When life hands you a Frankenstorm, which means no school with a cranky kid and a deadline you still have to meet because the flexibility of working from home means the ability, sadly, to work no matter what the weather or the driving conditions on the interstate, you . . . well, you get creative.
You start cleaning closets, but then you get distracted by whines of “I’m booooooored” that peal into your consciousness about the same time that you discover the Magic School Bus Weather Kit you’d forgotten you’d bought. It seems fortuitous, but maybe it’s a you-make-your-own-luck sort of thing–in the sense that you are the kind of people who like buying stuff, especially educational stuff on clearance, for your kid, but you don’t like to spoil your offspring by actually giving it to her. Your rationale is that you’re saving it for a rainy day. On the other hand, today is in fact quite a rainy day and probably a good time to break out some of it.
Everyone is all smiles, initially. And so you make a thermometer, a wind vane, and, most appropriately, a rain gauge–which you fasten to the porch with weaving loops from your child’s potholder kit. Will it stand up to hurricane winds? You might be on the verge of a breakthrough here.
But after an hour of science lessons, including a failed bid to make a barometer, which is really too bad since hurricanes are the perfect time to use one–well, you’re on the verge of a breakdown.
So you pull out Halloween craft kits, which your child finishes before you’re even done checking Facebook. Fortunately she then spies empty boxes, into which she crawls in the hopes of jumping out and scaring you when you pass (it works).
The problem is that these diversions don’t last very long.
Also, you need to get some work done. Your offspring follows you to your office, where you fend off the assault of stuffed animals by suggesting that they attack the dictionary in search of the names of their prey. This works fine until you get to the owl, who likes to eat mice. Coincidentally, your hand is resting on a conveniently located piece of owl bait. The owl pounces, and as the poor mouse skitters below the desk, the cursor goes haywire and your screen freezes and you lose the last twenty minutes’ worth of work.
You see this as a good time to take a break. Your child sees your break as a good time to drag you off to ballet class. You throw some dinner on the stove and then, with Enya providing the score and your child providing the choreography, you do real dances and pretend dances and prepare for a recital. Gradually the classical ballet morphs into contemporary and from thence to modern, in which you lie on the floor because it’s the Dance of the Owls, and you have to pretend to be in your nest. This is fun, although the young ballet teacher gets annoyed when you try to actually sleep on the floor. Still, she makes a certificate offering you “Conragerlations” for passing to the next level.
You attempt to begin Level II, but class is interrupted by the smell of smoke. You spend the next little while scrubbing burned lentils off the bottom of the pot while gritting your teeth and trying to be grateful that you have electricity with which to burn dinner.
In the meantime your husband, who’s off today too, has found a half-finished Spongebob Color-by-Number. But by now your child is busy writing a report on Egypt, copied lovingly from the Wikipedia entry. Although you briefly consider a lecture on plagiarism, the quiet is too pleasant to disturb.
You put on some more lentils and as you begin to tiptoe back to the office, she once more bounces in and demands something new to play with. Then she throws a fit because you tell her to put the report paper away first; “I’m not done!” she shrieks, but when you suggest she go finish it before starting something new, she’s suddenly quite done after all.
In the midst of this you receive the news that school’s cancelled tomorrow, too.
You give her Spongebob and reevaluate the contents of the Rainy Day Closet. You think about how best to ration the craft kits for the 36+ hours until school is back in session. If it’s back in session. You try to focus on work, but the bubbling from the next batch of lentils is as distracting as the speed at which your child is completing the craft kit. She finishes like lightning and then opens the door to check on the rain gauge. Gusts and leaves blow into the kitchen.
You hand her a mop and go upstairs to write a post about all this. Lentil Pot 2.0 burns black. You stick the pot on the porch and hope for the best. Your child follows it outside into the hurricane, eats the burned bits, and tells you that “you can burn lentils anytime you want, Mommy!”
Happy Frankenstorm, y’all.