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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sing your heart out Peggy Lee

It’s tempting just to shriek. It’s a simple enough question afterall; “will you be home for supper?” This is information I need in advance, from all six of us. Everyone has plans but no-one can be nailed down to a time table even if a hammer was available.

No-one understands.

You can’t take two sick children to the supermarket. You can’t announce to everyone “we still have to eat you know!”

It’s one of those annoying illnesses, the kind that lingers for day upon day. The predominant symptom is a temperature, a fever. It’s the kind of fever that hovers around 99 degrees for a blink or two, but then reverts to normal. Each child needs one full fever free day before returning to school. After the 99 degree temperature is duly noted, each child proceeds to swing from the rafters with glee for the remainder of the day, well within the confines of ‘normal.’

Two little boys celebrate the semi permanent status of ‘no school.’ Other people scowl with discontent, indefinite menus and outstanding chores, as the efficiency standards plummet.

My primary concern is to guard the safety of the 5 laundry hampers at the top of the stairs. Hours of work, carefully folded and ready for return to their destination, should time allow. Without due diligence, the contents will be tossed so that the hampers can be requisitioned as ‘boats.’ Wooden spoons will be stolen as ‘oars.’

My secondary concern is to produce a dinner for an indeterminate number of bodies by 7 in the evening.

Whilst it would be true to report that two smallish people don’t eat much whilst under the influence, theoretically, nutritious meals should be provided regardless, if only to aid recovery. It is difficult to prepare nutritious meals in the company of two small people in need of entertainment and distraction, even if you have all day within which to prepare.

No one period of 3 or 5 minutes appears to be sufficient for efficient brain function from the chef. The half peeled potato seems lonely and irrelevant. What was the melted butter for again? Why did I chop an onion? Why did I leave the soup out to thaw? Do any of these things fit together? How do they fit together? Why is that greased casserole dish sitting there so guilty?

When he phones to warn me of his imminent return home, I’m tempted to tell him to stay at work.
“What’s up?”
“What’s up? I haven’t managed to do anything today, let alone make supper!” I dislike my nervy tone.
“Pull something out of the freezer. The fridge is overflowing!” I endure a pause, pregnant with festering vitriol. I am uncomfortably aware of the truth of these two facts.
“Well……. how about I pick up a take out on the way home?”

Horray! Now why didn’t I think of that?

I climb the stairs and gently tip out the laundry. I lean each pile against the wall. They look a little unstable so I tilt them back a bit in my favour and stack the five empty hampers together. I skip downstairs with my hoard of treasure, grab a handful of wooden spoons to a chorus of “Chips Ahoy!” from two land bound potential sailors.

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