Another day in the gulag

Dear Jenerous Traveler,

Substitute ears for feet and you have summed up my experience in your absence. Your children are loud even when they are being quiet. Also when you are gone they are “your” children, and I am referred to as “the Jailer”. As in “Pips dropped your laptop on the floor, broke the cord and cracked the case, and you ban us all from computer games?! We are totally telling mom, you are such a Jailer”.

Did I mention the noise? Unlike you I am no musician, so while it would be difficult for me to say one way or the other if that pounding on the piano they call “practice” is actually being done in some semblance of a pattern, I can confirm it brings thoughts of ending my ear drums’ misery to mind.

Perhaps via one of the random lego weapons that is underfoot because I couldn’t countenance the thought of listening to them argue about whose turn it was to pick up which small pile of plastic interlocking shrapnel laying around the house.

There is also the noise of children reading, which involves someone asking his brother incessantly “can I have that one when you are done?” or surprisingly loud book dropping and fighting over couch space. The wonderful noise of discussing which cereal they will eat and how much of it each can have and who used the last of the bowls – all taking place at 6:30am. Unlike the bells of St. Paul’s, these noises strike without warning and after a brief negotiation, tend to end with wails of “I WANT MOMMY?”.

On the first day I thought perhaps I would send them outside, but winter has come to Calgary about as quietly and subtly as a moat full of poppies and between the bitter protestations regarding wearing socks, finding gloves, ripped snow pants and the subsequent complaints of getting hit in the face with a ball of ice by one’s brother, the two seconds of quiet seem to be hardly any sort of pay off.

The fall in temperature is matched only by morale of the troops and the rations at our disposal. Yes, the last of the “yellow” macaroni and cheese has been eaten and we are now into the rice crackers and mystery containers in the freezer. This reality led me to cry at reading your account of the abandoned bounty that is the Monmouth bread and jam table. Wasteful in the extreme! Apparently the Krispy Kreme journey of 2004 taught you nothing.

We can only hope that you are now floating above the earth being entertained in a substandard way and eating some not so pleasant food, but above all on your way back to replace the jailer with the princess.

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