Sunday, May 25, 2014

It’s day two of our three-day weekend and I probably should think of something to do with the kids

Yesterday was the most amazing day.  Mostly because we didn’t have to do anything.  No scheduled activities.  The house was clean.  The lawn was mowed.  No homework to finish.

It was amazing.

We didn’t follow any of our rules.  No one played outside.  We let the kids marathon watch Wild Kratts and Sherlock.  Arielle stayed in her pajamas all day.  I took two naps and never turned my laptop on.  My biggest accomplishment was running to the grocery store to get the ingredients to make pizza…and then going back to the store because I forgot pizza sauce.

Around lunchtime, Lee and I debated the merits of doing something productive as we observed Lizzie, Ezekiel and Arielle delicately negotiate an every-other-episode scheme that resulted in 90 minutes of Sherlock followed by 20 minutes of Wild Kratts before returning to watch another episode of Sherlock. 

“Genius,” I whispered to Lee as he shook his head in amazement. 

“Matthias and Josiah don’t even know what happened,” he mused.  “I can’t believe Matthias didn’t do the math…”

“Shhhhhh,” I responded.  “They’re all happy with it…”

We decided to let them be.

Six episodes of Sherlock later (I only wish I was joking) and we’re making pizza for dinner. 

Lizzie watched in amusement as I let Josiah spread pizza sauce, my hand poised to grab the spoon at any moment.  “Wow,” she said in absolute shock.  You’re actually letting them help!  I didn’t believe you’d really go through with it.  I think I might feel cheated out of my childhood…”

I glance at her for a split second, “Trust me, this isn’t easy.”

“I gather that, J-Mom, from the way you’re got your hand ready to snatch that spoon back at any second,” she joked back.  “Is this why we’ve only made pizza ourselves once before?”

“YES!” I respond somewhat manically.  “I can’t handle the stress of it…Josiah, are you done yet buddy?” I asked impatiently.

“Nope!  I gotta spread it around like Calliou!!!” he chirps back excitedly as I’m trying not to envision pizza sauce being inadvertently flung all over the kitchen. 

The pizza was Calliou’s fault in the first place.  That little bald-headed boy made pizza one day last week so, of course, we’re indulging Arielle and Josiah’s desperation to make pizza.   

Only Arielle was adamant that you use Play-Doh for crust.   

“Did Calliou use Play-Doh?” I whisper to Lee.  “We could have just made a Play-Doh pizza???  Please tell me that’s not true!”

He shakes his head, “I can’t remember…I think they were watching Calliou because I was paying bills…but I’m pretty sure they’re expecting to eat this pizza.” 

Pizza made, baths taken and we’re all watching Star Trek: Into Darkness.  Because why stop watching TV after devoting an entire day to it? 

But now it’s Sunday.  And I’m really thinking we should scrape together the motivation to do something productive. 

Or not.  Maybe it’s enough that I’m keeping the TV off today.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Of dogs and lobsters

I arrived home from work the other day, tears streaming down my face.

Okay, okay.  I was sobbing.

I need Lee.  Yes.  Getting to Lee was my only goal.  Odd, isn’t it, how we always think another person can fix whatever personal tragedy has befallen us?

That’s beside the point, though.  And, I assure you, the point isn’t nearly as catastrophic as it seems.

I burst through the door into the house, glancing around frantically.

“Uh, Daddy’s in the basement doing laundry,” Matthias said, waving me on.  Apparently I looked like I needed Lee.

I rushed down the stairs into the basement.

“Lee,” I sobbed.  Completely uncontrollably, I might add.

Lee turns from the washing machine, a bottle of Shout in one hand, a hopelessly spaghetti-stained shirt in the other.  A look of alarm quickly replaces the smile on his face as he drops everything and moves to envelop me into his arms.

“What happened?” he sooths. 

“It was so horrible,” I sob.  “So, so, so, so, so terrible.  The worst thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life.”

Yeah.  I get a wee bit irrational when I’m upset.

