What I am Learning in Idaho

Don’t rely on your cell phone to determine the actual time in Boise because you will wake up to:

1. Read the time as 7:25 a.m. on your phone.

2. Panic because the girls need to be awake by 7 a.m. for school.

3. PANIC because you have failed your sister on your first day of being in charge of the twins.

4. Turn on the lights in the girls’ bedroom, then yell, “We’re late, we’re late! Get up, get dressed. HURRY!”  

5. Be unprepared for the madness that will ensue, which will include crashing into one another as all three people simultaneously rush for the bathroom, after which  there will be tripping, scrambling for shoes and socks, and then the dog will get involved by barking incessantly.  

6. Suddenly remember—in your state of being half asleep and somewhat disoriented—that you haven’t figured how to temporarily change your cell phone’s clock (the only clock in your room, and to your knowledge, the only clock in that level of the house) to reflect the local time of 5:30 a.m.

7. Inform your nieces that maybe the time is earlier than you thought, and isn’t it a good thing they aren’t going to miss their ride and be late to school!

8. Laugh.

9. Realize you are the only person laughing at 5:30 a.m. Barking does not count.

10. Ask your niece to—just in case—check the time.  “Are you kidding, Aunt Betsy!” says the one niece after finding her watch hidden under a pile of school papers on her desk.

11. Second niece says, “Now what do we do? We’re dressed for school.”

12. Aunt says, sleepily, “Everybody, go back to bed, including the dog.”


Don’t Forget About the Automatic Sprinklers

1. If you happen to wake up early in a panic over the girls being late for school (and it is actually only 5:30 in the morning in Boise), at least grab the morning paper—the paper your sister asked you to save so she and her husband can read when they return in a week.

2. If instead you fall back asleep (after waking at 5:30 a.m.) and don’t pick up the morning paper before the sprinklers turn on, and the newspaper kid hasn’t put the paper in a plastic bag, so that it gets thoroughly soaked, consider # 3.

3. Bribery

4. When you open the front door because the girls’ ride is coming and the day’s newspaper lies across the front walk like a soggy, chewed-up plastic dog toy alongside yesterday’s newspaper (in a plastic bag), remind the girls how fun it is to run through a sprinkler. And wouldn’t that be refreshing to do? Like right now?

5. When neither girl responds, ask barking dog.

6. When dog looks up at you as if to say “Who do you think you are and where is my breakfast? And look, there is a quail I can chase!” consider # 3 again.

7. Remind the girls that you have no idea how to turn off the automatic sprinkler and you are still in your pajamas, and do they want their friend and friend’s mother to see their aunt outside wearing wet pjs that say Need Coffee Now while holding a cup of coffee, dripping wet?

8. When both girls raise their hand, agree to whatever they say, even if it means taking them to Panda Express for dinner that evening. Or worse, the mall.

9. After one niece turns off the sprinkler to allow second niece to pick up The Soggy Mess, thank them.

10. Thank them again while waving goodbye. Promise to pick them up on time.

11. When one niece says, “Oh goodie, that means you’ll pick us up at 1:15 instead of 3:15!” tell them you are headed to Verizon as soon as it opens so that the cell phone clock can be changed.

12. Shut the door. Pour another cup of coffee. Take a deep breath.

13. Realize dog is not in the house.

14. Panic.

15. Find dog outside, now wet from the backyard sprinkler system.

16. Feed dog. Ask dog for forgiveness.

17. Settle into porch chair. Put feet up. Soak in the view of Boise’s foothills. Ask Buddha for guidance, and when wet dog tries to jump in your lap, promise the dog leftovers from Panda Express.

18. Read. Look forward to another beautiful sunset (photos coming!). Write and write and write.

19. Be thankful for the opportunity to write!