Sunday, February 17, 2008

Valentine's Day 2008

I took a personal day this February 14, not for added romance, but to take care of a sick kid. And for the first time ever, it wasn't my own sick kid I was taking care of. It was my soon-to-be stepdaughter Scout who was ill. She accepts me well enough, but I'm not quite a surrogate parent for her; mom and dad are still her favorite people. She had been sick and a little listless over the previous few days, and Liberty had skipped school one day, and taken off work the next to be with her. Thursday Liberty had a test she couldn't skip, so I made arrangements with my boss to take a day off and play caregiver.

We watched a little TV, and made a snack run, and then a flowers run. Both places we went the clerks engaged little Scout with smiles and comments on her frog boots, where she shyly ignored them and buried her head in my shoulder. When Liberty came home, I had the flower arrangement on the kitchen table, with the three boxes of chocolates, one for each of my girls, and Scout was asleep on my lap, nestled into my arm, as I played on the computer.

I couldn't have deliberately planned a more cute way for her to find us, and I didn't plan this one. She didn't want me to put her to bed for a nap, which I assume has something to do with her often waking up to me already being gone to work, and maybe was afraid she'd be abandoned if she let me out of her site. She got clingy as she got tired, and as a father who misses being with his own daughter at three, I went with it, and she fell asleep still grabbing onto me. I was sad that she wasn't feeling well, and that I couldn't communicate to her that I would still be near when she woke up, but still, it was nice.

So the other girls, they both hated the chocolates, and liked the flowers. For Stacey I got some storebought candy more for the pretty box than the contents, and the chocolates themselves ended up being cheap fare. For Liberty I had some Hoffman's chocolates delivered, which seemed nice when they got here, but they were described as "odd". Harrumph. Next year it's old reliable: Godiva.

Last was my grandmother. She is 86 now, and has always had a thing about getting cards, counting them and comparing how many she got with her other sisters on all the standard card-giving occasions. This year I forgot to get cards in the mail on time for me and Stacey, so I instead had some flowers delivered to her on the 13th. They were pansies in a nice porcelain basket vase. My grandmother has always liked pansies, so the personal touch was more important to her than how much money roses would have cost. A followup call confirmed that the flowers went over pretty well.

So what's going on in life? Stacey just received an "Excellent" award for her Science Fair project of Coke and Mentos, testing the hypothesis of whether different flavors of Mentos make Coke erupt to different heights. She had a good time and spent a moderate amount of effort on the project, ending up on par or better than her peers, including the 7th and 8th grader's projects. Next year she is eligible to go on to district competition, so I hope to be a part of her project then. (This year I only bought the raw materials, and her mom organized time and space to do the experimenting.) (Yes, the flavor of Mentos makes a difference.)

What else... I've been in touch with my father, my sister Angela, and her mom Rosemary, to both catch up and reconnect, and to announce my engagement to see if they'll be able to come up for the wedding. Rosemary keeps sending email forwards with pictures of random cute or cool things, which lets me take up some of gmail's huge storage space, so it doesn't just go to waste. You know, if you have a pail, you might as well fill it with something. My Great-Aunt Maxine is having a surprise 80th birthday party thrown for her in early March (shh!) that I'll try to get down to.

Oh, and I'm going in for surgery March 25th, and can finally find out if I'm allergic to anesthesia.