Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Living in the Projects

Willie left this morning for another deployment, which makes things awkward for a few days, depressing for a few days, and then full of frenzied activity. The frenzied activity is useful not only to distract, but also to exhaust the three of us so that we can sleep at night. Sleep is illusive because when Willie leaves, a magical thing happens: when night falls, our house is transported from a peaceful, front-porch loving cul de sac and into the projects.

My dog, Madison, even feels the difference. She barks when the leaves rustle, causing the rest of us to jump and assume the worst. Last time Willie was gone, I was soaking in a bath when Madison sounded the alarm. Leaping from the sudsy liquid, I wrapped a towel around me and grabbed my pistol. I held my breath as I stood cop-style by the door, listening. It was a couple minutes before I realized the bandit was actually just stealing bird seed. Those filthy squirrels. I almost fell to my death on the slick bathwater trail.

Last deployment, Halle developed night terrors. These were certainly connected to Willie's absence, but were not quite as terrible as one might think. At the top of the stairs, she would cry out with loud sobs, "Where is my cheese? Mama, I need some cheese!" The previous night, she performed the routine with the opening line of, “I need the mama frog!” The mama frog is a bath puppet (there are two – one small and one large, hence mama and baby frogs). She had gone to bed with them and apparently had a desperate need for them at 2:30am. I told her that I wasn’t going to look for her mama frog just then, that we could find it in the morning. “Go back to bed, Halle.” She sobbed all the way back to her bed, whereupon she pronounced, “Oh! There’s the mama frog!” There have also been requests for band-aids, moving a rocking horse, going potty, and losing a band-aid.

Hopefully this time will be better. If not, there are always naps.

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