My annual October Week Vacation is here and I spent the weekend preceding it binge-watching The Haunting of Hill House which was fine all weekend but then I forgot that I would be home alone once the work week started. And it started off real spooky.
LET ME SET THE SCENE.
It’s 7:00AM and my alarm goes off. I have to still wake up early even though I’m on vacation because god forbid my seventh grader can get a grip long enough to wake himself or dress himself. I mean, at least he can shower himself, but what happens after that is a landslide of bad decisions and color-blindness that have him stepping into tattered clothes and mixed patterns. The other day I was working from home and stupidly let him do his own thing, and that’s how, hours later, I got the shocking reveal of his Friday outfit when he came home that evening: a really nice polo shirt paired with…..sweat pants with a hole so big between the legs that calling them crotchless wouldn’t be a stretch.
So, Mommy is still clearly needed.
I had to definitely be up and ready with him this morning because he has some presentation today at school that requires him to dress nicely, which is something he thinks he knows how to do, just like washing the dishes, which caused us to have a huge row last Saturday night when I realized he was putting food-caked plates into the strainer, grandma Judy-style.
I get out of bed to wake him up and notice that his phone alarm is also sounding, but a lot of good that did considering it was on a chair outside of his bedroom and the ringer was turned down low. I shut it off and set it down on a table in his bedroom and woke him up. We bickered for a bit, like we do, and then he reluctantly slammed himself into the bathroom to take a shower. I picked out a dumb shirt for him since he already had his pants ready (sans holes!) and stupidly thought I could lay back down.
STUPID THOUGHTS! Chooch, now out of the shower, pointed out that the smoke alarm was making a weird noise. Now, the other day it was beeping so we knew it needed new batteries, but then I didn’t hear any more beeps over the weekend so I assumed that Henry did his Man About the House duty by changing them, and I thought nothing of it. But now, it was making a weird metallic sizzle, like a growl, and I started screaming IS THERE A FIRE OMG WHERE IS IT?! and Chooch was like, “THAT’S NOT WHAT IT WOULD SOUND LIKE IF THERE WAS A FIRE, JESUS CHRIST.” So I had to climb onto the chair that Chooch’s phone was originally on, pull the alarm off the ceiling and hit it with the heel of my palm.
That seemed to work.
I put it back on the ceiling and proceeded to go back into my room so that I could maybe eke out another 15 minutes of rest.
But then it was all, “WHAT DID YOU DO WITH MY PHONE!?”
I yelled back that I put it on his blue table and he volleyed the sass-ball right back into my court with, “NO YOU DIDN’T. WHERE DID YOU PUT IT.”
Guys. If there is one thing I hate, not just in Mom Life, but in ALL LIFE, it’s being accused of something I didn’t do. EVEN IF IT’S JUST BEING ACCUSED OF BEING WRONG. And this is what lights the fuse on nearly all of my Fight Bombs with Chooch. In fact, if you have ever spent any time with us, you probably have witnessed at least one of our notorious WHO WILL GET THE LAST WORD tournaments. It’s like March Madness but we’re the only two teams and it just gets more and more heated.
So now we’re doing this over his stupid phone, which I KNOW I left on that dumb table in his room. My boiling blood catapulted me out of bed and I stomped into his room with that particular kind of rolling rage that only a mom can know, and I slammed my hand down on the corner of the table and shrieked, “I PUT IT HERE. YOU OBVIOUSLY TOOK IT.”
“Maybe it fell on the floor!” he screamed back, hysterics cracking his dumb prepubescent voice.
“WELL DID YOU LOOK?!?!!?”
So now he’s doing a half-assed sweep of the floor next to his table while I’m screaming about how I rue the day I ever gave him a phone and I just want to fucking go and lay down BUT NO GOD FORBID WHY SHOULD I EVER GET THAT LUXURY, I SHOULD HAVE JUST WENT TO WORK.
Meanwhile, Chooch needed a belt for the pants he was wearing today and Henry was supposed to handle that AND HE DIDN’T OF COURSE BECAUSE WHY WOULD HE. Also, Henry left his stupid phone here so we couldn’t tag-team him with emasculating phone-scoldings like we normally would when he fucks up our mornings. I WAS SO ANGRY THIS MORNING!
