This morning BOTH of my children awoke healthy—if not entirely cheerful—and I sang “You are going to school to-day! You are going to school to-day!” until they both glared at me and plotted their revenge together at the breakfast table. I should probably be worried, but it’s hard to take the revenge plans of people chewing animal-shaped vitamins seriously.
We shuffled through the crisp air to the bus stop, amused ourselves by chiding each other for “smoking” and trying to make interesting shapes with the misty breath coming from our mouths, and then waved goodbye as the bus pulled away.
Thus began my first day this week sans children. I just knew it was going to be a great day!
I came back to the house and went about my usual routine. Make a cup of tea, check my email, do some work. Look; it’s not glamorous or thrilling, my life, but I like it. I especially like performing all of the aforementioned activities in TOTAL SILENCE. I hadn’t realized how much so until I had to try to do all of those things while one or both children asked for juice, or complained that their stomach hurt, or asked if they could watch television.
But today was a thing of beauty. My morning was like clockwork. I was calm, and productive, and carefree, and happy.
In fact, when the phone rang at 12:30, I was just starting to think about taking a break for lunch and maybe even just kick back for a few minutes.
I grabbed the handset and checked the caller ID. It was Otto.
Now, you’re probably thinking: Oh, that’s so nice! She’s having this great day and then Otto calls! Even better!
But, see, that’s not how it is at all. Otto and I talk all the time, true. Lord knows it’s an unusual day if we don’t chat on IM a few times and then still manage to tie up the phone for a couple of hours later on.
[I often leave myself logged on to Instant Messenger while I’m on the phone with him, and if I’m really on the ball I’ll remember to change my status to “On the phone.” Doing so is generally Kira‘s cue to appear and start pestering me with such loving screeds as “Why are you on the phone? Why? You should be here talking to me. But you are on the PHONE with that GUY because you love him more than you love me, and all because he has a penis and I don’t! Hmph.”]
[That small pop you just heard was Otto bursting into flame because I used the word “penis” in reference to him and my father reads here. Otto will later insist that whether or not my father was AWARE that he owns a penis is not the point; there’s no need to be TALKING ABOUT IT.]
Oh, right. So! The phone rang in the middle of the day, and while I am always happy to talk to my beloved, generally in the middle of the day we are both, you know, WORKING. And not chatting on the phone. So rather than being engulfed in warm fuzzies I immediately became concerned, but I tried to stay calm.
Me: Hey! Hi! What’s up? Everything okay?
Otto: Hi! Yeah, um, I just have some bad news.
At this point I mentally ran down the list of possible calamities. I mean, the fact that it’s Otto and not some random person saying “I found this phone on the body we just recovered” is a plus, but I can come up with three or four plausible bad news scenarios without any effort at all. I am starting to panic a little.
Me: You what? What? What’s wrong?
Otto: Yeah, it’s bad. I don’t know if you’re still going to want to move down here.
Me: What? Why?
Otto: Well… the Mellow Mushroom closed.
I heave a sigh of relief and consider reaching through the phone and smacking him for scaring me. At the same time, I can’t resist chuckling at how well this man knows me, to know that I would view the demise of a pizza place as a major tragedy.
Me: Oh no! Why?
Otto: I dunno, but there’s another restaurant there now. I figured I better tell you right away, so you could decide if you still wanted to come down.
Me: Wow. Yeah, I’m gonna have to take it under advisement.
Otto: I figured.
Me: Lucky for you, as big a strike as that is, there is still a huge factor in your favor that went into force just today.
Otto: Oh really? What’s that?
Me: It was five degrees outside this morning when we went to the bus stop.
Otto: So you think you can get over this, then?
Me: Yeah, probably.
I dunno; if it’d been warm out today, it would’ve been a much closer call.
Here’s what I had to say about the Mellow Mushroom after I ate there twice a year and a half ago:
I have glimpsed heaven. Twice, actually. Look, I donâ€™t want to exaggerate. But if they do not open one near me I am going to have to move, is all Iâ€™m sayinâ€™.
And what happens? They do NOT open one near me and I make good on my vow to move closer to them. And now they close their doors by Otto. Hmph. (Joss? Is the one near you still there? I may have to come visit you a lot. Um, because I love you.)
Anyway, I will be grappling with this crushing news for a little while. As bad news goes, it’s definitely better than some of the alternatives. But Otto is not allowed to call me in the middle of the day again unless someone is in mortal peril. I can only take so much.