The neighbor girls have been coming to swim in the hot afternoons. Four years ago, when this snapshot was taken, they had just finished dressing up Amy in a little girls' fantasy about lion princesses. The older ones are teenagers now, but they still spin fantasies for my daughter. They are mermaids this week.
I don't know what motivates teenage girls. I never have. I haven't the faintest idea what they think about. I am clueless when it comes to the road to womanhood, the stops along the way, and even the map to getting there. Since I have no sisters, my only contact was with the neighbor girls of my own childhood. They were inscrutable creatures: puzzles wrapped inside enigmas who disappeared when the streetlights came on. I was certain they had secret talks with their mothers at bedtime, strategy meetings and equipment inventories: feminine smokescreens, check, tear ducts open and primed, check, razor-sharp giggles, check. Hey, it was the 60's. There was a war on.
Times have changed for the better, one hopes, but mysteries remain. I've seen my mother-in-law whispering in my daughter's ear, passing on the code perhaps, or giving her a heads up on history and vigilance. Or maybe she's passing on the most secret truth of all -- that they really are lion princesses.
To squelch a very specific nightmare, I've just about finished the picket fence around the pool. While increasing safety, it makes the backyard look about 23% better. We'll turn the space into a small sitting garden after the pool comes down, probably in October. Did I just say "we?" Hahahahaha.
The curse of such a project is the snowball effect that occurs because of the change. The new fence has meant some sprinkler reconfiguration, which will mean some closer attention to the lawn, which will mean a more forthright plan of fertilization, which will mean closer attention to some sort of schedule to achieve maximum greenness. At some point there will be a scheduling conflict, and some other event or project will have to get bumped. Resentments will pool. Silences will be increased, and grudges harbored. Someone will absorb 47 times their own weight in excess stomach acid. Counseling will be sought, followed by medical insurance claims and prescription co-payments. Drug interaction will lead to weight gain. Someone won't feel as attractive anymore. Flirting will be suspected at a party. There will be a gigantic argument. Too many people will hear too much and it will be too late. Someone will get the house, the cars, the furniture, the computers. Someone else will get the fence.
Like I keep telling Viv, you have to think these things through.
"We're A Miracle" -- Christina Aguilera -- POKEMON: THE FIRST MOVIE: MUSIC FROM AND INSPIRED BY THE MOTION PICTURE
"If God made anything better than a girl," Dover thought, "He sure kept it to Himself."
- Nelson Algren (A Walk on the Wild Side, 3, 1956)