Tag Archives: slice of life

Incident in the bathroom

So I was at a restaurant with my family, and I had to use the bathroom. It’s a simple process, really: you go into the stall, lock your door, do your business in private.

Well, not this time. I walked into the stall, started to close and lock the door, and felt a hand grabbing my foot! I looked around, disoriented, and saw the hand was coming from the next stall over, and now it was patting my foot insistently. “Excuse me!” the person said. “Excuse me!” As it turns out, it was a girl, maybe eleven years old, and she found it very important that I know right away that my stall was out of toilet paper.

While I was still processing this information, and before I managed to lock my stall door, a second person entered the bathroom. She must have had to pee really badly, because she barged in at top speed, clocking me in the forehead with the stall door. She was aghast. “I’m really sorry,” she said.

I just stood there with my hand on my forehead, mouth gaping open, saying, “Wh–“, and the woman who had hit me with the door must have thought that she had injured me seriously. She made a tearful apology and fled.

I hope that somebody, sometime, will have enough presence of mind to let that girl know that you really shouldn’t oughta grab people’s feet when they’re going to the bathroom. As for me, I’m going to be paying much closer attention to the lock on the stall door!

Feminism on the home front

I was at the table with my husband, seven-year-old daughter, and nine-year-old son, and I decided to broach the topic of feminism with my daughter, basically so I could talk with her about Doctor Who and blogging. So here’s what I said. (Names have been changed for privacy purposes.)

“Jenna, do you know what feminism is?” I asked.

“No,” she said.

My mind went blank for a minute. How do you explain this to a seven-year old? It’s not possible. I oversimplified.

“Well, it’s a lot of things, but basically it’s the idea that a girl is as good as a boy and a woman is as good as a man.”

“Then I’m a feminist!” she said proudly.

“I am too,” I said.

“And I am too,” said my husband.

My son Ryan, who had been listening intently, said,

“Well, I haven’t decided yet.”

We didn’t challenge that or browbeat him. I’m glad he’s honest. This will be one of many, many conversations about respect for women, I’m sure.

But my husband said, “Well, it’s also about the rules for what women can do and what men can do.”

I said, “Right. Women can wear women’s clothes and men’s clothes. Men can only wear men’s clothes. That’s not fair.”

My husband said, “Right, and men aren’t allowed to have long hair!”

Jenna said, “But you have long hair!” and pointed to him and laughed.

Finally I brought the conversation back to Doctor Who and some blog posts about the Bechdel test. I said, “So there are a lot of feminists blogging about last week’s episode of Doctor Who. Clara and Emma kept trying to talk to each other, and the Doctor kept interrupting them.”

Jenna said, “But did Clara interrupt the Doctor?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Well, that’s fair then!” she said.

Everything’s missing

6:20. The alarm goes off. I know I have to get up and somehow get the kids on the bus, after a week off.

6:33. The alarm goes off. Maybe I can just push snooze one more time.

6:45. I’m sitting on the couch with a cup of coffee, a monumental achievement.

7:00. This is when I am supposed to be getting the kids up for breakfast. But it’s Monday. That’s the day everything goes missing. I’d better focus on finding stuff.

7:05. I’m sitting on the couch with a cup of coffee.

The Water Bottles

     Monday is the day I find and wash the kids’ water bottles. Where’s Oliver’s big black canteen? I can’t find it anywhere. Oh yeah, it was missing before we went on our trip. Oh yeah, he left it at school.

     “Oliver,” I say, “Better not drink from your canteen. The germs are a week old.”

     “Get me another water bottle, then!”

     I look under the cupboard. There’s a small canteen and there’s a plastic bike water bottle with a leaky lid. I can’t find the leaky lid.

     “Well, that’s the trouble, Oliver, I don’t know what there is for you.”

The reading log

     I need to help Oliver finish his reading log before he goes to school. I seem to recall that I wrote that all down on a notebook in the plane on the way to the trip. Where was that notebook?


     Megan hasn’t gotten out of bed yet. The door’s locked.

     “Megan, it’s morning! Time to get out of bed now! Why is the door locked?”

     “I’m not getting up until I find PinkiePi! I need help!”

     “Well, I can’t help because the door’s locked.”

     I go into my office. Ah yes, there’s the notebook that has Oliver’s reading log! Megan unlocks the door and I enter her bedroom. There are stuffies under the bed, crammed against the wall, piled on top of each other, beneath laundry that went missing last week, under Megan’s pillow. But no PinkiePi.

     “I don’t know, Megan. I give up!” I go upstairs and work on helping Oliver with his reading log.

The retainer case

     “Mom, where’s my retainer case?”

     “Oliver, do you remember what I told you about that? Please keep track of making sure it’s in the right place at the right time. Before breakfast, put it at the table. Before teethbrushing, put it in the bathroom.”

     “Okay okay but would you pleeeeaaaazzze get my retainer case?”

     It’s in the bathroom. “Here you go!”

     He puts his retainer in the case and I go find a cup and some hot water and some Efferdent to clean it while he eats.

    Megan shows up and comes to the table. She found PinkiePi.

     “Mom, get me a cup of clean Seattle water.”

     “Just a minute, I’m working on the reading log. What do you want for breakfast?”

     “Mom, pleeeeaaaze get me a cup of water.”

