Shhh. Don’t tell anyone where I am. I’m hiding out in my laundry room with my laptop. I feel like I’m doing something slightly immoral or at least illegal….but it’s just past the half way mark of summer vacation and I’m beginning to get desperate for privacy.
I tried hiding in the bathroom but the kids found me. And walked right in. When I started locking the door, they started slipping notes under it. I installed a weather strip across the door bottom so even a sheet of paper no longer fit in the gap between door and floor.
That’s when my children, with whom I used to be so pleased when they used creative problem solving, scrawled extremely urgent, can’t wait until you get out of the bathroom questions like, “Is there anything to eat in this house?” or “Have you seen my shoes?” and “Why was he born first?” on last year’s poster board projects. They taped them on to my garden stakes, put on protective clothing and crawled through the prickly holly hedge under my bathroom window. Suddenly it got dark in the bathroom; was it supposed to rain today? I looked up expecting storm clouds and saw a bobbing picket sign, “The dog barfed on the new carpet!”
Ha! I just heard my daughter tell my son that I’m taking a shower. I figured they’d stay clear of the any room that held potential chores (hence me in crouched in this laundry room). I wonder how long I can pull this off. So far I’ve been in here longer than the bathroom and my most recent failed hiding place, the garden–
I made sure the kids understood that gardening was hard, sweaty, dirty, unpaid labor and for awhile it worked. I enjoyed quiet morning interludes marveling at the flowers on my tomato plants. Then they got hungry, peeled their cute little butts off the couch and came outside to find me. “What’s for lunch?” “It’s 9am.” “So?” “Here, have a pole bean.”
“Yeah right mom. What can I really eat?”
“A pole bean. Would you like a broccoli leaf with that?”
My next attempted hiding place was the attic. It’s big enough to stand in, has lighting and averages about 113 degrees during the summer. I figured I could put on my bathing suit, grab a towel and a couple cucumber slices and pretend I was at the Bellagio Spa in Las Vegas.
As I lay there dreaming of a fruit smoothie and a masseuse named Sven, I heard muffled thumping and crashing noises from below. Then came the tapping on the living room ceiling. “Keep tapping, sis. When the tone changes from hollow thud to muffled thud, you know you found her. I’ve seen mom test for wall studs this way when she hangs pictures.” At least this time I wasn’t too disappointed in being found – the cucumbers dehydrated; the sweat was stinging my eyes and I think I had a splinter in my butt.
My friend Beth asked why I didn’t hide in my closet. Last summer she stayed hidden two days before the kids found her. Her closet was so big it needed a fluorescent light fixture. She put her desk and computer in there and made it her home office. Mine is not so grand but after shoving some shoes and Christmas wrap out of the way, definitely big enough to sit in. Although not air conditioned, it’s not as hot as the attic.
I told Beth I’d run in there now if I could find a flashlight that worked in this house. My closet has this normally handy feature where the light goes on when you open the door and goes off when you shut it. I don’t know how to circumvent it. Otherwise I’d move a coffee maker, wine cooler and stack of magazines into my closet and never come out. Wait. That won’t work. The kids could follow the trail of the extension cord.
Rats. The phone just rang and my daughter found me. I have to take this call; it’s my mother—who would gladly tell the children where to look for me the next time I try to hide.
Note to self – Put lock on laundry room door. Better yet, add electrical outlets and wine fridge in bedroom closet.