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The Pink Slip

In high school, I had a friend who — whenever we had just done any one of those dumb things teenagers typically do — in response to our latest bout of stupidity, his parents would jokingly ask each other, "Am I fired? May I be fired? Oh, please tell me I'm fired."

At the time, I thought it was kind of rude.

Today, I'm begging for my parent pink slip. Someone please tell me I'm fired.

It began in the morning, with Grace whimpering from her bed, eyes crusted shut. I immediately thought of my mother pressing a soothing face cloth to my own sealed eyes, and soon enough I was holding warm, damp terry to Grace’s.

As I was scraping her down, William woke up. He was burning hot, snotty and unhappy. I carried him downstairs and set the two of them up with a little Disney Channel as I got some oatmeal started. Just then William had a massive CDF (Catastrophic Diaper Failure), which I cleaned with our last four wipes.

Next, over a pile of blueberries I broke the news to Gracie that we couldn't go to ballet today (noooo!!!!) because we had to go to the doctor instead (NOOO!! WAAAAAAAAAAAA!!). William threw his breakfast onto the floor in a show of support.

I dressed them and inserted them into the car. With all of the wipes gone, our first outing of the day had to be the grocery store. After finding a parking space and cramming them, screaming, into a shopping cart, a random woman informed me that I better be careful because the new carts are very light and they flip over easily and she had a friend who blah, blah, blah...I stopped listening because, if I hadn't, I would have killed her.

Inside, William pulled over a stack of US magazines, Grace dumped a half pint of raspberries onto the floor and I began to feel unwell myself. At checkout, the cashier needed the key, of course, and we all had to stand there and wait for "Kathy" to bring it. Let me just say, I hate the key. I loathe the key. Why is it every cashier I ever encounter needs the key? I just know that while I wait for her return, somewhere in the store Kathy is skipping back and forth, dangling the key between her vindictive little fingers, and laughing at all of us from behind two-way glass.

Once we were home, William tried to flush the Lightning McQueen Dixie cups down the toilet.

The pediatrician saw us at 3:00 (another fun car ride).

At the end of the day, William has an ear infection, Grace has conjunctivitis and my own fever is up to 101. But there is good news: Tomorrow will be another eight hours home alone with the invalids.

Will someone please tell me I'm fired?