Thursday, May 26, 2011

I Love Spiders. So Should You.

Today is Thursday, the day my friend R takes charge of his nieces and nephews and ventures out in to the world. For weeks R and I have had a running 'maybe' play date. When he called this morning, to remind me he had the kids, I looked out the window at the glorious spring day, and then back at my computer, where I was contacting friends and friends of friends to let them know just how sick A is, and that we're going to loose her.

I closed my laptop, packed my toddler, and forayed in to Maine. Sunshine and children suddenly seemed to be the most important thing in the world. That the home we were going to was on the same back roads I traveled two weeks ago was helpful. Knowing where we were going, I was able to soak up the sun, I knew where the 'kisser hills' were, and I took in the scenery with aplomb, even though Sawyer insisted on yelling "LOOK OUT LOOK OUT" at every curve.

R was house sitting, at a lovely, wonderful, huge and inviting home. The play structure in the front yard had the one at Henry law park beat by a mile. We turned the kids loose, and sat in the grass, chatting over iced coffee. Parts I didn't know were tense started to unwind.

There were 4 kids: Girls named Monkey and Bubbles, aged 6 and 1. The boys were D and Sawyer, ages 4 and 2. Quickly, Monkey and I established that we had the same flip flops. That we both loved purple. That bunnies were awesome and soft, and that she had a baby one, and it was the best. thing. ever. We were friends for life.

Sitting in the grass, I noticed a spider. A huge, female brown house spider, my favorite kind. She was carrying a giant egg sack under her belly, struggling along the way giantly pregnant women do.
'Wow, look at this spider!" I said. 'She's going to have babies!"
Instantly I was joined by Monkey and D. So fast, in fact, I thrust out my hand to keep them from stepping on our specimen. "Careful! We don't want to squish her!" I said.

I pointed out the spider, and the egg sack. Our little class was more interesting than the swings, and we were joined by the younger kids, Sawyer and Bubbles. Neither of them cared about the spider, but they wanted to be where the action was. All the kids studied the tiny mom, and we talked about how she was going to have babies.

"Spiders are cool!" said D. (he's 4)
"Spiders are gross." Said Monkey. "They are icky."
"Spiders are scary! " said D. (Some day, their parents will long for such unity between siblings.)
"Spiders are my absolute favorite all time best bug." I said. "I like them better than ants, or beetles or "
"Butterflies?!" interrupted Monkey.
"Yes. Better than butterflies. I like spiders best of all. Even more than butterflies." I said. I explained why. We sat in silence for a few minutes, and the other kids wandered off.

"Butterflys are my favorite." Said Monkey. "They're pretty. Spiders are ok."
"Well," I said. "Butterflies ARE prettier than spiders. But my favorites are still spiders."

Monkey nodded and tore off to play on the swings.

I think she and I should go on the road. Our next stop? The Middle East. If we can find common ground with butterflies and spiders, Israel and Palestine should be a snap.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Universe Gets a Sense of Humor

It's 3AM. I am sound asleep. The 'sound' in that sentence is the important part. I haven't slept soundly in days, maybe weeks.

I wake up to my husband thrashing next to me. Next, I hear swearing. Finally, he jumps out of bed and dashes from the room. Now I'm awake, and hearing the noise too. Voices, and thuds, and yelling. I decide that they aren't in the house, whomever they are, because the dog hasn't barked, and when my dog barks, you know it. The whole block knows it. Josh comes back in the room, still swearing. He peers out the window at the cemetery across the street. It is huge, and old, and built on a fairly steep hill, and easy as hell to hide in.
"There's some asshole kids in the cemetery." He says. "Throwing rocks on cars as they go by. I called the cops."
My husband is pissed. Pissed that he was woken up. Pissed that before he woke up, he dreamed that the asshole kids were in our house and yard, and that's why he went tearing from the room. Pissed that his adrenaline is flowing and he is NOT going to get back to sleep.
I decide that now is not the time to ask him to contemplate karma and his own misspent youth. I go back to sleep.

At 6.30am, my alarm goes off. I slap snooze.

At 6.33am, my phone rings. It's my mother, who above all other humans knows not to call me before.. ever. I answer, thinking it must be an emergency.
"Hi!" She says. "Are you awake?"
"I don't know." ... I'm being honest.
"I just wanted you to know that they canceled school at the middle school today." she says. I hear my stepdad in the background, laughing.
"What? Why?" I ask.
"Lightening struck the school." she says.
"Really??" I ask.
"Yes! Really! Go back to sleep! No school!" She tells me, exactly like she did when I was 7 and there was a foot of snow. I hear my Stepdad in the background, laughing.
"YEEESSSS!!!" I cry and perform a sleepy fist pump. I say goodbye, and then send a text to my BFF and to Sandy, who drives Tris to school.

"No school at DMS! Lightening strike!" I say in my text. Then I pass out again.

45 minutes later, I wake up, because the toddler hasn't yet woken me up. I contemplate how very unfair this is as I lay in bed, listening to him on the monitor. He's moving around a bit, playing, safe in his room. Why can't I go back to sleep? I doze.. and then hear:

I fly through the door, expecting carnage, intruders, hobbits, something terrible.

And find my 2.5 year old son, perfectly fine, stark naked, sitting in the now empty third drawer up of his dresser. He is yelling and crying because he has just peed himself. In the dresser drawer. Which is wood, and antique.
(Good thing he got those absorbent, washable clothes out of the drawer first! I mean, really, that would have been *SO MUCH* harder to clean up.)

I install the toddler in the shower with toys and go to clean up his room. As I pass by the door of my teenagers room, I pound on it. No response. I enter, and throw some clothes from the floor and one shoe at him until he sits up. (I can't get to his bed without spelunking, throwing things is easier.)

"WHAT?!" He growls.
"Schools canceled. Lightening strike. Go back to sleep." I say.

I'm watching his eyes, so I see it. The moment when the fact school is canceled overcomes the primal need to yell at me for waking him up. He does a fist pump and yells "YESSSS!" and passes out again.

I clean the baby, and his room, and apply clothes to child and drawers. I settle him in with breakfast in the kitchen, and run back up for my phone.

And find a text, from Sandy, who is the most reliable person I know. It says "Are you sure school is canceled? Can't find it online or on the news!"

I call my mother to double check. She doesn't answer. I look online, and can't find any info anywhere about school being canceled.

It occurs to me that I've dreamed very, very believable things before. That I have acted, on waking, about things I dreamed about. That I am, in fact, notorious for this behavior. And it occurs to me that dreaming that my mother telling me there is no school is pretty simple. I mean, I would dream that.

I think of calling the school, but I have had no coffee yet, and dealing with their phone system is beyond me on a good, caffeinated day. I call my best friend instead. I tell her what happened, and in a panicked voice, that I may well have dreamed it. I apologize if I misinformed her, and if because of my dreams, her daughter, my niece, is out without permission and can't go on the trip to DC with the rest of the 8th grade.

My best friend assures me that I didn't dream it. School is canceled. She doesn't know why it's not listed on the website, but it is true. Lightening took out the fire alarm system, so they can't have kids in the building. Ava can go on the trip. Everything is ok.

I celebrated my lack of insanity by taking my breakfast on the porch, with coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.