“What?  What happened?”  Lee’s trying to stay calm but I hear the fear that starts to creep into his voice.

“A dog,” I manage to get out.  “A Beagle, I think.  Or maybe a Basset Hound.  It was running across the road.  So fast.  And there wasn’t anything I could do to stop it from happening.  I’ve never seen anything so horrible in my entire life.”

“Shhhhhhhh,” Lee reassures me, patting my back.  “It’s okay.  It was an accident.”

“And the poor driver.  She must feel so bad for hitting him.  He just appeared, running across the road.  She couldn’t stop.  And she hit him so hard,” I continue my story through halting sobs.  “And he went down.  I think he’s dead.  But what if he isn’t?  I should have stopped.  Ohmygod I should have stopped. Why didn’t I stop?  I should have stopped.  What kind of person doesn’t stop?  Why didn’t I…”

“Wait,” Lee interjects, interrupting the hug to push me back, holding me at arm's length to make eye contact.  “Are you saying that you didn’t hit the dog?  You just saw someone hit the dog?” 

“Yes,” I sob out.  “It was so terrible.  That poor dog.  And I don’t even particularly like dogs…but I can’t stop thinking…he didn’t even know what was coming…he was running and probably having fun and then BAM his little doggy life was over.  I’m sure he didn’t…” I trail off as a new horror comes to mind.  “Oh no, Lee!  His owners,” I gasp.  “His owners are probably waiting for him to come home.  And he won’t ever come home.  I should have stopped.  I should have picked him up and carried him out of the road and sat with him and made sure he was really dead and not just slowly dying.  But I just drove by.  I didn’t do anything.”  A new thought occurs to me.  “OH MY GOD.  It’s GROUPTHINK!  I’ve participated in groupthink!  No one else responded so I didn’t, either.”

Lee pulls me back into his arms, patting my back.  “It’s okay, Jen.  Shhhhhhh.  Calm down.  It’s not like you could have stopped it.  It’s okay.  Please don’t cry.  It’s okay.  Do you want me to go back and check on him?”

“Yes,” I hiccup back, sniffling.  “Will you please?” I ask, backing out of the hug as I wipe my eyes.

But something’s not quite right.  A frown creeps onto my face as I realize what’s amiss.

“Why are you smiling?” I ask Lee, indignant.

He clears his throat.  Once.  Twice.  Three times. 

Then a chuckle escapes.  I glare at him.  “You’re mocking me,” I accuse.

“I’m sorry, Jen,” he apologizes, hands up in surrender, shaking his head in disbelief.  “But you have to admit.  It’s a little funny.  You didn’t even hit the dog yourself.  I thought you were so upset because you killed a dog…but you’re all broken up over someone else accidentally running over a dog.  It’s just…” he coughs to stifle another laugh.  “It’s just a little dramatic, is all.  But I’m sure it was very upsetting,” he quickly reassures me.  “I’ll go check on the dog now, okay?”

I glare at him.  “Don’t mollify me with your pretend doggy empathy.  Were you trying not to laugh the entire time?”

“Me?” he asks.  Never.  I’d never do that.  I’m always genuine when I comfort people about dogs they didn’t actually hit themselves.”

“Hey,” I start, pointing at Lee.  “You were the one who yelled for the meat department manager to come over and rescue the drowning lobster.  So don’t start with me when you’re out saving crustaceans that will eventually be boiled to death anyway,” I huff.

“Hey.  He was drowning,” Lee counters.

“You made the manager think an actual person was dying in the grocery store!” I remind him.  “So don’t laugh about this,” I snap.  “At least a dog’s a mammal.”

Lee shakes his head, holding his hands up as if in surrender.  “I’m done.  I promise.”

“Good.  Now will you please go check on him for me?” I ask more softly.  “I think he’s dead.  I hope he’s dead.  Ohmygod…those poor people…how horrible for them…” I trail off in thought.

“Sure thing, Jen,” Lee says, kissing me on the head as he passes by to go up the stairs.

Still chuckling.