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September 24, 2007

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wendy

things on my list: asking people to buy The Other Mother, changing lightbulbs that require ladders and precarious balance, putting away laundry, asking people to buy The Other Mother...

MJ

Meredith stopped paying the bills to make a statement (no pun intended). She had once seen a segment on morning television about an unappreciated wife who actually went on strike and picketed in her front yard. She thought of this woman while she neatly wrapped a stack of unopened bills with one of their daughter's purple hairbands and placed it in the back of the junk drawer. He would surely never find them there behind the loose batteries and double stick tape. She laughed at her clandestine efforts; she could light the stack of bills on fire in the middle of the kitchen table and it would still be her job to find the fire extinguisher.

Somewhere buzzing around in the rational part of her brain, Meredith knew that her behavior was completely irresponsible - such a deviation from the norm. She felt a little rush at the thought of breaking the rules, and of her husband having to deal with the consequences. As she had so many times before she made an angry mental list of all of the things she did to make his life easier; clean boxer shorts put away, shirts folded the way he liked, lunch packed in the refrigerator each morning. She had come to feel like she should swip a time card in her kitchen when she came down everyday to start the coffee, make the pancakes, empty the dishwasher,feed the dog.

As Meredith stood over the suitcases she wondered what would happen first. Maybe he would undress only to find a slow drip from the shower head. Perhaps his cell phone would die while his boss was shouting another of his ridiculous tirades. She wondered what he would say if the bank called about the mortgage.

Her thoughts were broken by the shouts of her daughter from the garage doorway.

"Mom! What are you doing? The shuttle's here!"

"I'm coming, I'm coming!" Meredith replied.

As Meredith approached the door, tickets in hand, her daughter questioned, "What's the matter? Did you forget something?"

"Nope."

Laura  @ Laura Williams' Musings

I haven't read this one yet... need to get a copy so I can.

Queen of Carrots

Five crumpled wrappers perched on the couch. Five matchbox cars sat with mathematical neatness on the floor. Behind them, dozens more tantalizing small packages waited in a plastic bin, next to a bright blue and red potty chair.

In front of them, one small boy, in a t-shirt and briefs, and a growing yellow puddle. He didn't even look up from his play. Didn't shift his position. One car was facing away from the others, and he turned it around.

Evelyn bit into her manicure. She hadn't bit her nails in forty-five years. She looked at the chart on the wall. Two days she'd been at this--two days she'd given up soaps, crosswords, and left her azaleas to wilt in the August heat--and there were five stars on the chart. And those, she was sure, were more accidental than the seventeen puddles on the floor.

It had been Amy's idea. A visit to Grandma would be just the time to learn to be a big boy. Well, she'd tried. Amy would just have to figure out something else to do about preschool. At this rate, she'd have to look for a fraternity that accepted diapers. Grandma had done what Grandma could, and Grandma was ready to go back to being Grandma instead of the Evil Potty Tyrant.

Evelyn went to the broom closet and got a black plastic bag. She neatly wrapped it around the potty chair and taped it securely. She stacked the toy bin on top and set them by the door. Then she went to the back bedroom and pulled out a half-empty bag of diapers.

Aidan came trotting after her, a car in each hand. "I have a red car *and* a blue car!" A trail dripped behind him onto the white carpet.

wendy

MJ--those are some mighty fine details--the purple hairbands on the stack of bills, the way she neatly wraps them. But WOW--we started with boycotting bills, and at the end she's leaving him? I love your choice, and I also love how this topic forces us to really create emergency, something that matters, something to keep us turning pages (which I would do with this one, MJ!).
Keep it up!

wendy

Queen of Carrots (I have a mental image of your orange rooty crown), you have also just pinned us down with details--the kid in the puddle of pee, the trail on the (yikes!) white carpet, the sense of desperation. I love "Grandma was ready to go back to being Grandma instead of the Evil Potty Tyrant." You've so quickly captured the powerlessness and passion that goes into potty training! Can't wait to see what you come up with next!

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