Working From Home

Following the blanket of snow that fell on the surrounding area throughout yesterday, most of the local schools announced their closure, along with the office where I work. Therefore this morning I am holed up in the junk room at home, fielding work emails, and trying to stop our younger children decapitating each other.

At 5pm yesterday the decision to shut everything was probably very sensible, but then of course the temperature rose just enough overnight to make everybody look foolish. The minor roads are now covered with a couple of inches of slush, which will no doubt freeze hard overnight, making the return to work tomorrow far more dangerous than today.

Oh well.

My other half walked to work – she is “the lady in the office” at the local infant school, and given that many of the teachers, and all the children come from the immediate catchment area, they can walk to school too. Miss 17 is with her – she is working in her first “placement” at the nursery (kindergarten) attached to the school – spending her Mondays playing with the children, and filling a diary with observations. I wonder if she realises how far ahead of the rest of the students on her child development course she is? I don’t think any of the other students have a placement yet.

After working through the usual list of chores this morning, and batting away any outstanding work email, the children vanished upstairs. I thought they might be doing their usual trick – sitting around in their pyjamas playing Mario Party, or watching YouTube videos, but Miss 12 amazed me when she came stomping back down the stairs in search of furniture polish and the vacuum cleaner.

“Are you tidying your room?”

“Yes!”

“Properly?”

“Yes!”

The level of incredulity in her voice prompted me to go help her find things, and send her on her way. I carried the vacuum cleaner back up the stairs for her, and peeked in her room. It’s not often I’m impressed by their attempts to tidy their rooms, but this time I was. I’ll try not to think about where all her clean clothes went (and won’t dare open the wardrobe, lest I need a search party to dig me out).

“That’s a fantastic job you’re doing – well done!”

“I’m keeping it tidy, because I want Christmas presents.”

Ah – now it all makes sense. Miss 12 firmly believes the Elf on the Shelf is real – and over the weekend the Elf delivered threats to both younger children’s bedrooms – an ultimatum of sorts that if they were not tidied up there would be repercussions.

While half-watching the work email account, I’m listening to Amazon Music. I wired up the old Fire TV box in the junk room. We get various playlists “for free” through Amazon Prime, but hardly ever take advantage of it. At least with the children being busy I’m getting the chance to actually listen to anything – Miss 12 discovered the Fire TV has Alexa hiding inside it last night – and then spent an hour asking her the thousand or so questions any child might ask.

“Alexa, tell me a joke.”

“Alexa, sing me a song.”

“Alexa, do you like One Direction?”

“Alexa, do you like my sister?”

“Alexa, is it going to snow again tomorrow?”

And so on, and so on, and so on. An hour. She fired ever more complex and inane questions at it for an hour. I overheard a very long and complicated question about which superhero might beat Spongebob in a custard pie fight.

Anyway. I suppose I should actually do some work. Or re-fill the washing machine and tumble dryer. Miss 13 is tidying her room out of shame now – I imagine every piece of clothing that that was carpeting her floor (all of it clean, and given to her folded several days ago) will now be back in the dirty washing bins. Our poor old washing machine – if it had a voice, I imagine it would sound like Eeyore.

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