I get home just after 7 a.m. It was a relatively slow night at the 911 Center, not much to speak of other than a few wrecks in the rain. Idealistic me, I applied for this job because I wanted to help, to make a difference in some small way. I accepted it because of the incredible insurance.
Eighteen months later, I rethink that decision almost daily. Working thirds is hard on the body, a strain on our marriage. As I walk in, Luke is in his sit-me-up booster seat. He smiles as soon as he sees my face. He recognizes me. And somehow it is all alright.
After getting him dressed and in his car seat, I hug Mrs. Bone goodbye and get ready for bed. I can't shut off my mind. I replay calls from the night before, mistakes I might have made, what I could have done better. It is something after 8:00 the last I remember.
I wake around 1:30. The five-plus hours is the most sleep I've gotten in four days. I've been in a rut of waking up between 11:00 and 1:00 and not being able to get back to sleep. Around 2:30 I give up and decide to get a couple of errands in before I pick up Luke at daycare.
First up is a stop at the grocery store where I pick up some fruit, nuts, and cheese -- snacks for work -- and some Martha White self-rising flour. I've taught myself to make something close to biscuits over the past few months.
Next is a visit to Walgreens. Desperate for sleep, I pick up some Melatonin and Calms Forte. I avoid taking medicine if at all possible, to the point that my doctor will begin sentences, "I know you don't really like to take medicine..." But at some point I figure the lack of sleep becomes unhealthier than the pills.
Then it's off to get Luke. I skip the interstate and take the two lane, enjoying the ponds and pastures, trees and sky. The 15-minute drive has become my "me" time. I roll down the down the window, turn up the radio, and enjoy the one bit of my day where I'm not sleeping, working, or responsible for another human being.
The first thing I notice is Luke is not wearing the same outfit he left home with. This is a not uncommon occurrence. He has had what we in the parenting business refer to as a blowout.
On the way home, we stop off at the Sonic. Once a week I treat myself to a small shake and small chili cheese fries. It's a guilty pleasure. Besides, I got cheese and nuts and fruit for work so it balances out... ish.
The first order of business once we're home is to let Sunshine outside. Sunshine is the cat, though we would never refer to her as "the cat" because doing so might imply she is just an animal, that she doesn't have a personality, that we don't consider her our daughter. And nothing could be further from the truth.
She showed up at the back door a few years ago, starving and bloody-tailed. After an ever-so-brief attempt to find her a home, we decided to keep her. Honestly, she never gave us much choice. Our lives have since become a "Who rescued whom?" bumper sticker.
Next I unload the dishwasher and start some laundry. Not at the same time, that would be a trick sure to astonish. The squeaking you will soon hear is the sound of the dryer dying. The repairman gave it six months to live. That was over two years ago. She's a fighter this Whirlpool.
Luke gets fussy after a bit and when I pick him up I feel something wet. It is blowout number two of the day. It is the worst one I have experienced to date. I may as well wear the Spray 'n Wash in a holster.
Mrs. Bone gets home and we begin the nightly routine: feeding Luke, giving him a bath, and putting him to bed.
Our Hello Fresh delivery didn't arrive on time this week so we order Mexican. (I'm gonna have to eat a lot of fruit and nuts to make up for this day!) While I am at the restaurant picking up our food, I get a text: "Guess what just arrived." Perfect. I don't mind though as we have mostly found Hello Fresh to be more aptly titled Hello Bland.
We eat while watching a couple of "General Hospital" episodes. Luke wakes up during the first so I go and rock him back to sleep. I doze off during the last, grabbing a much-needed fifteen or twenty minutes before it's time to shower and get ready for work.
It is 9:30. Sunshine demands five more minutes of outside time before I leave. I oblige. Then it's another hug goodbye and I'm out the door.
As I back out, Sunshine sits in the doorway and watches me leave. Beyond, Luke sleeps peacefully in his room while the woman I married is going to bed, hoping to catch two or three hours before the little guy wakes up again.
Some decisions you never have to rethink.
"These are some good times / So take a good look around / You may not know it now / But you're gonna miss this..."