It’s been more than two months, and still I haven’t seen the railroad crossing arms near my house move. Not one time. Are they for real? And what happened to the trains?
Yesterday I took a day off from work and took Katie to the doctor. As I pulled out of the driveway, I got in behind two other vehicles. Traffic! Wow! We all proceeded in turn down the road towards town. Our road has a pseudo paving that was made from the recycled asphalt pulled off the Farm to Market Road a half a mile away in the opposite direction. They dumped the pieces on the dirt road and ran over it a few times with the steam roller. It was a cool use of the waste material and a whole lot better than the washboarded caliche that we’d been driving on.
Our three vehicles formed a sort of Conga line down the road. We’d all danced on this floor before. The asphalt peels away in huge chunks no matter how often it’s repaired. Like all dirt roads (even when paved) this one is about a 1 and 2/3 lanes wide. We all followed a snaky path down the street – first driving on the right, then the left, then the middle with a sharp swerve to the left and then back to the right. Three cars in a train, running on a set of winding gravel rails.
That’s not what this post is about, though.
Remember Katie? She went to the doctor. Ear trouble.
She’d had tubes as a kid. This year when she had her compulsory health testing at school, we got one of those “You’re a Bad Parent and Your Kid Has Lice” letters. Only instead of lice, she had significant hearing loss on the right side.
We hadn’t noticed. She might have mentioned it, but if – IF – she did, we’d handled it in the usual way: “Suck it up. It builds character.” Apparently our tried and true parenting approach didn’t work, so this was her third visit to the ear, nose and throat guy. He took one look at her ear and pronounced his prior treatments ineffective. She would have to have a tube. He gave her the steely-eyed once over and said if she were older, he’d insert the tube as an in-office procedure. If she were younger, he’d insist on doing it under general anesthesia in the hospital. But, with her age, he just wasn’t sure.
This is one of those situations where I really wish I had a sign to hold up that says “Not Really A Parent”. I had no idea what to do. Katie was stuck in between us, not sure if she should look scared or put on a brave face. I finally said “Hell, it can’t be any worse than the dentist and you survived that!”
After a swift negotiation we agreed that if she survived having the procedure done in the office, then I would let her decide whether or not she wanted to stay home from school for the rest of the day and I’d take her to the bookstore and buy her a book.
You gotta love a kid that can be bribed with a trip to the bookstore.
(I couldn’t believe it, but she actually chose to go BACK to school! They like her there. And I think they’re much more sympathetic.)