Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: BUSY (02/02/17)
TITLE: Day Off?
By Francy Judge
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Jack closed my laptop and massaged my neck. “You don’t get enough sleep, and you never take off from work. You need a day to rest.”
One part of me was offended—as if I couldn’t handle my busy schedule. The other parts agreed. “Maybe I should. I’ve been a little grumpy lately.”
Our youngest, five-year-old Jordan chimed in: “No, Mommy, you haven’t been a little grumpy…you’ve been a gigantic grump!” She held her arms stretched wide as if trying to stretch around the house.
I scooped her up in my arms. “Oh, yeah? Well maybe this gigantic grump needs to tickle someone!”
And that decided my day. I emailed my boss, and my personal day became official.
All night, I tossed in bed, dreaming about the tasks that wouldn’t get done and the problems that might happen if I didn’t show up to work. A soft whistle rose from the dusty ground, spinning branches and debris, faster and faster until a roaring cyclone crashed through the window, raining shards of glass. Then I woke up. The window was intact, and debris wasn’t flying around my room. Just a dream. “This is rest? I get more peaceful sleep on my keyboard than in bed.”
“Go back to sleep. You have off today…remember? I’ll get the kids ready for school.”
I tried, but couldn’t. The wind sang outside and played the drums as a branch tapped the siding in an annoying rhythm. I knew exactly what each of our five kids wanted for lunch. While Jack sipped his coffee and read the newspaper before going to work, I spread peanut butter on three sandwiches for one son who wants to gain weight, toasted bagels, slathered cream cheese and butter, filled baggies with Cheerios, and refilled water bottles. I’d rest later when the house was quiet.
“Mommy, look at the snow!”
“Where’s my boots?”
“I can’t find my gloves!”
“Have you seen my white sweatshirt with the red zigzag on the back?”
“Can you sign my field trip permission slip? Can I also have ten dollars to pay for it?”
Kisses to Jordan, waves to the boys running out the door, and prayers whispered for their day…and that’s a wrap. Morning routine done…almost, after the morning dishes. I had to wash towels too, then I could rest. I heard the door slam. Oh no!
“We missed the bus. It came a minute early.”
Jack already left, so I shook my head, didn’t say a word, and grabbed my car keys. The boys helped me scrape icy snow off the windshield and dusted the side mirrors. It took fifteen minutes driving on slippery roads to get to the high school. Twenty driving home in the quickly piling snow.
Finally I sat down to write a chapter in my novel. A red cardinal landed on a white branch, and I rushed to get my phone. “So beautiful.” I sat down and tried to think of my character’s words, but my phone beeped with a new email: “Due to the inclement weather, all schools will be closing early today. Buses will depart at ten thirty.”
“Seriously?” That gave me thirty minutes to rest before they plowed through the door and stomped their snowy boots on the clean floor. Writing wasn’t going to happen, so I sat on the couch to read. “Am I resting yet?” My mind was still busy and couldn’t concentrate on the words I read, so I flipped back a page and another. Just as my eyes felt heavy…
“We’re home, ‘cause it was snowing real heavy like cotton balls falling from the sky!” Jordan hands me a melting snowball.
I gave up on resting. “Before you all take off your layers, let’s have a snowball fight.”
The day continued with snowman building, shoveling, sledding, washing and drying wet clothes, and hot cocoa making. And more hot cocoa. I didn’t mind a bit.
By eleven o’clock, I fell asleep on my keyboard. Jack closed my laptop and massaged my neck. “Looks like you need personal day to recover from your personal day.”
“I don’t believe ‘days off’ exist.”
Maybe if I say I’m going to have the busiest of all busy days tomorrow…just maybe I’ll have nothing to do.
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