Yesterday morning my twelve-year-old missed her bus ride to school because she just didn’t bother to get ready or out the door on time. Most mornings Damon and I micromanage everyone, so that the kids exit the house at the correct times. But yesterday he went to work on his computer and I went to work on mine, and ta da! Annalise missed the bus. It wasn’t until 7:25am that she sheepishly got up off the couch and innocently asked, “Um, anyone know what time it is?”
Since her school begins at 7:35am, a frantic search for car keys ensued. I ran to put on Ugg boots and a coat, and the two of us dashed out the door, me lecturing her about time management, had she really brushed her teeth, why didn’t she pack up her oboe and homework the night before and have it sitting by the door, yada yada yada.
Near the junior high school I joined the multitude of cars trying to inch down the one-lane road. School buses flashed their hazard lights repeatedly and teenagers darted willy-nilly around my car all while I lectured Annalise some more and finally told her to jump out and hustle inside, too. Right then she looked at me with a big scowl and said, “I need to go home. My side hurts.”
I rolled my eyes and basically shoved her out the door, all so I could idle for another fifteen minutes before enough space cleared to drive home.
Then last night I vowed, “Tomorrow will be different!” I set the alarm for 6:30am. I rose and crept through the darkened chill downstairs to Annalise’s bedroom. I curled up next to her in her bed and began to softly sing, “Plum Sugar, it’s morning, it’s time to go to school...Now rise and shower quickly, for that’s the morning rule….”
“Mom!” Annalise barked. “Please stop singing!” She grabbed the covers and turned violently away from me, towards the wall.
“Ok, sweetheart,” I whispered cheerily, resolutely defying her grumpiness. “I”ll just get up and turn on the closet light so you can wake up, too.”
As I made my way towards the closet, my feet had to act as little bulldozers, pushing piles of stuff to each side to create a pathway. I flicked the closet light on and a faint yellow glow warmed the room. I surveyed the tornado-like effect of all her clothes, toys, packaging, books, and homework all over the floor, with my one foot-wide trail down the center.
“Don’t you worry, little dumpling!” I clucked quietly. “I’m going to pretend I’m Snow White and just tidy up this floor a bit while you rise and shine. We’ll get this clean and walkable and that way you can find what you need for school in a calm, organized fashion!”
I said all this while swooping up clothes and throwing trash into her bin. I straightened books. I righted an overturned music stand. Then I bent to move a dollhouse onto her bedside table, but realized a small tube was in the way of me setting it down. I grabbed the tube into my right hand and felt wetness all over. “What is this?” I asked, not so quietly now. I turned the tube over in my hand even as I felt the wetness sticking to my fingers. “Annalise, what is this?” I yelled, dropping the dollhouse and running into the hallway.
There, in the light, I saw that the tube said Super Glue. And it was literally stuck to my right hand, whose fingers were all clumped together. I ran into the kitchen screaming, “Eli! Water! Quick! My hand! Soap! Rub! More! Harder!”
My 15-year-old son had no idea what I was so hysterical over, but he dutifully squirted my hand with kitchen soap and tried to yank my fingers apart. But it was too late. I was super glued!
I turned off the water, gave up on unsticking myself, and clomped back down the hallway, hand held out in front of me like a mangled claw. I banged open Annalise’s door and flicked on the light with my other hand. “Wake up!” I yelled. “NOW! I AM SUPER GLUED, MY FRIEND! YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN! DO YOU HEAR ME?”
Needless to say, Annalise made it to the bus stop this morning. I hobbled back to the kitchen and wondered how I’d sip my coffee, or put on a bra, or check the internet for celebrity gossip.
Then the phone rang. It was our realtor down in California, asking Damon what the lien on our house was for. Damon said he had no idea. “What’s the amount of the lien?” he asked. “$5,900.00” Jan replied. She told Damon it was in my name. Damon came to me with a worried expression. “Is there some sort of lawsuit you need to tell me about?” he asked, half-joking, half-seriously.
I flung my glued claw-hand across my forehead and moaned. “What time is it?”
“7:48am,” Damon replied.
“Coffee?” I begged. Damon brought me a full mug and I promptly sloshed it all over my face, trying to use my left hand as I was.
“I have no idea what that’s about,” I said, truthfully. Then I put down the coffee cup and went back to bed.
Now it is almost noon. A plumber has shown up unexpectedly. The school nurse has called requesting me to come pick up Annalise from the jr. high due to ‘side ache’. And Jan has called back, informing us that the lien is for a Kristine M. Kirk, also of Temecula, California. This Kristine Kirk is the same one who used our Blockbuster account all those many years ago to rack up $70.00 in late fees. This is the Kristine Kirk who was wanted by police for questioning regarding a stolen vehicle, which I know about because the police came to my front door to question me about it, too. This is the Kristine Kirk who shared gynecological records with me for years before we untangled each other’s private parts and discovered the importance of a middle letter.
Little things mean a lot. Lids properly tightened on Super Glue capsules, for instance. Middle Initials. Fingers that are not fused together.
Tuesday’s only half over and it’s been a real pain being me. I hope Kristine M. Kirk is having a Super Tuesday, too!