Storm? I wouldn't know if the world was coming to an end if it's not broadcast on the Internet or someone doesn't tell me. Thank goodness all the people around me have more sense than I do and are looking out for me.
"The ice. We're in a big ice band and it's going to shut everything down by tonight. Don't wait until this afternoon to get your supplies."
I always get cracked up here because when it looks like there might be a little bit of snow or ice people race to the grocery store and push their carts around in Wal-Mart like they're on some big grocery shopping sweepstakes where they have to fill a basket to overflowing in 2.5 minutes. They shop for two weeks of supplies "just in case". It's good to be prepared, of course, but the amount of times we get snowed or iced in is slim compared to the number of times we go through the bizarre ritual of stocking up "just in case".
My mom called me from Wal-Mart this morning saying, "They're crashing their baskets around in here. Everyone has gone crazy. It's like an asylum up here." From my desk I saw the fax machine spewing out 15 sheets of paper across the copy room like I'd just hit some crazy fax jackpot. "I know what you mean," I said.
At my office we spend the day rearranging furniture. I paused several moments during the day to ask myself why we are spending the day rearranging furniture throughout all the offices when there is a huge storm coming and we should all be out crashing our carts at the grocery demolition derby. My husband wanders by mumbling, "I really need to get to the house to make sure we have an alternative source of heat. We could lose our electricity." Behind him is my 5-year-old with a dirty rag and a can of Pledge that he is liberally spraying around on every piece of furniture that's not being carried by someone. Did I mention school is out early because a storm is coming?
All of us meet in the kitchen and have lunch. This is one of my favorite office traditions. My mom (who works with us) is eating what I thought were taquitos, but when I get closer I realize it's a fried hot dog wrapped in a heated corn tortilla. (No, really.)
She interpreted my intense staring as a polite request to try her food. "Here, try it. It's really good."
"Uh, no, that's okay."
"Well, what are you going to eat then," she demanded.
"I'm not sure."
"You need protein. That's what you need." She shoved the tortilla-wrapped turkey dog toward me.
"No, really, I'm fine." I began foraging in the kitchen to find something to eat. The fridge was remarkably bare considering a storm was coming. Finally I found something, whipped it up and sat down to eat.
She eyeballed my plate and gave a satisfied grunt. Of course she would since on my plate was a turkey dog wrapped in a corn tortilla. Honestly, it turned out to be pretty good.
In the next three hours the following things happened:
- my son made so many unauthorized copies at the copy machine that one of my colleagues demanded he cease and desist (I was on the phone)
- my son somehow made the 3-hole punch explode into a fountain of little white circles on our dark carpet
- my husband broke a desk
- in all the moving of furniture my kid's backpack mysteriously disappeared (requiring 5 adults and one child to search every room in our building about three times)
- someone called to ask me if I would sell 21 cemetery burial plots for them
- an easement went missing, turning up on the property to the south where it's NOT supposed to be
- and... a glass broke
At 4:30 I left the building to head home. It was already beginning to rain a cold drizzle. My windshield was covered with water droplets. I turned the wipers on and instantly the wet smear froze into a layer of ice. I sat there for several minutes waiting for it to melt. Maybe a storm really was coming.
At daycare, my youngest, true to form, ran away as soon as he was turned loose. I had a boyfriend in college whose mom had a cairn terrior that they had to leave tied up whenever they took him outside because if they didn't he'd run off as fast he could in a random direction and never look back. My son is just like that dog. Fifteen minutes later after I finally caught him and he hit me in the back of the head twice I had him in the car seat and was pulling away to head for home.
Home. Our haven of rest. The nexus of peace and security for the family.
Who am I kidding? You deserve better than lies and deception. I apologize.
As if sensing the tension from the coming storm, the children were like wild mad demons. Rob alternated between trying to make chili and setting up our alternative heat source. (He's a jack of all trades!) The kids mostly ran back and forth up and down the hallway, destroyed the bedcovers while jumping on the bed, one of them cried for ten minutes because he couldn't find "choo choo. Big!" Unfortunately, "choo choo big" seems missing forever because 30 minutes later I still couldn't find it and the lady I was talking to on the phone was so tired of the screaming she said, "I'll call you right back" but never did. Back before I had kids I really hated when people's kids screamed in the background while they were talking on the phone. I'm one of those people now.
Finally, the youngest decided he'd had enough and began packing a backpack as if to run away. In went Eeyore, a small beanie dog with a yarn leash and a plastic water buffalo that I think might actually be a gnu. All the things a boy needs when he is running away from home. "Gack ack", he said, indicating I should put it on his back for him. He spend the next 20 minutes walking around saying, "gack ack" as if we were all deaf or retarded and needed that repeated every 12 seconds.
At 6:52 I went out to the car to get something, checking the steps carefully for ice. The car was coated in a layer of frozen water already and I pulled on the cargo hatch which popped open with a loud CRACK and out flying came 15 pieces of a food dehydrator I'd borrowed from my mom. "AAAGH!" I screamed, startled, plastic trays scattered around me on the icy grass. I was out for about 20 seconds and already soaked. The door flew open and my husband yells, "What was that? Are you okay??" Yes, except for this storm, this storm that has us all in a tizzy. Yes, I'm okay.
And now, one child is in bed asleep. The other is lying in bed next to me with two of his fingers bandaged after what might have been a botched suicide attempt in the bathroom. He claims he was just playing with his dad's razor while he was sitting on the toilet, but you know... it has been a stressful evening. However, now in good spirits he is sprawled next to me watching George of the Jungle while I record the days exciting events and stare shamelessly at how hot Brendan Fraser looks in this really horrible movie. (What a waste.)
Outside a road grader rumbles past my window. The storm is here. My husband sticks his head into the room and says, "You know what we don't have, honey? Toilet paper."
Oh good, because otherwise things would just be too easy!