Friday, May 15, 2009


May 15, 2009

The Ides of May. I actually had a lot of verbs to choose from today--bow, pluck, run, read, work, bead--but graduation weekend helped me make my choice: thwart.

I always think of Dustin Hoffman and The Graduate on graduation weekend in the spring. I was too young to see it in 1967 when it debuted, but it was one of the earliest grown up movies I got to watch. Somehow, I always remembered the exchange at Benji's graduation party:

Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Benjamin: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics.
Benjamin: Just how do you mean that, sir?

And so I'm thinking about plastics today. More specifically about all those frustrating plastic containers that I can never open without resorting to the "jaws of life" tools that I keep around. I mean, Holy Mackerel, should you really need three types of cutters to get Polly Pockets out of their packaging? These thoughts crossed my mind last weekend when Sarah Radencic, Erin's science teacher brought Walter and me some gifts. Well, I didn't need special tools to open the tea kettle. I was completely equipped and experienced to open the bottle of wine, but the beautiful Mother's Day cake was a different story. It came in one of those "clam shell" type boxes made out of thick clear plastic, meant to show off the cake, but apparently, leave it hermetically sealed inside for generations.

Okay, I'm exaggerating. After some effort I got into the cake, but instead of devouring the whole thing at once, which I should have done, I took a bit and put the lid securely back on the base. This guaranteed that I would have to fight the good fight the next time I wanted a slice (which I did, leaving a metaphorical trail of blood, sweat, and tears on the counter).

Fast forward to Monday evening, when Walter and I were leaving for the awards ceremony. . .and hit pause for a little background:

We rearranged furniture sometimes in the last couple of weeks, moving Walter's Man Chair back into a prime television viewing spot for the NBA playoffs. It's a couple of feet from the kitchen counter. Shortly thereafter we started finding evidence that someone had been swiping things off the counter when no one was home. The swiped items were always food, not bills or dish towels.

We suspected something was going on, and since Luke is entirely too old, Uma is entirely too fat, and Willie is entirely too disinterested to mooch food off the counter, we figured Teddy was scrambling up the back of the Man Chair and making a desperate leap across to the counter to find goodies. Since then we've been pretty vigilant about putting away tasty morsels and leaving the counter Teddy-proof.

As we left for the awards ceremony, I asked Walter if we should move the cake back to the coffee bar area for safe keeping. He said that there was no way she could get into the container and to leave it.

He was right, but not for lack of trying. Apparently, Teddy did her high wire act from the back of the Man Chair (she's eight inches at the shoulder, the counter is 35 and a half inches high), leaped across onto the counter, noodged the cake onto the floor, and then she and Willie tried to get the better of it by biting it and rolling it. . . through the kitchen, the dining room, and then out into the living room. When we returned, we found it at the foot of the stairs:

As you can see (please click for a closer view), it withstood a three foot drop, alot of sharp teeth, and considerable rolling about. Score: cake container wins! dogs lose! "Drats," said Teddy, "My plans are thwarted."

This week has gone pretty well around Buenger house. Davis has wrapped up his second week in Washington. Walter returned to work on Monday. I've kept busy with a variety of things I have in the works, lunched with friends a few times, attended the Jane Long orchestra concert last night to see my buddies Noah, Abby, and T.J, and watched Colton pull in three blue ribbons, a red, and a white at his track meet this afternoon. Tomorrow I will pick up Elaine and Ian at the Austin airport, and they will be home from Australia for good. Mark, Nico, and Adam will follow on Sunday.

Speaking of running, some of you may be interested in clicking over to Grandpa John's website. He is running across Michigan (the long way. . .top to bottom) to raise money and neuroblastoma awareness. He is doing this for a whole lot of kids who can't do it for themselves.


  1. that! is what i need to store the catnip in! ava, so sweet and kind - wouldn't hurt a flea - goes after the catnip like i often can't believe.. my desk drawer is currently full of catnip b/c she opened it and ripped into the bag. of course the drawer is also full of lots of other random things.. now they are just covered in the nip.


  2. AHhhhh! Company is such sweet comfort! All this time I thought it was age and illness that had simply depleted the strength in my hands. Thank you to Teddy and Willie – I no longer feel like my weakness is totally at fault.
    Vickie, thank you – for your wit and your gift of sharing through your writing.
    God Bless you!

  3. You know... another thing about those challenging plastic containers is that they make a whole lotta noise. So if you're ever trying to "sneak" a piece everyone will be alerted that someone is having dessert! (Not that I speak from experience or anything.)
    Gotta LOVE the determination of your fur babies!

  4. Hmmm. Wondering what all this could be a metaphor for! And I want to add a verb for my day: thinking. Of you and Walter.