I've been dealing with my immediate family since December 22.
Don't you love that phrase? A more accurate way of describing them cannot be devised, what with their immediate!!! need for a snack. Or a towel to wipe their eyes when they become blinded--blinded!--by soapy water in the tub. Or need help with their math homework.
And when you've been dealing with your immediate family for that amount of time, there's only one thing for which a girl hath a desire and longing:
I can't even begin tell you how thrilled I was to see the back of my children as they walked off to school this morning. I found myself sitting down at 8:13 with a mug of tea, the newspaper, and a cheese and bacon muffin. The sun was shining, and life looked good.
Then my husband came into the kitchen and announced that he was going to miss his train if I didn't drive him to the train station.
To say that I felt--shall we say, disappointed?--at this turn of events would be to understate things by a couple of orders of magnitude. But I reminded myself that I've been mooching off the guy for years--who paid for the car? He did. Who paid for the gas in the car? He did. Who baked the muffins? He did. So really, what's a ride to the train station? Especially when being a housewife and driving my husband to the commuter train station is just so amazingly retro and Donna Reed and shit. I wished that I were wearing a housecoat and driving a station wagon. Still, the t-shirt I slept in and a mini-van would do.
So off we went to the station. I dropped him off, and headed home. As I walked into the house, I heard him leaving a message on the answering machine. It seemed that the commuter railroad was completely FUBAR; the next train wouldn't get there for 45 minutes, and it would be packed to the rafters. He said he could come and work at home for a couple of hours, or could I please drive him to the closest El stop.
To offer to drive him to the El was for me, the work of a moment. "I'll pick you up at the train station," I said, and got back into the van. Then, when I was almost at the station, I saw him hailing me from the sidewalk half a block away. So I pulled over on what passes for a major road around here, wondering whether I was going to get rear-ended, and whether, if that happened, it would take the Toyota place as long to fix the Sienna as it was taking the VW place to fix the Passat (at this point we're at seven weeks and counting.)
I may have mentioned--in the mildest of tones, mind you--that it would have been more convenient if he had stayed at the railroad station, which is equipped with a handy turn-around place, useful for wives who are picking up their husbands. And how did he react? He called me by my mother's first name. "OK, [Poppy's Mother's name]." And he meant it to sting.
Well. Them's fighting words. Nothing insults a wife more than being compared to her mother. Have you noticed they never say you remind them of your mother when you're being sweetness and light? It was an uncharacteristically grim Poppy who chauffeured That Stud Muffin She Married to his second train stop of the morning.
After all, it's hard to keep the disposition sunny and the heart light when one is thinking "JUST GET YOUR ASS TO THE FUCKING OFFICE, FOR FUCK'S SAKE!" And other thoughts of that general hue and intensity. I'm sure you can imagine. I'll just add "ETC., ETC.," and allow you to imagine the kind of colorful, rough-hewn thoughts I was having.
(I got better.)