"Excuse me, Conor, what was that?" I asked, bending over the open oven door. Hot air billowed over me as I took out Conor's lemon-flavored cupcakes. He's been cooking like a fiend lately.
"What did you say, babe?" I continued as I lifted the cupcake pans up onto the stove top, my hands encased in puffy, red, quilted oven mitts. Surely, I hadn't heard him right.
"What does a-s-s spell?" he repeated, coming around the corner to peer at me intensely. No, no smile on his face, he's not joking. He lifted his pointer finger for emphasis.
Quizzically, I cocked my head at him and parroted back, "what does a-s-s spell, Conor? What do you mean?" I felt the dread growing in my stomach. Dear Lord, first 'penis' and 'vagina' and now 'ass'? This teenage thing is getting more uncomfortable by the minute.
I thought about asking him to use it in a sentence, you know? To make sure I heard him right? But then he just would say, "What does a-s-s spell?" ('Cause it is in a sentence that way after all. Can't argue with that, I guess. Logical.)
"What does a-s-s spell?" he asked again.
"What do you mean? Did you see that somewhere?" I asked, trying to dodge the subject.
"Yes, here on the receipt for the vase you painted for Auntie Joyce," he replied, leading me back to the pantry. He means the one he painted, at the paint-your-own-pottery place during his earned community outing. "On the bulletin board."
What the... what?
(I'm not melodramatic at all. I don't catastrophize events or anything. No, not at all.
Don't tell my therapist. She thinks I'm all better.)
"What up, guys," my husband said as he entered the kitchen. I thrust the receipt in his face.
"Conor wants to know what the word 'a-s-s' means," I replied, tapping the receipt. I pointed at the word for emphasis. "Right there."
"Well, I'm going to call them and ask," he chuckled. (Well, duh. He's so rational and non-melodramatic and stuff.)
Assorted, the employee who answered the phone said. Surely there was a period after the abbreviation ass?
"Um, no, there's no period," my husband explained to the employee on the phone. "And Conor had lots of questions." He hung up.
"Assorted, she said it stands for assorted, the vases come in all sorts of sizes," he told me, smiling. "There was a lot of laughter."
Ok, then, there you go. A-s-s means assorted, Conor.
You know, I can just hear his voice in my head when we go to the paint-your-own-pottery place next time--
"Mom? Can I have a big ass vase this time?"