Elvis has discovered the joys of the commutative property. This morning he was regaling us with its many virtues. “What’s 8 x 5?” “40.” “What’s 5 x 8?” “40.” “It’s commutative!”

“What’s 4 + 8? 12. What’s 8 + 4? 12. It’s commutative!”

“What’s 2 x 10? 20. What’s 10 x 2? 20. It’s commutative!”

“It’s the same! You can switch up the numbers! It’s commutative!”

“Multiplication is commutative!”

“Addition is commutative!”

“Division is not commutative.”

“Subtraction is not commutative.”


When Elvis learns a concept, he really learns it. And now everyone else in the house knows it too. Possibly the neighborhood.


Here’s my to-do list today:

1. Take a shower

2. Go to the bank, deposit a check

3. Pay the bills

4. Unload the dishwasher

5. Wash 4-5 loads of towels.

6. Make a phone call I’ve been putting off for about 7 months. (I purposely put this one last, so I probably won’t get to it.)

What is this phone call, you might ask? Well, let me tell you. Last June (that would be June of 2012) my husband and I went to a charity auction for an organization/entity/institution that provides children’s developmental health services. Elvis has been getting his therapies there since he was four years old. So we went to this auction and we bid on and won ten martial arts lessons designed for children with special needs. We thought Elvis might get a kick out of it. (Ha ha, get it? Kick?) And, you know, maybe it would be good for him. We were dressed in our fancy clothes and feeling like players, what can I say? So we got these ten martial arts lessons that are offered by a martial arts academy that is super-close to our house. That’s another reason we didn’t think it was a bad idea–because we wouldn’t have to drive very far to take him. “We” meaning “me,” I guess. Anyway. We got these lessons, but at the time Elvis was enrolled in swim lessons and he had cub scout camp and also the other summer camp he attends and we were going to be going on vacation, blah blah, so I thought, “There’s no rush, we can sign him up for lessons when he’s a little less busy.” No, I wasn’t drunk. Nor was I taking antihistamines. I was procrastinating. I do that when I’m sober, i.e. always.

You can guess that rest of this story because I’ve already given away the punch line. I have never called about the martial arts lessons. Why not? Because the thought of taking one more child to one more thing during the week gives me a headache. And it’s not because my kids are overscheduled. Well, on Tuesdays they’re overscheduled. On Tuesdays we have cub scouts, Elvis’s speech therapy, Boy Scouts, and church youth group. (Honestly, that is just how it worked out. We didn’t do it on purpose. Who would do that on purpose?) The rest of the week we’re recuperating from Tuesday. Well, right now Elvis has basketball on Wednesdays, and Princess Zurg has therapy on various days of the week. It’s really not a terribly full schedule. We could fit ten martial arts lessons in there somewhere. We totally could. It wouldn’t even be that stressful. It’s not the actual taking one more child to one more thing that stresses me out. It’s just the thought of it. More to the point, it’s the thought of actually making that phone call and purposely signing up for one more thing that I find stressful.

All I have to do is pick up the phone, dial a number and then explain to whoever answers that I have this voucher for ten special-needs martial arts lessons, and then I just wait for my schedule to be altered in a rather modest fashion. Why does it terrify me? I don’t know. But I have to get over it. I have to. I’ll tell you why. Because seven months is a ridiculous time to put off something like this. The only thing more ridiculous would be eight months or a year, and both eight months and a year are sneaking up on us with haste. I mustn’t let this turn into another Grandma’s Gift Certificates for See’s Candies debacle. My husband’s grandmother was always giving us gift certificates for See’s Candies, only we never went out to See’s Candies, and when we did go out where there was a See’s Candies, we never had our gift certificates on our persons, and we carried these gift certificates around with us everywhere we moved, year after year, until finally we managed to redeem all of them. I think Grandma was already dead by then. See, that’s just wrong. It’s ridiculous, I mean, but ridiculous to the point of moral failure. It’s even more of a moral failure when you drive by the martial arts academy that owes you ten martial arts lessons every day and you never freaking make the phone call. It’s just[sigh] embarrassing in its absurdity.

That’s why I should really make the phone call before I take a shower. Only then I will probably end up not taking a shower. I really shouldn’t neglect personal hygiene today. I think I might be coming down with something. When you’re sick and you’re trying to be in denial about being sick, being unshowered does not help anything. Or anyone. I really need to make that phone call. Make it make it make it make it.

Nope, I haven’t made it yet. I’m still on the internet. You know what would help? If I didn’t have social anxiety. I had thought that I’d gotten over my fear of talking to strangers on the phone ages ago. I had to talk to strangers on the phone for a living once. I thought I had gotten rather comfortable with it, even to the point of modest proficiency. But apparently fourteen and a half years out of the work force can have a negative impact on certain job skills. Especially when you have become increasingly isolated from the rest of the world. I don’t talk to other adults very often. I know I’m one of them, but I can’t shake this sense that I don’t really belong among them. Maybe I should take a Valium. Or two. I’m sure that would help when I got on the phone and tried to communicate in a mature, professional fashion.

Well, I haven’t had breakfast yet. That wasn’t even on my list. Maybe I should eat breakfast, seeing how it’s after ten, and then I’ll make my phone call. Or do you think I should brush my teeth first? Just kidding. Of course I’ll brush my teeth. I really don’t want to make this phone call at all.