Today marks the one year anniversary of the death of my dear friend Jenny. I still miss her every day; no one else appreciated the absurd quite like she did. A group of us were supposed to meet for breakfast today and then visit the cemetery, but alas, my life had other plans.
My hulking 14 year old son has been stricken down by illness. I honestly cannot tell you the last time he was sick. It might have been in the previous decade. So I will take him to the highly esteemed Dr. Renee this morning for her diagnosis of viral illness. But, unbeknownst to Renee, I am sneaking the goddess in as well. She has also not been quite herself this week, and I figure I’ll take her in with her brother and guilt Renee into a “twofer”. God knows I don’t take advantage of my friendship with the woman; half the checks in my register are made out to her! So since I’ve already made this month’s mortgage payment for her, she can look down the goddess’s throat!
Well, the very moment my twelve year old found out that her brother AND her sister would not be going to school, despair set in. “IT’S NOT FAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” she was heard to wail. Um, wait, I’m confused. What’s not fair? That her brother has a fever of 101? That her sister has a shiny red nose, just like Rudolph? I guess I need to keep a petri dish with some bubonic plague germs in it, so when everyone else is sick, I can make sure she gets it too!
And to further add to her horror, Wednesday is recycling. Her one job. It’s not a hard job. One gathers up the newspapers and carries them down to the can and then pulls the can down to the curb. She had even taken part of the recycling out on Saturday, so it was not the usual tower of papers and boxes.
She stomped over to the pile, stared at it and screamed “why can’t somebody help me?” Of course I ignored her. She picked it up and dropped it. Picked it up again and dropped it. The usual drama. Her mind was seething, resentment a palpable aura around her. Here she was, taking out the recycling, while her brother did not have to go to school. She didn’t care that he had been vomiting since 4 a.m. According to her, he should still be going to school.
Pretty soon, she was on the floor, surrounded by recycling, keening with despair because the world was treating her so badly. I sat here at the computer, stoically ignoring her. My husband is not gifted with the same patience.
“Get your butt up off the ground right now and get that recycling out or I’ll give you something to cry about,” he thundered ferociously. I love that line because it’s so ineffective. The only thing it accomplishes is to utterly piss off the parent uttering it because the child is so unimpressed.
“No,” she said defiantly, tossing her hair. “I HATE YOU!!!”
I am, by now, completely immune to that particular utterance, but it never fails to whip daddy into a frenzy.
“GIVE ME YOUR PHONE,” he said, “AND YOU WILL NEVER GET IT BACK!!!”
The only reason he got her a cell phone was so he could take it away from her. I have witnessed this phenomenon over and over again. She got the phone in February and she has actually had it in her possession a total of 12 days.
He took the phone and she sullenly got up and took the recycling down to the curb. She came back in and announced since she had no phone, she was not going to basketball camp. Oh look out, I thought to myself, the gloves are off! She knows we want her to try out for the school basketball team, so in her mind, this was an extremely low blow.
So off she huffed to the bus stop. I waited a few minutes, then stuck my head out the door and hollered “if you change your mind and stay for camp, call me.”
“I can’t,” she hollered back. “I don’t have my phone!”
“There are phones in the school,” I yelled back.
“No there’s not,” she yelled.
For God’s sake, how stupid am I supposed to be? I answered phones there every other week for an entire year! The school is filled with phones. It’s covered up with phones. There’s a phone on every single corner.
I informed her of this and she yelled back “Well, we’re not allowed to use them!”
What kind of a prison camp are they running? Next, she’ll be telling me they have to do homework and eat cafeteria food. Gives me chills just thinking about it!
“Fine,” I yelled back. “Do whatever you want; just call me if you stay after school.”
As I was closing the door, I heard her sing out “I caaannnn’t.” Witch.
Well, I’m off to take the boy in for his diagnosis. I hope it’s something curable because he can’t miss too much school. And as it is, he ruined my breakfast and lunch plans. I guess I’ll have to eat out twice as much next week to compensate!!