…the mice (maybe bigger? More like rats?) will play. Three beautiful daughters – the youngest being the knife-wielding ninja, the middle child, the hot-headed volcano and the oldest, well we’ll just call her the oldest.
While my career has always required travel, this became more of an adventure after THE divorce. They were certainly old enough – at least in the chronological order of things – to be home alone for a few days. At first, my requirements were simple. Don’t kill each other.
This usually worked as instructed although most of the last day of travel usually included yelling by the volcano and the oldest sprouting from my cell phone. Cell phones are one of the most over-rated inventions of the last century in my opinion. Having dropped more than one in a toilet I have realized that they are just glorified bricks but they at least keep the kids quiet at the dinner table.
As they got older I had somewhat higher expectations of the rats, er, kids. Don’t let the dog starve to death (being an older sensible dog there was really nothing else to worry about in regards to the pet), nothing too stinky in the kitchen sink and, oh, a roll of toilet paper in the bathroom might be nice.
Here is the thing about all teenagers – their parents are all stupid, naive and will never know what happens when mom isn’t looking.
So, frequent parties in my absence ensued. Mostly harmless – like the time the custodian of the establishment next door who had the audacity to ask me why 15 pizza boxes had been thrown over the fence near their dumpster. My response, “I don’t know, I have been out of town”.
It also included the crazy be-otch from the other side of the yard spouting – do you know what happens when you are gone? I had to call the cops. At which point I would thank her profusely which only made her even madder (killing with kindness rarely works with the certifiably insane).
The best/worst party occurred when I had to travel for a few days after the volcano’s high school graduation. I fully expected some sort of party while I was gone, including Crazy calling the cops again. What I didn’t expect when I returned home was an ugly, run down sofa in the dirt patch (aka – the backyard)!
Finally, when the rats seemed to be maturing, the worst and scariest incident took place. On my last day of the trip (why was it always the last day?), I received a call from the local police department saying “Mam, your house is on fire” – they would not give further details. So while I frantically tried to give them the rats’ cell phone numbers (the stupid brick makes you forget actual phone numbers because you only have to click on a name) I was packing and saying “Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God” – I rarely use the Lord’s name in vain.
After canceling my morning meetings and racing home I was relieved to find the damage very minimal and my precious girls safe and sound. I will always be eternally grateful to the police officer who drove by, noticed smoke, and put the fire out. However, when I found out that the fire was started by a coal from a hookah pipe that was thrown into the dirt patch by the ninja, well…
Now that the rats are fully matured and into adulthood (although they all still live at home – a subject for another blog post) I have largely stopped worrying about traveling out of town. My expectations – clean kitchen and trash taken out – are largely met. I thought I was in the clear.
Fast forward to July of this year. The oldest offered to take care of the new – really big – I am afraid of everything – have a slight case of separation anxiety – dog. Which was much appreciated as I had started my own company and cash flow was limited. By the third day he had broken through the back fence – luckily he is too scared to go anywhere and trotted up to the oldest when she came home from work. The rats’ solution – a large box and an overstuffed chair lately from the front room to hold it in place.
However, on the last day of my trip (seeing a pattern here?), I get a phone call from the volcano saying that the scaredy dog has ruined the front door (mind you, I live in an historic house so this is no small concern). The oldest texts to say it’s not that bad and I have saved all the pieces. Splinters do a very poor repair job…