     “First tell me what you want for breakfast.”

     “Carrots and yogurt. Peach yogurt.”


    The refrigerator is alarming. Where’s the yogurt? Oh, there it is. Carrots? Oh, there they are.

    Now, what days did Oliver read, what books did he read and for how long, and what were the reading observations? Sure wish I woulda been helping him keep that log all along.

The other water bottles

     Now to make the lunches. Oh yes, I was washing water bottles. Where are the water bottles that go in the lunches? They’re not in the lower cupboard. They’re not in the upper cupboard. They’re not in the dishrack. They’re not in the dishwasher. They’re not on the counter. This is a stumper.

     Oh yeah! We took them on the trip. And I didn’t unpack that backpack yet. Oops. Okay, now we have all four of the water bottles that go in lunches. Oliver’s is dirty and I’m gonna have to wash it unless I can find his other one, clean. I can do this. There are two clean water bottles and one of them has to be Oliver’s. It’s not. But wait, one of the clean water bottles is Megan’s. I’m sooo confused. We have four water bottles. One is black, one is pink, one is yellow but with flowers, and one is red with hearts. Doesn’t Oliver have two water bottles?

     “Megan, is this your water bottle? And this one? And this one? Then which is Oliver’s????”

     “Mom, we have FIVE water bottles.”

     “Oh, yeah. Then I wonder where Oliver’s other one is. Well, never mind, I’ll just wash the black one.”

     I drank the coffee, but I’m not quite awake yet.

     I find and fill the water bottle for lunch. I find to my amazement that the bread for Oliver’s sandwich did not go moldy while we were on the trip, and I make his sandwich. I find his lunchbox, which in a moment of competence I washed before the trip. The kids are done eating. This is outstanding.

The laundry

     “Mom, I’m just changing my shirt. I don’t have any pants or underwear.”

     “No, I washed them. They’re in the clean laundry.” We go downstairs and bring up the laundry and dump it on the couch. Now he has pants and underwear.

     What about Megan’s glasses? No problem. They’re on the coffee table. They’re dirty, so I’d better clean them. Where’s the cleaning rag? Oh, under the chips on top of the fridge. We really gotta find a better place to put that.

      “Megan, are you ready yet?”

     “What do I have to do?”

     “Change you clothes, put on socks and shoes, brush your teeth, and brush your hair. And wash your face.”

The toothbrush

     “That’s not my toothbrush!”

     “Where do you suppose you put your toothbrush?”

     Megan shrugs.

     “Try the kitchen counter, where you always put it.”

     “Oh, there it is!”

     I hunt pre-emptively for her hairbrush. It’s in her backpack. But she finds another one first.

The retainer

     “Mom, where’s my retainer?”

     “It’s on the table?”

    “Which table?”

     “The dining room table.”

     “But you soaked it in Efferdent.”

    “Right. And then I put it on the table. Or maybe the kitchen counter.”

    “There it is!”

     “Mom, I really should have my own washcloth for washing my face.”

     “Mom, do I haave to brush my hair?”

     “Oliver, I got your water and made your sandwich, and you’ll need to do the rest of your lunch. I don’t know what you want.”

The Gogurt

     “Mom, where’s the Gogurt?”

    I vaguely recall that it got moved from its usual place in the refrigerator. I lean over him as he hunts.

     “Everybody about ready?”

It occurs to me

     It occurs to me that I have been helping the kids too much with finding things. I should make it a point to be less competent than they are. Today was a good start.

My sweatshirt(s)

     “Where’s my Seahawks sweatshirt?”

     “Did you leave it at the restaurant last night?”

     “No, I brought it home and put it on the floor but it’s not there now. Someone cleaned it up. Ask Dad.”

     “Could it be in the car?”

     “Go check the car.”

     “No, put on this other one first and then we’ll check the car on our way out.”

    “Okay, fine. And my black sweatshirt is still missing.” Ah yes, that’s the one that he told me was missing the day after the school donated its lost and found collection to Goodwill. Shoulda put his name on it.

The library book

     “Where’s my library book?”

    “It’s on the bookshelf to the right of the Toy Story collection.”

     “What about my water bottle?”

    “You have the choice between a small one and a leaky one.”

    “Don’t we have a thing of bottled water?”


The other other water bottle

    “Yes we do, it’s in the car.”

    “Oh.” I remember that — it’s the water bottle he taped to the passenger side window last night as part of an exhibit. Maybe going out to the car will wake me up.

    I go out to the car and get a water bottle. The school bus goes by. I wave to it.


     “No, I don’t. And you need to ask nicely!”

     “Besides, it’s Megan’s.”

     “Oh. Megan, is this yours? Do you want it?”

     “Yeah, I do!”

     “Then mine must still be in the car!”

     “Come with me and look for it, then.”

     “By the way, did you find my sweatshirt in the car?”

     “No, I didn’t.”

The plan for tomorrow

     I am almost awake. And I have a clever plan for not missing the school bus tomorrow. It involves cleaning the house so I know where things went. There’s only one problem . . .

     I have another clever plan. It involves playing just a wee little bit of Tetris. The part of me that had that clever plan tells the other part of me that once I start I won’t stop, and I will be losing minutes, hours from my day.

     I get the remote controls for the video game player.

     “Greg,” I say.


     “Hide these, please.”