Blow by Blow

  • 5:20am - Check email for interview offers.  None.
  • 5:25am - Let dogs out. Little one doesn't want to go because it's cold.  Have to push him out the door with the toe of my fuzzy slipper.
  • 5:40am - Can't find my reading glasses anywhere.  I just had them; it's driving me crazy.
  • 5:44am - Find reading glasses on my head.
  • 6:00am - Drop shampoo bottle on my foot in the shower.  Bend down to pick it up and the conditioner bottle falls on my back.  (Note to self: keep bottles on bottom shelf in future.)
  • 6:40am - Take son to school for baseball meeting.  Pick up his friend on the way, which is odd because he has his own car.  When I ask why he's not driving I learn he got a speeding ticket for going 27 mph over the limit.  (Note to self: time to prepare a lengthy diatribe about the privilege and perils of driving - which my son will promptly ignore.)
  • 7:10am - Go to McDonald's drivethru for a large coffee with 2 creams.  In the time it takes to drive from the cashier to the order pickup, I suddenly can't remember how to lower my window.  I keep pushing a switch and it keeps locking and unlocking the car door.  Decide I'll just have to open the door to get my coffee.  Can't get door open - it's locked.  Press switch to unlock car door - we've established at least I know where that mechanism is located.  Get coffee.  (Note to self: should I get tested for the Alzheimer's gene?)
  • 7:15am - A few blocks from home I see an enormous bald eagle swoop down 30 feet away from me and grab a rabbit.  Wingspan appears to be 8 feet across. Stunning, awesome, amazing.  (Note to self: must go outside with dogs from now on and stand next to them while they pee - possibly armed with a broom.)
  • 7:30am - Go online and search 7 employment websites.  Tailor resumes to fit positions and send out 13 applications.  Get automated response from each one: "Thank you.  Because we receive hundreds of replies we don't have time to contact you.  Don't call us, we'll call you."  Not holding my breath.
  • 11:47am - Off to doctor.  Waiting room is packed with people who are undoubtedly carrying a variety of deadly infectious diseases.  Get in line to sign in and watch man in front of me sneeze, blow his nose, then pick up pen.  Dig through purse for my own writing implement.  (Note to self: would it be too Howard Hughesian to wear latex gloves next time I have to go to the doctor?)
  • 11:51am - Finally take a seat.  Simple woman sitting beside me strikes up conversation about kleenex.  I try to appear to be immersed in a 4 month old Sports Illustrated magazine.  It doesn't work - conversation progresses from kleenex to mucous.
  • 1:56pm -  Drop off prescription at Walgreens.  Old man in line in front of me doesn't understand why he can't get his medication.  Turns out he forgot he picked it up yesterday.  He laughs, shakes his head and walks away.  Twenty minutes later while I'm waiting for them to call my name, the old man shows up again and tries to get his prescription.  I wait to see if pharmacist does anything. She doesn't.  I ask the old man if he's with anyone.  No.  He drove himself.  His memory isn't what it used to be.  (No shit.)  I ask if he needs any help.  He looks at me like I might be a serial killer and leaves.  I could follow him to see if he gets home alright (no doubt confirming his serial killer fears); instead I hang out by the door and watch until his car pulls away. Did I wait because I wanted to see if he could drive or did I wait so he'd be long gone before I hit the road?  (Note to self: initiate legislation requiring annual driver's test starting at age 80.)
  • 2:48pm - Son home from school.  He's not wearing his coat, hat, or gloves.  Want to comment on it, but bite my tongue.  No sense starting World War III.  I wonder at what age he'll be smart enough to dress for the weather.  
  • 2:49pm - Ask son if he has much homework.  He grunts and rolls his eyes - his patent response.  Then, my fatal mistake: I ask a second question.  I ask if all the kids from last year's baseball team were at the meeting this morning.  He goes ballistic and screams, "I'm sick of you asking questions!  I'm not going to sit here and go through all the names of the kids at the meeting!!  So don't ask me!!!  It's none of your damn business!!!!  Why the hell do you care??!!!!!"  I know it's a rhetorical question, and I fight the temptation to answer.  Yikes.  I don't know why that set him off.  Seems like everything sets him off these days.  As long as we don't speak to each other everything is just dandy - shades of his father.  It's hard to balance my parental responsibility to demand that he behave like a decent human being against the desire to walk away and avoid escalating the conflict.  What's worse - letting it go, or inciting a riot?  Probably letting it go.  The problem is that somewhere along the way I lost all authority.  I wish he was still a little boy; I could simply pick him up and put him in his room.  He's bigger than I am now, and it is clearly evident that civility and respect are inversely proportionate to height.  If he grows another foot he'll be shooting a high power rifle from a bell tower somewhere.  On the bright side, he's the model of decorum in public, and people regularly comment on what a great kid he is.  Apparently temper tantrums are reserved strictly for mothers.  Come to think of it, I was horrible to my own mother when I was a teenager - in a snotty yet decidedly less volatile way.  Can't help but think she'd be relishing this comeuppance.
