Interview with a Parent #SOL19

Faceless voice behind the camera: How did you do on your own today, Meaghan?

[Hair tousled, chin resting on hands, elbows on table. Meaghan shrugs]: I had a pretty good day. Chad will be home tomorrow, so it’s no biggie.

Faceless voice behind the camera: Can you give us some details, Meaghan?

[Looks up, somewhat annoyed]: Uh, let’s see, there was a worm, some sunshine, a couple of swings, sticks, a chicken salad, a tiny bit of resentment, some health updates, a mother-daughter movie, and milkshakes. Not bad.

Faceless voice behind the camera: You seem tired.

[Steely glare, very annoyed]: It’s 8:47 pm and I am about to take a shower for the first time today. Can we wrap this up?

Faceless voice behind the camera: Sure thing, thanks for [baby cries off set]. Looks like the dog woke up the baby [checks notes] again.

[Meaghan clears throat, stands to leave] Yeah, gotta go. [Leaves stage with hot mic. Mumbles expletive laden tirade about strangling the dog].

Faceless voice behind the camera: Let’s go people. That’s a wrap.

Beating the Buzzer #SOL19

white apple iphone on wooden table

Photo by Negative Space on

Some days I’m the college athlete, sinking a 3 at the buzzer.

Some days I’m the remote control, smashed against the floor with my batteries askew.

Some days I am the rug by the door, threads pulled loose by the dog’s every nail.

But tonight, tonight I’m the Powerball winner who checks her ticket before tossing it in the recycling.

For just moments ago, I sunk lazily into the couch, ready to lose myself in an episode of 20/20 and Twitter.  My fingers danced across my phone and quite out of habit hit the WordPress app. Immediately I flung my body up ramrod straight, “Oh my gosh! I gotta write!”


Patient Zero #SOL19

close up photo of white and black two way radio on green glass surface

Photo by Pedro Sandrini on

Crrrrrch.  “Come in Madame Commander.  Over.”

Guilt paces the room a striking figure, shoulders ramrod straight. She wears her namesake not in the turn of her shoulders or the hanging of her head. No. Her albatross is a cloak around her neck, the weight absorbed by every organ.  She lifts the two way radio to her lips. Crrrrrch. “Come in, Cerebral Cortex. Over.”

CC adjusts his glasses, clears his throat.  He knows what he has to tell her will signal a tsunami throughout the host.  A trickle of sweat beads at his brow. Crrrrrch. “It seems we have another patient. Over.”

Crrrrch. “Who is it?”

CC dabs the sweat with his kerchief. Crrrrrch. “It seems, it’s….” his voice trails off.  He pauses, steels his resolve, “It’s the patriarch.”  He leaves some silence, “Over.”

The news catches Guilt by surprise.  She knew it was a possibility, but certainly a slim one.  The patriarch was celebrated just days ago, before her host body, daughter of said patriarch and patient zero, knew she was infected.  One by one family members were reporting either illness or wellness.  And now this.  The weight of the cloak grows heavier and Guilt momentarily closes her eyes to the force of it.

CC is handed a new report.  He reads it quickly and is hopeful he can stem the tide. Crrrrrch.  “Madam, I just received another report. Over.”

Her eyes are still closed.  Crrrrch “Go on. Over.”

Crrrrch “It seems here, the matriarch, also called the Church Lady, has stated his infection could be purely coincidental. He could have gotten it anywhere. Over.”

Crrrrch “Nonsense. That is nothing beyond an attempt to appease the host. Now, did you get a report on how the matriarch is feeling? Over.”

CC checks his notes again, dreads what he has to say.  Crrrch “It says here she has a tickle in her throat.”

And with that, Guilt slams the two way radio to the ground, storms across the room and yanks a second cloak from her wardrobe.

Inspired to personify by my writerly friend Cindy and her post: here


Waiting for Inspiration #SOL19


The first three weeks of the Slice of Life Challenge were a breeze.  Stories coming at me like paper in a windstorm.  Not so windy in here anymore.

Now that I’m ostracized in my home with the flu, I’m not finding a whole lot of inspiration.  The dog and I stare out the window, willing something to happen in our quiet court. We watch the neighbor’s work vans come.  Men carry tools in and out of the house. A UPS truck zooms in, drops a package, zooms out.  After that it’s just squirrels upon squirrels.

Sigh. Guess I’ll pump.

I get my hand held pump all put together and sit on the couch to start my business when into the court comes another work pickup truck.  This one parks directly in front of my house.

That’s weird. Probably for the neighbors.

I peek around the curtain. The driver has stepped out of the truck and is checking his phone.  I head to my daughter’s room to huddle below her window and spy on this man because, well, what else would one do?

He starts up the driveway and is checking out my yard as he goes.

Ugh. It’s probably the yard guy.

The yard guy was supposed to come by for an estimate on Monday.  I thought he’d forgotten about us, but alas, he remembered us at the exact moment I had the flu and was pumping my milk. Heck of a guy.

*Knock knock*

I stash the pump and unsuccessfully attempt to fix my hair and straighten my pjs.

I answer the door and tell him I’m too sick to walk the property with him.  He takes in my face and attire and doesn’t need any convincing. He assures me he can walk the yard on his own to determine what needs to be done.

I spy on him through different windows as he goes from the front to the back of the house.  The dog barks her annoyance at his presence. Finally he is finished.  He hops in his truck and pulls away.  It is all very uneventful.

I flop back on the couch, let out a giant sigh and turn to the dog, “That was exhausting.”

