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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Advanced Maneuvers

[This happened last week, but recovering sufficient energy to post took awhile.]

9:30 a.m.

Depart house with ambitious assault agenda and limited ammunition: a bag of yogurt covered raisins, one talking dump truck, one talking bulldozer, and one smallish GladWare® full of baked cheese puffs. (Eric Cartman is never far from my mind when I break these out, but there's no ignoring their power.) First stop: the dentist for my son Tyler's routine checkup and cleaning. Yes, 2.5-year-olds go to the dentist, and it's comical: toothpaste everywhere, floss in hair, utter fascination with "Mr. Thirsty." We emerge a little wetter for the wear but mostly unscathed — and with another little race car for the ammo stores, courtesy of Dr. Jeff.

10:04 a.m.

Arrive Newport Beach police department to present newly obtained auto registration and clear up two fix-it tickets for expired tags. (Quoth the fellow at the smog check station helpfully when I finally visited: "Y'know, at six months, they impound." This was in month eight.) Tyler's first visit (though he seemed disturbingly at home). Treated to an Apocalypse Now moment when the big blue chopper took off from the roof and buzzed our car as we were leaving. Not even Cheesy Poofs can compete with that.

10:36 a.m.

Arrive Newport Beach City Hall with sheaf of passport documentation for Tyler: application, photos (a mug shot we may as well have had taken at our last stop), and a notarized affidavit from Dad. After greeting the Passport Lady, Tyler discovers he can open the push/pull glass door and is off to explore the inner workings of our fair municipality. Retrieval, recovery, repositioning — rejection. Little matter of "proof of citizenship." Homeward bound.

11:09 a.m.

Quick pitstop at the house for Tyler's birth certificate. No need to remove him from his car seat for the fourth time this a.m. Yet. Thank you, yogurt covered raisins.

11:15 a.m.

Tyler seizes iPod control: The Lion Sleeps Tonight; Splish Splash.

11:22 a.m.

Passport Lady again, check papers, write check. Cashier's window, check papers, write more check. Just two more weeks, and as a family we can go just about anywhere but East Timor. Reassuring.

11:52 a.m.

Visit Starbucks near City Hall. Tyler applies his own aesthetic sensibility to the various displays of coffee beans, travel mugs, and beverages. (Consider this: to our children, who have gone there from birth, Starbucks — do you doubt its staying power? — will be even more familiar than it is to us. It's difficult, and a little frightening, to imagine.)

12:13 p.m.

Though sense and reason say it is now time to walk back across the street to the car and go home for lunch, the pull of the grocery store right there is irresistible. We're out of everything, there's no telling when I'll get the chance again, and — only a few Cheesy Poofs made the ultimate sacrifice at the altar of the Passport Lady. One shopping cart corralled (though I keep plunking him in these, Tyler's feet are going to start dragging the ground from that position any day now) and away we go.

12:17 p.m.

There are only two kinds of grocery stores — Those With Balloons, and Those Without. This is the former. In spades. However, a subspecies of the former is: Those With Balloons, And A Florist. Bingo — because these have the little balloons-on-a-stick designed primarily for bouquets but secondarily (certainly) for shopping cart entertainment. Who cares if they say, "Congratulations, Grad!"? Eventually Tyler and I will graduate from this morning (I don't care what the clock says, it's morning until we get home), so it fits. Who knew they made fully pre-prepared taco meat? It's a breathtaking world.

12:39 p.m.

Checkout line: hey, they had their kid.

12:53 p.m.

Caution having been thrown to the wind sixty-two minutes ago, we visit the pizza parlor next door for a couple of slices, the plan being the courtyard fountain will distract Tyler sufficiently that he'll sit in a big-boy chair and have lunch. He's distracted by the fountain — enough to want to swim in it for several hours. Lunch as performance art, me as pizza proffering sheepdog. The eggs, milk, and other perishables in our cart get a thermonuclear dose of Southern California sun.

1:22 p.m.

Eight minutes to nap time, we're outa here.

Advanced Maneuvers
Car seats? We don' need no steenking car seats.

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