Saturday, November 3, 2012


I woke up this morning and knew immediately that it was going to be that kind of a day. Every cold season it happens at least one time: I lose my voice. So, with a stiff upper lip and a couple of lozenges I croaked and whispered my way through the day. The worst things about having no voice are, one, not being able to yell at the children, two, not being able to boss anyone around, and three, not being able to correct the K when he does something the wrong way (meaning not the way I would do it). As you might expect, the family was delighted that I couldn't speak and had a merry time of it, disregarding all my rules and turning their backs while I gesticulated wildly like Bloomberg's ASL interpreter. The only one who was briefly sad was the Baby, who insists that I sing "Jesus Loves Me" three times, no less, no more, every night before she goes to bed. I whispered and hummed the words twice before dissolving into a fit of coughing. The Baby started to cry and said that I scared her. But, she was not so terrified that she didn't require me to sing/choke it out for a third and final time.

One of the things I find so irritating when I can't talk is my inability to complain about the garbage that the children throw on the floor instead of in the garbage can. The Boy is one of the main garbage sources because he is addicted to these things:
I kid you not, he sucks down six to eight a day and I find the wrappers everywhere. I have found them under the sofa, in the cushions of the sofa, under the covers in my bed, in my dresser drawers, in the shed, in the flower boxes, and in his shoes. The Boy does not have a great track record in putting things away where they're supposed to go, in general. One time our air conditioning wasn't working and the repairman and I were checking on the outdoor unit, which happens to be outside the master bathroom. I looked up at the master bath window and there, hanging on the back side of the shutters was a pair of Boy-sized Batman briefs. I was pretty mortified, but yet felt compelled to point it out to the repairman. He was nonplussed, "I've seen worse," he said, shrugging.

Our family room and kitchen are connected and sometimes I'll be in the kitchen cooking and look over to the couch and there will be crushed Goldfish crackers, piles of granola bar wrappers and empty Capri Sun pouches littering the floor by our couch like the remnants of some kind of feeding frenzy. The only time the floor doesn't need vacuuming is when I am actively vacuuming and even then the children are sometimes dropping crumbs faster than I can suck them up with the vacuum hose. I feel like Sisyphus pushing that boulder up the hill.

The truth of the matter is that the children often ignore my requests and I'm so used to it at this point that if I only have to repeat myself three times, I feel like I'm doing pretty well. This drives the K bonkers, so I'll say, "please put away your soccer cleats," to the Girl. She will ignore me, so the K will repeat what I just said verbatim, "please put away your soccer cleats." She will ignore him and he'll start to get that throbbing vein in the forehead look. "Mom said, 'please put away your soccer cleats.'" If she ignores the request for the third time, then we're all doomed because then it's not about the soccer cleats at all, it's about respect. So, while the Girl finally drags herself off the couch to put the cleats away, we're all treated to a dissertation on respect and listening and some other stuff that I tune out because obviously, it couldn't be directed at me!

All of my complaints about being voiceless seem appropriate because I know that a lot of the Hurricane Sandy victims are feeling like they aren't being heard. Did you all catch the telethon last night? I saw the very end, but I heard that it was a bit of a hot mess at times. Live broadcasts are like that, I guess. Remember when Kayne West went off-script at the Hurricane Katrina telethon. I don't suppose that there was much danger of a repeat since it's unlikely that anyone would accuse President Obama of not caring "about black people."

I spoke to my father yesterday morning when I wasn't a mute (is that the right term?) and the man has gone into "Man Versus Wild" mode. They still don't have power, so I asked him what they're eating. "Well," he said, "I remembered this recipe from the New York Times that had rice with chick peas and pumpkin. We didn't have any canned pumpkin, so I got our jack-o-lantern and I chopped that up and cooked it with the rice and chick peas." Stop the madness! My father is eating his Halloween decorations. Of course, this was entirely his choice, it's not like they're running out of food and he's treeing squirrels to eat and twisting hay into sticks to burn like in "The Long Winter."

I can joke about this because he has a house and he has water to drink and a gas stove and gas hot water heater, so he's really in pretty good shape comparatively.

I've donated to the relief fund, but really wish that I could go up there to help out in some other way. This exchange on Facebook between two of my high school classmates demonstrates how, while we all want to help out in a time of crisis, we don't always know the best way. The poster is a woman who lives in North Carolina:

My kids caught a glimpse of the footage during the benefit last night.......came in my room a few minutes ago and told me they were sending their Halloween candy to the kids in NJ, because they couldn't trick or treat. 
Warms my heart......

 Really, a very generous thought by her children. The following comment is from a man who lives in New Jersey:

Very sweet. Did they happen to get any gasoline in their trick-or-treat bags this year?

It's just that kind of attitude that will get New Jersey through this crisis. New Jersians will eat their holiday decor and ask for exactly what they need. Well, off to bed. I hope that I'm able to get back some of my voice so that I can cheer at the Boy's last baseball game and the Baby's last soccer game of the season. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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