So. I haven’t had an adult conversation today. (Hush now, I can hear you snickering.) But if you have stayed any length of time alone with any children, whether they’re your own or someone else’s, you can see where I’m coming from. I had a blissful morning, actually. It was filled with one of those things we all crave… silence. Well, after a fashion.
It started with the sonar sound my phone makes as an alarm. Something along the lines of dededeedededede….. dededededededede…. closely followed by a muffled curse. The alarm itself was doing its job: being just annoying enough to be annoying; the other was my husband. The next thing I heard was the kitten purring. He’s an adorable orange tabby Christmas gift and I love Tigger to death, but he’s got a rather loud purr (at only 10 weeks old) and it’s obscenely loud at 5:30 am when you’re only trying to get a few more minutes of sleep. Eventually, and with only a few more moments of prodding, I managed to crawl out of bed to the sound of a running shower and yet more purring.
This particular morning I had to go and fish my husband’s long john’s out of the dryer. Consecutive days in a row out at the range on the coldest days of the year require layers that demand immediate washing when he walks in the door. (I know that 50 degrees isn’t really that cold, but I live in Louisiana and we were wearing flip-flops on Christmas. My sister-in-law was laying out in the sun on Christmas Eve!) Of course I didn’t turn the thing on last night and all of his clothes are sitting there in a wet pile with an half folded dryer sheet on top and I can practically feel their wet eyes staring at me derisively. Stupid wet pile of clothes. Stupid dryer that doesn’t sense wet clothing inside it and start drying on it’s own.
I’m complaining under my breath while I fish out everything but the long johns. Hopefully they’ll dry in the next 20 minutes. Hopefully. After that it’s coffee and starting the car and letting the dog out and gathering something that Mike can eat at the range. Before I know it he’s kissing me goodbye and petting the dog and dodging the cat and driving off.
I find myself at an impasse.
Upstairs the bed is calling me, and at my feet I have two willing enablers. They don’t get to sleep on the bed when Daddy is home… well the Tigger-cat does but Mike pretends he’s breaking the rules- and Charlie (my 90 pound German Shepard/Lab Mix) is perfectly happy to be my foot warmer if I so choose to crawl my happy, tired butt back into bed.
In front of me is the coffee pot. Now this coffee pot isn’t just something I wish I could hook up intravenously, it’s a symbol of quiet time and no demands on my attention. A symbol of… freedom if you will.
Now I love my kids, I truly do, but they are seven and six in every fiber of their being and the energy they exude I can only hope to accomplish when I’ve ordered a Venti French Vanilla Latte with four shots of espresso. Even then I crash while the children bounce around me with gleeful abandon. The cup of coffee offers me the silence that I know I won’t have once they get out of bed and they need things from me.
Which they eventually do. Because they always do. So I spend my days appeasing them while trying to keep up with the laundry or the dishes or wonder how on earth the pig tracks got on the ceiling (spider pig, spider pig…). Yet, as if the universe needs to repay me and punish someone else the phone eventually rings so that I can wring every drop of adult conversation out of them until they’re exhausted and my kettle is still only half full and I end up calling someone else.
I’m not kidding. My husband has stopped calling to let me know he’s coming home, now he only texts. But when he forgets he gets the brunt of it, as dictated by his husbandly duties. Listening to me ramble is right up there with naming dinners when I’m meal planning and taking out the trash.
I always start out the conversation with a nice, happy ‘Hey!’ To which he replies, “I’m on my way home.” It’s all the encouragement I need, once I open the flood gates there’s isn’t much stopping me. Even though I know he’s on his way, that he’s only waiting before he gets off the phone to start driving I use the three minutes I have to wring every little drop of information I can from him about what his day was like and how he feels and is it cold still? What was the new guy like? Was the sandwich good? Do you still have coffee in your thermos?
After he’s managed about three or four one word answers I launch into telling him everything about anything that I can think of. What my work out was like, how I did my hair, what time the kids got up, the news article I read, something funny I saw on Facebook. And, when he can manage, he finally gets a word in edge wise.
“Listen, I know you haven’t talked to any grownups today, but I’m tired of sitting here. If you wait until I’m home you’ll be able to tell me all about it face to face.” I agree, grudgingly, and let him off with an ‘I love you and I’ll see you in a bit’.
It’s entirely possible I’ll find someone else to talk to during those fifteen minutes too. It’s a good thing we have unlimited minutes on this new cell phone plan!