Families are, by definition, unique….quirky, even. But I can’t help but think ours is quirkier (weirder!) than most.
I stood in the kitchen yesterday morning, blurry-eyed and with ears ringing from another inane brotherly fight…about a library book. (‘The Kids Book of Canadian Geography‘, for the record.) I put the kettle on the stove and poured the milk-for-frothing in the Pyrex cup, and I reached for the microwave door, so I could put said milk inside it. But something else was already inside. At 8am? ‘Strange’, I thought. Stranger, still, that it was a carton of Breyer’s Vanilla Ice Cream. One that had clearly been left to languish in the microwave, instead of the freezer, overnight.
I stared at the professor in disbelief. He grabbed the ice cream and stuffed it back in the freezer. As though that would instantly remedy the night’s thaw. ‘You can’t do that,’ I argued. ‘I’ll still eat it,’ he vowed. And he probably will. Crystallized, bacteria-laden ice cream.
Minutes later the Gort had brought down his comforter from his upstairs bedroom. It was lying on the floor and the baby hopped upon it expectantly, ready for his magic carpet ride. The Gort complied, pulling the little man all around the house. Both of them loving the novelty of the game. Until the Hen arrived on the scene and demanded his older brother pull both of them…at the same time….which didn’t quite work.
Early in the evening the five of us went to Costco, because I’d already postponed the excursion for three consecutive days. And the cupboards were bare. There were no eggs. No milk. No fruit chez nous. Dire, indeed. So, while the professor fed his spawn some nutritious Costco pizza and chicken strips for dinner, I raced through the warehouse to get the shopping done quickly. We met up later and caravaned over to the meat department. The Gort and I pushing one cart, while the professor and his two young sidekicks followed behind in another. The professor stopped to stare at the crab legs. Or lobster legs, who even knows what they were, so I passed him. But apparently he didn’t notice. So the Gort and I went to the checkout, and unloaded our cart, and paid for our purchases…and still no professor, anywhere. We moseyed over to the entrance and waited there. No professor. I ordered the Gort to keep watch over our cart while I ran back inside Costco.
I spied one man with a red windbreaker, looking quizzically around the vast expanse, while pushing a cart containing two blond boys.
As we pulled up to the sidewalk in front of our house, I noticed a young man with a clipboard ringing our neighbors’ doorbell. ‘Tread carefully,’ I warned my better half, nodding in the direction of the ‘solicitor’. But instead of ‘treading carefully’ Herr Johnson ordered all of us to hunker down in the van until the young man had sufficiently distanced himself from our car. And our home.
‘Shhhh, nobody make a sound,’ the other Jason Johnson ordered. And everyone began to whisper, even Percy was making ‘shh’ sounds and I wondered what kind of scars these children would have, later in life. What painful memories would haunt them from their crazy childhoods. ‘And then my dad would make us stay in the car, without making a sound, until the door-to-door salesmen were far enough away. And, even then, he still made us run into the house yelling ‘quick, quick before he sees us – leave the cans, we can get them later!’