|I only wish.|
No. Not the cute, Shrek kind of ogre.
This kind of ogre.
|That's more like it.|
They are boys. They are smelly. They are balls of hormonal angst. And they will be all mine, 24/7, in a few precious hours. When that school bell rings this afternoon, my hell begins.
If the past week is any indication, I'm really in for it.
Monday: Memorial Day. Spent driving the 9 hours from New Orleans to Dallas. In the car with me were The Redhead, Thing 1, Thing 2, and Yellow Dog. I ended up singing Chattanooga Choo Choo. Real loud.
Tuesday: School Day. Thing 2 locks the car keys in the car while getting ready for school. I find a spare key after frantically pawing through all of my desk drawers, behind two long-ago-hidden packs of cigarettes. I stopped smoking - again - two years ago. I may start - again - this summer.
Wednesday: School Day. Thing 1 asks me to help him with a school project. At 9:05 p.m. It is due the next day. After I calm down, he can't even find his work in his backpack. I check all of the boys' grades online. They are not entirely up to the standards we have set for them this school year. I lecture. Thing 1 cries and claims teachers don't like him. The Redhead shrugs when I point out three of his classes now will affect his high school GPA later. Thing 2 has straight As and is spared my wrath, but I go to bed angry.
Thursday: School Day. I remind the boys that I will be hosting my book club that evening and that they will help me clean up around the house and prepare for it after school. After working most of the day, I start peeling shrimp for dinner - enough for 10 people. At 3:50 p.m., Thing 1 texts me.
"I missed the bus. Can you come get me?"
I think a small artery burst in my brain at that moment. I was so angry that I couldn't even respond to the text. So he texted again.
"I have a million things to do to get ready for book club!"
"So can you?"
I finally respond. "I'll be there in a minute."
"Thank you." (He does get points for texting thank you.)
So I had to stop peeling shrimp. put it all back in the fridge, wash my hands, put Yellow Dog out in the back yard, grab my purse, lock the front door, get in the car and text The Redhead back who had texted me from the school bus. Where Thing 1 was not aboard. Was he expressing concern for his missing brother? No.
"Can we please go to Academy? I really want to see if they have this portable stove thing."
This is the text I sent back:
"Well, considering your brother just missed the bus, I have four pounds of shrimp to peel and dinner to cook for 10 people, and a house to clean after working all day...no."
He did not respond. I followed up with this:
"I have to go get your brother. I need you to vacuum all the dog hair up from the hall and living room floor. Tell your brother to clean the toilet and sink and mirror and sweep the bathroom floor. No xBox. I need help! And can you peel the rest of the shrimp in the fridge?"
Again, no response. But I wasn't surprised.
I retrieved Thing 1 from the front of the middle school, greeting him with explanations of how much I had to do to get ready and how much time his little mishap had cost me in terms of preparation and sanity-keeping. I then informed him that he would be cleaning the living room when we got home. Then I received this text from The Redhead:
"The key broke."
Another vessel somewhere exploded. This is how we go crazy. The vessels and arteries of mothers periodically explode in response to horrors their children commit, interfering with blood flow to the brain and inhibiting communication between brain cells. This is how our children do us in. They will prove it one day, scientifically. It doesn't kill you. It just dulls your senses a bit. A defense mechanism of sorts, I suppose.
We pulled into the driveway of our house to see The Redhead and Thing 2 sitting on the porch looking bewildered. I had already decided not to yell. Or to even speak. This is far scarier to my boys than when I let loose. I examined the lock. The key had, in fact, broken off in the lock. "It wouldn't open!" was The Redhead's only defense.
|Welcome to my hell.|
|My beautiful door knob. Molested.|
I texted Aquaman, 600 miles away on a boat off the coast of Louisiana, so he could share in this little piece of our day.
"The boys just broke the key off in the lock. We are locked out and I have book club in an hour and a half."
Yep. And then he saved me with this text:
"There are enough windows that don't lock. You should be able to send a boy through a window."
Oh, how I wanted to send a boy through a window.
He was right. He named some windows he thought would be the best choices and then texted, "Just get into the house and deal with the lock later."
I marched to the side of the house, ordering Thing 2 to follow. In about 30 seconds, we found a small kitchen window that slid up easily (it now gives me nightmares just how easily). I gave the boy a boost and he was in. I texted Aquaman the good news and he replied:
"Good. Now breathe. Have fun with the ladies. Have the boys search youtube on how to get the key out."
The boys scurried around, performing the chores I'd assigned before the mishap with the lock. It's amazing how efficient they can be when they're scared to death.
Book club went off without a hitch. The women didn't even know my children were home - that's how quiet they were from the safety of their rooms.
Friday: School Day. I can't remember what happened. Wasn't Thursday enough?
The boys spent the weekend trying to remove the key from the lock.
|Tools of the trade.|
|Thing 1 even tried a fish hook. Youtube suggests all kinds of wacky things.|
|No amount of silicone blaster made it any better.|
They were unsuccessful. I had to call a locksmith Monday. It is criminal, what they charge.
The point is, there is a very real chance that I won't survive the summer with these three. They may drive me insane. Slowly. Deliberately? Perhaps.
I have one hour of peace left. I might go lock the door. And hide all the keys.