew me. And at that point, in that split second, I would have given anything in the world to have one more sweaty, heat-filled, hunch-backed-lumbering day with a shaky little boy on his bicycle. Yet, at the same time my heart was huge; swollen with pride for my little guy. How is it that moments like this can be so bittersweet? So full of conflicting emotions? I stood there soaking that moment up. I wanted to burn it into my memory so that I’d never forget how it went: There we all were, on the street, picking up speed, Alex laughing, Gibson beaming, me running beside him with my fingers reassuringly on his back. Alex started to go faster and faster, and Gibson was keeping up, but I could only run so fast. He gave me a quick glance over his shoulder. "It's OK mom." he said. "You can let go."
And so I did.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The rest of the story

OK. I waited a week - - 6 days to be precise - - and the only opinions I got were from Janice and my mom. (My 2 most loyal readers.) So, either no one is frequenting the blog lately, or they didn't follow my very strict directions. Tsk, tsk....... In either case, I'll go ahead and fill you in on the drama that went down in the grocery store check-out line last week.

As I think most of you know by now, since I've written about it frequently enough, my true test of the kind of Saturday I'm going to have lies in what time I make it to the grocery store. If I can be there before 9:00am, I know it's going to be a good day. And it just so happened that on this particular Saturday I was pushing my cart through the isles by 8:00. Things were already off to a great start because I didn't have to drag the kids along, and as I made my way leisurely up and down each isle, I found - in stock and in place - each and every item that was on my list. Seriously.....How could my morning get any better? I was practically whistling 'Zippety-Do-Da' as I pushed my cart into the check-out line.

I was standing behind a gentleman who had 2 carts. I patiently waited, basking in the warm glow of a perfect morning, as he was unloading his first cart onto the belt. As the groceries belonging to this gentleman were being scanned and he was moving forward, I came to the realization that he actually only had one cart (Cart A, according to the scenario from the Question Of The Day.) and that the cart in front of me (Cart B) belonged to another person -- who just happened to be M.I.A. (So as you may or may not have guessed by now, I was Cart C.) I looked around for Cart B's person. There was no one in sight. By now, the groceries from Cart A were almost entirely through the scanning process and the belt was almost empty. I waited, looking around a little more. It was time for the next person to put their groceries up and still, there was no one in sight who looked like he or she belonged to the lone cart in front of me. "Well, I guess I'll just go." I thought to myself, scanning the store one more time. "Who knows where this person went or how long it will take them to get back....." So, I went around Cart B and unloaded all my groceries up onto the belt. I was almost finished when the guy from Cart B returned. And folks, this is what prompted my oh-so-important Question Of The Day posting. Because this is the point when things started to get ugly.

The gentleman in front of me was paying for his groceries, and I was leaning over fishing the last couple of items out of my cart when I heard an angry voice behind me. "Did this full cart sitting here not mean anything to you?!" Do you ever have those moments when you have trouble comprehending what's happening to you because it's so far off base from what you'd consider to be "normal"? This was one of those times. I turned around to look behind me, totally bewildered. Was he talking to me? "Wha.....?" I half stammered. "You........ You weren't here........." I'm sure I looked completely confused. I was. Was this guy serious? He repeated himself. "I said, did this full cart sitting here not mean anything to you?! You thought you could just go on and go ahead of me?!" And as I was staring at him with a confused look, head cocked sideways, blinking enough times to try to make his words, combined with his anger, make sense in my head, it all started to sink in. He was mad. Mad because I went in front of him while he was gone. It took a minute, but I began to gather my wits.

"You weren't here." I pointed out again.

"So you just didn't see the full cart that might indicate to you that someone was coming back?!" he shot back at me.

"No. I saw it." I replied. "But you weren't here. Someone had to go next." Up until this point I had had the perfect morning. I wasn't going to let this guy ruin it.

"It wasn't your place to go next!" he said angrily to me. "I was coming right back. I left my cart here!"

"You know, " I said to him, in as nice a way as I could humanly muster, "when I have to leave my cart in the check-out line, I just pull it over to the side so that other people can go around me if they need to." I was hoping that maybe, somehow, for some reason, that suggestion would help make him more reasonable. That perhaps the mere suggestion that someone may have had a different point of view of what proper check-out-line etiquette was could possibly help him get his undies out of the extremely tight wad that they were obviously in.

He angrily shot something back about how he was back in time to go next and how I'd cut him off, etc, etc.....

And since I was determined to hold onto the one shred of my perfect morning that I still had left, I took a step back and extended my arm in a sweeping motion, palm-side up, toward the cashier. The cashier was watching all of this go down. The first guy was long gone and she was waiting for me.

"Look," I said, "If you want to go ahead of me, by all means, please do."

