As long as we’re laughing

(scene opens in tossed parlor)

Me: (holding hair tie between gritted teeth) Gamma, stop moving or brushing your hair will be more painful.
Gamma: (ridiculous suffering)
Beta: (stomping down the stairs, snuffling loudly)
Me: Beta, go upstairs and brush your teeth.
Beta: (sighs in busted, turns around to go back up, snuffling loudly)
Me: (calls after him) And blow your nose!
Husband: (looking around for his gear) And do a little dance.
Me: And make a little love!
Husband: Hey Beta! Get down tonight!
Beta: (off screen) I’m not talking to you guys!
Gamma: You guys make no sense.

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Not Worth the Risk

(scene opens at cluttered dinning room table, strewn with scribbled notes in a childish hand)

Me: (looking over outline) Okay, now explain to me again what this paper is about.
Beta: I had to take two colleges that had programs I want and compare and contrast them. I want to go to Engineering, so I picked Tuskegee University and University of Florida.
Me: (slight disappointment) No MIT? Don’t want to be a pirate?
Beta: (shrugs) These two looked interesting.
Me: Well, I’m okay with going to Tuskegee. It’s a historically black college, just so you know and aren’t surprised when you get there. But I’m never sending you to Florida.
Beta: Why not?! I like warm sandy beaches.
Me: Then I’ll send you to the Mediterranean. Florida has something called “Florida Man” and it is the embodiment of all that is crazy and unstable in the human psyche. Why it only manifests in Florida, no one knows. Maybe its in the water, maybe its swamp gas. There are so many other Engineering schools that I can – and will – send you.
Beta: Is Florida Man like Big Foot?
Me: Crazier. He’ll eat your face.

Can’t Handle the Technology

(scene opens in tossed dinning room)

Husband: (points into the kitchen) Did you see the Scout coolers came home? We have to do do patrol shopping for the weekend’s camp out.
Me: (considers beat up coolers) Alpha’s or Beta’s? They both need the credit.
Husband: Not sure. (turns to holler off screen) BETA!

(second later, stair pounding is heard, Beta arrives in the doorway between kitchen and dining room)

Husband: You’re doing the shopping for the camping trip?
Beta: (sarcastically) Uh, yeah.
Husband: (frowns, lets it go) Who do you have to go with?
Beta: (more sarcasm) Uh, my Patrol Buddy. But I don’t know when because I have no way to contact him.
Husband: What do you mean? You can call him.
Beta: (full on sassomancer, puts imaginary phone to his ear) Oh hey, Patrol Buddy, I’m calling you on my imaginary phone to plan the shopping. (pretends to drop invisible phone)

(three heart beats of silence)

Husband: Beta, back up two steps and tell me what’s hanging on the wall.
Beta: (does so, sulks) A phone.
Husband: I pay a monthly fee for that phone. It ensures everyone has access to a phone. Go get Patrol Buddy’s phone number and call him.
Beta: (sulks deeper) I don’t have the number. I didn’t get it because I didn’t have a cell phone to call him from.
Husband: Huh. I guess you’re shopping by yourself this week.

Unexpected Sadz

(scene opens up in bathroom, dressing Delta for the day)

Me: (pulling on sweater) Okay, so we’re going to go see Auntie K today.
Delta: No auntie.
Me: No school today, we need to go to meet up with Auntie K. We’re going to Busia’s house to pick up some things. (takes deep breath to fortify)
Delta: (sadly, carefully) Busia is died.
Me: (stunned) Yes, Delta. Busia died.
Delta: (very still, playing with fingers) Busia died today.
Me: (gently) No, honey, Busia died a few months ago. It will be okay. We’ll go out to lunch with Auntie K.
Delta: (nods decidedly) I like lunch.

Frickin’ Fabulous

(scene opens in Tricoci University, students working on clients and mannequins)

Me: (Flounces to counter, resplendent in galaxy colored hair, followed by compliments and murmurs of approval from students and instructors)
Old Lady: (turns to look who’s behind her at the counter)
Me: (smiles brilliantly)

(scene repeats several times, Old Lady looking back then away, trying to hide a smile, finishes up making her appointment)

Old Lady: (finally) I just wanted to tell you, you look like a unicorn.
Me: (delightedly sharing Old Lady’s glee) I know! It was the effect I was going for!
Old Lady: (surprised, recoils) Really!? (shakes her head in disapproval and totters off)
Me: (WTF look)
Fabulous Host: (muttering to himself) Like that would have happened on accident.
Me: Right? By the way, love the nails.
FH: Thanks! (waggles inch long glitter acrylics honed to a deadly point)

Know your limitations

(scene opens in tossed kitchen, two parents, dressed for cold, enter from two different doors)

Husband: (looks wife up and down in question)
Me: (towing smalls, removing coats) Parent Track meeting. Ended up being earlier than I thought.
Beta: (enter from third door, panicked, waving arms) Where have you been! No one was home! I was worried! (throws himself into mother’s arms)
Me: (amusedly perplexed) I’m sorry, honey. I would have left a note, but I didn’t think of it. I thought you’d come in, see no one was here and make yourself a snack and play video games.
Beta: (hotly) I didn’t know where anyone was! I had to be responsible!
Me: But you only had to look after yourself.
Beta: Exactly! I can’t take care of myself! You know this! How could you do this to me? (stomps off to the basement)

Early Bird

(scene opens in suburban arctic wasteland, small child climbing icebergs)

Me: (fumbling for phone with numb fingers)
Nice Dispatch Lady: Hello, how can I help you?
Me: The bus hasn’t arrived yet and was wondering if there was a reason its late?
NDL: Sure, give me your information. (sounds of typing) Says the bus should be there at 11:09.
Me: Yeah, we’ve been out here since 11:05 and the bus never shows before 11:10.
NDL: (cautious) Do you know what time it is?
Me: 11:20.
NDL: (carefully) It’s 10:20.
Me: (pause, checks phone, zoom in on time) Oh, you’re kidding me. (with horror)
NDL: (with humor) Nope, not kidding.
Me: Welp, I guess I’m going back inside and taking the battery out of my phone. Thanks for your help.
NDL: (with Bless Your Heart sass) No problem. You have a good day now.
Me: (hangs up phone) Totally deserved that.

