When it comes to school, there’s nothing like a two-hour delay, except maybe a three-hour delay, or just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, school closing.
That Wednesday, the calls came in quick succession, like COVID cases or labor pains, the words Central Office panning across the phone screen, foreboding, ominous and leaving me longing for a drink at 8:56 in the morning.
Hadn’t we just spent something like 10 glorious days at home with our children, relishing in another round of Ramen Noodles and more times than any respectable, contributing member of society should ever have to view Home Alone, Home Alone 2 and (shamefully) the opening credits of Home Alone 3?
But here we were, home sweet home (again) with our kids and the threat of … I think the foreboding, ominous word used was maybe treacherous road conditions. But how treacherous is treacherous really, when the alternative is being cooped up for something like 17 waking hours, trailing behind my offspring with a dustbuster and industrial size garbage bag because they’ve literally broken the record for consecutive spills and household items trashed during the duration of a Home Alone Trilogy?
By 11 a.m. my husband — who I’d banned from driving after seeing the Hurlbutt St. Skating Rink — was very much willing to risk his own life and walk or possibly crawl on his hands and knees to the farm where that frozen arugula lay waiting to be harvested, just to get away from us. Not that I could blame him any more than I could the weather gods or Elsa or Channel 12 News for creating this perfect ice storm.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s something really nice about not having to find a mask and fill a water bottle or find a backup mask or backup water bottle or hear, “Mom, have you by any chance seen my math notebook?” right as we’re headed out the door.
“I don’t think so. When was the last time you saw it?”
“Like, maybe … Thanksgiving?”
So there was no math notebook or PPE or drinking vessels to contend with that morning, but there was also this sinking feeling of … I’ll just come out and say it — impending doom that we were on the precipice of possibly one of the very longest days of our lives here at our humble abode rich in sodium-saturated snacks and Macaulay Culkin’s greatest hits.
At some point it became glaringly apparent that Junior would be giving up naps completely and celebrate his third day in a row of no daytime shut eye by tossing matchbox car after matchbox car over his shoulder, while singing (loudly), “Twinkle, twinkle little truck,” over and over and over again, hitting my younger daughter in the head not once, not twice, but three times.
Not that this would deter her from actually, you know, getting up off the couch or removing her headphones or answering appropriately when I ask her a question like, “Do you have any homework you need to catch up on?”
Her: “Why would I need ketchup?”
Me: “Did you hear from any of your friends today?”
To which she responded by telling me she’s “tired of running errands” and why can’t I just “get a life?”
But the livin’ is good, because after two years, we finally get around to installing those baby gates. And when I say “we,” I mean Jon. Much to his dismay, this euphoria, this heady elation over some highly anticipated safety gear on my part inspires an itemized and tabulated honey-do list that is (in his words) “far from foreplay” and possibly entails the prolonged absence of that frozen arugula and the allocation of some hard-to-find hand tools.
These are the precise moments, my friends, when assembling an activity/train table or repairing weather stripping makes us long for the days of another round of jello shots and something called “sleeping in.” But considering we have no jello in the house or sleep either, I steel myself in the knowledge that most of my household items are mostly replaceable and Macualay Culkin’s not so bad as long as I don’t think about him in The Good Son and maybe we have some baby gates left to install and ketchup for homework and arugula for foreplay. All in all, I suppose things could be way worse.
Then I see snowmaggedon predicted for Saturday. Really, and just when you thought it couldn’t get any better.
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.