Until about 11 pm most nights, the door to our home is open. Not the front door, the garage door and then the laundry room door which connects right into the kitchen. In the summer, the door slams open and shut every five minutes either with a kid that belongs to us going out or with someone else’s kid coming in.
The parade of children and cacophony of door slams dies down in the winter. So, come January, Lucy–the guard dog–gets revved at the slightest hint of anyone approaching our door.
Yesterday, despite it being my day off, I was busy. A lot of my busy-ness these days has to do with the business of my charity team –just getting off the ground. After my usual Thursday morning sock-battle with Hadley, a four mile run, and my first weight training session in two months, I sat down and sent a mass email inviting anyone interested in joining our running team to a kick-off meeting at my house on Thursday January 16, 2014 at 7 pm.
Somehow, after an email or two, a run, a weight training session, balancing the checking accounts, cleaning the espresso machine, and stopping at Home Goods for—God knows what, it was time to get Haddie at school. The entire day had passed and I had not even thought about dinner.
An hour later, all three kids were home. We quickly dispensed with the customary weekly fights about karate (one kid wanted to go even though she had hours worth of work to do, another kid did not want to go just because he didn’t “feel like it” and another kid who had quit karate for ballet was brought to tears by a reminder that this was her choice. “But MOM! I don’t want to be a ballerina anymore! I want to be a ninja–like Maisy”)
Chris’ lecture about “creating a culture of quitters in our home” finished me off, I was exhausted. Chinese take-out and a lot of wine was the obvious answer to the dinner question.
I picked up the karate-lover and karate-hater while the karate-hater-quitter-lover sulked in the back. We grabbed the Chinese and headed home. I had just sat down after seven trips to the fridge for milk, cabinet for glasses, pantry for napkins, and fridge again for water when Lucy started growling. I looked around the table and counted: our five plus a couple of extra neighbor kids were in their usual places. I could not imagine who else could be coming through our open door at that moment.
Next thing I knew, Tom, my nurse and “work husband” was barreling into our kitchen. He was covered in sweat, dressed in running shorts, a reflector vest and ….rubber gloves. Yes, rubber examining gloves–the kind most men his age run screaming at the sight of.
“Oh! Hey there Tom!” Chris called as he slapped him on the back. “What you up to?” Meaning: “What the hell are you doing here?”
It turns out that Tom, in his running training, had taken to running home from our office by way of the mammoth hill that courses right by our house. It seemed like a natural stop-over except for the fact that he had NEVER just ‘stopped over.’
Naturally, we invited Tom to stay for dinner. Chris grabbed a plate and a cold Corona while Tom peeled off his sweaty rubber gloves. It turns out that as he was leaving work, he realized he had forgotten his running gloves and thought that the rubber ones would keep his hands warmer than nothing. He was not bothered by the fact that they also made him look suspiciously like a serial killer.
It wasn’t until Tom had drained the beer and was halfway through his Singapore Mei Fun that he spoke. “Hey! Uh. Am I early?”
The table was silent for a moment.
“Early?” I asked. “For what?”
“For the team kickoff meeting!” Tom announced indignant…”The team meeting you set up!” His tone was accusatory for sure.
Once the laughter had died down and the reality of his error sunk in, Tom jumped up in his typical good natured way.
“Huh…alright then…I’ll be back next week–thanks for the Chinese!” With that, he pulled on his rubber gloves and headed out into the cold rainy night. Apparently, he still had two miles to run.
Note to self re: team meeting: Discuss mid-run fueling strategies.