There Is Never Any Ice Cream

The friend I’m staying with has been constantly complaining to her significant other that he doesn’t do any of the chores he’s asked to do, and so she restricts the wireless internet so he can’t use it after a certain time at night.

This past week, she has been in and out of the hospital, resting in her bed upstairs while trying not to make any more return trips for whatever reason. She came downstairs on Friday, declared that the house was a mess and that the children weren’t properly being cared for in her absence, then went back upstairs.

I was watching videos on YouTube sometime after that, when I noticed the video stop playing. I figured there was a hiccup, if you will, in the internet connecting to my Playstation 4, until I noticed that my computer wasn’t able to connect to the internet either. My phone could only connect when I was using my cellular data. My friend had turned off all internet access to every device in the house, then had a friend pick her up so she could spend the weekend away from all of us. She threatened to permanently revoke the internet from all of us if we tampered with the router. Mind you, a house with three moderately intelligent millennials can easily figure out a workaround, if not a way to mess with a wifi czar altogether. But, it wouldn’t change the fact that the house was a bit trashed, and that needed to be fixed.

The kids were already asleep when their mom left in the night. I sat down at the table with a piece of paper and a pack of markers, glancing at my black tricorn with black lace and red trim. I had to let the kids know what was going on, but I had to make it fun, and yet I had to still put some authority into the note. I opened with, “Ahoy mateys!” I continued on by saying the place wasn’t in “ship-shape,” but then I dropped the pirate speak for a bit. I asked the kids to help out and do whatever was asked of them, and to do so without whining because it would make things so much easier. I continued on to say that if all went well, we’d have a movie night with a treat. If they couldn’t do what was asked, they would walk the plank! And then I signed it, “Your Captain.” I left the note propped up on my tricorn and then I went to sleep.

The next morning, I woke up to the sound of my words being read aloud by the middle child. He then proceeded to read the list I wrote up of all the DVDs I have with me which would be age-appropriate, and I cringed because that one didn’t need to be read out loud.

I don’t remember which came first, breakfast or tantrums. I do remember we couldn’t decide between waffles or pancakes, so pancakes were made for the youngest kid who didn’t like waffles like the rest of us. It didn’t matter either way to me, so I had waffles. The middle child did have a tantrum and stormed back upstairs, so we had to save waffles for him until he came down. It was after breakfast, I believe, that both boys had to sit in different corners of the room because they were having fits. The youngest kept wailing constantly, while the middle child kept rolling around and playing with whatever was within reach. Neither one wanted to clean, and yet they both had been informed that we were going to be cleaning. After the longest while, the youngest was finally convinced that tidying up his shared bedroom would be helpful. The middle child was far more stubborn, and since he refused to take orders from me no matter how sweetly I worded my commands, I would make an attempt and then let his dad take control.

Around lunchtime we took a break, and since the boys needed visual stimulation, we watched a movie. I chose The Wizard, a movie from when I was about their age. It stars Fred Savage as the brother to this one boy who has some issues but happens to be naturally skilled at video games, so the boys enter a video gaming tournament to win money and show how well the boy can function. It’s not the most exciting movie, and while the boys were protesting at every moment, the middle child would sometimes ask about events in the movie that were yet to come. Knowing he was interested, I told him to keep watching the movie.

Sometime during the movie, the oldest child left to spend time wth her dad for the weekend. She cleaned her room, so she helped out somewhat. Still, I felt like we lost manpower.

After the movie, the boys went to the park with their dad, and I cleaned the bathroom a bit. I was bored and fidgeting when I was done, but I didn’t know what else to do. We had already swept and mopped the downstairs floors, cleaned the eating and cooking surfaces, ran a few loads of laundry, cleaned bedrooms, and I don’t remember what else.

When they came back from the park, the boys were a bit tired, which was a good thing. The middle child wanted to watch one particular movie while dinner was being made, while the youngest was upstairs playing video games. I thought the movie was going to be saved for later, and the youngest wanted to watch the movie after dinner, but the middle child said he wouldn’t mind watching it twice so I shrugged and let him watch it. I then ran to the store to get the treat for the evening’s movie night, along with a few things that were to be needed for dinner. I took a bit too long and came back after they already started eating dinner, but I wasn’t awfully late and I sat down to eat with them.

After dinner, we had an encore showing of the movie, The Secret Life Of Pets. Maybe I got old, but it didn’t hold my interest. The boys had some ice cream, the special treat I bought to have while watching the movie. They don’t keep ice cream in the house, not for a lack of desire to have the frozen dairy treat, but more for a lack of money as it’s treated as a luxury. And while the boys weren’t perfect little angels, they were still rewarded because they got better during the day.

Tonight the boys were looking for dessert after dinner, and knew I still had ice cream from the weekend. The middle child wanted ice cream because it was there, but the youngest wanted ice cream as dessert for clearing his plate. I told their dad that I wouldn’t allow them to have ice cream unless they both behaved. The middle child was getting out of hand in the evening, and the youngest had already been persuaded to have animal crackers as dessert. So the middle child was pouting because he couldn’t have ice cream, and I heard his dad say that we can’t always have ice cream because we can’t always get what we want. I’m not sure how that ended, because I was busy doing the dishes so I didn’t have my internet revoked by the wifi czar.

Later on, I submitted a few more applications to employers, then fixed myself a bowl of mint chocolate chip. There’s never any ice cream around here unless I provide it, and I’m going to enjoy it just as much as anyone else, perhaps more so because I know it’s a reward and I know what it’s like to work for that reward.


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