Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ice Cream Seduction

So … consider my weekends. I don’t really have weekends, exactly. I usually only get Monday off. Yes, yes … that makes me a busy pixie. But consider my week ends … or in a more specific way, consider the weekend two weeks past.

It’s Saturday. I’ve slept late because I worked until seven a.m. I awoke, as usual, with my mind clouded and wondering what train hit me. Knobby Knees has coffee made and is his usual solicitous self. Daughters 1-5 are scattered around the house. I hear thumping upstairs and figure Daughters 1 and 2 and dancing in their bedroom. I wish they’d stop but I’m too far into fog to shout up the stairs and I’m too short to thump the ceiling.

I sip the coffee.

K. Knees brings me a piece of hot buttered bread. This stuff is baked regionally. It’s full of seeds and grains and it’s nummy. Mr. Knees bought the butter. He doesn’t know the difference between salted and unsalted butter. But it doesn’t matter much. It’s good.

I take a bite and follow it with another sip of coffee.

“Feeling better?” he asks. Before I can answer he asks: “Want to go to the garden shop with me?”

I grunt something that’s as close to, “No thanks” as I can get. One eye is now focused.

Daughter Five thumps up the stairs, spies me and takes a dive into my lap. I get a huge, slightly wet kiss and an equally intense hug.

“Hi, mom,” she says.

She settles into my chair. We’re both small so we both fit with a bit of squeeze. She tentatively reaches for my toast. I nod an okay and she takes a bite.

The side by side snuggle lasts long enough for her to take one more bite. “Where’s Liz?” she asks.

I haven’t a clue.

“Outside,” her dad says. “Riding her bike.”

Annie starts for the door. Her father shouts, “Don’t forget your bike helmet!”

She does a pirouette at the front closet door and scrounges for her helmet. It’s purple.


K. Knees has departed for the garden shop. Children have shifted locations. I’m at my desk sorting a mass of now very disorganized photocopies, print outs, letters, emails and such. I used to put this stuff in file folders. These days I put it in three ring binders sorted according to keyword or personal name. I’m on my third cup of coffee … my third BIG cup of coffee … and slowly stapling, punching holes, and attaching sticky notes.

K. Knees returns. He has bought six more or less useless items, some weed and feed, parts for the faucet that was damaged in the freeze, and soft serve ice cream cones for everyone.

My children have a sixth sense when it comes to sweet things. They buzz around him like bees, and five of the cones are gone instantly as are the children holding them. A bunch of “thanks dad” comments are thrown over shoulders. They scatter.

He brings me mine. It’s dipped in chocolate. Nice man.

He pulls a chair away from the wall and plops himself down next to me.

“What’cha doin?” he asks. This is a creditable imitation of dau 4, and it makes me smile.

“Sorting papers.” I hand him the hole punch. “Here,” I say, “you can help.”

He wrinkles his nose as if the hole punch smelled badly. “I have papers of my own to sort,” he sniffs.

“If you do it can wait. … Humor me.”

We establish a staple, label, hand-off, punch and insert papers in binder routine. This is working well.

He is in the mood to talk. We gossip about family. I nod understandingly when he complains about his assistant. (If the word ‘dork’ has meaning, this would have been the time to use it.)

I hear the phone ring. It’s not my cell. I’m in not going to run to the dining room to answer it. Either one of the girls will get it or it can go to voice mail. Sure enough, I hear scurrying little feet. The phone is answered and no one calls for us, so I presume it’s for dau 3, 4, or five. Daughters 1 and 2 have cell phones.

Annie (dau 5) runs up the stairs.

I hand K. Knees more papers. He punches holes and inserts the pages into my binder.

I hear the stomp of feet upstairs. Dau 5 clomps down the stairs and runs into my work-room-library space.

“Can I go,” she shouts. It’s a breathless shout.

“Go where?” I ask.

“Grammas! She says Anabeth is here and we can spend the night. Can I go?”

Daughters 1 and 4 arrive. The question is repeated.

Questions are asked. Gramma is called back by K. Knees who asks his mom if she’s certain she wants that many kids in her house. Grandma is certain.

Backpacks are stuffed with stuff. Liz’s is so full and heavy it looks as if it will split open. Liz has taken the Boy Scout motto to heart. It’s full of stuff she might need; she is prepared!

Daughter 1 wants to walk. This idea appeals to them all, but I’m doubtful. It isn’t a long walk, only about a mile and a half. But I’m always uneasy when they’re afoot. K. Knees intervenes. He sets some rules. You may not walk on (insert name of main arterial street). You must stay together. The two youngest must hold hands with the two oldest when crossing streets.

This works. K. Knees follows them outside and watches them while they wander down the street. I am right behind him. We’re probably an overly protective lot, but I feel better watching.


Daughters are out of sight and we return to the house.

“What were we going to do next?” K. Knees asks. Obviously he is bored with hole punching.

“You were going to punch holes … and …” I pause to analyze his disappointed face. “And you were going to lean over and nuzzle my neck and whisper sweet nothings into my ear. Plainly you were going to seduce me.”

“I was?”

“Yes. You were.”

He has a quirky half-smile. It always shows up when he’s been ‘found out.”

“Can we skip the sweet nothings and the nuzzle and get right to the seduction?” he asks.

I nod, grab his wrist and more or less pull this lanky, knobby kneed guy up the stairs.

And … how was your weekend.


  1. I wrote wrote, wrote, wrote, wrote.

    Then I harassed the kids.

    Then I wrote some more.

    I love writing, I really do.

    Oh, and I also got plenty of sleep.


  2. Oh to be young again. Snuggling is a distant memory.

    Then again we don't have young children taking bites of our toast either. But I can still get a smile out of her with a chocolate, pecan turtle sundae.