Cathy had a debilitating migraine today. She had to hide under the covers in a dark room. I keep the television off as much as I could and Evan had imaginative self-play most of the day allowing me to work. Amy had Girl Scouts until 3:45. I decided I needed a quickie dinner tonight and called spaghetti. Everyone eats it except Noah, and the preparation and cleanup is minimal. Noah, the great consumer of ketchup and meat, on spaghetti nights chooses to ignore the stringy pasta covered with tomato based sauce usually with ground beef mixed in and instead cooks himself Ramen noodles. I left slightly early to run by Butler & Bailey for the sauce for tonight’s meal before picking up Amy.
I arrived at Girl Scouts as they were closing. The girls formed a circle and sang a song of friendship. As the circle formed, I noted the girls were down some steps in an amphitheater part of the school library leaving one girl in a wheel chair abandoned. I started to ask if she and I could join the circle but hesitated assuming this had been prearranged for some reason. I was wrong. The wonderful leader working hard, with only one other adult assistant and so many girls, had simply overlooked the wheelchair bound youth. I mentioned it to her and could see that she acknowledged her error. I didn’t want her to feel bad but am hoping that the girl won’t be left out of such an important part of the meeting. I feel sad for her. This is just the beginning and she will have to learn to be tough for a world that will intentionally and accidentally exclude her. I spoke to my daughter about it and encouraged her to speak up whenever the girl in the wheelchair is overlooked expressing that the leaders and the girl will really appreciate her actions. I don’t think she got the message.
It was now 3:58. We had to get from the elementary school to the high school by 4:00 to pickup Sarah and her friend. We arrived at 4:10 and I received a text message from Noah begging for fish food for SuperGuppie, the fish that swims in green water with 100 snails and never dies. The high school girls jump in the car and I ask, "How was practice?" to which I got a quizzical answer that they hadn’t gone yet and had to be at Hardin Valley High School at 5:30. That’s BFE West through rush hour traffic to the uninitiated. I tried to shortcut through the student lot to be close to the pet store but the security theater at the high school had already closed that gate. Cars cannot get through without a $12 bolt cutter but vandals can slip right through the gaping hole between the two gates. So I u-turn and head to Kingston Pike, slip past Margarita’s restaurant joking with the girls that we’ll eat there, then speed behind the buildings because it is fun and avoids speed bumps while passing the delivery trucks and smoking employees finally arriving at the exotic pet store. I leave all 3 girls in the car and grab an unusually large container of vegetarian colored flakes for the fish which is either 1) guaranteed to be spilled merciless all over the place by Noah or 2) through some great cosmic joke to cause the immortal fish to croak tonight. I return to the car to find the teenagers listening to one of XM’s comedy stations–aka "George Carlin influenced all these comedians." I suggest to Sarah that she find something more child friendly lest she wants to explain a little too early to Amy about the birds and the bees.
On the way home I torture the girls with Pink Floyd. I remember we have no milk and I stop at Weigel’s again leaving the teens in charge of the 6 year old. When I return with 2 gallons of cow juice the radio is still on Floyd. "Do you like Pink Floyd?" "NO!"
It’s 4:40 and water is on the stove. It’s 4:58 and the water still isn’t boiling. Sarah explains that we have to leave in 5 minutes and I give the girls the run down of the leftovers in the fridge which turns out to be a remarkable amount of decent food that needs to be eaten. They turn down my Aloo Sag and request McDonald’s. We turn the water off and hit the drive through. It’s 5:07 and we are turning right from Northshore to Morrell and we can hear the large Dr. Pepper falling out of its drink holder and pouring onto the girl’s flags, book bags, coats and streaming stickiness onto everything in the car. It’s 5:10 and the damage isn’t terrible but to return to McD’s for a new drink will make the girls late. They opt get her one from the drink machine at the school (I thought we did away with soft drinks at the schools).
It’s 5:28 and the girls arrive right on time despite the best efforts of Knoxville’s rush hour drivers and a wide load poking down Pellissippi Parkway. Once back at the house, Amy reminds me I promised she could help get the Christmas tree out. A little effort, a lot of happiness. The separate parts of the tree work their way upstairs. The bottom third is in the stand and I declare dinner time. I veto spaghetti, heat up some sliced carrots and bring out the leftovers getting plates made for the little two and leaving the other people to make their own choices. Evan declares he has to go potty. I rush him off for a little book reading in the "library" when I hear a thwack and a holler from Cathy. Once again she’s gone and kicked the middle part of the tree that I left in the middle of the living room. I leap out of the bathroom leaving Evan to his own accord so that I can remove the problem. Instead I see Cathy dripping blood on the hardwoods and a pile of glass below her foot. Amy and Noah leap from the chairs (barefooted) to rush to her aid. I raise a hand with a magical energy field that would have made Gandolf proud and command them back to their feets. Quick lecture about the goodness of helpfulness but knowing to ask if help is needed first. I’m in the process of cleaning glass from the floor while watching Cathy’s foot bleed and commanding the springs to get back in their chairs over and over when out of the bathroom a giggling Evan comes bounding toward the mess. All I can picture is a bottom covered in poo about to be spread everywhere. Noah is up again and rushes to the bathroom with one of his great nosebleeds. Amy is up to help him with instructions, "lean forward, pinch hard." I direct her back to her seat and encourage Evan to eat. Soon Noah returns. By this time the floor is clean of glass shards, the two blades of glass protruding from Cathy’s foot have been removed, I’ve tortured her with rubbing alcohol, and applied a bandaid provided by Amy.
You know…it’s a bit like juggling. Cathy says it more succinctly.