February 7th marked the start of the Spring Festival in China and the beginning of the Chinese Zodiac. The rat is the first animal in the zodiac. Folklore has it that his position was determined by a race held by the Jade Emperor. Cat and Rat, who were friends, asked Ox to wake them on the morning of the race. Since they were sleepyheads, Ox scooped them up and carried them along on his back (what a friend!). While crossing a river, Cat and Rat woke up. Rat pushed cat into river, jumped off Ox’s back, and ran first across the finish line, finishing first. The wet cat was unhappy with rat and promptly terminated their love fest.
If you have ever wondered where the term “rat race” came from all you have to do is turn on the TV. On CNN we could not help but listen to the two major news stories: the bad weather in China , stranding millions of travelers for CNY, and the Super Tuesday election results. The train station in Guangzhou was a heaving, teeming mass of humanity living out a nightmare. On the other side of the globe, the Democrats, represented by the jackass, and the Republicans, represented by the elephant, neither of which is represented in the Chinese zodiac let me point out, cast their votes for Super Rat.
For the evening of the 6th we had been invited to the fireworks at a swish hotel with Mr. Understanding’s new work colleague:
New Friend: So do you think you guys are going to do that hotel thing and watch the fireworks?
Me: Frankly, I am so tired, I just don’t think it would be a good bang for the buck.
New Friend started giggling.
Me: Really, I am so tired!
Giggle, giggle, giggle.
Me: OH!!! No, I wasn’t talking about that. I just meant that I would probably be so tired I would go to bed before the fireworks started. (Horrified – I don’t know her that well – but giggling now myself).
NF: Um, I was just talking about the fireworks … you know, bang, firecrackers going off?
Somehow I think I know her a lot better after that exchange.
Last night we played charades with the neighbors and their children. Mrs. Half Nelson (Who Lives in a House With a Pool) insisted on playing for stakes. In the Boys v. Girls, round, Thing 2 excelled by acting out the movie “When Harry Met Sally” in record time by imitating an ape, pointing to chest and underarm hair, then shaking a hand, as in “When Hairy Met Sally”, something he knows about from one set of his grandparents. The girls still won, however. I won in every category – Parents v. Kids, Girls v. Boys, and Understandings v. Half Nelsons. – so I am entitled to coffee in bed, a lengthy massage, and dinner at the clubhouse (no dessert as per the stipulation). Tra la la la la!
Today Mr. Understanding helped me put away my handbag and shoe collection. Total mortification. For fellow shoppers trying to wean themselves of the shoe/handbag habit, I suggest having your husband clear out your closet with you.
In closing, I would like to welcome back MCV, the blogmistress. Where would I be without her?