My phone...my old-fashioned, nobody-actually-calls-on-it-phone...has been ringing off the hook this month. The answering machine's red blinking light will not take a break. What was this all about? Did I win Publisher's Clearing House? Did somebody need a kidney? Did I leave a kid at the park?
Like all vigilant mothers after a long day, I wrapped a Mike's Hard Cranberry Lemonade in my favorite Hanukkah coolie, grabbed the Cheetos, and anxiously played my answering machine to see what the fuss was all about:
Well, that was a relief. Of course the next several messages were also courtesy of CPS. The new CEO of the school system was on there, reminding me of the importance of first day attendance. Joe happened to walk downstairs when that message was playing:
Joe: Who is that?
Me: Jean-Claude Van Damm
Joe: The bad actor?
Joe: Jean-Claude Van Damm??
Me: Oh no, I mean Jean-Claude Brizard, the new head of CPS.
Joe: Nice coolie by the way. That one's mine. Thief.
After getting through the barrage of other messages from assorted Chicago celebrities and politicians advising me that education in Chicago is important, I decided to wade through the mail instead. There was a letter from CPS reiterating the popular "get your ass in school" mantra of the month. I called my best friend to vent. As I don't believe she's been properly introduced, I've known "Best Friend" since I was 13 when we both wore granny underwear in the 8th grade locker room and bonded over being nerds.
Me: I am being hounded.
Best Friend: Huh?
Me: I've gotten mayoral calls, letters, emails. It won't stop. Even Jean Valjean is calling me.
Best Friend: Who?
Me: Jean Valjean.
Best Friend: From Les Mes? I think you need a break from your iPod Broadway selection.
Me: I mean Jean-Claude Brizard, the new head of CPS schools.
Best Friend: Well tell them to stop calling you and that you already know when the first day of school is.
Best Friend: You don't know when the first day of school is, do you?
Me: (reluctantly) No. But Atheist-Friend always calls me the week before and reminds to get school supplies. She even tells me which stores have the best sales on dishwashing soap, Clorox wipes, and paper towels for going back to school.
Best Friend: Nice supply list. Are your kids going back to school or cleaning the school?
Me: Good question. Maybe I'll email Jean Luc Picard that question.
Best Friend: The captain from Star Trek?
Me: I thought that was Captain Kirk?
Best Friend: You're drinking a Mike's Hard Lemonade again, aren't you?
Me (agog): Noooo.
Best Friend: Cranberry.
Me: I'm going to bed.