Days Four and Five: The Great Downhill

I’ve been sitting by the road for the last two days, pumping up my tires and putting my chain back on.  Which is to say, I’ve spent the weekend looking after my children and cooking.   

In lieu of a description of the soaring prose I did not write, I’d like to record that the following things kept me from the next two scenes I have in mind: 

  • Earthquake kit.  (n.  a gallon sized ziplock bag filled with candy.  To be used by a child in the event they have to stay at school for a while, after a big one hits.)  Friday afternoon, a concerned teacher called to say that one of my sons had failed to turn in an earthquake kit.  Now, it’s an exaggeration to say that those kits are full of candy.  In fact, they are supposed to be filled with nutritious food that will keep for a whole year.  A salami sandwich is out.  Also, water, a flashlight, and a space blanket.  (I think that last item is optional.  I hope so, because that’s not something I’m willing to go and find.)   We have lots of candy at home, but the nutritious food that will not rot after a year threw me a bit, until I realized that could include energy bars.  That, and a can of slightly dodgy beef stew I found tucked behind some marshmallows, a lot of dried fruit, and a flashlight, and I feel I can hold my head up high when I pick up my child after the earthquake that is unlikely to occur during school hours.
  • Field Day.  The same child whose school makes you put together the aforementioned earthquake kit, has a huge Sunday family event, one that involves egg tosses and sack races, an astonishing amount of food and an epic tug of war battle between parents and children in which the parents always lose, because they are too busy chatting about their children’s genius and eating when the time comes for the tug of war, so the children overwhelm by their sheer numbers.  I did not feel it would reflect well on either me or my family if I’d shown up with my mac and written a scene or two while everyone else was sack racing and bragging about their children.  Plus, I feel it did me a great deal of good to see how gleeful the head of school was when the parents actually did win one round of tug of war — against the tiniest children at the school.  When they added the teenagers, we parents were toast.  Is this not a metaphor for parenting so obvious it would hurt if it dropped on your toe?
  • Work.  Have I ever mentioned that I have a job?  It’s actually a great job, intellectually interesting, wonderful co-workers, a boss with the best manners of any man I know and a very unAmerican amount of vacation time.  So, I actually had to do some work, because I haven’t been as productive as I’d like lately.
  • Banana bread.  I made some.  I wonder how many words I could have written while I was smashing up those bananas.  You can’t eat words, though.

Today I don’t have to do any of those things, except work.  After work, more scenes. 


12 thoughts on “Days Four and Five: The Great Downhill

  1. If there really was an earthquake during school hours, a big bag of candy is really the best thing to have. After all, if for some reason you don’t want the candy, you can always trade the other kids for their energy bars. Or dried fruit.

    Anyway, go Bloglily! I am always AMAZED and FLABBERGASTED by the amount of things bloggers do besides blogging. It seems to take up so much of my time. No, wait– it’s reading other peoples’ blogs that takes up all the time! But how can you do one without the other, right?

  2. Hi Dorothy — If only you & the Hob lived in California. You could come over and have some banana bread — and swordfight with my boys! Thanks for the good wishes.

    Oh Renee, You are a clever woman, you are! In a time of civil disorder, you have to have the good black market goods. My guess is that starbursts will have a lot more value than raisins, but that’s just me.

  3. Oh, earthquakes. When I was a kid (do I sound like one of those cranky old men?) we didn’t have earthquake kits. I guess we were expected to resort to cannibalism and descend into a Lord of the Flies environment if The Big One hit. We had a quake around these parts a couple of years ago. There was the bump and the rumbling. Dorothy leaped up, shocked. I kept eating my breakfast. “That was a little one,” I told her, with my California sense of cool. I did, after all, live through the Loma Prieta quake in 1989–I was at Cal when it happened.

  4. When I was little we all lived in Italy, where there are quite a few earthquakes (though they usually tend to be minor, unless there’s something of a price beyond rubies in the way, like the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi). My mother is fond of telling how, when I was six and my sister four, the house shook in the middle of the night and tiles crashed down from the roofs all around. Alarmed, she rushed to our room, only to find me fast asleep and my little sister sitting bolt-upright in bed with saucer-eyes, crying out: ‘It wasn’t me, Mummy!’

    I am very envious of your dedication to this down-hill ride, despite your other commitments. I am keeping fingers crossed for you.

  5. Oh, banana bread. There isn’t much better, although I confess to occasionally adding chocolate chips, for chocolate-chip-banana bread…

    The Earthquake kit reminds me of, excuse the language, the “fuck-it buckets” in Me Talk Pretty One Day – the big buckets of candy folks prepare and turn to after a hurricane.

    You are a good mom, bloglily. And now, to the laptop you go –

  6. Hey Sis,
    Sounds like you are busy with the good things in life which is a blessing. I remember my first earthquake–I was working in Tokyo. Had a dream that I was riding on the subway and everything was moving and shaking kind of like a bumpy subway ride. I awoke to find I was in the midst of a quake. Think we went through 5 that year. You get use to it (which is the odd part). Idea of having food for the event is kind of neat, however.
    You are loved,

  7. “Earthquake” kit? Could not that be rephrased to something less alarming. These poor kids live with enough anxiety pumped into their
    lives each day eg AIDS, SARS, e-coli, e-boli, internet predators, terrorists, dirty bombs, car wrecks, train wrecks, home invasions, lymes disease, radiation, global warming, armegeddon, acid rain, and on and on. Teacher! Give these kids a break. (to paraphrase Pink Floyd)

    Although I agree with not taking the Mac, bet if you did – your son would be the one doing the bragging. (unbeknowst to you)

    “unAmerican amount of vacation time” – love it

    “Keep on pushin” – Curtis Mayfield


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