October is my favorite month in Maryland. The leaves are starting to turn, fall and crunch. The temperature is neither hot nor cold, pumpkin lattes and spice fatbombs are on the menu at Dunkin Donuts, and no one is in a bad mood yet. Of all the places I have lived, Baltimorons can be the most surly.
Thing 1 and I are staying at the home of Sue B, my old friend and mentor from my income producing years. Poor as a churchmouse, Sue B drove me to work for nearly two years under the guise of “carpooling”. She always did the driving and would not let me contribute $$$ for gas, recognizing the newlyweds’ relative poverty. While I was pregnant with Thing 1, especially, she took me under her wing and mothered me.This time she is generously lending me her house and a car while she journeys to Montreal. How nice is that? In life there are some people whose kindnesses one can never repay – Sue B falls into this category.
We tried finding the house I used to live in, a charming brick row house, and we could remember the street but not the number. This is driving me slightly crazy that I cannot figure out which house I used to live in, let alone remember the street number. We drove by again yesterday where I narrowed it down to two houses; am hoping that my father, The Bear, will look up the address and refresh my memory when he joins us on Friday.
When Thing 1 was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, we discovered that Johns Hopkins was also home to the discovery of the errant gene. Most of my in-laws still lived here and I was relieved I did not have to learn a new city. We still had fabulous friends here in Maryland like Sue B, Catholic Annie, and the Ferdnancy Family. Our annual trips to Baltimore with Thing 1, together as a family and sometimes separately as a parents, reinforced our connection to the colonial state and our friends.
Yesterday Mrs. O’Leary, she of Brazil fame, rode the train down for some power shopping and yakking. Together with Thing 1 we spent several leisurely hours in Target, a true shopping first for the two of us: we have never shopped in the U.S. together! She brought down a photo of her eldest daughter’s Halloween costume, a Graveyard Fairy which looks alarmingly similar to that of a Dominatrix, so we could gently script how to dissuade the clueless preeteen from wearing the outfit and thereby besmirching the stately family name. The costume had been purchased with Mr. O’Leary, together with a snazzy pair of fishnet stockings and gothic black lipstick. The get-up had not been viewed in the flesh pre-purchase and therefore Daddy O’L was unaware, until he saw his daughter fully attired, of the potential ramifications of the costume. Rummaging through the cart at the check out line through the bags of Halloween candy, decorations, and health and beauty supplies, I showed her my Thing 3’s Forest Fairy costume.
“Do they have any costumes for 12 year olds not relating to bondage?” she asked.
“Well, they have a small adult Tavern Girl. Will that do?” I replied.
“If they had Wench, I’d take that,” she said, leaving the problem unresolved and in need of further of study.
We bought essentially the same wardrobes but since we will be wearing them on separate continents we were not concerned.
“I have to say,” Mrs. O’Leary commented as she boarded the train for home, “that this has been my single most successful shopping experience of my life.”
“I thought you said that about shopping with me and KT in Brazil!” I answered.
“That was for furniture. Different high,” she said.
Indeed. Tomorrow my mother, The Radish, joins us for more shopping and the first two rounds of medical appointments. Thing 1 and I are cleaning house and hiding the merchandise. Cataract free, I am afraid she will really see what naughty girls we’ve been. I did give her an early birthday present and took my daughter to Abercrombie & Fitch, thereby sparing her the experience. Our jaunt to the Land of Plenty is off to a good start.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO PHILLY MARE!