Chooch stormed off downstairs to presumably look for his phone even though I hadn’t gone downstairs yet this morning and he was SO ADAMANT that it was me who lost his phone. By this point, I figured I was up for the day so I put my contacts in and changed into my exercise clothes. Now Chooch was back upstairs.
“CAN YOU CALL MY PHONE AT LEAST,” he asked, looking like he was on the fringe of conflagration because you know how no one can be without their phone for more than 5 minutes.
So I did, all the while barking things like OH FOR FUCKS SAKE and YOU RUINED MY MORNING and WHY DO I HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING because these are things that real mature moms say. I dialed his phone and we sat there waiting. No ringing.
“YOU PROBABLY HAVE THE RINGER TOO LOW!” I screamed, recalling that when his alarm was going off earlier, I could barely hear it.
“CALL IT AGAIN!!!” he yelled, and now we were standing in the hallway, while I held up my phone to show him that I had dialed it, but still — no ringing.
I hung up and we went right back to grabbing each other by the horns when suddenly my phone rang.
We stopped and looked at my phone.
It said it was him.
Chooch was calling me.
“ARE YOU FUCKING WITH ME!?” I cried, and he shook his head no, eyes all wide with fear.
So I answered it.
And on the other end…
a tiny, tired voice said hello back to me.
I nearly dropped the phone, but Chooch grabbed it from me and he too said hello, only to have it returned with the tired, questioning voice of a kid.
He threw the phone back at me and I disconnected the call.
I backed into the corner and started screaming, “IS THIS YOU?! ARE YOU DOING THIS!?!?” because Chooch is always finding new ways to prank call people, but he was just as scared as I was.
Just then, my phone rang again.
Chooch’s picture popped up on my screen, just as before.
My whole fucking body went ice-cold, my goosebumps were more like gooseMUMPS.
I hit “decline.”
And then I got a text.
“Why do you keep calling me?”
Chooch and I were fucking SCREAMING at this point. I WATCHED THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE AND NOW I’M BEING HAUNTED TOO. I ALWAYS KNEW THIS FUCKING HOUSE WAS HAUNTED. THERE HAVE BEEN LIKE 5 PEOPLE OVER THE YEARS WHO HAVE TOLD ME THAT THEY FELT UNEASY BEING HERE. MY OLD FRIEND KERI WAS SUPPOSED TO LIVE WITH ME WHEN I FIRST MOVED IN BUT THEN SHE HAD A WAKING NIGHTMARE ON MY COUCH THAT THERE WERE CHILDREN HANGING FROM THE BASEMENT RAFTERS AND THEN SHE HAD HER FIRST EXPERIENCE WITH SLEEP PARALYSIS AND DECIDED NOT TO MOVE IN. SOME GOTH KID WAS HERE ONCE AND EVEN GAVE ME SOME KIND OF PROTECTION STONE AFTER TELLING ME THAT HE FELT WEIRD VIBES COMING FROM MY BASEMENT.
AND I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN AFRAID OF THE ATTIC WHICH IS A FINISHED THIRD FLOOR SO YOU WOULD THINK IT WOULDN’T BE SCARY BUT IT IS!
By now, I was getting ready to just go to work because I didn’t want to be home alone, and at the same time my mind is reeling, wondering if I should call my estranged friend Brian who is closely affiliated with the Catholic church to see if he knows anyone who does exorcisms.
But then I realized that the text I got piggy-packed off of an old collection of texts from Chooch. We recently got him a new phone number and when I added it to his contact info on my phone, I forgot to take his old number out, so even though I was texting him on his current number, my phone was defaulting to his old number when I called him. And then Chooch found his phone DOWNSTAIRS because he fucking TOOK IT DOWN THERE when he went to look for the belt that HENRY DIDN’T FIX.
Oh, we laughed, you guys. Our crippling fear brought us back together as Mother and Son and we lovingly said our goodbyes when he left for school.
But now that strange kid who has Chooch’s old Text Free number is probably all scared, wondering who the fuck was calling him at 7AM.
He needed to get up for school anyway. You’re welcome, strange kid.