But, at least I got a slice.



Priorities #SOL19

man old depressed headache

Photo by Gerd Altmann on

“This will be a little uncomfortable,” she said, tearing open a sealed packet to reveal a long thin plastic instrument.

She didn’t tell me where this long, thin, plastic instrument would go, but I could guess.  It went straight up my right nostril almost to my brain.  Yes, uncomfortable.

I flinched a little and looked down at Ellie, who seemed horrified.  I smiled and gave her a thumbs up in case she’d have to do this soon.

The nurse practitioner took my nose gunk and what I can only assume was also brain matter and mixed it up in some solutions.

She looked in my ears, took my blood pressure, then glanced at the test on the counter.

“Oh, yes.  It’s already starting to show flu.”

My mind started racing:

What am I going to do about the 5th grade writing assessment?  Will I be back at work to run the norming meeting on Friday? 

Oh geeze, are the girls next?  Georgia had a second flu shot just recently, but Ellie got one when I did. What about Chad?  Will he still be able to go on his boys trip this weekend?

Oh shit.  Did I just infect everyone at my Dad’s 80th birthday party on Saturday?

Oh my gosh!  Am I going to be able to slice??


Shiver, Shiver, Sweat #SOL19

apartment bed carpet chair

Photo by Pixabay on

Shiver, shiver, sweat.  Shiver, shiver, sweat.

Cough, cough. 

“Mom?  I don’t feel good.”

“Oh no.  How can I help?”

“Well, I just have to go to school today.  We’re having a party for Ms. Laura to celebrate her new baby.”

“Oh, hon, you shouldn’t try to do everything if you’re sick.  You need to take care of yourself.”

“I know, but I want to go.”

“You can’t get her sick.  Take the rest of the day off and I can watch the girls.”

(grumbling), “Thanks, Mom.”

Forty one years and I still need her like Ellie needs me.



Sunday Morning WWE #SOL19

“Pop, get up and go check the chicken.” Ellie says, calmly sitting in front of the living room window.  He is laying on the rug after a rowdy tickle fest.  Ellie’s ruse is given away slightly when she follows with, “I promise I won’t chase you.”

Up he lumbers off the rug, his walk quickly turning into a run when she inevitably breaks her promise and dashes after him.  They circle the kitchen hooting and hollering until they are where they began.

Bonk.  He falls to the floor.

“Raaaaaa!” the duet of hollers continues.

“Ooof!” She lands on top of him.

Georgia and I are a rapt, albeit peaceful, audience – much better suited for watching golf than the debacle currently unfolding before us.

“No, Pop!” as he momentarily gets the upper hand.

Finally, she wrangles out of his grip and hops on his back. He concedes her strength.  She is the victor.





Hero to Villain #SOL19

boy child clouds kid

My daughter, looking at pictures on the phone: Mom, remember that time you gave me chicken tenders?

Me, half listening: Hmm?  When?  Last week?

Her: No, yesterday a long time ago (translation: any time in the past).

Me: Uh, no, I think I gave you chicken tenders last week though (still patting myself on the back for getting protein in her belly).

Her: No. When I was a baby.

Me, now fully attentive and confused: Huh? When you were a baby?  I didn’t give you chicken tenders when you were a baby.

Her: Yes you did. See?  Right here (flips the phone toward me).

Me squinting for a better look.  Processing a picture of her as a baby with red spots on her face.


Me: Oh, baby, those weren’t chicken tenders.  Those were chicken pox.

And from the language of babes, I went from being my own hero in a cape holding high a plate of delicious chicken tenders to the cackling villain who gave her own kid the pox just before her six month vaccination.

Not Mincing Any Words #SOL19


Ellie has had four years to develop her ability to communicate and my has she used the time wisely. The girl talks when she’s riding, bathing, running, and playing. Her monologues and soliliqies can be pretty hilarious, but sometimes she’s funniest when she’s succinct.

Scene: In the car on the ride home. Mother and daughter spend thirty four minutes straight dissecting the plot and characters of Coraline (the creepiest kids’ movie ever).

Me: (turns to look at her in the back seat) Phew. That was quite a dissertation.

Ellie: (gazing out the window) Yep.

And earlier in the week:

Scene: Sitting at the dining room table.  Mother and daughter share charming moment coloring the Elsa and Anna coloring book.

Me: Can you hand me that orange marker?  I want to color Anna’s hair orange.

Ellie: Nonsense.


Give me Belinda #SOL19

close up photography of woman wearing black hooded jacket

Photo by Andre Furtado on

This week I’ve been secretly looking forward to staying late at school for our night event.  I kind of thought it might be nice.  A little vacation.  Ahh, A couple of hours between dismissal and the start of the event to chill. Hell, I may even clean off my desk.  I’ll definitely order some Thai, write my slice…

Because I’m staying late, my husband is in charge of kid pick up.  That’s really where the “night off” feeling comes from. I take a deep breath. Mentally lounge, hands behind head, Ahh, no “Mom, Can you tell me a story?” on the way home.  No mystery for that crazy witch Belinda and her Governors Ct. Detectives.  Just silence. I could almost feel the warm breeze in my mental picture of relaxation.

Then today came.

“Who’s the point person for this terrible thing that failed?” (me)

“They’re driving me crazy! I want to quit!” (not me)

“Squeeee squeee,” (also not me – raccoons trapped under the third grade trailer)

“Give me Belinda and her band of talking animals.  I want out of here.” (me)