Title: Five Ways Whitney’s Life Turned Upside Down (and One It Didn’t)
Description: When Whitney’s life starts to take a turn for the weird, she decides to document it in the only way possible.
Whoever came up with Daylight Savings Time should be shot, Whitney decided. When the Kidlets actually had to be dragged from bed and pushed out the door to school (instead of Whitney having to play catch up with them), there was something very wrong.
She was looking forward to getting home and drinking enough chai to fill the bathtub. (Too much) The sink. (Better) She’d already stopped at the market, and the only thing left was the bank.
9:01 the clock said as she filled out the deposit slip, trying to make sure she got the account number right. The teller waved her over, a younger woman with a sequined headband. “And how are you doing today?”
It was the sort of question that everyone expected you to answer with a polite smile and “Fine.” Whitney exhaled. “Like it’s the worst Monday of the year. How do they expect anyone to function without an IV drip with caffeine?”
The teller laughed, and they continued to make small talk as she put the transaction through. “Here’s your cash and your receipt,” she said, pushing them through the tray.
“Thanks,” Whitney said. It was only as she walked out to the car that she realized there was a slip of paper with seven digits and a name written on it. She glanced back at the bank, then down at the paper. “Huh.”
There hadn’t been a particularly hot week in January, so maybe it was due in March this year. Breaking 80 degrees before the start of Spring- it felt weird. Weird in a comfortable way. Stepping into jean shorts had been like pulling on a glove.
She hadn’t put much thought into the rest of her outfit, because frankly it was more important to make sure that the kidlets wore shorts. The Oldest Kidlet had worn jeans on Monday and the poor kid looked like he was ready to pass out at pick-up time.
Minimum days were horrible. The entire school district got out early, which meant there were a bunch of middle school kids milling around, waiting to pick up younger siblings. Loud kids who seemed to have no idea what whispering was.
The Little Kidlet looked up. “Mommy. I have another burger.” Whitney looked down, trying to figure out what he meant.
Booger. She bent over to take a look at his nose. “Looks good to me.”
“Damn,” one of the kids said from behind her. “It should be illegal for hot moms to wear tight shorts.”
Whitney glanced around, trying to look at the parents around her. Jeans. Jeans. Jeans. Not very attractive. Finally she turned towards the boys.
“I told you that you need to learn how to whisper,” said one to a boy whose face was rapidly turning red.
What was going on?
The doctor’s office was cold, but at least she had her laptop with her to keep her amused. He was always running behind, and she’d managed to kill her phone at the last appointment.
“Sorry to keep you waiting.” The doctor beamed as he slipped in through the door. “You look like you’re in a good mood today. Is that Monet?”
It took her a minute to realize he meant the skin on her laptop. “No, it’s Van Gogh. Almond Blossoms.”
“You know, I went to a lot of museums when I went on a trip to Europe. Years ago. I must have seen a print somewhere. It is lovely.”
“So,” Whitney said hopefully. “How was that last blood draw of mine?”
“Well,” the doctor said, pausing for a minute or two. “How have you been feeling lately?”
Six words, and somehow it felt like the floor had dropped out from under her. “Fine. Tired from the time change, but fine.”
Then he proceeded to tell her how not fine her blood was. That it was almost at the same level she’d been hospitalized with where a blood transfusion was needed. That the treatment wasn’t working and they’d have to try something new.
She opened up the laptop to jot down her notes. She wasn’t sure if she’d remember it all or not.
In the waiting room, she sat and waited for the front office to call her up for the stack of referrals she was expecting. She started to work on her novel, and the man next to her huffed in a disgusted manner.
She looked down at the screen. She was writing about pirates, and probably the most boring chapter of all. What on earth could he be upset about? That’s when she realized the browser was still open in the background, and behind the Word Processor’s window was her Tumblr screen and some very naked artwork of a hunter and an angel.
Huh. “Whitney?” The doctor said, sticking his head out of the window.
“Here.” She closed the laptop shut, hoping she wasn’t as red as her cheeks felt.
As she walked to the window, she had a sinking suspicious that she’d read this plot in a story somewhere. Sad truth, tempered with a dose of the ridiculous. Hadn’t she?
At 5 and 7, kids shouldn’t be that kind of a bottomless pit. The Oldest Kidlet had managed to drink an entire carton of orange juice in two days. How was that possible?
Whitney put the orange juice in the cart, mentally moving on to the next item on the shopping list. It wasn’t much, just enough to get them through the weekend.
In the market, the employees were busy unloading shipments of food and shelving them. She maneuvered around one stack and nearly clipped the man on the other side. “Oh. I couldn’t see you behind all the boxes. Sorry.”
“No. It was my fault.” He was young, probably around 21, and she hadn’t seem him before. But it seemed like there were a lot of new people working there.
She kept walking down the aisle, finishing up her list. By the time she got to the self-checkout registers, he was there to help bag things. So she set down her grocery bag and started scanning.
Halfway through, she realized there wasn’t any rhyme or reason to how she was sending them down, and she’d probably wind up having to take a plastic bag home with her. Glancing down at the end, she was surprised to see that he’d figured it out. “Wow, you’re good at this. Usually they bag my orange juice and I wind up having to carry out a bag of something.”
“So, do you come here a lot?”
One of the employees she did recognize walked past. “Are you kidding? She’s the mayor.”
He mouthed a silent “oh,” and finished packing the bag.
The other employee kept walking. “She’s married, too.”
Whitney looked down, feeling her cheeks burn. What was wrong with this week? The ups and downs, it was the plot out of some bad fanfic.
The kidlets were in a hugging mood. As in, tackle hugs. They’d already knocked their grandmother to the ground, smothering her face with kisses. Then there was a familiar knock at the door.
“It’s Daddy,” Whitney said. “Go get it, give him a hug.”
They threw the door open, and the Oldest Kidlet smiled. “Drop your bags, Daddy. We want to give you a hug.” And they did, they threw themselves at him, hugging him as tightly as they could.
The Little Kidlet looked over. “Family hug. Come here, Mommy.”
Whitney stood up, and was dragged into the hug. She looked up, kissing TheBoy on the lips. “Welcome home, sweetie.”
Before she could say anything else, the Oldest Kidlet interrupted them. “Okay. Now we’re going to give you a tickle hug, Mommy.”
Screaming, she ran up the stairs. “You’re going to have to catch me first!”
They didn’t tickle her, instead, the kidlets threw themselves onto their beds, laughing so hard they could barely breathe.
The Little Kidlet climbed under the covers, proudly coming up with the Captain America he’d hidden in his bed. “Is it my turn to pick the book?”
“Good. I want Peppa Pig, but you have to do it with a silly voice.”
“Like Peppa’s voice,” the Oldest Kidlet interrupted.
“I wanted her to read it like a superhero,” the Little Kidlet said much too seriously, sending them all back into fits of laughter.
Maybe it was worth the weird moments that didn’t seem to fit into reality, if it meant she could get the moments like this one.
Author’s Note: Yes, all of these things really did happen this week. And yes, I was dogged by a suspicion that my life was suddenly turning into a weird fanfic. So… this seemed like the best way to share it.