From email@example.com Wed Jul 08 19:53:59 1998
Subject: Manse Diaries: Bombing the Ant Hospital
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MegaLiz)
Date: Thu, 09 Jul 1998 02:53:59 GMT
Now I KNOW I've been ruptured and I'm still bursting. I could explain
it, I bet. On the other hand, I think there's a beauty to the
unexplained and contradictory conflagrations and the agonizing over
decisively defining moot points, which makes waves of pervasive pain
inch and glide their receptors toward pleasure JUST ENOUGH that I
might want to repeat the experience indefinitely. I think you know
what I'm talking about. Ha.
So we're home, and home is not the same. That's not in itself a
change, because home is always different, just a bit. So there's a
sameness to the differentness, but it's a slightly broader difference
having missed a couple of days in the incremental motions of people
Bobo didn't recognize me after a weekend away, Spunky keeps kissing my
hands, and Sparky is taller and bossier. Upon our arrival, Gramma flew
from the house like a bat out of a bad deal. The homenest was eerie:
tidy but with everything slightly out of place. Gramma left copious
notes including, "5. That is NOT the same pizza; and 8. I never found
The girl people are up to the same, slightly improved and different
tricks, and it has been refreshing to get reacquainted with the
squeals and chaos that are followed by announcements like, "Everybody!
Come and see! I made a SCORPION-SHAPED POOP!" There has been a little
readjustment to all the unexplained thumping noises and Spunky's
insistence that time STOP while she polish the final touches on her
Feel Better Thing.
The Feel Better Thing is an ongoing project that commands her to
stretch a stream of toilet paper across the bathroom and tie it
securely to the first doorknob she believes deserves the honor. We've
all agreed that if it doesn't make everyone Feel Better, it certainly
So, even though they are a little different, and mostly glad to learn
that we really meant it when we said we'd come home again, their
patience with each other is a little strained. The fights and
GIMMETHATs have inched toward the danger zone and separation was
crucial to the clan survival today. So we split up, and we all lived.
Later in the afternoon, I decided that the BEST thing would be a
forced march around the neighborhood, rain or no rain. They didn't
want to abandon their Ant Swimming Lessons at first, so I had to have
THAT explained to me for a couple of whiles. The ants were taught to
swim by being caught and delicately dropped into tiny puddles, until
they either swam to an Ant Island or were judged ready for the Ant
Hospital. When they recovered from the Ant Hospital, IF they did, they
went right back to their swimming lessons.
Eventually, the project was abandoned long enough for our walk. We had
a disagreement right away about which route to the playground was the
most reasonable. I wanted the long way and they wanted the short way.
With alarming ease, I convinced them that the best resolution was to
take the long way first and then take the short way. They still
haven't figured out that they were robbed of footwear mileage in this
Sparky and Spunky had to use a lot of imagination at the playground.
The swings were swamped, the slide is now cracked and the spinny thing
squeals so horribly that I couldn't stand to push them without
covering my ears and I couldn't do both simultaneously.
I orbited while they played a kind of chicken on the jungle gym. On
one pass I asked Sparky if I could rename her "Legs." She said no. I
went around again and Spunky claimed to be stuck. I told her to take
her time and think it over before she said that, so she did and
discovered that she COULDN'T get stuck no matter how hard she tried.
Even though it was aggravating to find the playground at a new low for
disrepair, I was a little pleased to find only one piece of trash. And
what a FINE SPECIMEN it is! I have it right here and had to SQUEAL
with indignation when Jack tried to wrest it from my grip.
It's a foil packet, marked "Perfume Bomb" on the front, with a rose, a
bee and a hovering butterfly in the illustration. On the back it
instructs the following:
How to play:
1. Do not tear this package.
2. Find the object.
Break the small water-bag
inside the package which will
be full of air and drop the bag
beside the object immediately.
3. When the bag pop and the
fragrance will full the air.
4. Eating prohibited.
The series of illustrations shows a pair of hands strangling the
packet, the packet forming a clam shape, and then the packet exploding
blue shards of cartoon scent.
It was worth the muddy shoes and the Ant Hospital causalities to
discover such a bomb. Oh yes. This is my Feel Better Thing.
Thelma distrusted someone shamefully white