  • 3:45pm - Appointment for son's sports physical.  As we walk into the medical building a man and woman are coming out.  The woman is crying.  I imagine all sorts of scenarios.
  • 4:00pm - Spy a Highlights magazine at the doctor's office.  Didn't know it was still around.  Excitedly turn to hidden pictures page.  All the hidden objects have already been circled in red crayon.  Some things never change.  I'm just as pissed about it now as I was when I was seven.
  • 5:43pm - Make dinner.  Dogs are standing under the cutting board hoping something will hit the floor.  It'll never happen; I refuse to let them have people food.  Turn to scrape contents of cutting board into pan, hit the side of the stove with the edge of the board and promptly dump red peppers, onions and garlic on the floor.  Dogs move in for unexpected feast.  I yell.  Dogs back away, albeit momentarily, then creep in for more.  I yell again, dogs scramble and run downstairs.  Don't have anymore peppers.  Used the last of the onion.  Go to freezer and pull out two frozen dinners.
  • 6:30pm - Son reports one of the dogs stinks.  Upon inspection, I find several pieces of garlic embedded in the hair on dog's back.  Put dog in sink for bath. During washing phase she makes a break for it, jumps out of the sink, slides across the countertop and leaps to the floor.  She leaves a trail of water and soap in every room of the house and on every piece of furniture before I catch her.
  • 6:56pm - While in the bathroom using hairdryer on dog, I knock a bottle of makeup onto floor.  Glass shatters everywhere.  Why on earth don't they use plastic bottles?  How absurd.  (Note to self: send scathing letter to all cosmetics manufacturers.)
  • 6:57pm - Gingerly set dog outside bathroom and close door so I can clean up the mess.
  • 7:00pm - Son shouts upstairs to report dog is still wet.  Yes, I know.
  • 7:05pm - Son lets dogs outside.  I start to yell downstairs to explain the eagle situation, but it's too late.  Have visions of dogs being carried away like Toto and the flying monkeys.
  • 7:08pm - Son reports wet dog came inside covered in ice crystals.  You don't say.
  • 7:23pm - Bathroom floor is spotless.
  • 7:30pm - I want to watch the Fran Lebowitz documentary.  Son wants to watch string of mind-numbing "reality" shows ranging from car repossessions, to pet exterminations, to swamp people, to bounty hunters.  We compromise and watch a basketball game and hockey game simultaneously.  It occurs to me I have never seen my son watch a single show without changing the channel.  Is this ADD?  ADHD?  Perfectly normal?
  • 8:00pm - Son suddenly remembers he has homework.  Yeah, right.  I turn off the tv and pandemonium ensues.  What should be nothing more than a minor skirmish becomes a major hullabaloo.  (Note to self: might be a good time to take up drinking heavily every evening from now until son leaves for college.)
  • 9:38pm - Son reports he needs plastic folder for paper due tomorrow.
  • 9:45pm - Leave for Walgreens.  Half expect to run into confused old man trying to pick up the prescription he already picked up.  Don't see his car; probably just missed him.  I arrive 5 minutes before the store closes and when I walk in the door the cashier shoots daggers at me.  Part of me wants to be kind and simply get in and get out; part of me feels the urge to linger and start asking inane questions about various brands of moisturizer.
  • 10:10pm - Deliver folder to son.  Let dogs out.  (Note to self: google "Do eagles hunt at night?")
  • 10:36pm - Start harassing son to get to bed.  Wonder at what age he'll be smart enough to go to sleep when he's tired.
  • 11:31pm - Son is in bed.  Remembers his favorite red shorts are dirty and wants to wear them at basketball practice tomorrow.  Would I mind doing a load of laundry now?  Yes, I'd mind.  "Thanks for nothing."  You're welcome.
  • 11:33pm - Check email for interview offers.  None.
  • 11:38pm - Wash face, brush teeth, and suddenly feel pain in foot.  Stepped squarely on 3" long shard of glass.  As usual, appropriate sized bandage does not exist.  (Note to self: send scathing letter to all bandage manufacturers.)
  • 11:49pm - Clean bathroom floor.  Again.
  • 12:06am - In bed.  Dog jumps up and lies next to me.  Smells like garlic.

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