“All right! I am going to go do my homework. Let’s keep it down, down here m’kay?” This is really less of an announcement to the general public and more a battle cry for my own benefit. My brain is so full of everything I have to do this week that I can’t find the words to write this paper.
I clomp up the stairs to my room for the second time today, determined to come up with something to write. I have never had a block so insurmountable. It’s like having a bubble trapped in your stomach that you can’t get rid of. All these ideas and thoughts keep finding their way onto my page only to disappear into a haze of distractions. I was just downstairs to “say hi” to a friend who dropped by. It’s now three hours later. Not that I didn’t enjoy the company…
Where was I? Oh yes, the paper!
I asked my husband for help in finding something of an everyday nature to write about that might have some humorous characteristics, but that wasn’t exactly a funny story. He suggested I write about the “Battle of the Dishes” that I have with my son. My son has not washed the dishes (his only chore) for three days. I am certainly not going to do them. I have far more important things to do. I have to write this paper for class. I have a quiz due today. I have three choir practices this week. I have a major fundraising event that I am helping with this weekend. One of my sopranos fell down some concrete steps and broke both arms and her knee. Poor lady! I have to get to the hospital to see her and bring some flowers.
Yes, right after I finish this paper.
I sit at my computer and the words are frozen in my fingertips. I see that I have a new email from my boss at the church. He’s asking questions about an event that isn’t happening until June. I sigh deeply. Maybe if I answer an email, it will get things moving. Energy begets energy, and all that…
I open the email and begin composing a reply. Of course, nothing is simple, so I have to open another internet window to check on some details. I can’t find what I need, so I resort to the Facebook invitation. Grimacing as I do so, I poke the mouse pad twice while pointing at my Facebook bookmark. I know what will happen next. I am going to fall into the pit. Yep: Ten notifications on Facebook. I feel like the dog in “Up!” You know: “Squirrel!” and he’s off and running.
I have to see who is commenting on what and by the time I finish doing that, it’s an hour later. I had to correct someone who was just completely off the wall in a political discussion. I mean really. If you’re going to post something in public, perhaps you should check the facts first. I knew I could find the reference if I did a little digging. So off to Google to do a search and in about 10 minutes, I found the quote I was looking for, posted the link, and was done with that. Oh yeah…the event details.
I open the invitation to the June event and find the information I need. I finish typing my e-mail to Father and send it off. When my inbox comes back up, I see another email from Father. This time, he wants to know about the liturgy plan for this weekend. Right…the liturgy plan. I had completely forgotten. Crap!
I open another window and look at what the readings are and quickly cobble together something that looks plausible for the weekend. I type up the plan and send it off. Oh no, I have to send it to the organists, too. I pull up another composition window and draft another e-mail explaining the delay. I attach the liturgy plan and send it off. Now it’s 3 pm. I’ve been up here for two hours. I have nothing typed on my paper. I shut off Google and Facebook. I refuse to look at them. Not even for spelling or definitions. Nada.
The door to my bedroom opens and it’s my daughter, Celia. “Hi, mom," she says, “Working hard?”
She plops down on the bed and starts to play with the cat. The cat, who was quietly sleeping behind me on the bed, is now locked in a battle for his very existence with “the Hand”. He claws my butt, mistaking it for the evil “Hand” and I indicate my annoyance with an exasperated sigh. Celia and the cat ignore me. I hear my husband on the stairs, huffing and puffing his way up. He’s got a load of laundry to put away.
“Hi,” he whispers, as if that’s less distracting than speaking in a conversational tone. “How’s it going?” I roll my eyes. “Not good, huh?” He’s still whispering. He whispers to my daughter, “Honey, don’t distract Mommy. She’s busy.” Celia takes the cat and wanders off to her own room.
He goes to the door and whispers after her, “Celia? Did you clean the bathroom?” Like whispering is a magical cloaking device.
Celia, under no such delusions of invisibility, shouts back, “No. I’m not cleaning up that mess!” I roll my eyes again and sigh loudly and click my tongue.
My husband (still whispering), “I’m sorry, honey.”
Not really, I think. You’re feeling ignored and so you’re going to annoy me into submission.
(Still whispering) “What did you have planned for dinner?” This is a completely innocent question, I realize, but I just can’t take it anymore.
“Stop whispering.” I turn and look at him, “What do you need from me? I can’t seem to get anything done. I have people chasing after me asking for this and that and I have this paper to do and a quiz to take. I haven’t even thought about dinner. Hell, I didn’t even have lunch.”
He looks like I slapped him. “Oh.” He’s not whispering anymore. Thank God. “I’m sorry, I thought we’d given you enough time. Didn’t you have an egg salad sandwich?” After 20 years, 8 months and three days of marriage, he knows that I hate egg salad.
“Really?” I raise one eyebrow at him. He gazes at me blankly – his best avoidance trick. The jig is up and he knows it.
I turn away from him and face the computer typing madly. I have just decided on the topic for my paper.
(Whispering again) “Why don’t we order pizza tonight?” Sharp man, my husband. He knows how to soothe the savage beast with the quirked eyebrow. Pizza shops have saved our marriage more than once.
I chuckle silently and keep typing. “That sounds great, honey. I’ll be done in about an hour.”