Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Weekend at Robbie's

by Robison Wells

You know me--I'm not the type to go on and on about my personal life! I've often been referred to as "The Hermit of LDS fiction", or "Covenant's Enigma". just the other day I was talking to Stephanie Black, and she could see a small tear forming in my eye, but I was all "I'll never let you know the true Robison E. Wells", and she was all "Why won't you let me in! I thought our friendship meant something!" Man, that Stephanie Black sure is needy.

Anyway, so I'm not the type to go on and on about my personal life, but there are times when I have to open up a little bit. For example: now. Because, holy moley, did I have a rough weekend.

I don't mean this last weekend, or even the weekend before that, but the weekend before that one. Yes, this is technically old news, but I'm just now finding the courage to deal with it. If you were a better friend, you'd cut me some slack.

My brother wanted to take his wife away on some romantic getaway, so he dropped off his daughter with us. He has three kids, but he only left his youngest. I think that it's because he knows that children and I don't get along. (They never share the Barbies!)

Anyway, the daughter we got is a roly poly little fat kid named Morgan. She's somewhere in between one year and two years, although I don't pretend to know where she falls in there. She's old enough to eat an entire pizza in one sitting, but not quite old enough to wash the thick layer of tomato sauce off her own face. (This is probably due to my brother's poor parenting skills, though, not her age.)

So, we picked her up in a tricky fashion, as the weekend was a surprise for my brother's wife. And we took her home, and all seemed well. In fact, all seemed well all evening, to the point that my wife said "See? We need to have another baby!", although Morgan could have set the TV on fire and my wife still would have said that.

But then we tried to put Morgan to bed and, despite the fact that my brother and I look nothing at all alike, Morgan wanted me to lay next to her all night long. (My brother, incidentally, weighs a good fifty pounds less than me, and is the epitome of a sun-starved pasty nerd. Somehow, I got all our family's attractive genes. It's kind of my curse.) And so I slept on the floor of the kids' room, and everything was fine.

So, the next day went very uneventfully, and I can't even remember what happened. It must have been awesomely non-descript. However, in the evening, my wife ran up to the laundromat, and I began to put the kids to bed. Whilst reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, I heard something leaking. Venturing into the hallway, I found a little puddle by the bathroom door. "Aha," I thought. "No big deal. The sink must be leaking again." (Our sink does that.)

But then, while looking accusingly at the sink, I heard another drip, this time behind me. There was another puddle by the bedroom door. Upon further inspection, I discovered a small trickle of water coming out of the air vent.

At this point I began to run frantically from room to room, looking at vents and thinking bad words when I saw they all had water coming from them. In a moment of parenting genius, I told my five year old that she was in charge, and then I ran out of the apartment. I hurried up the stairs to the neighbors above us and pounded on the door.

After a LONG time, someone answered. And, she was standing in two inches of water. She looked mildly concerned about the puddle on the floor (but only mildly, which kind of bothered me). As it turned out, she'd been watching TV in the front room and the dishwasher hose broke, pouring water all over the floor. If I hadn't knocked on her door, she'd still be watching CSI: Miami.

So, I ran downstairs, and I called to my wife who was just pulling up in the parking lot. When I got back inside the apartment there were steady streams coming out of all the vents--and the light fixture in the hallway! Given the fact that all the towels were at the laundromat, I had to mop up the enormous puddle with a couple of quilts.

After a few more minutes the water stopped, and we got the mess cleaned up (after a fashion) and the kids went to bed. The only real casualty of the disaster was that one of my daughter's picture books got ruined. (But it was one of those annoying Reading Rainbow books that only librarians like, so I didn't cry.) And then, two hours later, we noticed that there was an enormous bubble of water in the bedroom ceiling! Like, a two-foot-wide blister in the paint. And next to it was another one, smaller but more lopsided and wrinkly. It's like our ceiling had the small pox.

So, I called maintenance, and they told me to lance it like a big boil. It was kind of neat.

And then I slept on the floor next to my brother's kid again.

The next morning, my brother was supposed to pick up Morgan by 8:30 so we could make it to Stake Conference by 9:00. I must admit that I wasn't really looking forward to Conference, because it was at the Provo Tabernacle, which doesn't have a good seat in the entire building. And the acoustics are so "good" that you can hear every baby in the zip code, as though you were sitting right next to them. And the seats are wooden and narrow. Pioneers must have been smaller people, with no nerves in their bums. Maybe if I'd crossed the plains, I wouldn't care about bad seats at Stake Conference. (But you would have hated to be in the wagon next to mine, with all my bellyaching!)

Unfortunately, there was a big snow storm, and he was really late. That wouldn't be a problem on a regular week, but you kind of have to be on time for Stake Conference because that place fills up fast. And if you're late, then you get stuck up in the balcony on even narrower, harder benches. So, at five minutes to nine, my wife left with the kids, leaving me and Morgan to wait for my brother. He finally showed up at about twenty after nine, and he drove me through the slippery snow to the Provo Tabernacle. We got there at 9:35.

So, I crept in the back, and searched the back of people's heads, looking for my wife. But her hair is kind of brown, and kind of average length, so it was difficult. Giving up on the main floor, I headed into the balcony, and after five more minutes, I found her. Of course, she was crammed into the back narrow row. The only way to fit all four of us on the bench was for my daughter to sit on my wife's lap and my son to sit on mine.

And, I swear I'd been sitting down for all of four minutes when my son peed on me. And not just a little leak out of the diaper, either. It was about a gallon and a half of pee, all over him and all over me. My wife said that when I stood up to head for the foyer there was a big puddle on the bench. This, my friends, was a lot of pee.

So, we left conference. After a while, when problems pile up (or puddle up) it stops being aggravating and starts being funny. So, we laughed while we walked to the car, through the thick slush, me with my pants drenched.

I got revenge, though: the next week I left my kids with my brother.


At 2/19/2008 12:50 PM, Anonymous Fellfrosch said...

And I beat them like rented mules.

At 2/19/2008 1:29 PM, Blogger Tamra Norton said...

Rob, you are one funny fella! You really ought to offer a "Depends highly recommended while reading this post" warning at the top of your blog. Especially with the theme of this post (call it the power of suggestion if you will). Thanks for the laugh...I think.

At 2/19/2008 1:48 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Oh, it was a privacy thing? That's why you wouldn't open up? I figured your lawyer just told you to keep your mouth shut until the trial. Next time, Rob, just ask if you want to borrow my Care Bears collection.

Bummer about the waterlogged weekend. Have you considered hiring yourself out to cure droughts? You seem to attract dampness.

At 2/21/2008 12:44 PM, Blogger Tristi Pinkston said...

Yeah, but did you arrange for your brother's ceiling to leak? That would have been the only true revenge.

At 2/22/2008 5:13 PM, Blogger Annette Lyon said...

Ah, the best kind of revenge.

I hope you can laugh now. I am.

At 2/23/2008 8:13 PM, Blogger Josi said...

Yeah, once the swearing, threats, and misery passes, most things are innately humorous. And you totally scored--first it was an apartment, not a house so you don't have to pay for the damages, and second you pawned off two kids (one a massive pee machine) in exchange for the one you watched. Right on.


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