The girls had been up late, so I was anxious waking up about keeping the place QUIET. This is not a concept that Boy one understands. My husband sees the wisdom in some vague kind of way that is never connected to his actual feet pounding or thing banging. He came in from the barn with news that a racoon had made it through again with another chicken gone, so both of us were glum.
The loud men had at last left for work and exam respectively, and the others remained miraculously sleeping when the phone rang. I had confused the pick-up time for my new laying chickens and was late. At the feed store, customer service is what you get when you do it right. Open irritation is what you get when you don’t.
I jotted a note and ran for the car. Upon arrival, I realized that I had not grabbed the feedbags that I usually use to prevent the droppings of live stressed chickens in very holey crates from covering the car.
Any extra feedbags? I asked smiling.
Nope. Not allowed.
I went inside while Mr. Feedstore was with another customer and found a piece of unmarked plain cardboard.
Any chance I can use this? I said, returning friendly.
Nope. Belongs to the company. Has to go back.
So I scrounged and rummaged and covered the back of the caravan with church bulletins, a small newspaper, and children’s art. It mostly covered the area where the crate sat. At home I unloaded the chickens in the rain, then disposed of my papers and surveyed the car. It needed attention but not as much as I needed breakfast.
I got breakfast amidst negotiating a settlement for World War III. An hour and a half later, it was time to pick up Boy one and another student, and somehow I had forgotten about the car. I grabbed some disinfectant and a rag, quickly scrubbed down the back, rinsed my cloth and got back in the car. I met Boy one and two others, and returned.
Full of the feelings one has when one has spent too much of a morning going everywhere without really getting anywhere, Boy two committed one crime too many. It was a minor violation, but he was sent to wash the breakfast dishes anyway. A few minutes later I yelled down my reprieve and headed downstairs to finish the dishes myself.
My belief in dedicated dish clothes had escaped him. The actual dishcloth sat submerged in his rinse water. Somehow he had spied my cloth from earlier, washing carefully all our plates and glasses with the cloth I had used to clean all the chicken poop from the car.
Upon discovery, I sighed and reached for bleach. He whooped with delight and ran laughing to tell his brother.