You see, I did end up moving the bedrooms.
But, come on, look at it from my perspective. Ashes had the biggest bedroom in the apartment. Plus the walk in closet! Is it really reasonable to expect that we were going to keep that room empty for someone who is only going to be sleeping in that room once a month for the next three months? As Mama Sue said to me, "the person who lives there the least gets the smallest room. It's a rule."
Not according to Ashes. Of that, I am convinced.
We actually moved things around about three weeks ago. Since then, I just haven't found the right time to tell her. Between the angst of settling in, and the angst of the time that I visited her, and the angst of...well, whatever happened the last week, there just hasn't seen to be a good time. Even though I knew this week was coming and that it would be far better for me to rip the band-aid off now rather than to wait for her to discover it for herself. Then all hell would SURELY break loose.
The right time finally came yesterday.
The call came during episode two of The Walking Dead. I picked up right away and said, "We are watching a guy hack up a zombie to bits. What's up?"
"Ummm....Dad?" She said in that little girl she sometimes assumes. I could hear sniggering in the background. "I kind of have a...little problem?"
"What's that, Ashes?"
"My Clipper card. My Clippers bucks on it are sort of low. I had $75 on it, but now I'm down to...well, really low. Could you please load it up for me?"
"Hun, how did you use up so much money in just three weeks?"
"Ummm...snacks?" I heard more laughter in the background.
Ah, opportunity has come knocking. "Sure, I'll look into it. But that reminds me, there's something I need to tell you before you get back home, hun..."
Her guarded voice. "What is it?"
No it was my turn to play innocent. "Ummm...well, we kind of switched rooms around and gave you Theo's room..."
"YOU GAVE ME THE SMALLEST ROOM IN THE HOUSE? It's the size of a postage stamp! It's half of a kitchen! You're moving it back before I get home. RIGHT?"
The nerve. She showed me!
I smiled to myself. Okay, look. There are sometimes actual reasons that I do what I do. In fact, a lot of times,. In fact, one of the things that I can be rather good at is manipul--um, diplomacy. So, I padded back to the living room, instructed the boys to turn The Walking Dead back on, and promptly logged on and proceeded to add $20 to her Clipper card.
So that the next day, I could text her, "I added $20 to your Clipper card."
Her response was immediate. "Thank you. I am mad because I received a B on my English paper."
And we were off, as if nothing had happened. Oh, the topic of the room did come up...she announced that she'd be sleeping at her mom's the whole week, but I ignored that and innocently texted her back that I had been thinking we could watch a bunch of movies Friday night, so I hoped she'd at least come over.
"Well, okay," she conceded, then remembered she was angry. "But only if you drive me back to mom's afterwards."
"If your mom's okay with that, fine."
It's an inexact art, this art of war that I wage. Most would choose a more direct way. But in my eyes, I've handled this perfectly, so far. Ashes hasn't gone too ballistic, mostly because I've been able to parry and feint. Yes, there may be a blow up on Friday, but I'm hoping that some of it will be absorbed by letting her know in advance and the lure of lots of movies...maybe even the latest season of Supermatural. Whatever it takes to keep the enemy off guard.
Then again, some know my tricks too well. Tonight, as I was picking up Theo from Josie's, I caught her chopping up a cucumber on the kitchen counter. As I passed by, she asked, "So, did you add money to her Clipper Card this morning or not?" I turned around. A mischievous smile darted across her face.
"I added it last night after she hung up on me," I replied.
"HAH!" She said, laughing loudly. "I knew it! Andrew owes me five dollars."
Hmmm. Ashes gets twenty, Josie gets five. These women know how to play the art of war better than the likes of me.