Virus Redux
And So On

I Did Not Leave The House Today

For someone who has done nothing but lie on the couch all day like a little tajine, quietly simmering, Caroline has taken up an inordinate amount of time. I suspect it's the real influenza because her fever has yet to drop below 103 and all she does is sleep, snuffle and thank me for the ice water in a pitiful whisper.

Edward has been left to his own devices last night and for most of this morning so when I suddenly remembered that I had gotten a new Basher book for him (Chemistry) it seemed like the ideal time to let him have it.

"Oooooooooooh," he said and disappeared.

He popped up later and asked, "Can I do a little chemistry?"

"Sure," I said distracted by my efforts to get Caroline to eat something. "Fine. Whatever."

I forgot about him - more or less - until he wandered by wearing protective eye wear and clutching a petri dish filled with green... something.

"Edward! What are you doing!"

"Chemistry," he said.

Patrick called out, "It's ok. I've got him. Sort of."

"Well don't let him spill anything."


"Fine but make sure he cleans it up and don't let him stain anything."

More silence.

"Just don't let him stain anything of mine!"

"OK," they said.


My friend Noelle called this afternoon to check on Caroline and asked if Patrick was going to the school dance tonight. She offered a ride for him, if so.

School dance? I should really read the bulletins.

"Patrick," I said. "That was Noelle and she wanted to know if you're going to the dance tonight?"

"No," he said.

"Are you sure? Your friend B is going to be there."

"Oh, well then, yes. I'll bring my laptop."


"Patrick. My sweet love. You are not bringing your laptop to a school dance."

"Why not?"

"Would you dance at computer club?"


"You're not bringing your laptop to a dance!"

"Then no thanks, I'll stay home."

But a little later he came to find me.

"What do they do at dances?" he asked.

"Well, I don't know specifically. You should ask B since he has been to the other ones. But in general there is music and maybe some flashing lights and people just... dance."

"Like, waltzing and stuff?"

"No! You know the music they play over the speakers at the terrain park for the snowboarders? That. And people just sort of bounce up and down to it and maybe wave their arms around."

I demonstrated and hummed a little Black Eyed Peas for good measure.

"And they do this all together?" he made it sound like some kind of tribal ritual; which, I guess, it is but I think he was trying to establish if he was going to be expected to perform solo in some way.

"Yeah. All together usually."


Then he called his friend who said yes, ten out of ten, it's fun, he should totally come to the dance.

He went. And, since it is billed as a masked ball, he walked out the door carrying Steve's welding helmet.

I just sat here and thought about it - not the welding mask, that's pure Patrick - and realized that in the absence of Molly Ringwald I guess a person wouldn't know what a school dance was like until they went to one, would they? Also I now have a son who is old enough to be picked up by friends (well, friends' older brothers) and go to a dance.

How... odd.

PS Patrick took a picture for me. I looked at it and then asked about the broom in the background. He told me not to worry about it.