Learning Lab

(scene opens in dim early morning kitchen)

Me: Alpha, get your jacket, its cold out.
Alpha: It can’t be, it was 50 yesterday.
Me: Its also 5:15 am in the morning, hence colder than high noon. Also, welcome to winter in the Midwest. One day 50, the next day -50. Get your jacket.
Alpha: No, I’m good.
Me: 11 degrees. Jacket and gloves.
Alpha: No, I got pockets.
Me: I get that you think you’ll be fine, because you’re going straight from car to school, but having the jacket in case we break down is also a good idea.
Alpha: We’re not that far away, I can walk to school from where ever we break down.
Me: (paralyzed with lack of caring) Fine. Get in the car. Dad’s car. He’s parked behind me.
Alpha: Oh. The shitty cold car?
Me: Without seat warmers? Yeah.
Alpha: (leaves, standing ground on not getting jacket or gloves)

(cut scene to inside mini-van, windows edged with heavy frost)

Alpha: Is the heat even on?
Me: Yeah, its an old car, you have to give it a little time to warm up.

(time passes)

Alpha: Is the blower even working?
Me: Ayup. Takes a lot of work to warm up from 11 degrees.

(more time)

Alpha: Why is it so cold?
Me: Gosh. If only there was an article of clothing you could have brought with you that would have kept you warm. Maybe with sleeves and a hood? What’s that thing called? A ja-quet?
Alpha: (non-committal teen-age harumph)
Me: (smug)

Royal Matters

(scene opens in towel strewn bathroom)

Me: (stripping down toddler) Okay, first we’re going to go potty, then brush our teeth, and then bed time!
Delta: Four story! (holds up three fingers)
Me: One story. Now, get up there and go potty.
Delta: (runs to potty, looks in) Someone did’t flush! (points, outraged)
Me: Its okay, get up there and we’ll flush after. (gets up off the floor)
Delta: No! I flush! (flushes the toilet, stands arms folded to watch)
Me: (sigh) Okay. We’ll wait. (mutters under breath) Princess.
Delta: Not a princess! I an king!
Me: My apologizes, your majesty. Can we go potty now?
Delta: (climbs onto the toilet, doing victory head bob) I an king! I an king! I want four story because I an king! (holds up three fingers)
Me: (starts prepping the toothbrush)

Survival Skills

(scene opens in cluttered kitchen, close up on thermometer reads -30 outside, 50 inside)

Me: (in multiple laters, stocking cap, fingerless gloves, pouring coffee into thermal travel mug)
Gamma: Mom, can I have my water bottle?
Me: (concentrating on the hot) Sure, go ahead and get it.
Gamma: (puts it under dripping-to-prevent-freezing faucet)
Me: Here, let me help. (fills it)
Gamma: Not too much!
Me: (hands it back) Why not? Wait, what are you doing?
Gamma: (takes to ice maker, stuffs full of ice) I’m a master of surviving and preventing heat stroke. (said proudly)
Me: (sighs and nods approvingly) Good job.

Opportunity strikes

(scene opens in tossed dinning room)

Alpha: (thinking himself clever) Mom, if people evolved from monkeys, why do we still have monkeys?
Me: (shock) Did you just seriously ask me that question?
Alpha: (bravado wavers a bit) Yeah.
Me: (anticipatory stretch, cracks knuckles) I have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Sit down while I learn you good. Its been a while since I used the Anthro degree. (picks up pencil to sketch out hominid family tree)

(time passes, multiple cut scenes follow, science happens)

Alpha: (whimpers)
Me: There. And that’s why, my little hairless ape, there are both monkeys and human beings. Before you decide this play this trick again, the same goes for dogs and wolves. Unless you’re dumb enough to think that pre-historic saber-toothed Bichon Frise roamed the earth hunting undersized mammoths.
Alpha: (slinks off to kitchen to do dishes)

Time, Time, Time

(scene opens in dim dinning room)

Alpha: (comes in foyer, shedding snow)
Me: (concerned) What are you doing home? Did they cancel track?
Alpha: No, I have homework.
Me: (appalled) ….you ditched track to do homework? You’ve missed all of last week’s practice already! How much do you have?
Alpha: I have to finish the late worksheet.
Me: That’s it? (temper rises) How long do you think that’s going to take you?
Alpha: (hesitantly) All night?
Me: You actually have no clue how much homework you have on any given night, which is amazing since you never bring homework home.
Alpha: (defensively sullen) I didn’t think I could run if I had homework.
Me: (shakes fists at the sky, shrieking) School. Practice. Homework. Dinner. Bed. There is time for all things under heaven! What kind of life do you think you’re going to live where you can clear your entire calendar for twenty minutes worth of work?
Alpha: (tearfully sullen) A life on the streets.
Me: (collects with difficulty) Even street people have a schedule in an effort to survive. Thank you for making homework a priority.

(Alpha exits, Mother screams silently and tears out hair)