I knew I shouldn't have answered the phone yesterday morning, but it was the middle school. Someone didn't want to be there (we've gone through this every January since this child was dumped in daycare by a heartless mother). "She threw up," said the nurse. We're on a first name basis at this point.
Damn it. Vomiting. There's no turning back, no bargaining. "I'll be right there."
The sudden need for popsicles and chicken soup, required a trip to the grocery. I don't drive the several miles into town on a whim so if I was going, I intended to get all the groceries in that trip. As if one can get all the groceries. Ever.
At the store, I frightened a stranger. I'd unloaded the cart and stood chatting with Savannah, the bagger, and Julia, the cashier, while groceries traveled the long stretch of conveyor belt. A woman with the most interesting mullet I've ever seen surveyed my purchases as she waited for enough space to clear so she could put her items on the belt.
"Was another snowstorm predicted?" Her eyes were wide.
Julia, the cashier, laughed. I'd just mentioned that we'd run out of everything during the last snow.
"No," I smiled at the worried woman. "We were out of everything and I came in for a side of beef and a buttload of Buy One Get One Free things."
She didn't even flinch at my use of the term buttload. "Oh, phew!" She drew her hand across her forehead. "I am so over the snow."
Me, too. I'm also over hearing how there's no food in the house and why can't we have more meat because we're starving and need real meals, blah, blah, blah. Listen, I'd have to rustle a steer, marry a chicken farmer and have a hog farmer on the side to keep enough meat in this house now that Nate is working out with the baseball team.
It's something to watch your son transform from boy to man with muscles and hairy armpits and a new chiseled effect to his jawline, but damn, it's like feeding lions at the zoo. I remember my brother David at this stage. He and his friend, the other David, would eat a box of PopTarts and drink a 2 liter of Mountain Dew each.
MathMan and Nate are working out every night after school doing core exercises with names like The Bus Driver, The Hindu, Russian Twists and other offensive things. Their bodies are screaming for protein. Shakes and Clif Bars are fine substitutes, but Hans and Franz want meat. MEAT.
There is now meat in the house. I am going to stuff these people so full of dead animal that Nate will never again ask what gout is. He'll look at his big toe and remember.
Obviously, I'm sensitive to criticism of this sort. I'm working on it, but when a cat offers feedback about breakfast by depositing undigested Purina One swimming in Friskie's Mariner's Catch on the carpet, my mood plummets. That is the final insult. Someone is going to pay.
Punishment takes many forms. Some days, it's messing with the cats' heads by placing stuff in the exact spot on the bed where they usually spend the hours between 8:08 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Their time share arrangements get turned around and I take sadistic pleasure in their discombobulation. They fuss with each other and mope and try to work out a new schedule, but there's always that one guy. You know how it is.
Today, I was more aggressive about the punishment. Since no one stepped forward on all four paws, all the cats had to suffer, not just the puking perp. I forced them to endure my version of Naked Eyes' Always Something There to Remind Me. As soon as I finished cleaning up that pile of puke, that's exactly what I did. Twice. With hand gestures.
What's your favorite form of punishment? Go nuts, people.