The day began like the east side of Colorado: smooth plains, no rough terrain.

And somewhere around dinner time, we hit the mountainous territory of the west side. Hold on tight, folks. We hope you brought your off-road vehicles.

What I have for you is a Westside Story.

(Oh, I crack myself up with the broadway show references.)

(This should give you an indication of my frame of mind. I am utterly drained, I have piqued with exhaustion laughter more than once, and my vocabulary is reduced to a list of primary colors.)

I was sorting clothes. I keep holding out for winter’s other shoe to fall, but today it occurred to me that we have nine days left until May. Even if we get another cold front, I think I can get the boys through with a sweatshirt during the day and a blanket at night. Perhaps we can clear some space in the drawers by removing the fleece-lined jeans and the footed longjohns.

Tucker burst into the house, wordless and breathless. He was holding his chest, unable to breathe or speak, and I could only determine that something traumatic had happened.

He was tossing a football in the front yard with a neighborhood dad when a dog got loose, charged the yard to capture the ball, and bit Tucker in the chest.

Our neighbors are great. They are.

I’m not sure I know much more awkwardness than the conversation between Fierce Momma Bear and Defensive Owners of a dog: neighbors who share a fence and stories and barbeque recipes.

They saw it happen; they’re pretty sure it’s a scratch. I didn’t see it happen, but I can count teeth marks in the puncture wounds.

A call to the pediatrician told me how to treat the injury tonight, what to watch for tomorrow, and what symptoms may indicate a need for further treatment.

The neighbors were very supportive – I’m telling you, they’re great. But the whole scene exhausted me. I only have so many ounces to give in a day, and this called for every single bit of energy, focus, courage, and vocabulary I had. So by the time the neighbors left and I got off the phone with the doctor, I was pretty much wasted. Toast.

Wasted toast. Ha. I digress.

The following series of events unfolded like a jagged maze of Connect the Dots.

The neighbors came to console.
Tucker tried to talk to them, but his words were mixed up for a few hours. A blow to the chest will do that.
Tyler interpreted for him.
“My brother is trying to tell you he hopes your dog is trapped in a cage forever. And I want that too.”
(See aforementioned awkwardness.)
The neighbors and I talked further.
The boys went outside, Tucker now feeling better.
They played basketball (that phrase is entirely relative, as it largely entails one boy throwing the ball as high and as far as possible while the other boy knocks over and straddles the Little Tykes hoop), and they shouted bad tidings to the dog on the other side of the fence.
The neighbors and I talked futher.
My mom fixed dinner.
At which point, in her own aftermath exhaustion, she forgot any indoor methods for fixing burgers and chicken.
(My dad was planning to grill, but he had been dispatched to the pharmacy for Neosporin and extra large BandAids.)
She did some on the stovetop and some in the oven, but she couldn’t have known that I baked frozen garlic bread straight on the rack earlier this week, and the butter dripped everywhere inside the oven and has ever since triggered a smoke hazard.
The smoke alarm went off.
We waved towels to disperse smoke,
all while the neighbors and I talked further.
We exchanged pleasantries and forgiveness and news about their retirement and ensuing participation in flashmobs.
We bid farewell.
Dad came home while the meat was baking,
but he grilled it anyway because he was home and he could.
The boys invested much time in convincing Poppa that they are old enough to use the grill and utensils.
(Arguing with Tyler is like being nibbled to death by a duck.)
We sat down to dinner.
Mom, in her distress, couldn’t find the ketchup.
She implied I have no ketchup.
Of course I have ketchup.
Who doesn’t have ketchup?
We found the bottle I knew I had long after we had opened a new one.
We now have a summer’s supply of ketchup.
The burgers were cold from the grill.
The chicken was fine.
Tyler reported with surprise that it tasted ‘like chicken.’
The adults were on edge.
The children were not.
Mom took the fries out of the oven. (It was a meal of hodge-podge timing.)
The smoke alarm went off.
More towel waving.
“Tyler, do you want some curly fries?”
“Yes. Yes please. And may I have ketchup – I need some ketchup – Could I have some ketchup?”
Honestly, if you say it four more times, I’m sure someone will respond.
Tucker spilled his apple juice.
“I did that on not purpose.”
I understand.
Here are some paper towels for the on not purpose.
Tyler left the table to go to the bathroom.
He came back while half of us were on our knees under the table, sopping up apple juice.
He entered the kitchen with great grandeur, and in his best voice of a radio personality, he announced, “Tonight on Tyler Chat, we are inventing Toilets!”
At this point, I doubled over in laughter.
I leaned over my chair, wordless with exhaustion laughter. It’s what I do when there’s nothing left to do.
The boys saw this as an opportunity for their standup comedy routines.
And then I had to explain to the boys:
Just because mommy’s laughing doesn’t mean I’m happy.
Spare me the silly.
Somewhere in there, all of us adults lost our vocabulary.
After Tucker’s spill, Dad offered him a CapriSun but could only manage to describe it as ‘a packet of liquid.’
I asked for the ketchup, by pointing across the table and saying, “Red.”
I asked for diet Pepsi, in the same fashion. “Brown.”
That might be about it.
Except, remember those clothes I was sorting in lieu of springtime?
Someone scooped them off the floor and into the hamper.
(They cannot do this with their dirty clothes, but they can do it with my spring cleaning.)

Robb would say, “I am bed ready for early this morning.”

All I can say is: Me. Bed. Now. Go. Purple.

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