This morning has been one long slapstick routine.
First thing I did—well, third, but the less about that, the better—was go twenty rounds* with my e-mail system, which does not understand why I might want margins and line breaks in the writing samples I need to send out. I finally registered with a format-friendlier new e-mail provider and went ten more rounds with it before realizing that if I sent the samples to someone using the same provider, I didn’t need to use any of my usual fixes.
It was about this time that I decided to nudge “caffeine” and “waking up” a tad higher on my daily To Do list.
But it all worked out just before I had to turf the kids out of bed. My beloved offspring responded to my cheerful order to rise and shine—or at least rise, I’m not a total despot—by leaping into action like slugs after a molasses binge.** I bribed them to breakfast with their choice of poison from a cereal multi-pack and told them, repeatedly, that I was leaving at quarter after. Big hand on the 3.
Does everyone understand? I am not waiting for you this morning.
It’s my first day back after a week away and I have to be on time. If you aren’t ready, I’m leaving without you.
Okay, Mommy. Oooo, look—a marshmallow rainbow!
When we finally left the house, fed, brushed, and shod, the big hand was on the six and the big vein was pulsing on the forehead.
And it was raining.
But I was armed with extra coffee in a travel mug and an umbrella, and both kids gave me big hugs at the entrance to their day camp—even Janie, who is starting to exhibit public sensitivity to parental cooties —before they ran one way and I ran the other.
I parked in the library lot only ten minutes behind my planned schedule, opened my umbrella with a smug flair, and walked with professional purpose across the street to the staff entrance . . . just as I remembered my coffee. I went back to my car, retrieved my travel mug and spent some time juggling it, my bag, my keys, and the umbrella, until I finally figured out how to work the lock without dropping anything. Much.
As I was braving the cross traffic for the third time, a small gust of wind hit the umbrella, which promptly exploded into bare spines and flapping cloth, leaving me holding aloft what looked like the red and white foot of an enormous dead duck, but was far less useful for keeping off the sudden torrential downpour.***
I couldn’t just leave it there—there were witnesses, laughing as they drove by—so I carried it to the library and abandoned it in the small airlock space because there’s a security camera there and beating it to shreds against the floor wouldn’t look good to admin, which tries to maintain a sort of mutually beneficial DODT when it comes to staff sanity.
When I reached my work area, I found that my coworkers had considerately filled it with newspapers and books and magazines so that I wouldn’t feel as though I wasn’t needed.
I set my travel mug carefully next to a stack of newspapers so I could unbury my chair.
My phone rang, and without thinking, I picked up the receiver.^
Which pulled the cord.
Which was under the newspapers.
Next to my mug.
Luckily, from a preservationist’s view, the coffee missed the papers and the books. And my shirt was wet from the rain, anyway.
There are worse things to smell like than vanilla hazelnut. And brown goes with green, right?
Plus, I got a blog post out of it.
Silver linings, guys. Silver linings.
So . . . How is your Monday Tuesday going?
*round (\rau̇nd\) : sending an email containing writing samples to one’s own e-mail account to make sure they will arrive with the intended formatting instead of extra line breaks, spaces, weird fonts/colors/sizes, graffiti from random cybergremlins, and, eventually, the swearwords inadvisably added during round seven.
** While prying Sunny out of bed, I found a book under her pillow. Coincidence? I think not. Mom, I know you’re snickering—stop it.
***Not that I’ve ever tried using a duck foot to keep dry, but anything—a flyswatter, a colander, a water balloon—would have worked better at that point.
^It was our maintenance guy, wondering if that was my dead umbrella at the staff entrance. “Yes,” I said. “ . . . Again?” he said.