If you like the teenage drama series, you’ll appreciate this. My husband, Ken, was gone last week, and conveniently for him, everything went to heck as soon as the airplane door was fastened securely shut. This was lucky for him because, had I known, I would have pried the door open and plucked him out to help, fending off air marshalls if necessary. That not being an option landed all subsequent drama onto my shift, which was unfortunate.
When we first married, we divided child care 50/50. I called the first 10 years, he got the second. I got paperwork, he got yucky stuff. On both counts, age and yuckiness, the events of this week should have fallen squarely on his shift. But noooo. He was sitting on a plane at 40,000 feet debating the relative merits of peanuts versus pretzels while I was suffering the pangs of parenting teens.
The week progressed with the usual doses of tantalizing ups and downs including our daughter’s prom drama (a riveting story unto itself), son’s first lovelife hitting the skids and housekeeping necessarily being thrown out the window. By Tuesday, it was clear that Martha Stewart did not live here anymore. By Wednesday, it appeared the landfill had been relocated to our living room.
Striving for order, I fought back against the laundry first, hauling a dump truck load of dry cleaning (debate suits for the kids) to the cleaners which is an hour away round trip.
This, I thought, was brilliant on my part because we were well in advance of needing these suits again. I was busy congratulating myself on my forward thinking when son Ben came strolling home from school making noise about a band concert…that night.
Band concerts, as all varsity parents know, require that the kids wear…dress pants…which I had just hauled to Delta because I was unaware of the band concert. The alternative blue jeans will result in an F in band, subsequent unemployability, and a lengthy layover living at home after high school. Becoming quite stern with him (yelling), I asked why I was hearing about it so late. Ben calmly assured me that his teacher gave him the notice a week ago, but that he lost it, or forgot it, or insert teen-excuse-of-your-choice here, because, by now, I had pushed the “mute” button and could only see his lips moving – no sound.
Not a problem, he assured me – he would wear his debate clothes. So, I told him to indulge me and to produce what he intended to wear. Confidently he strides out of the room and I hear rustling in his room, rustling in the t.v. room, rustling in my room, rustling in the attic, the cars, the laundry room, the bathroom, the shower stalls, the toilet tanks, the dog crates, the truck, the goat pen, and finally, he comes in and asks me, calmly, like nothing is the matter, if I might have seen his debate clothes. Oh yes, I reply. I did see them…all. And I picked them all up, and I hauled them all to the cleaners.
A brief wave of panic crosses his face, and then he replied, “Well, I’ll just run to Farmer Franks and buy another pair of pants.” Yes, yes. Great idea. Except that it is Wednesday – and they are closed on Wednesdays. Panic returns to his face. He glances at his watch and grimaces. He does not have time to run to Wal-Mart. Real panic begins to bubble. The thrift store? They hardly have anything in his size. He’s now in a real pitch when my mom and dad walk into the house. What’s going on? Dad asks sensing the tension, to which I ask if abortion is still an option.
“How far are you along?” he asks, with eyebrows arched. Sixteen years, I answer. “Hmmm,” he ponders. “Yes, I think Obama just signed a bill permitting it.”
Ben ended up wearing a pair of Dad’s pants to the band concert. Cannot believe how lucky guys-covering-for-guys can be. My dad measures four foot in the torso with two-foot-long legs. Ben’s measurements are the reverse of that. Good thing Ben is a drummer.
I forgot to mention – Hotchkiss is having another band concert soon. I hear the last one was a riot. Some drummer was wearing an over-sized suit jacket with capris. I, of course, have never heard of him. Didn’t even know he attended school here….Ben? Ben who???