The morning following the Chickenfoot concert, Wonder Woman and I, after being all cool and fun and lovey-dovey during our big night out, woke up feeling like a couple of rabid porcupines.
This is how the 6 a.m. – 8 a.m. hours went at Casa de Scratches:
Me: “Morning bad. BAD! GRRRR!”
Her: “Work! Kids! Much stress! Need help!”
Me: “Skip work. Less stress. GRRRR!”
Her: “CAN’T SKIP WORK! YOU’RE NO HELP!”
Me: “GRRRR! MORNING! BLARRRRRGGHHHH!! [obscene gesture]”
Her: “RIGHT BACK AT YOU! RAWRRR!”
Sorta like that.
She was planning to take Zan to school, Jayna to gymnastics and daycare, and then head to work for a few hours. Under this little scenario, I was responsible for picking Zan up from school at 11 o’clock.
But then she decided that she would skip work, because she still had to pack for her trip to Philly with the kids.
Her: “Skipping work.”
Me: “… [resisting urge to reference previous dialogue] …”
Her: “Something something Zan school something.”
So she leaves with the kids, and I stumble to the computer, prop my eyelids open with toothpicks, and attempt to string together two coherent thoughts—a challenge under the best of circumstances.
Fast forward to 11:10. The phone is ringing. The caller ID identifies the caller as “Town of [Where We Live].” I’ve already answered the phone once this calendar year, which is my limit, so I ignore it.
At 11:12, my BlackBerry starts ringing. I do not recognize this number. Ignore-o-rama.
At 11:15, I hear Wonder Woman enter the house.
“Jon?” she says in such a way that I know something is wrong. “You were supposed to get Zan!”
“I thought you said you were getting him!” I yell over the din of the Parental Guilt Bomb that has just exploded in my chest cavity.
As I leap up from my chair, I can see in my mind’s eye my son standing with his teacher in the doorway of his classroom, watching all of his friends run happily into an umbrella-wielding army of parents. (Did I mention it was pouring out? Well, it was … and you know what that means, right? It means BONUS “SHITTY PARENT” POINTS, SERVED WITH A SIDE ORDER OF “EXTRA-SPICY PARENTAL GUILT!”) While his destined-to-be-well-adjusted friends depart with their loving, caring, responsible parents, he stands there dumbfounded, trying to wrap his head around the fact that his awful “parents” apparently have abandoned him.
While I’m busy flogging myself, Wonder Woman is already back in her car and pulling out of the driveway. It is at this point that the house phone again begins to ring. “Town of [Where We Live].” Now I understand.
“Hi, Mr. Scratches? This is The Person Who Has Your Abandoned Child.”
“Yes, I’m SO SORRY. My wife and I got our wires crossed about who was supposed to pick him up. She’ll be there in, like, less than two minutes. Is he OK?”
“Yes, he’s fine,” she says, but what I hear is, “No, you meth-addicted moron, your poor child is not OK! How on earth could he be OK? He has two shitty parents who don’t love him enough to remember to pick him up!”
When he returns home, I give him a huge hug while telling him how sorry I am that Mommy and I messed up. He is entirely unfazed, and nonchalantly tells me “It’s fine” as he tries to wriggle free so that he can go play.
Surprisingly, he hasn’t mentioned it since. Of course, I’m sure we’ll have plenty of time to talk about it … you know, when I’m visiting him in prison.