“Julie?” Dave said when I answered my cell phone while out to lunch with a friend, “is Luke having Andy over today?”
“Um, yeah,” I stammered, “didn’t I tell you that?” (I knew I had not). In my excitement to escape the house, I had completely forgotten to tell everyone Andy was coming over to play.
Luckily Andy and Luke got busy right away building Legos, playing Rock Band, and shooting hoops in the rain all afternoon.
Other than one little incident with the boys involving a wet shirt, a hairdryer, and the words, “WHOA! Were those SPARKS???” (at which point I abandoned my work in the kitchen and ran up to my bathroom just in time to deliver the “If It’s Not Yours Don’t Touch It” speech to Luke, who, to be fair, was only trying to get his buddy’s rain-soaked shirt dry before his dad came to pick him up), things went quite smoothly.
Until Andy’s dad arrived.
“Oh, good,” he smiled when I answered the door, “I’m glad you’re home!”
I laughed, unsure of what he meant. Everyone else had been home all day.
Sensing my confusion, he explained. “I came to the door with Andy, and your daughter [she is 10] answered the door. I asked if you were home, and she said no. I asked if Dave was here, she said he was in the shower. So I just looked at Andy, wished him good luck, and left him here.”
Andy’s dad is very forgiving.
“I’m so sorry, I forgot to tell them you were coming before I left,” I told him. The boys ran off to find Andy’s shoes while I continued my confession, detailing the hair dryer incident.
“So, did sparks really fly?” he asked.
“I don’t know, but I got there before any damage could be done,” I said reassuringly. I left out the part about my bathroom smelling like smoke.
Just then the boys returned with Andy’s shoes. And a steak knife.
“Mom?” Luke said, holding the knife up to me with his eight-year-old grin, “Can we cut a hole in a shoebox for my homework?”
Luke had been itching to start his creative book report project all weekend and was now holding a knife up to a man who may or may not ever bring his child over to play again.
“Honey, let me have the knife,” I said through a tight grin, “and you get the shoebox ready.”
I turned back to Andy’s dad and thanked him again for bringing Andy over while Andy put his shoes on when I heard a familiar name.
“Mom?” Luke said again as I turned around to see him holding both a torch lighter and a book of matches, “Can I light a candle in the kitchen?”
Andy’s dad broke the silence. “Are you sure you were actually watching them today?” he said with a nervous laugh and a smile that (I hope) meant he was just kidding around.
Watching them pull out of the driveway I immediately started formulating my foolproof plan for an exit strategy should Child Protective Services come a-calling. So if future blogs come from a woman named Elsie in hiding in Newmarket, Ontario with her husband, Felix, you’ll know what happened.
(No need to get the guest room ready right now, Erin, they haven’t shown up yet…)