Does This Count as a Sick Day or Vacation?


The Husband, who usually works from home, left early for an all-day work conference, so I’m on task getting the boys through their morning chores, and I’m looking immaculate in my freshly dry-cleaned suit and heels, holding my morning dose of commuter coffee in a go-cup, and waiting to get the little angels to school.

The house is tidy, the boys are relatively clean, and I’m feeling pret-ty smug. I even made the orange juice. Minute Maid, with Calcium. All those happy vitamins.

When school is cancelled, darkness descends. The soundtrack of my life goes from a perky happy morning tune — I’m pretty sure it was The Jetsons theme song — to a groaning, distorted goth track. Type O Negative, perhaps. This is not my iMix.

The call coincides with the beginning of the boys’ breakfast time (chores before eating). The instant school is cancelled (the very instant, I tell you) I get a boy-report from the First and the Maker: Mom, there’s no milk for our cereal. The Ice looks cool; he was up first, finished with his chores first, used the last of the milk for his cereal thirty seconds ago.

I can handle this one with my eyes shut.

“Eat something different,” I say blithely. “Eat a banana.”

“No bananas,” they report. Like this is important to me.

“What ever,” I reply. “Make toast!”

“No bread.” I belatedly recall that I ate the last hot dog bun for my own breakfast before they finished their chores.

Annoyed, I retort, “Listen, you get the entire day off. I still have to work. I know there’s Bisquick, make pancakes or biscuits, for heaven’s sake.” I quickly open my computer in the kitchen to download emails. I will have to lay down the law about not bothering Mom while she works from home today. I prepare my speech in my head.

“There’s no milk; we have to have milk to make pancakes or biscuits.”

I breathe deeply in, then exhale fully. I yank open the refrigerator. I can see how dirty the glass shelving is, wow. Someone needs to clean that. I also note the plethora of condiments. This is like, condiment heaven or something. There’s Worcestershire sauce, two containers of parmesan cheese, seven jars of jelly (seven!), two ketchups, three mustards, two relishes, jars of garlic, horseradish, and green olives (who in our house eats green olives?), bar-b-que sauce, balsamic vinegar, pancake syrup, three kinds of salad dressing, a jar of Fluker’s Orange Cube Complete Cricket Diet (forgot that was in there – not exactly a condiment, though, is it?), steak sauce, two different kinds of lime juice, tamari soy sauce, Pick-A-Peppa sauce, a two-years-old prescription for rectal suppositories that stopped the Maker from vomiting once (again, not a condiment, I know), hot pepper rings, two open jars of salsa, mayo, and a jar of hot and spicy pickles that no one likes.

And applesauce! I rise triumphantly. See, there is food for the children to eat for breakfast.

At least, there is enough in the bottom for one small bowl. The First appropriates it. The Maker remembers that there’s a spare in the pantry. I walk back to my computer. Look at that pile of email.

The Maker can’t reach the applesauce; I finish one email, fire it off, and go help him get the applesauce jar down. I open the next email. The Maker can’t get the top off the applesauce. I walk over to the table, open the applesauce, and go back to read the second email. The Maker can’t pour the applesauce direct from the jar; it’s too heavy for him. The Ice offers to spoon it out for him; what a helpful child. I sprint through three emails. Once the Maker realizes he doesn’t have to pour it out, he wants to spoon it himself. Ice digs in his heels; he’s helping and he will continue to help. The Maker makes a grab for the spoon and I hear him shout at Ice: “You got applesauce on my finger!”

I am not fast enough.

A blood-curdling shriek rends the air. I turn around and the Maker has pelted Ice with applesauce. It’s an actual food fight in its genesis moments. Everything’s in slow motion; voices take on that odd moo-ing quality. I am slow as frozen molasses. I am wearing a freshly dry-cleaned suit. And heels. I have made serious errors in judgment this morning, starting about four minutes ago.

When I finish screaming, my three boys regard me with newfound respect. I gotta set of pipes. I order them up to their rooms, not to speak to, breathe on, look at, poke, consider, or send telepathic messages to one another until I have been able to rewind and start this day over again. “Find a library book and sit quietly and read it!” I shout. “Get comfortable, because you’re going to be reading all day long.” There. That should do it.

I hear the quietest reply from upstairs, “We just returned all our library books.”

I look over at the library bookshelf, typically loaded (in our tv-free house) with upward of 50 books at all times. Vacant.

I resist the urge to tear my clothes.

I could place a web survey here, so that you could vote on the likelihood of me getting any work (as in career, not hearth and home) done, but I think it’s really unnecessary, don’t you?

So. A small daily summation, for your amusement:

  • Number of food fights: one
  • One jammed finger (swelling, turning purple), the First: splint purchased at drug store and applied
  • One sliced thumb, the Maker: band aid applied
  • One skateboard incident; no injuries
  • The Maker accidentally dropped a bike from the ceiling hanger in the garage, no injuries and my car is fine.
  • Groceries purchased, $245
  • 34 library books acquired
  • One lunch for four, prepared, served, cleaned up
  • Cat vomits cleaned up: one
  • One small incident involving the materials for an upcoming science project, no injuries
  • 17 emails handled, not counting junk mails
  • One blog post, completed

It’s 5 pm. Quitting time, right?

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One Response to Does This Count as a Sick Day or Vacation?

  1. lil sis September 26, 2009 at 12:00 am #

    Okay, I realize that you posted this 2 years ago, but since I just joined the technology age and have internet at home now I get to comment now!

    OMGoodness! I was laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes, my computer almost fell off my lap and I almost peed myself! I absolutely loved this post!

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