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Jazz Hands To Distract You

All Alonely

I might have been speaking metaphorically when I said that I decided to watch the Euro qualifiers this past weekend rather than attend a giant party but I was not. It was the literal truth. Also - and this is key - whether I went or not Steve was going to attend and he would be taking the children with him.

You see my dilemma?

Drive three hundred miles into Wisconsin to... I don't know... socialize and dance before ultimately sleeping in a tent with my entire family OR stay home all by myself for over twenty-four hours with hot and cold running football and potato chip dip.

To me the choice was so glaringly obvious that I use the word 'dilemma' ironically, but I was amused when it highlighted an unexpected personality divide. When I explained my weekend plans to my ebullient friend Katie; rather than gnash her teeth in envy over my upcoming solitude, she said things like "Oh the party sounds so fun!" and "Are you sure you don't want to go?"

I thought about clarifying the situation for her (ALL ALONE in my house with NO OTHER PEOPLE AT ALL) but instead just shook my head. Extroverts. I love you but you are deranged.

So Steve packed for himself and the kids and after the Saturday morning soccer games they all headed off to our co-farmers' house way down yonder for an enormous outdoor Fall gathering

[When I say enormous I mean huge. Think 200, 300 people.

Edward said, "The police officer complimented my kilt!"

I said, "What?"

"He said, 'Hey, cool kilt!'"

I said, "No. Not what did the police officer say. I meant, what police officer?"

Patrick chimed in, "One of the ones who came with the first noise complaint."

Caroline clarified further, "It was a totally awesome party!"

"TOTALLY!" Steve shouted from his office.

I.

See.]

Meanwhile I took a two hour nap on the couch, watched football and then a surprisingly depressing rom-com - have you ever watched Muriel's Wedding? - reorganized the books in the living room, downloaded the remastered version of Secrets of Monkey Island and had cheese and apples for dinner. It was divine. The next morning I woke up at the precise moment I chose and vacuumed every chair a cat has slept upon in the past three years. Then I went into Caroline's closet and ruthless gathered up every stray fairy shoe and Fisher Price Little People tricycle she has crammed into those bins over the years and donated them.

[Or rather, I meant to do so. I got as far as putting it all into a bag and then I put the bag in the garage and then the football started again and I got distracted. This is what is known in the parenting world as a rookie mistake.

Last night at bedtime Caroline produced a baby doll with one working eye and thrust it in my direction.

"What," she asked icily, "was this doing in the trash?"

"Ah," I said. "Yes. The bag in the garage. That. Well. I found a few things while I was tidying and... and that is where I put them."

"But I love this doll!" she wailed, throwing her arms wide in distress and accidentally bashing its head against the wall.

"Caroline. You have not seen or touched that doll since you got it three years and, now that I think about it, you never even had anything to do with it back then. You don't even like dolls."

"But I was using it! I need it!"

"Really?" I asked and I hope you can tell that my voice was dripping with incredulity. Because it was.

"Yes, really."

She hopped out of bed, went over to her little pink footstool, crammed the doll under one leg of it and then looked back at me.

"See? Now that won't wobble so much."

Caroline once had a preschool teacher who, upon overhearing Caroline telling Edward the right way to eat a cracker, said, "Aw, she's like a little mother! So nurturing."

BWAH HA HA HA HA HA HA.]

Where was I? Oh right. Explaining that although I had plenty of time to check in with you over the weekend I chose not to do so because I was too full of the serenity of solitude to muck around with words.

PS Seriously. Pick one: home by yourself or attend a giant party?

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