Saturday, February 13, 2010

Or I could forget the whole parenting lessons thing...

I should know better than to start off any conversation with a question like, “Just how stupid am I?”  Of course, that realization hit right after I’d blurted it out, so I had to correct myself, which left me in the weaker position from the git go, an ongoing problem.  I rephrased,  “Better question, how stupid is this idea?”

My beautiful sister, bless her wee little heart, is nothing if not honest; she shrugged and said, “Pretty stupid.”

“But I need the money”

“Everybody needs money Cara.  Sane people don’t decide to solve a murder to collect the $100,000 reward.  I thought you were going to win the lottery.”  She gifted me with her first eye roll of the day.  “Even I will admit that the lottery thing is a better plan than becoming a murder huntress and I’ve been making fun of the lottery plan since we were the same height.  Before the big growth spurt of the 4th grade.  Dear God Cara, it’s hard to believe, but putting all your eggs in the lottery basket might be the more sensible plan.  Do you see how insane that is?”

She took a deep breath, let it out slowly, through her perfect little nose, a not so subtle reminder to me of her status as the long-suffering sister.  “Cara, I may just have to reconsider my belief that you are, at the very least, semi-sane.”

I wish I could do the one eyebrow thing, kind of like a female version of that painfully handsome wrestler that has the perfectly arched brows.  I just know he waxes those puppies.  Anyway, he can raise one independently of the other and half way up his skull.  I can’t do that.  I lift both and lower my chin, not the same effect at all, more of a wanna be ‘mother look’ than what I was hoping for, but you have to go with what you’ve got.

What I lack in facial expression, I can always make up for in the tone of my voice.  I don’t have much eyebrow control, but the vocal cords rarely fail me, which is good, because more than one person has accused me of talking too much.

In perfect pitch, only slightly valley girl, I responded with, “Semi-sane?  Excuse you?”

“Come on Cara, didn’t someone once say that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result?  I give you credit for being semi-sane only because we’re from the same gene pool so there must be some sanity hiding in that brain of yours.  Somewhere.  Maybe.”  She pulled a face.  “What about sticking to your lottery plan?  Why not just buy a lottery ticket and call it done?”

“I did buy a lottery ticket.  That’s my sure thing.  This is my backup.”

“If the lottery ticket’s a sure thing, by definition, you don’t need a backup.”

I jutted my head forward, like a chicken on steroids, not an attractive pose, “I am certain that I’ll win Teagan.  I’m just not sure when I’ll win.  On the off chance that it isn’t this week, I have to have an alternative source of income.  That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to win the lottery some day, it just means that I may not win it today.”

“That makes perfect sense.”

“That’s what I’m sayin’.  Also proves I’m sane, because I’m never sure that the lottery ticket I buy this time is the winner, I just know that one of the lottery tickets I buy will win.  You have to pay attention to the subtleties in life Teagan.”

“So, tell me, how do you intend to find a killer without getting yourself killed?  As much as I’d love the I-told-you-so moment, getting yourself killed would be very inconvenient.  Mom would then have more time to focus on me.  We can’t have that.”

My look was somewhere between confused and offended.  I’m good at that look.  I used to practice it in the mirror.  Got me out of getting grounded once.  It’s even been known to work on a harried nun, which came in handy, since we went to Catholic school, but it seldom, if ever, works on Teagan.  Still, it was worth a shot.  I huffed, “Your love and concern for my safety is underwhelming.  I intend to find the murderer without putting myself at risk.  That simple.”

Eye roll, “Sure it is, that’s why they’re offering $100,000.  Because they think it’s so easy.”

I tried not to sound exasperated, but really, I’m pretty sure she was being annoying intentionally.  Annoy the crap out of Cara is an old ploy.  Piss me off and she wouldn’t have to be involved.  Worked when we were kids.  I try to pretend I’ve matured.

 I said, quite calmly, “I didn’t say it was easy, I said it was simple.  If it were easy, they wouldn’t offer the money.”  I took a breath to calm myself, and started my latest sales pitch, after all, that is what a conversation is when you are trying to get your little sister to do your bidding, “All we have to do is find the killer.”

“I get that part.  What I don’t get is how we find the killer.  And can I just say - we?”  My sister rolled her beautiful blue eyes again, “What is we?  How did I become a part of this?”

“One question at a time is all I can handle.  The Internet is the way we find the killer.”


“Teagan, why are you making me repeat myself?  We find the killer on the Internet.”

“What the Hell is the killer doing on the Internet?  How do you intend to find him?  Log on to and ask him to stand at the corner of fifth and Bouchard with a red rose between his teeth?  For the love of all that’s Holy Cara, what are you thinking?  Your only plan to support yourself is to catch a murderer or win the lottery?  Those are the two best options available to you?  Why can’t you just admit that you have no plan?  Your plan is not to have a plan.”

“Don’t be like that.  It’s a great plan.  Listen.  I was watching TV last night when it all became very clear.  Some talking head said you could find anything on the Internet.  It’s true.  Think of one thing that you can’t find on the Internet.”

“Other than your sanity?”  She took a breath and counted off on her fingers.  “Um, let’s see.  A comfortable bra, the name of the killer, a reason I shouldn’t tell Mom what you’re up to, a straight, well adjusted, good looking male, who’s only goal is to fulfill my every fantasy.  Should I go on?”

“Could we stick to the subject?  Please?  And if there’s only one female on this planet that does not have the right to complain about her lack of male companionship, it would be you.  Teagan they line up outside your damn door.  You’re such a little ingrate.”

She had the good grace not to comment.  I went on, “We can track down the murderer.  All we need is information.  It’s on the World Wide Web, we just have to feed the computer the right stuff, and it will tell us everything we need to know.  I know it will.”

I didn’t really like her tone when she continued, “We type in the right stuff, and the computer gives us the name of the murderer.  Gee, I wonder why no one else thought of that.”

I smiled, never a good sign in the middle of what my mother describes as a discussion, but what I call a potential fight, “Wow, I’d say you’re being a perfect ass, but that would be a compliment, and you are being really annoying, so the last thing you're getting from me is a damn compliment."

 AND SO ON....

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