With Miss O's current hacking cough and Mr. Z's special needs teeth, the morning routine at Casa de Crabbe has been particularly hyeenous. This was my morning today:
7:20 -- Alarm goes off. Bust through mucous cocoon to turn off alarm and then lie in bed for six minutes, cursing the gods of slumber for letting me make it to another day. Stumble to bathroom, hock up a jellyfish from my lungs, and tinkle. Grab toothbrush, clothes and exit bedroom, closing the door so the old lady can continue that sleep of the dead thing she has perfected over the years. Curse old lady. Brush teeth in nasty kids' bathroom, get dressed and shuffle over to Mr. Z's room. The light is on, and he's in bed, reading. "Hood horning, Hister Z," I wheeze. He glances toward my general area and grunts, "Flnrf." Then, as I do every morning, I say, "Okay, dude, let's get outta bed and get dressed. I'm only going to say it once, today." I will end up saying it 18 times.
Then it's across the hall to Miss O's lair. Her alarm is going off, and has been at this point for a good seven minutes. I turn it off and say, "Good morning, Sleepyhead. Time to get up." Nothin'. "We've gotta get going, Miss O. Big day, today. We've gotta eat breakfast, do your breathing treatment, brush your teeth and get to school." Nothin'. After a couple more minutes of basically talking to myself, I resort to the old stand-by -- "If you don't get up right now, there's no TV during your breathing treatment."
So she goes and pees, then, while I help her get dressed, Mr. Z goes in and takes his five minute,pissing like a Clydesdale, whiz. I'm telling ya, the kid's got one forceful sounding stream. He could power-wash a deck with that thing. Incredible. So, she's dressed, and as she and I start walking downstairs, I say, "We're going down for breakfast, Mr. Z. You might wanna get dressed, dude." He shoots back with the classic, "What the heck?! Wait for me! You guys don't give me any time!" I savor the boy's charm for a moment, reply with a "Okay then, we'll see you downstairs," and continue down the steps.
After asking what she'd like to eat about eight times, Miss O finally says, "Cheerios," which means about 25 Cheerios, dry, in a bowl. It will take her 25 minutes to eat them. I also pour her some juice that she will not touch. Mr. Z finally makes it down, flustered, and carrying about seven books that he will strew... strow?... spread out on the table. He tells me he'd like a bowl of "Panda Puffs" (hippie pretend sugar cereal that costs about $9 a puny box) and some juice. I serve it all up and do I get to relax? Fuck no. It's time to make their goddamn lunches.
Mr. Z gets PBJ, a milk, some chips, an applesauce and a couple of cookies. Miss O's lunch is another story. First I attempt to ask her what she'd like for that day. She'll basically only eat 1) cottage cheese and Triscuits, B) 1/2 a PBJ sandwich, or III) Chicken/Tuna salad in a pita. Today she picked cottage cheese, which means she'll eat about half of it (no matter how much I give her -- always 1/2). I also throw in the Triscuits, an applesauce, a milk and some fruit chews, aka candy. Then I have to get their "snacks" ready. Yes, I know. What the shit?! Apparently, they have some sort of mid-morning snack. I throw some Ritz crackers and raisins in a couple of ziplocs. Bang. Instant snack.
Throughout the lunch-making, I have to keep saying, "Come on guys, eat up. Close the books and eat. It's getting late. We've still gotta do your teeth, Mr. Z and your treatment, Miss O. And remember, no TV unless you get moving." They get moving.
While they finish, I run upstairs and stick my head under the tub spout to wet down my hair so I don't show up at school looking like Linc, from the Mod Squad. Instead I'll show up looking like a greasy shitball. Then, I run back down and load up their backpacks with all their books and field trip money and snacks and shit.
Of course they haven't finished eating, but it's too late. Miss O gets shuffled into the family room for her fucking breathing treatment (we do it whenever her cold turns into a chesty cough, which is every time she gets a cold, basically). I turn on the TV so she'll sit there without farting around, and then we argue about what she's going to watch. Mr. Z wants Spongebob, but Miss O wants Curious George. She wins because the boy and I have to run upstairs and do his three-times-a-day multi-pronged brushing/spraying/swishing mouth appliance sterilization program. First you've gotta take the syringe-y thing and spray all the nighttime deathballs out of all the wiring in there. Then you use the TINY brush to CAREFULLY brush this plastic-and-steel monstronsity on the roof of his mouth that's worth more than our car. Then you use the normal brush to brush the rest of his mouth. Then he has to gargle with ACT mouthwash for a minute so... well, basically so his breath doesn't smell like ass, which, frankly, it can, on occasion. Then he spits the shit out all over the faucet, so I clean that off.
We run back downstairs to make sure Miss O hasn't been sucked into the nebulizer. She's done, so I shut off the TV and listen to her whine because she can't see how the Curious George episode ends. I tell her it ends like all the other episodes -- the monkey bites the man in the yellow hat, he dies from Ebola, and then they euthanize George. She seems satisfied.
Then I drag them over to get their boots on, make sure their shoes are in their backpacks, get their coats, hats and mittens, make sure their snowpants are in the backpacks, and then I realize I haven't brushed Miss O's teeth yet. I run upstairs, get her toothbrush, smear some Winnie-the-Pooh doesn't clean shit toothpaste on it, run back down and brush her face. I have her spit in a paper towel and then I shovel them out the door and into the car. We drive the 10 or so blocks to school because we're late and because it's too fucking cold to walk, okay, so get off my fucking ass, will ya?! We park, I walk them in, say goodbye to Mr. Z, and then walk Miss O to her classroom. I hang up her backpack and coat, take off her snow boots, put her shoes on and walk her into her classroom. She gives me a hug and then I walk back out to the car, drive the 2 1/2 minutes back home, go inside, turn on the tea kettle, put some toast in the toaster, and sit down in front of the S.A.D. lamp to read the NY Times.
And the best part? The old lady's going out of town on Thursday, so I get to do this for four days in a row.
[End scene to the sound of a single tear traveling ever-so-slowly down a man's cheek]