MathMan returned from his trip to Washington D.C. yesterdy morning. I fetched him from school and drove him home.
Because we're nothing without our patterns, within minutes of arriving home, we'd stuffed our faces with greasy fast food, hidden the trash evidence so we wouldn't be questioned later about who ate Sonic?, and were pleasantly ensconced in our matching black swivel chairs in front of our laptops. We sit across from each other at a big desk. It makes for some interesting conversations and some tense moments, but you could have guessed that, couldn't you?
In the quiet of the nearly empty house, MathMan searched for video of the trip to post and I toggled between annoying friends on Facebook, leaving obnoxious comments on the blogs of others and learning how to use the webcam with my clothes on. I was supposed to be working.
As I watched his drowsy eyes flutter to stay awake, I reflected on how glad I am that MathMan is home so that I can push the care of The Spawn off onto him for awhile. Normally, I am the one who travels and he is left with a whip and chair and tranquilizer darts to make do, so his lengthy absence (lengthy is a relative term) took it out of me.
When I return from trips, MathMan provides a buffer zone so that I can at least drag my bags into the house, have a moment to dispense with the necessities (I'm trying out new, ladylike terms for popping a squat), and draw a deep breath before launching into a shrewish frenzy about the state of the household.
As I begin with the rhetorical questions such as "Who left this corndog stick on top of the television?" or "Why is there a sock on that cat's tail?" and begin pulling the sofa cushions off so that I can see what nasty, half-chewed suprises await me there, MathMan smiles sheepishly, beats a hasty retreat for the far end of the house, abandoning me, rightfully so, to be fallen upon by the needy children who can't find a trashcan and who don't know that they should brush their teeth every day.
I must say I don't blame him. I really, really, really don't. And I'm sure he wouldn't mind if I did the same.
However, yesterday we got lucky. The timing worked out so perfectly as to allow us some down time before The Spawn returned from school. The Parenting Gods were obviously smiling down upon us because The Dancer called to let us know she was on her way home and I remembered to ask her to stop to retrieve Cupcake from Art Club. This saved us an extra trip and the delight of waiting in the long, snaking line at the elementary school. Parents of young children can relate to what a gift that can be.
We passed a quiet afternoon until The Spawn started drifting in to wish their father a happy return, frisking him for gifts, before leaving skid marks on the floor as they raced to the kitchen. The always return home from school starving. Things remained quiet for a bit and I noted that it looked like I would be off the hook for preparing dinner. Sandwiches would suffice. No one rifled through the trash and found the Sonic contraband. The singing Pussies for Peace were appeased and all was well.
Then it started. And by the time it was over, Cupcake had declared that she hated math and maybe she wasn't really daddy's daughter after all because she wasn't good in math! I slumped in my chair and put my head in my hands. MathMan simply looked at me with that look that said "I've got this." He tried reason, he tried calm. I listened to him explain long division to someone who really just wanted to watch Little People, Big World or some other TLC creation.
Calm was restored when Cupcake was banished to her room. Never one to let well enough alone, The Actor, decided to use his mother's favorite word and found himself summarily dismissed to his room, as well.
Mathman and I breathed a sigh of relief. I allowed myself the passing thought that The Dancer would come home from the studio sans drama and we would all finally go to bed without another shriek, another tear, another threat of karate chops. My optimism was rewarded. I think I might try that again soon.
Finally, MathMan reached his limit and headed off to bed. I was glad for a few minutes alone to finish up what I as doing and noticed that my webcam, forgotten hours ago, was still on. I disconnected it from the laptop and panned it across the quiet, softly lit room and just enjoyed capturing the moment as it flickered across the screen.......