Wish You Were Here: Honey, I’m Home!

“Honey, you’re home.”

I was standing with my keys in hand, my purse slung over my shoulder, and no plan other than to escape the embodiment of that scene from Mrs. Doubtfire when Sally Field walks through the door after a long day at the office to find a house full of farm animals, birthday bonanza and a whole lotta Jump Around taking up residence in her living room.

Let’s just say it’s a good thing my husband’s patient and also blind to chaos because minus some goats and sheep running around, it was complete and utter insanity.

Pro tip: if some well-meaning relative buys your child something called Squigz, tell them to be sure to include a good pair of earplugs and a bottle of Advil for all the screaming you’ll endure when they don’t squigz anymore to anything… a close second to the time someone bought my (then) four-year-old a harmonica.

“I hid the S-Q–U-I-G-Z —” apparently not well enough ” — I think he found them,” Jon said, watching as about 40 of them scattered to the floor, mixing with an overturned bowl of spaghetti.

“Mom! The internet’s not working again!”

If you happened to be in the vicinity of Hurlbutt St. and Cannon Rd. last Thursday, there’s a good chance you heard a set of wheels peeling out like nobody’s business, and if you by chance saw a somewhat emotionally unstable-looking woman singing a slightly off-key version of “Take Another Little Piece of My Heart,” drumming on the steering wheel and donning a very unflattering pair of oversized sunglasses, it definitely wasn’t me.

What can I tell you? It was one of those fight or get on a flight to Fiji moments but considering I’d told Jon I’d be back in an hour and my purse was probably buried somewhere in the vicinity of the spilled Squigz and also, I had no money to go to Fiji, I decided instead to go where I promised myself I wouldn’t.

We all have our low points, right? We’re all just human, right?

I took off my shades and rolled up the windows, taking a moment to survey my surroundings before making the same mistake all over again.

“Hello, old friend,” I said, opening the door, knowing what pleasure awaited me inside but, “they’re closed,” someone muttered, getting into their car. I tried the door, again and again, peering into the window like a crazy woman (no one should comment here), banging my fists against the glass. “But I need my coffee,” I said. “What about my coffee?” I whined. “What about my latte?”

I slumped back to my car, defeated, decaffeinated and definitely a little delirious in my quest for caffeination.

“Closed,” I said again, starting my car up.

I’m still not sure why this was so unbelievable to me. I mean it was 8 p.m. on a Thursday. I’m not sure what I was expecting but a break isn’t a break without coffee and so I swallowed my pride and drove to the place where donuts go to die and yes, before you go judging me, I’m a coffee snob. I admit it. I’m a devout follower of the good stuff, the strong stuff, the ‘give us this day our daily Starbucks’ stuff, but since clearly, the door had closed on that chapter of my great escape, there seemed no other alternative but to drive to what I vaguely recalled to be something a step above (and I’m being generous here) gas station grounds.

I’m going to the Dunkin Donuts down by TJ Maxx, I texted Jon on the off chance the coffee killed me or I got taken under its spell and somehow magically forgot what real coffee tasted like or worse, I actually enjoyed — and when I say enjoyed, I mean there was this moment, this very fleeting (mostly because I downed it in like less than three minutes) epiphany when I thought, just for a second, that I could do it, that I, Lesley Kirschner could be a coffee convert, because between you, me and the stuff America apparently runs on, that latte took another little piece of my heart, Janis.

And who knows, maybe Sanka would have tasted good at that point. Maybe I was just so desperate to get away from the Squigz and the spaghetti and the state of my house that a cappuccino from the Citgo would have had me at hello but this was passable. No. I’m sorry. This was actually quite good, like unexpectedly good and okay, maybe it wasn’t Fiji and maybe it wasn’t even Starbucks but it was close and for a buck cheaper, I was humbled and also a little hungry so I bought a donut but then I remembered I’m gluten-free and can only enjoy looking at it.

So I got back in the car that I had evidently parked sideways, (see what caffeine deprivation can do to a person) and drove back the long way through town, going well under the speed limit before returning to find Junior tuckered out and tucked into bed, my younger daughter quietly enjoying an age-appropriate book without the use of Audible and my husband loading the dishwasher in an alternate dimension in the land of far, far away.

I turned the key, bracing myself.

“Honey, I’m home.”

Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods, and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing, and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television–channel 3, sometimes channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning, and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful for the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice.