This morning I woke up with a strong sense of foreboding. I thought it might just be because Princess Zurg’s BFF was coming over to play for six ADHD-filled hours. I kept telling myself, “It’s only six hours. Only six hours [unlike their usual playdates, which last 8-10 hours]. Why should you be freaking out over six hours?” But no amount of positive self-talk would allay my vaguely defined fear.

Then I had to take Mister Bubby to basketball camp. After dropping him off at basketball camp, I was to pick up PZ’s BFF and bring her back to the house. Today was garbage day, which meant that Elvis would be wanting to watch the garbage trucks pick up the garbage cans on our street. I told Elvis I was taking MB to camp, and he should stay at home with PZ to wait for the garbage trucks. But Elvis didn’t want to stay at home with PZ. He wanted to go in the car to take MB to camp. It is difficult for me to know what to do in these situations. On the one hand, I am only comfortable leaving Elvis in PZ’s care if he is willingly staying home. Because if he isn’t willingly staying home, who knows what he’ll do? Who knows that the authorities won’t end up getting involved? I can’t afford that. On the other hand, if he misses the garbage truck, there will be hell to pay, and I can’t afford that, either.

So. I thought to myself, “The garbage truck doesn’t usually come until about 10 o’clock. It’s a little before 9:00 now. If we hurry, we can be back by 9:30. The garbage truck probably won’t come while we’re gone.” So I decided to take the path of least resistance and we all got in the car and set about our business.

You know what happened, don’t you? How long have you been reading my blog? Not as long as I’ve been living my life, and yet you know already what I am about to tell you, which is that we dropped MB off at camp, made the round trip to and from BFF’s house in record time and arrived home at 9:28 a.m., pulling onto our street JUST AS THE GARBAGE TRUCK WAS LEAVING. It was so predictable, it was pathetic, wasn’t it? Weren’t you just screaming at me as I left the house with those children? “Don’t do it! What are you, an idiot?!” Like the slutty girl in the slasher movies, I JUST WON’T STAY AWAY FROM THE BOAT HOUSE!

Elvis got out of the car, walked over to the trash can, opened the lid and peered inside for what seemed like an eternity. Then he looked up. “It came,” he said.

“It came?” I said.

“I missed it.”

“You missed it?”

“I MISSED IT!!!!!!”

I spent the next half-hour or so trying to comfort him. There was much hugging and wiping of tears and screening of old video footage of garbage trucks past, amid all the “I MISSED THE GARBAGE TRUCK!!! IT’S SAD!!! I WANNA CRY!!!” And I went back and forth between Sympathetic Mother validating the sadness and Han Solo saying, “It’s not my fault!” But eventually…he decided some bagels would help. Then he decided he’d draw on his white board. Then he decided that what was really upsetting was that he had run out of dry-erase board wipes, and I had a whole other thing to feel guilty about that was even less my fault, and everything was more or less back to normal.

Now he is drawing trash cans on paper and cutting them out and laying them on our living room floor in an exact replica of our neighborhood’s trash-collection model. And there are only four and a half hours until PZ’s BFF goes home. The day may be salvageable after all. Or is it?

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