Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Day of Service

In the red velvet cake of life, the third day of a three day weekend is the cream cheese frosting... and not the cream cheese frosting that your neighbor makes that even though they insist is "everyone's favorite!" tastes like sweetened spackle, I mean the cream cheese frosting that is actually good. I feel a little guilty saying it because I like my job, and should have grown out of it by now, but I just love the extra day. Usually, our weekends are pretty packed, and this one was no exception. We picked the kids up from school on Friday and went right to Beaumont Elementary Bingo Night; got up on Saturday and went to Lily's ballet class, then to Sam's tennis practice, then off to dinner at my aunt's house; got up on Sunday and made chili for the Eagles game/birthday party/chili cookoff that afternoon... and we filled in the gaps with laundry, trips to the supermarket, video store, etc... But Monday, glorious Monday, was a freebie. All we had planned was a trip to the movies. Seriously. That's it. Of course, because the four of us having a relaxing day at home would set the order of the universe askew, we got the shaft once again. By 6:30 in the morning Sam was in our room with a fever and sore throat, so we put the movie on hold and made a doctor's appointment... still, could be worse... It snowed about six inches or so too, as if God looked down and said "hmm, what does Joe hate more than anything... I know! Heights! Wait, that won't work, I can't just put him on top of something... what else, what else.. snow! That's it! Haha! That'll fix that little trying-to-relax-on-a-Monday, left-the-catholic-church-to-become-a-Unitarian bastard!" By lunchtime I was going stir-crazy from watching Sam groan all morning, and since the roads looked pretty clear from my window, decided to run out to buy dog food since we were completely kibble-free. About halfway there I realized what a mistake it was to drive, and honestly wished I would given them some zabuton from my freezer and gone to the pet store on Tuesday. Too late to turn back, I drove on, and just as I got to the parking lot watched a car spin off of Rt. 202, roll up the grassy shoulder, and crash into a fence separating the highway from the access road. Sensing that perhaps this would add some good karma into my day, it skittered across the road and ran down the snowy hill to the side of the highway. As I got to the fence, a couple was getting out of the car and seemed freaked out but otherwise OK. I talked to them for a couple of minutes until a tow truck arrived, but apparently Sadguru wasn’t watching because as I tried to make my way back to the my car, the hill that I had so effortlessly ran down required an ice pick and crampons to get back up. Since they were in my other coat, I spent a good ten minutes clawing my way up the first half of the hill, at which point I briefly considered giving up entirely and letting the gently falling snow slowly cover my substantial frame... dreaming one day people would mention Chris McCandless’ name and mine in the same breath. Luckily, the light from the Petsmart sign gave me the strength to go on, and I slid into our driveway just in time to take Sam to the doctor...
... where we found out the he has strep throat again. As the icing on the cake of my day, after our hour long, three mile drive home, our power went out. For the rest of the night, as our 68 degree house gradually equalized with the 16 degree outside, we watched my laptop and cell phone batteries die, the flashlights grow dimmer, and my iTouch fade into darkness. Eventually, we gave up. Sara and Lily piled into our bed with Sam so they could feed off of his feverish heat, and I went downstairs to blow out the last of our candles and curled up with the dogs on the couch.
Funny thing is, in the pitch black cold of our living room, I couldn’t help but smile thinking about the talent show by candlelight Sara had started to keep the kids busy, the way a feverish Sam couldn’t help but giggle as he jostled for position in our too tiny bed, how Satchmo snored his way through another dark day, and how if I froze to death on the couch they might make Into The Wild 2 – The Suburban Tundra.

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