Monday, July 13, 2009

Work Ice Cream

Our summer has been a bit too busy thus far. It's all good stuff--good trips to see good people and enjoy good places, but it's not quite the schedule of lazy days with lots of writing time that I'd pictured. Hopefully, these next two weeks at home will provide a little bit of that.
As of today I'm back to my morning writing routine, so that's something.
We started this schedule earlier in the year, and it was picturesque. I'd rise early, sneak downstairs, start the coffee and get the breakfast items ready for Brett and the girls, then I'd hide away in the basement to get in a couple of hours of work before the rest of the house began to stir.
If I look up to the ceiling from my desk in the basement I see an old air vent that leads into our dining room. Many years ago I'm sure it was functional, but now it serves as my muffled speaker, giving me a nice muted version of the family show happening just above my head.
The morning program would usually start with Olivia's energetic footsteps hitting the bottom of the upstairs steps in the entrance hallway and then running over to the vent.
"Hi Mom. How's it going down there?"
I'd look up and see her little fingers clinging to the vent's grate and then her mess of morning hair falling all around her face.
"Good Liv. How'd you sleep?"
"Good. Well, bye Mom, I gotta eat."
What would usually follow was a perfect melody: sweet A.M. conversations between Olivia and Brett, delightful babbling from Mae, drawers and cabinet doors closing, cereal hitting the bowls, spoons clanking ceramic-- general morning pleasantries and silliness. And it was the perfect viewpoint for me, an onlistener, as I tried to stream together the words of an onlooker for various scenes on paper.
But now Olivia is rising earlier, and she knows I'm down here. In her little 4-year-old mind, there is nothing wrong with her being down here with me, as long as she stays in her "playing" area and doesn't bother me in my "office" area. And in my idealistic morning mind, this should work. We do have a really big basement. But even with the best of intentions coming from the both of us, interruptions happen, and frequently.
Just within my first hour of writing this morning, I've also built a spaceship out of a cardboard box, purchased two ice cream treats from a musical push toy turned ice cream truck, and I've helped decorate for a princess wedding with wrapping paper scraps. And all the while, I was putting my "foot down," really.
Finally, the vent began broadcasting the morning show with Brett and Mae, and Olivia went up to join them. I was sure the interruptions were over. But soon I heard the clankle-de-clink of the ice cream truck making another detour down the basement steps.
"Olivia, really. I have to write."
"But Mom, I have something special just for you."
"No, Olivia. I'll enjoy it later. I have to get some work done now."
"But it will help with your work."
"Later Olivia. Go eat breakfast."
"But Mom, it's a special work ice cream!"
"Yes! It has paper, pencils, and words mixed in. And I put it in a cup, just the way you like it. And it's free!"
"... wow... Thanks Liv, I really need this..."
"I know, Mom. I love you. Bye."

1 comment:

katie said...

liz, brian also works in our basement... i think he can relate to the interruptions, but not to the "pleasant sounds" from above. ours are usually pretty loud and chaotic. i dream about being the one working down there instead!