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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Open and Shut

I feel a draft coming from somewhere. The window is closed, so I head down the hall to the kitchen. The sliding glass door is open, only the screen shut against the chilly fall air. Blake is out on the trampoline, doing backflips and aerials. "Blake! Don't leave the door open, it's too cold!" I shout. He backflips onto the ground and yells, "Sorry!" Someday I need to sit him down and explain the definition of 'sorry'. I shut the glass door and pick up the baby, who has toddled up to cling to my legs.
     It's his naptime, so I carefully close the hall door and his bedroom door and---there's a muted rattling and a small voice yelling. I sigh as the baby slobbers on my shirt and tries to bite me, a sure sign he's ready to nurse, and go back through the hall to the kitchen. John is at the top of the stairs, trapped by the baby gate. He rattles it fiercely, calling at the top of his lungs, "I--WANT--TO COME--UP!!"
     I open the gate and John slams it shut again. "We can leave it open now because I'm putting James to bed," I explain as I open the gate again. I get him a snack and he runs outside with Blake, leaving the glass door open. I shut it and go back to naptime prep.
     The doors are shut and I settle into my nursing chair. Both of us doze in the quiet, then someone opens the hall door and it bangs against the doorstop. James twitches in his sleep, then resumes nursing, but I hear rummaging in the next room, then footsteps pound down the hall, and someone has left the hall door open.
     For the next several minutes I listen to the voices in the kitchen, the dishes clonking and feet pounding, the noise traveling unhampered into the back hallway. Luckily, James is too out to notice, and I'm able to place him into his crib--just as John opens the door.
     I turn quickly but carefully--"Shhh." John stops, then tiptoes up to me. "I'm hungwy for a dwink," he whispers. At least he is one of my children who knows how to be quiet. We shut the door behind us, close the hall door too, and I get him a drink. He settles in front of the computer and his favorite game and I start to make dinner.
     I call the kids in to set the table and they come in arguing, leaving the glass door open again. I tell the last one in to shut it and they close the screen. "Close the glass door!" They grumble, "It's not that cold." I start to explain that the furnace will heat anything below 70 degrees and do they want to pay to heat the whole outside? Someone slams the gate shut and dishes clatter onto the counter. We manage get the table set and then I realize that the hall door is open again. How do they do it? I was right here all the time and I didn't notice.
     After dinner, the baby is awake and kids are playing, so I have some quiet time. I sit on my bed and read a book. Soon enough, someone comes in to ask something, then they leave and close the door. "You can leave it open--I want it open!" But they're gone.
     I get up and open the door.

About the size of it

I double check my list as I head from my car into Walmart, barely remembering to push the lock button on my keychain. I listen for the beep, then speed up, hoping to get through the store in under an hour this time. I have a love/hate relationship with Walmart. Without them, I couldn't stretch my dollars so far but because of them, I have a lot of stuff I really don't need (I am a clearance addict).
     I stop in the shampoo aisle and am confronted with fourteen different brands and three different sizes. I narrow down my choice to the brand I want, but which size will suit my needs? It's easy to see which is the better bargain: the small size is 11.5 oz., the large size is 23 oz. I just split the larger size's price in half. Phew! I don't carry a calculator as I take small pride in my ability to do equations in my head.
     I do the rounds toward the baby section, looking for diapers. The jumbo pack has 34 diapers, but we'll go through that too fast. The mega pack has 60--wait a minute. That's not quite double the jumbo. What happened here? I check the club box and am confronted with 96. Ummm, looks like the diaper powers that be can't add. So I stand there in the aisle, squinting at the prices, trying to divide 68 into the price of a little less than 2/3 of 96. Maybe I should carry a calculator.
     I grab the club box and head for the food. I'm looking for Quik (now called Nesquik, though I don't see why they had to change it). There are only two sizes, but I grumble when I see that 38 servings in not half of 72. Why can't they make it easy for us moms? Why do we have to figure out which one is the better deal? Is it that hard for them to find cartons that are exactly double or triple the original size?
     I look at the helpful price tag and see the price per ounce: $1.25. My brain is not so tired as to see that THAT's not right. Thanks, helpful price tag. So I squint at the items again, rounding 72 up to 76 and figuring a little less than half. This time the little one wins.
     The ice cream aisle ropes me in with a great deal on special edition flavors of Dreyer's ice cream. I scan the flavors, wishing I had enough freezer space (and a higher metabolism) for all of them. I grab our two favorites and notice something strange--the container is squattier than normal. I check the ounces and sure enough, they've nocked off 8 more. I shake my head. It's just like them. First they shave off 8 little ounces just to make a buck, then when we've become accustomed to that, they shave off another 8. Pretty soon a half gallon of ice cream will be a quart. But they don't care!
     Or maybe they didn't notice that they shaved off the 8 ounces. Maybe they're just in cahoots with the diaper guys and the Quik guys. Maybe they just can't add.