This morning, I went to have a nice long relaxing bath. That’s a lot of adjectives, I know, but I had high hopes for this bath. It was needed too. I had spent all of the day before querying my YA epic fantasy, HalfWorlder, in my pajamas. I also happen to live in one of those old 1950’s center-hall colonials whose closets are too small for the duct work of modern AC (but that’s for an episode of This Old House, right?), so good-old-fashioned wall and window units are it for cooling at the Herring house. With temperatures nearing the 90’s, I guessed this would be problematic, and since my work space happens to be across the house from the main AC, I soon found out it was. I could feel a thin sheen of sweat forming across my forehead by only mid-morning. Yet still, I holed up and went to work … you know … because that’s what you do when your manuscript’s done and you can’t think of any more excuses not to query.
Now here’s the miracle: In some happy alignment of the stars, the heat wave gave me the break I needed to get some actual work done. My children abandoned their normal zealous mom’s-my-short-order-chef, where’s-my-pants pursuit of me in favor of the cool air and TV in our living room. All three of them grabbed food and drink and settled down to watch a “marathon of movies” (my oldest daughter’s words) and as many episodes of Liv & Maddie as their little hearts could take, only to emerge like wary prairie dogs, afraid of losing their place on the couch, for more of said food and drink. It was great. It felt like a vacation, and even though I was riper than the box of kiwis I had forgotten about at the bottom of my fridge by afternoon, life was good.
Sounds beautiful right (of course, minus the icky sweating part)? Are you feeling me, you other work-from-home, summer’s-here and my-kids-aren’t-at-camp-this-week parents? Yes? Well, this only serves to make what I’m about to tell you that much harder. Here’s the thing about kids: You can’t hide from them for long. They’ll find you. They’re like blood hounds. They can smell you out wherever you go. Sure, you might get a break like me if you lock yourself in a sweltering box for an afternoon, but as soon as the temperatures drop, you’re in for it.
And that brings us back to my bath tub. I managed to settle in undisturbed, the hot water enveloping me like an old friend (one I knew well before kids). I started to enjoy the near-burning water, beautifully deluded by the dream that was my atypical previous day. I was down one kid at baseball camp anyway, so there were only two left who might find me. The odds were ever in my favor (love me some Suzanne Collins). I felt hope warring with my fears. I might just pull this off! And then I heard it, the pitter-patter of little feet on the stairs and the word I can’t help but love coming off the lips of my 6-year-old, “Mom!”
I grabbed the shampoo quickly. Bath time was over.