I am wondering how so many people manage to accidentally “reply to all” when they really mean to just “reply” (to one) because I can only ever manage to accidentally “reply” (to one) when I really want to “reply to all.”  I have to make an extra-special effort to “reply to all,” regardless of which e-mail account I’m using.  What is the e-mail service I should use if I want to accidentally “reply to all”?  Just curious.

My three-year-old was walking around the house earlier, singing a song about being a peacemaker.  I assume she learned it at church (because she sure as heck didn’t learn it at home).  Anyway, a few minutes ago she walked into the room and said, “Mom, can I be a peacemaker?”

“Uh, sure.  Yes.  Yes, be a peacemaker.”

“Can I have a hat?”

“You need a hat to be a peacemaker?”


“A peacemaker hat?”


“Hm.  I’ll have to look into that.”

“Can I get a haircut, too?  A haircut like Elvis’s?”  (Referring to her brother, not the King of Rock ‘n Roll.)

“Ah…we’ll talk about that later.”

I do not want to get her hair cut like her brother’s.  Her brother has short hair.  Her hair is very long and pretty, and I don’t care if she’d rather have it short.  She’s three and it’s her lot to suffer.  Anyway, I don’t believe she needs a haircut to be a peacemaker.  A peacemaker hat should be enough for now, I think.  I just have to figure out what that is.

My short to-do lists have been working well for me.  Right up until today, that is.  Today I was thrown off by the fact that Elvis is home from school for the second day in a row with a mysterious illness.  He was up during the night on Sunday, complaining of a stomach ache.  He was loath to wake up Monday morning and was still complaining of stomachache.  Then a couple hours later he seemed just fine.  Then he wanted me to play Sisyphusball with him, but I wouldn’t because even if he wasn’t sick, I still kind of am sick.  Sick in the head of playing Sisyphusball.  I said I would play catch with him, which he tolerated for a few minutes, but then he decided he would rather play Sisyphusball by himself.  The only problem was he couldn’t get the ball on the roof.  That was when I knew that he was really sick, despite the fact that he had no fever and ate a perfectly good lunch and didn’t complain about his stomach hurting again until evening time.

(*Sisyphusball–a game in which one throws a ball (or two, or seven) onto the roof to watch it rolll back down again; variation: one attempts to throw a ball over the roof multiple times but is not guaranteed a break from play once this is accomplished.)

He requested to go to bed early, which isn’t that unusual for him–he works hard, he plays hard, even in illness–but he woke up an hour or so later with a fever (or at least what we assumed was a fever because we don’t actually have any operating thermometers in the house these days, and we have to rely on the old hot-or-cold method, which isn’t medically reliable, but it was all we had, so there).  He went right back to sleep, and in the middle of the night he was no longer hot but was awake for some reason I couldn’t determine, except that he seemed to want to be drawing pictures of garbage trucks and spelling things.  He didn’t demand my participation, so I didn’t offer it, but I was well-aware of him being awake.  Girlfriend didn’t sleep so awesomely herself.  Did I mention that they were both in bed with me?  No?  Anyway.  Um…where was I?  I didn’t really sleep well myself.

Oh, yes, so I woke up and knew that I had to keep him home from school again because you can’t send them to school if they’ve had a fever in the last 24 hours, even if it was only a “fever” in the “I’m too lazy to go out and buy a new thermometer just so I can get your exact temperature” sense, and anyway, what about the diminished ball-playing skills?  I couldn’t ignore them.  Seriously, it wasn’t just that he couldn’t get the ball over the roof, but he was having trouble getting it on there at all.  The child was obviously medically compromised.  And he wasn’t waking up, anyway, so I resigned myself to keeping him home again, even though I knew that it would probably result in him making a miraculous recovery by 10 a.m.

He was throwing the ball on the roof earlier, incidentally, but I don’t think he’s gotten it over the roof yet.  He also didn’t scream his head off when I refused just now to fetch his ball from the neighbor’s yard.  That indicates to me that he has not quite made a full recovery, even though he stopped complaining of stomachache at about 9 a.m.

I have decided, however, that unless he throws something up or loses the inclination to ask me to spell the various kinds of juices in our refrigerator, I’m sending him back to school tomorrow, no matter what.

As I write this, I think I’ve not made a very good case for my son being sick, but when you consider how much I really didn’t want to keep him home and I kept him home anyway?  I must have my reasons.

I still need to unload the dishwasher.  The very short to-do list is mocking me today.  You know what I do to items that go unchecked?  I take a Crayola marker and black them out, like they never existed.  Just like the old Soviet Union used to do with stuff (like people).  It’s my Soviet Union to-do list.  And unlike communism, it works.

I should probably unload the dishwasher anyway.

My high school reunion is this weekend, and while I did remember to color my hair last week, I still have not gotten a haircut.  We’re getting down to the wire here.  A haircut is an ever-riskier proposition, but I feel that I can’t leave it undone.  Currently my hair is at the optimal length for Unattractiveness That Cannot Be Mitigated By Other Factors.  It wouldn’t be such a big deal, but I realized the other day that my looks are all I have going for me these days.  I’m a failure professionally, and everyone my age has kids, so how can I impress my fellow Classmates of ’89?  By not being fat and bald.  I guess.

I also need to decide what I’m going to read on the airplane.  I have a lot of books on my to-read list, but I don’t really feel like reading any of them.  I just started book six of the second Fighting Kitty Book series, but it’s a library book and I’m against taking library books to airports.  We all have our quirks, and that is one of mine.  Here’s the list of books I actually own that I still haven’t read yet (that I also haven’t given up hope of ever reading):

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell – Technically started, but haven’t really gotten past the prologue.

The Movie-Goer by Walker Percy

The Wings of the Dove by Henry James

Runaway by Alice Munro

1776 by David McCullough – Really a long-shot for this trip, but technically I still mean to read it, especially since my children gave it to me for my birthday, like, two years ago.

The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue

Set This House on Fire by William Styron – Started, got through the first few chapters, spilled grape juice on it, bought it from the library, read some more, and gave up.  But I’m finishing it, dammit!  I am.  Someday!

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Gilead by Marianne Robinson

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith – Seems the obvious choice, and yet I can’t must up the enthusiasm I ought to feel.  (Remember:  I am not currently right in the head.)

Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg – Technically started, but haven’t gotten past the first chapter.  Or second chapter.  Really can’t remember, and the last time I picked it up was only last week.  I’m having some difficulty getting into it, apparently

March by Geraldine Brooks – Supposed to read for a book club, so yet another title with guilt attached.  But they all have guilt attached!  And this one I technically haven’t bought yet.

I haven’t even mentioned the books I’ve borrowed from friends that I haven’t read yet.

Now is the time to cast your votes for which guilt-ridden book(s) I should read on the plane.  Do not suggest other books to me!  (Unless they’re serial-killer books, of course.  I’m always up for one of those.)