I'm not sure how we started down this road -- a book tour with four kids in tow? Were we drunk? Was this part of some bet (that we don't remember because we've been bludgeoned by the experience)? Did we feel like we'd done something to deserve this abject punishment?
Here are the stats:
Five Kid Schools.
In Two Weeks.
Um, not really.
I should also mention:
8 lbs of Halloween candy.
One Catholic baptism.
I should also mention that we left behind:
A painting crew to do our kitchen cabinets.
A pet-sitter to watch the dogs and the cat and make sure that the painting crew isn't getting stoned and sleeping the days away in our beds.
A house-keeper put on the task of cleaning my office which is always sorely off-limits.
How did it go?
Put it this way: Only one child fell into a toilet fully dressed.
The baby is no longer a heathen - and we've all publicly renounced Satan, which always makes me uncomfortable.
Shouldn't every family have one clearly labeled heathen?
Well, Satan, you know, on purpose.
All of our toothbrushes -- in one fell swoop. They were in my husband's leather zip-up case which is supposedly en route to us from Greensboro -- along with socks.
Lots of socks.
A 90-page kid novel, the reading of which is due tomorrow, for my oldest daughter who no longer remembers the title of the book.
One Surf's Up DVD.
One charger, replaced for $30.
At the Georgia Aquarium: Beluga whales have belly buttons. If I'd thought about this, I'd have guessed correctly. Yet I never had.
At Ted's Montana Grill: Paper straws, no matter how sturdy, will eventually unravel.
You can Purell feet in a car in a pinch.
Baby's aren't considered fully constipated unless the poop is hard.
If the school writes you an email that there's been a case of lice, don't assume that because you're not in school now, that your kids are probably okey dokey.
That there exists only one elevator in the US (in Greensboro, NC -- Proximity Hotel) that collects energy on its way down to power itself on its way up.
That the Delaware BookFest may have overestimated how many Delawareans might attend a BookFest.
That Claudia Emerson is the humblest Pulitzer Prize-winner known to the world. A true gem.
That it's a pisser when you get scheduled to read at the same time as Avi.
That the inner city school kids in Upper Darby are completely brilliant and lovely.
Children left to their own devices in a grand hotel will make mischief -- that may or may not include faking a ripped up note so that a fraction of it reads: Do not step on/ my Uncle Earl/ I do not prefer/ cat droppings.
Did the painters get stoned?
Not to the pet-sitter's knowledge, but the painters did inadvertanly spray paint most of our dishes. While stoned? I assume so.
The upside: New dishes.
Did the housekeeper clean my office?
I don't know. I'm so disoriented by the cleanliness I can no longer find my office much less anything in it.
Has anyone ponied up on the bet that we'd survive all of this?
No. Sadly, no.
Did the painter offer to pay for the dishes?
That money will go toward paying the nitpicker who is at this very moment picking lice out of my kids' hair, one head at a time.
And so there is my new life philosophy.
The way to go through life is simple: one head of lice at a time.
Is that priceless?
Um, again, sadly, no. Not really.
More on Julianna Baggott -- VISIT www.juliannabaggott.com and, if you're interested in her pen name, N.E. Bode, who writes for kids, VISIT www.theanybodies.com.