April 19th, 2007

Friday, April 20

Panel 1: Waitwaitwaitwaitwaitwaitwait. A basement in an old house? Is Granthony's house "old"? And I wonder if there's any significance in her texting him instead of calling? I'm married and don't text, so can anyone clue me on where texting would place someone on the relationship spectrum?

Meanwhile, Liz is making ME ask "What the heck is THAT?" The glasses and bun make her head and face look really small. And why is she wearing clown pants?

Panel 2: Why "Ow"? Did she sprain her thumb, like teenage Mike did when he was playing video games? And don't frakking talk to me about your folks' place being crazy.

Panel 3: Yep. And Mike has some childbearing hips. But look at him! He's doing yardwork! Now there's a son to be proud of!

Panel 4: Okay, she looks better in closeup. But this is pretty close to a recycled gag. I say close, because the punchline to the video game strip was "What, no SYMPATHY?!" as Mike showed Elly his reddened, star-emitting thumbs of agony. Still, I don't know how inept you have to be to get injured sending a message of that length.


Meanwhile, back to the Creature for a bit. Someone on another site made a good point (in between accusing April of being a spoiled drama queen, but whatever). According to them, this is the first major decision April has ever had to make, one that's not obvious and that she has to do on her own. Now, this person reads it as, April is hiding from the responsibility and whining about it, because that's what Elly and Liz do. No mention of Mike, of course.

And yes, that is what they do, but they also talk to people about their uncertainties. Elly talks to John, Liz talked to Viv, and now to Elly, and Mike talks to Weed and sometimes Deanna. I rather think April rates the privilege of talking to someone as well. So how about Jim and Iris? They're older, they're not affected by the situation, and you know Jim's not going to turn the convo back on himself!


Since everyone's sharing anecdotes about when their family moved, I'd like to point out that while moving is not always traumatic, traumatic experiences can be had without moving.

My famiy changed states when I was 14, and I was perfectly okay with it, for several reasons. I had just finished middle school, and not all of my classmates were going to the same high school, so there would have been changes anyway. And I was sick of country life, so a bright shiny suburb sounded great to me. And the new house was gorgeous (I'd seen it) while the old house had deteriorated to Saltzman levels of disrepair. And there was a particular group of bullies who were going to the same high school I would have, had I stayed, and I had every reason to believe the harassment would have continued, perhaps escalated. And my dad had already started his new job earlier that year, so if I wanted to see him again, I had to move. (They didn't want to uproot me in the middle of the school year. See how that works?)

I had, in fact, had my room repainted the previous year. But, I wasn't as sad as I might have been about leaving that (and I did get my new room painted the same way), because THAT was the traumatic experience. Since I was six years old, my mom had been promising that we would repaint my room. When I was 13, we finally did. And her histrionics would put Elly to shame. It took all summer to clear out my furniture, find and buy paint, prepare the room, spray it with paint, fill in the gaps left by the sprayer, get the new carpet chosen (it was a hardwood floor, so no big-deal installation; just bring in the carpet and roll it out), make the curtains, and finally get the whole thing pulled together in October. We had started in June.

So we're talking crying fits from her, screaming, cursing, falling asleep in the middle of the day because it's sooooo exhausting to mix paint when you're hung over, blaming me for stuff like knocking over a lamp that had to be on the bare floor because there was no furniture. And the coup de grace: We were putting newspaper over the windows, and I said nervously, "See? If it wasn't for me, you couldn't do this."

"If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have to do this."

Then she caught herself right away and said no, no, you really should paint walls every ten years. Sure. Don't let me interrupt your martyrdom. And when it was finally finished, then she was able to hold it over my head. "What are you sulking about? You got your room just the way you like it, after sulking all summer; what's your excuse now?" Sure, I had been sulking because my room was not beautiful; not because I'd been living in disarray. And because what should have been a weekend job was protracted into...four months!

Yeah, yeah, I know: not everyone has their own room, not everyone can afford to paint, why didn't I do it ALL myself, or just live with peeling paint. But we'd talked about this many times; it was not an unreasonable thing to ask for at that time in our lives (we didn't know we'd be moving); and she'd even specifically promised to paint it FOR me while I was away at church camp for a week, and when I came back and saw that nothing had been done, my reaction was "You disappointed me!" and her reply was, "Do you REALLY expect me to PAINT in this GOD-AWFUL HEAT?!" Well, perhaps not. But in that case, as soon as I picked my kid up at the bus depot, I would have said, "Look, I'm sorry I couldn't paint your room, but it's been so hot. We'll get started on it this weekend." She never mentioned it at all. In fact, I don't think she even remembered she'd promised me; I think the heat was the first excuse she'd thought of.

So my point is, if you can't do something for your kid, DON'T. And don't promise to. Just tell them you can't. And if you do promise, and you can do it, pretend that it makes you happy to see your child happy. You can even pretend that it's a fun mother-daughter project that will generate fond memories. But when you act as if just having the kid in the house is an ordeal, trust me when I say that it will be. And there are a lot of ways you can basically dis your child that have nothing to do with moving.