It was just your typical Tuesday:
The house was humming along in all of its usual disharmonies: the washer was spinning, the dryer was churning, the sink in the kitchen was belching up air.
"Someday," my husband says, "I'm going to fix that vent."
“I won't hold my breath,” I said under mine.
I'd leave all the breath-holding to the girl, who was harrumphing and releasing huge amounts of pent-up air as she looked for the mate to one of her shoes. The boy added his own layer of buzz, making electronic shooting sounds as he waged an epic intergalactic war between his pieces of toast. "Only the crusts will be left to rebuild the world. Dun dun dun duuuuunnnnn."
Then the dog starts barking. She is not impressed with the idea of crusts rebuilding. She has claimed them for herself, but now she's tired of waiting for her tiny warlord to hand them over.
"What do we want? Toast! When do we want it? Before it turns into crumbs!"
The clock is ticking.
"Mo-ommm!" Yells the girl from over this din, "can you help me find my shoe?” It wasn't a question as much as a recrimination for the fact I could not.
Unlike most mothers I know, I am incapable of doing two things at once. If I look for a shoe while I'm making lunch now, she'll find a peanut butter sandwich in her room later. That's just a sad fact.
And yet, like most kids, knowing a thing is true can not stop her from taxing my system with alt facts.
"You never help me do anything, and now I'll be late!"
I stop her before she goes nuclear.
"Calm down. Look under furniture in the general vicinity of where you found the other shoe. It will turn up."
I take deep breaths as I go back to shoveling the elements of a non-nutritious lunch into a SuperHero lunch box while my husband marks time.
Think "cheerful drill sergeant."
"Seven A.M., folks, seven A.M.! We have 10 minutes to get out that door. Ten-minute warning, folks!"
A new day was breathing down our necks, but I swear it had the same script as yesterday and all days before that.
At half past, I would switch the laundry and head off to work.
Of course, this scene ends promptly at ten past seven and silence blankets the house.
The voices were gone, the dog had settled in her sunny spot near the window, and even the machines had stopped their whirring and chirping.
Wait?! That can't be right. The dryer still had 20 minutes.
I push the buttons, but the machine won't resume its operations. Only a horrible, no good, very bad sound comes echoing back to me. I open the door to a belch of air and feathers. Was it the down comforter that killed the dryer or was it coincidence? Only the repair guys can tell me.
And they will be here between ten and noon next Tuesday.