Well, Husband’s out of town for another business trip, leaving the rest of Team WestEnders to hold down the proverbial fort. He had the nerve to pseudo-whine about the fact that it was going to be “120 degrees in San Antonio this week!” (Yeah, he might have been exaggerating…I checked, and it was ONLY supposed to hit 96…the big baby…) but the way it looks from where I’m standing (metaphorically speaking) he’s getting a great deal. I mean, he’ll have his own hotel room all to himself…yummy meals (that someone else cooks for him)…no laundry…let’s face it: it’s pretty much MY idea of Nirvana. Oh, sure, he has to work a little bit, but the whole thing still sounds pretty doggone fabulous to me (except for maybe the blazing temps, but they have air conditioning in the Southwest, so it’s all good…)
Meanwhile, back at the ranch—um “home”—we’re muddling along on our own. School’s out, and soccer is in hiatus for a while, so right now our schedule is actually the least chaotic it ever gets. Of course, I do have to show up at the office Monday through Thursday--and with the teeny little speedbump known as “Riley’s broken leg” this means I asked Derek to stay with his brother every day until I return in the afternoon. The last thing we need is our already-wounded dude falling down, or slipping…or any number of dire accidents a mother can imagine befalling her child when she’s not there to keep a watchful eye on…stuff.
Other than that, it’s more or less business as usual around here…except that when the Man of the House is away, I get stuck doing things that are usually classified as waaaaay outside my job description. Such as: unclogging a toilet. Trust me, this is automatically Husband’s chore…Every. Single. Time. Yes, I know I’m perfectly capable of wielding a plunger….I just refuse…on principle…or whatever. Then there’s the occasional…insect issue. Last time Husband wasn’t around, I had to deal with a 3 Bug Night—and trust me when I tell you, chasing...stomping on…and disposing of many-legged creatures is NOT my forte. (The process involves a great deal of…squealing…I’m not gonna lie.)
We are trying diligently to do our part to rack up some behind-the-wheel time for Derek, since Husband left his car with us for this very reason when he departed. Thus after Derek spent the first, oh, 20 hours or so in a vehicle with his father, it’s now my turn to experience the…thrill?...that is Teenage Driving. And I have to say, it’s mostly been good. Besides, of course, the aforementioned gentle reminders to watch his speed. And once when he was approaching a traffic light that had turned yellow, and I advised him to stop, but he opted to go through it anyway, and it was most DEFINITELY red by that point. “I thought I had more time,” he protested when I kind of said, “I told you so.” Which led to a very short-but-pointed lecture: “When someone who’s been doing this for 30 YEARS offers you advice, you’d best listen. (Did you catch the implied “or else”? Hopefully he did, too…)
Oh, and that one last thing: in Chapel Hill there are certain crosswalks, not at intersections, that have their own signals pedestrians can activate when they want to stop traffic and safely meander to the other side. When someone pushes the button, lights start blinking on the bright yellow caution signs at eye level on either side of the street. Apparently, Derek had never encountered this phenomenon, since he blew right through the crosswalk, with the walkers looking nervously on from the curb, but thankfully waiting for the non-yielding car to pass, and me anxiously going “Stop stop STOP…never mind.” (Siiiighhhh…chalk that one up to a Learning Experience…)
All in all, I like to think we run a fairly tight ship around Casa WestEnders, even when half of the Management is absent. However, there is one thing that is noticeably different: Husband typically cooks dinner for the 3 male carnivores, saving me from a task that I don’t enjoy very much. But when he’s gone, the food prep falls to me…which is fine, in the short-term. I always make sure to serve breakfast one night, which the boys love, but Husband doesn’t. One evening is a planned “takeout” meal, so no one has to plan or concoct a menu.
And often, one night is a standard and easy choice…like pasta, for example. This time, in an attempt to make something I could actually, you know, EAT on my very strict diet, I decided to try gluten-free noodles made of brown rice. They boil exactly the same…they appear very similar to whole wheat when finished…and we were going to slather them with homemade pesto anyway, so who’d be the wiser? Um…that would be Derek…who came into the kitchen before his bowl had been sauced, peered at the penne and exclaimed, very loudly and on one breath(doing his most awesome “picky toddler” impression) “Heywhat’sthis? This doesn’t look like when Dad makes it! Why is it different? I FEAR CHANGE!
Oh. Good. Grief. I might have smacked him with a dish towel…and warned him to “put a sock in it, son”. (One of Husband’s favorite expressions…it seemed appropriate…) As he sat down at the table, his fake hysterics concluded and a big grin on his face, he had one parting shot, “Dad better hurry up and come back from Texas…before you kill me!” Ahhh….with any luck we’ll be able to avoid that, as his father does, in fact, return tomorrow…in time for dinner…which will once again become NOT MY PROBLEM. As for tonight, we’re headed out for our daily constitutional—taking the longest possible route I can figure out, to Whole Foods, to raid their plethora of café selections. Hopefully stopping for all red lights, and watching carefully for people on foot. Wish us luck…