No Ticket to Oz

Dearest Rachel –

It was storming terribly last night, dear. Our home security system by the front door was beeping like a combination alarm clock and a forklift stuck in reverse, and no amount of money going forward and typing in the password which shut it up for more than five minutes, before it would irrupt again, and letting us know about the severe weather alert.

The funny thing is, by two, 2:30 in the morning, things settled down to the point where I could take Chompers out front, and was perfectly dry. Well, the driveway was wet, but we stayed dry.

Of course, by morning, when I was out shopping for more storage supplies for Jan, and breakfast for Daniel, I was listening to the news, and heard about the tornadoes that touched down in Woodridge and Naperville, and realized how close they had come to us.

It was no ticket to Oz, that’s for sure.

Jan was actually at the house by the time I got home, much to my surprise, as I thought she would be here from the afternoon on. Kris showed up soon after, and they both got to work: Kris in the front hall and kitchen, and Jan and I are upstairs in the office.

Before I could really get started in the office, Kris brought this sign to my attention:

We’d used this several Halloweens ago: that’s when the house cosplayed as the Wizard’s palace. Of course, it was – and still is – true: our front bell still is out of order.

Some things, honey, I just can’t keep. But at least I can take a picture before I throw them out.

Not that it really looks like it’s in your handwriting to begin with. Although…

I’ve said before that one day we are going to no longer find things you’ve written, and I’ll be very sad about that. But while we’re running out of places to clean, this isn’t that day. Along with a whole folder from moms in touch, I found this in a bag that had been stuffed under my desk:

Perfect timing for Daniel‘s birthday

That’s right, I find this calendar that you put together of the events of his first year. On. His. Birthday. I would ask what the odds are of that, but you’d probably respond by asking me the odds of sending me a balloon for my birthday, more than two months after you’d left.

I probably should transcribe all of these at some point, but for now, the main point is that we just found this today, with all these notes of yours.

I confess I was slightly distracted as I was flipping through this; Erin had called me to see if Daniel was awake and had received her text of best wishes. As far as I knew, he wasn’t, although it wasn’t for Kris’ lack of trying – how he slept through her vacuuming the front hall, I will never know. Meanwhile, I was trying to maintain my composure on the phone but I was flipping through this booklet calendar, and failing miserably. Anyone else, I would’ve told to call back, but somehow I’m able to cry in front of Erin.

Eventually, I got around to inviting her to lunch (we were going to take Logan and the Olson’s with us to the station to celebrate Daniel’s birthday) and, as she has been taking off Mondays, she was able to join us.

And it just occurs to me that today is Monday, just like it was 28 years ago. It’s hard to tell the days apart these days, since I don’t have a regular job that I’m going to in order to tell one day apart from another.

Anyway, getting together for lunch prove to be more difficult than I thought it might be. Erin agreed to come, but she insisted on running to the restaurant, as she hadn’t done her run for the day. She decided to drive over to Busse Woods first, as running all the way from Des Plaines would a.) be too far, especially for a day she was supposedly taking it easy she had to run some seven miles the day before and b.) result in her not actually getting there until the place closed for the lunch hour. Meanwhile, Logan hadn’t even come over yet, and only texted that he was on his way as we were about to leave the house. I had Daniel let him know to meet us at the restaurant as well.

And for all these days supposedly being all about Daniel, we still had errands to run. I had three bags and a box (the latter with a microwave in it; did you bring this back from Macomb because it was working, or because it wasn’t?) to drop off. Fortunately, it wasn’t that far out of the way, and we still got there before Logan.

Erin was another matter entirely. It was obvious she wasn’t going to be able to arrive before they stop serving, and it was a close call as to whether she made it before the police actually closed. I made sure to grab what I thought she’d like off the belt, but I’m afraid we got the quantities wrong this time around. Daniel seemed so apologetic about not being able to finish his udon, but I assured him it was of no concern; after all, we could simply bring home anything that we couldn’t finish.

After dropping Erin off back at Busse Woods, I came home Daniel and Logan watching Bijuu Mike playing Danganronpa. As per usual (since I don’t want to interfere with their enjoyment), I retired to the bedroom for the next hour and a half, only emerging to take a blanket that Chompers had fouled, and drop it into the washing machine.

I brought in the mail, and took care of a bill that had been included. I then informed the boys that I was on my way to VBS, and that I would let them know when I was on my way back.

As it turned out, my role was fairly simple, and fairly short. The entire group met in the main room for what you might call opening ceremonies, there was a lesson, and everybody split up to do their own things. Aaaand that was the extent of my participation: I was free to go after barely an hour on the job.

Now I may still have been full from lunch, but my sweet tooth was acting up, and I was considering getting us a milkshake from Steak ‘n Shake. So I called the boys, as I said I would call and ask them if they wanted anything from there. Turns out, according to Daniel, no one can hold a candle to Sonic when it comes to milkshakes. Okay, it was his birthday, he’s entitled to choose the place. I had no problem with that – his apology for the inconvenience of the drive notwithstanding. So I head up there, order him a peanut butter shake, Logan a cheeseburger meal, and myself… a limeade slush.

What? Don’t look at me like that. Why should females have a monopoly on fickle caprice?

And so, as I’m wrapping this up, I’m back in the bedroom, listening again in the back corner of my ears as they continue watching the Danganrompa gameplay, discussing the plot twists, and what have you.

Look, I get that it’s not the same as getting a cake and/or ice cream and having a party with streamers and funny hats. I don’t think he’d even want that if I tried. I mean, maybe he would, but I kind of doubt it. It’s been very much a low-key birthday for him. I’d like to think it’s what he would’ve wanted. Maybe a little less of the cleanup crew in the morning, perhaps, but otherwise…

There are always worse ways to begin a new circuit around the sun. Sometimes, low-key is just what the doctor ordered.

Anyway, thanks for the calendar. Your timing, as always, is impeccable.

Well… apart from leaving so soon. Still wish you were here. But that being said, thank you again for giving me him, challenges and all. And as always, wish me luck with him.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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