He shot me a look that you wouldn't believe and said, "If you take all of your stuff off the belt then I will!" He was nasty about it. And then he added "Otherwise you're just WASTING MY TIME!"

I'm not sure what it was about that last statement -- about me wasting his time -- that finally did it. Maybe I couldn't believe that he thought his time was so much more valuable than mine that I should be expected to wait for him indefinitely, but that he should not ever be expected to be inconvenienced for 2 minutes. Maybe it was the irony that someone who had the time to spare arguing about who was next in line could be so concerned about who was, in actuality, wasting it. Maybe it was just that he'd finally managed to completely strip me of every ounce of warm glow and good will that I'd had up until that moment. Whatever it was, I think the SNAP that happened inside me was audible to anyone within a 10 foot radius.

"Sir.... She'll be through in 2 seconds...." the cashier was saying. I, in the meantime was standing completely still giving him an icy stare. "Sir...." she said again, "Really. It'll just take a minute...... Here, let me just scan this...." She picked up a roll of paper towels and started pulling it toward the scanner. It was almost happening in slow motion.

"Ohnonononononono NO!" I yelled, as I lunged my entire body across the belt and grabbed the paper towels. I didn't yank them away from her, but I held onto them so that she couldn't move them. "Didn't you hear him?" I said in the loudest, most patronizing voice I could muster. "I'm wasting HIS time!!!" She released her grip on the paper towels. "I mean, the very last thing I would ever want to do is waste HIS time! God Forbid that I should go ahead of him! His cart was holding his place in line!! What in the world could I have possibly been thinking?! There was no one actually AT his cart, but clearly I was mistaken!!!!" I was practically shouting now as I made a huge scene out of putting all my groceries back into my cart. Part of me, the infuriated part of me, couldn't believe that I was actually going to let this prick go ahead of me. But the other part, the part that had been enjoying my perfect morning, just wanted to salvage a little bit of the leisurely morning I'd had before he showed up. I just wanted to scan and bag my groceries in peace, without some gigantic a-hole huffing and puffing and breathing down my neck.

I threw the last of my items into my cart and spun to face him. I took a very deep bow and said, as patronizingly as I could, "Please, please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you today..... Is there any other way that I can assist you with your time efficiency this morning?"

"Nope. This'll do it." he said, and started unloading his cart.

He took his own sweet time too. I was so furious I was shaking. And because in 34 years I can't even begin to remember a time when I haven't absolutely had to have the last word in a confrontation, I shouted at him as he was walking away "You make sure to have a fantastic day now! I hope you make fabulous use of your EXTRA 2 MINUTES!!!!!!!!!!!!"

He said something to me over his shoulder, but I didn't hear it. I looked at the cashier, who I'm sure doesn't get to see a scene like that go down in her check-out-line every day, and said "Geeze...... What a jackass." And if I had any worries that maybe she thought I was a little bit crazy, they quickly evaporated when she replied, "You're tellin' me, honey! I saw the whole thing."

So in the end, I did actually finish my grocery shopping by 9:00 in the morning. And I did, in fact manage to recapture my 'Zippety-Do-Da' feeling a couple of hours later. After all the adrenaline had left my body. After I was back at home. After all the groceries were put away. It happened as I was taking the most fabulous, leisurely, morning walk with my family. The sunlight was warm and bright, the sky was a beautiful Carolina blue, and we all strolled, hand in hand through the neighborhood so we could play in the park. It was perfect. And time wasn't a factor at all.........

I'm Rachel Kafsky, and you've just heard The Rest Of The Story.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Question of the day

Warning: If you continue reading this posting, you are required to leave your opinion in the "comments" section.

Seriously. I mean it. I need your opinion. Even if 9 times out of 10, you just lurk in the periphery, you must leave a comment today. "Why?" you may ask. Well, I'm taking a poll about something very, very serious. Something that affects all of us on a daily basis. Global Warming? No. The AIDS epidemic? No. Ethnic Cleansing? No. I'm talking about Grocery Store Etiquette. More specifically, Grocery Store Check-Out-Line Etiquette.

Here's the scenario:
  • There are 3 carts in the check-out-line.
  • The person accompanying Cart A has his/her groceries up on the belt and is in the process of checking out.
  • The person accompanying Cart B has left the line, however his/her full cart remains in line.
  • The person accompanying Cart C is waiting behind Cart B.
  • Now, the person accompanying Cart A is finishing his/her transaction, and it is time for the next person to start loading his/her groceries onto the belt.
  • The person accompanying Cart B has not yet returned.
So, my survey question is this: What is proper etiquette for the person accompanying Cart C? Does he/she wait for Cart B's person to return, or does Cart C's person skip over Cart B and go next?

Lay it on the line for me folks....... I have to know.