Tuesday, August 05, 2008

"Racked" with Guilt

So, last night as we are getting all the girls in bed, Sarah comes into our bathroom to get a hair brush or something. Probably she was just following Lynda in to ask a question or continue her statement about something. (I was reading a book about Jack Kirby and hadn't really been listening.)

So, Sarah is in the bathroom, in her pajamas, showered hair semi-brushed, and I guess she decided to swing on or pull on our towel rack. Naturally, the rack was yanked from the wall.

Mom wasn't happy. I was slowly becoming aware of what had just occurred. Sarah was quiet. Grace wandered in--similarly pajama'd and wet-haired, wanting to know "What did Sarah do?" "What happened?" (I was trying to deflect Grace, so as not to upset Sarah, but I was also trying not to get mad about what I was sure was yet another home repair in a season of home repairs.

Sure enough, the screws had been pulled clean out of the dry wall and the rack was on the floor. And these holes were large--as the screws had been placed into anchors that expanded to hold onto the drywall behind the paint.

I guess we could simply spackle the holes filled and paint over it all, repositioning the towel rack so that it was above the damaged area or we could do as we just finished doing in the girls bathroom floor/dining room ceiling--cut out the damaged drywall and secure a new patch, completely remud the wall and paint. Either way, its something we aren't happy about doing, considering that in the last six months we've replaced the deck with a patio, dry-walled and painted the den, bought a new backyard door, are about to pay for landscaping of the backyard, and repaired leaking plumbing/replaced ceiling in the aforementioned bathroom area.

Sarah heard our warning not to do that again and we sent the girls to their rooms for books and bed. I was terse with Sarah, though I didn't yell. But she was quiet. When I came into the room a few minutes later--after vacuuming up the drywall dust in the bathroom floor--she was writing something in her notebook. I told her she had a few minutes to write and then she needed to turn off the light and go to bed. And I left the room.

I went downstairs to read some more, put things away, and a few minutes later, I heard the door to the garage open and close. I turned around the corner and saw Sarah coming out of the garage with a large bundle of stuff contained in her butterfly quilt that her grandmother made for her when she was a baby.

It was clear that she was planning on leaving the house--as she told me when I asked her what she'd been doing in the garage. I noted that she was still in her pajamas, had no shoes or socks on (not even flip flops), but I sat her down and calmed her emotions. She clearly felt bad about what she had done, and I explained to her that no matter what she did, we didn't want her to leave the house.

After she felt better, I asked what she had packed in her (very unwieldy) bundle. It reminded me of the stereotypical hobo set-up of bandanna and stick--though I'm not sure that Sarah is culturally aware of that particular stereotype. She just had things collected together in this quilt and she was toting it around with her arms (no stick). Clearly, she was a novice to the finer points of running away.

For example:

1. She had no footwear, as I've mentioned.

2. No hat, coat, or clothing really. There was a pair of shorts and a shirt in the bundle, but no additional socks or any underwear--other than what she was already wearing.

3. No food at all. But she did decide to bring--

4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Volume I of The Complete Calvin and Hobbes. (I'm glad she is prioritizing reading . . . and quality reading at that . . . but I must out that a) both of those books are mine b) the C & H volume is over-sized and darn heavy and c) She on the last chapter of HP & the OotP. It would have been smarter to take either Half-Blood Prince or Deathly Hallows as they are fresh reads.

5. She also brought two blank notebooks for diary and drawing purposes as well as her Disney
Princesses box that she keeps her crayons, pens, pencils, and markers in.

6. Finally, she had two stuffed animals--her favorite bunny and a cocker spaniel. I can't help but note that when making a significant choice under duress, she doesn't pick any of her Webkinz animals OR the fancy schmancy Build a Bear bunny that she once got.

I'm glad she didn't go anywhere in the end, and I'm sure she would have also been glad had she taken fifteen barefoot steps down the sidewalk with this odd assortment of unwieldy things. She took everything back upstairs and went to bed none the worse for wear.

I wish I could say the same thing about the bathroom wall.

5 comments:

jack t. said...

i know these events involved some stress, but i can't help finding this post extremely hilarious.

Sven Golly said...

Merriam-Webster’s
Word of the Day
July 25

bindle stiff
\BIN-dul-stiff\

noun

Meaning

: hobo; especially : one who carries his clothes or bedding in a bundle

Example Sentence

Jack London's experiences as a bindle stiff in the early 1890s later provided material for his writing.

Did you know?
In the argot of tramps and hoboes, a roll of clothes and bedding was called a "bindle," a word that probably originated as an alteration of the more familiar "bundle." "Stiff" itself can mean "hobo" or "migrant worker," meanings it took on in the late 19th century. About the same time, any tramp or hobo who habitually carried such a pack was known as a "bindle stiff." In Australia, a pack-carrying hobo might be called a "swagman."

lulu said...

First of all, Sarah should not be held responsible for shoddy rack placement. It is only natural that a kid would want to hang on a rack. I curse drywall anchors!

Second, I hate towel racks and fussy toilet paper holders that involve hidden screws and popping springs and that require TWO HANDS to replace one of the earth's simplest creations--a roll of toilet paper. In my log house, we had hooks for towels and a cool TP holder and they screwed directly into LOGS. Hagrid couldn't have pulled those suckers out.

Third, do you know what I have in mind for a Christmas present for Stevie? Calvin and Hobbes books. And, just this morning, I was mildly teasing him about girls ('do the girls like that your hair defies gravity? Would Barbie like it?') and telling him that I bet Sarah would like his hair because it is every bit as unruly as fictional hero Harry Potter's. I also reminded him of Sarah's soccer jersey number (the infamous 9 3/4) and he said that his would be boring old number 7. Why 7, I asked. Because HP's soccer jersey was 7--all the seekers' are. And now Calvin and Hobbes? Burb, we're going to be family one day!

Finally, I'm glad to see that your daughter has her priorities straight. And I'm also glad she decided to stick to home.

Anonymous said...

Did I say "soccer jersey"?! I meant "Quidditch robes". Of course!
Lulu

Nancy said...

I tried to run away when I was 9 or 10. I didn't pack anything (probably not a great move), I was just going to spend the night in the woods and hope that my mom realized that she had been too harsh in her punishment for whatever I had done that day.

Mom was out running an errand, and I finally get up my nerve to leave. As I'm walking down the driveway, I encounter my mom's car returning from errands. She is so pissed to see me disobeying her that I get in more trouble. She didn't even realize I was running away--she simply thought I was going outside. Ugh.

At least Sarah was smart enough to pack some provisions, giving you the visual cue that she was running away... :)