Today I left work early as I had a bunch of reading to do to prepare for a meeting tomorrow and hate doing that at my desk. My plan was get home, start some chili and read as it cooked. I arrived home about the same time as school was getting out. As I was about to unlock my door, two elementary school-aged kids from a few doors down walked over and asked if they could come in. The kids always ask about Oliver and the turtles because they can seem them through the window, so I assumed that they wanted to come in and attempt to play with Oliver. I told them, not today and moved towards the house. Then the little girl, said, “Our mom’s not home.” I looked at her brother who was walking decidedly towards me, and said, “Really?” He smiled and said no. “…and we don’t have a key.” Great. I asked if there was anyone else at home, and of course there wasn’t. “Well, let’s go inside!” I told them.
So there I was, needing to do work, planning on making dinner and was now host to two elementary school kids for an indefinite amount of time. As they ran into the house I tried to remember if there was anything laying around that shouldn’t be and played out disaster scenarios in my head like if their mom didn’t come home until late and I’d have to feed them vegetarian chili and they found it disgusting and I had to take them to McDonald’s or their mom would freak out when she got home because her kids were in a stranger’s house.
I only had to keep an eye on the kids for 20 minutes or so. During that time I gave the little boy a glass of milk and followed him around the house while he drank it and balanced a too-big-for-his-hands glass in just one hand as he tried to pet Oliver, and not trip over my yoga mat, and my running shoes, and the mail. They watched the Disney channel, called their mom on my cell phone, successfully petted Oliver a few times before he wisely retreated upstairs, “Can I go get him?” they asked, “Um…let’s not.”, harassed the turtles, ran the bathroom sink over and trailed armfulls of bubbles over the wood floors.
Altogether, they’re well-behaved kids. I learned that everyone at school has a cell phone and they use it all the time and found out where all the elementary schools are in our neighborhood. I was glad that they ran into me before they had to hang out on their porch until their mom came home or had to knock on every neighbors door until they found someone home, even with as safe as our neighborhood is. But honestly, they wore me out a little bit. In retrospect, had I realized that they were going to leave so quickly I should have stuffed them full of ice cream and soda and sent them on their way.