The Happy Homemaker: "The Peanut Allergy" and "Bring Your Pierpont to Work Day"

posted Dec 8, 2013, 3:33 AM by Terrence Moss   [ updated Dec 8, 2013, 3:33 AM ]

I inadvertently started a new story series on my blog that began with a rather amusing but improbable imagining of me as a husband and father. So I’ve decided to start posting them here three (or in this case, two) at a time…

“The Peanut Allergy” 

I was watching The View and folding laundry (because this is my life now) when the phone rang. I checked the screen to find that it was a call from Pierpont's day camp where Bradley and I send him twice a week now that school is out for the summer.

I picked up the phone. "Hello?"

"Hello, Mr. Moss," a wary voice said from the other end.

"How are you, Nurse Kirkwood?" I replied with a smile. She's not a big fan of mine. If there's anyone at Pierpont's school who wishes she could deal solely with Bradley, it's her. And just when she thought she had a break from me for a few months, there she is serving as a nurse at the very same day camp I sent my son. I had to chuckle a bit on that one.

"We have a situation," Nurse Kirkwood informed me.

"What kind of a situation?" I asked incredulously. The last time she called it was to inform me that Pierpont tripped -- so I was tempted to tease her by asking if Pierpont bit his tongue or cracked a knuckle.

"One of today's volunteer parents is having an issue with the granola bar you included with Pierpont's lunch."

"Are they contraband now, too? Because that list seems to grow by the week."

"No, but the granola bar contains peanuts and one of our campers is highly allergic."

"To peanuts?"

"Yes."

"What does this have to do with Pierpont?"

"He traded his granola bar with this camper."

"Did Pierpont know this?"

"About the trade?"

"Yes."

"Yes."

"Did Pierpont know about the peanut allergy?"

"No."

"Did the other camper know this?"

"About the trade?"

"Yes."

"Yes."

"Did the other camper know about his own peanut allergy?"

Nurse Kirkwood sighed. "Yes."

"So why does the parent have an issue with my son and a granola bar?"

"The parent is accusing you of child endangerment."

I had to laugh at that one. "Am I being sued?"

"No, but the parent insisted I call and have you assure them that you wouldn't send anything to the day camp that might include peanuts."

"Kindly tell this parent to send his kid to a peanut-free day camp and leave mine alone."

"Mr. Moss, I can tell you that this parent will escalate this matter."

"They can escalate away at 323-555-2563."

"As you wish, Mr. Moss," Nurse Kirkwood replied. "I will relay the message. Have a nice day."

"Thank you. You do the same."

I might have known something was up from what I later perceived was a level of satisfaction in Nurse Kirkwood's voice as she hung up. When Bradley came home from work after having picked up Pierpont along the way, he handed me a handwritten note from the troublesome parent stapled to a freezer bag with the granola bar in question.

The note was addressed to me and consisted of a warning about being more mindful of other people's kids and their maladies. They also included a few pages of internet research about what happens to children with peanut allergies when they are exposed to the allergen.

These people work quickly.

I rolled my eyes and scoffed until I saw at the bottom of the latter was the masthead of Manis & Flinders --- Attorneys at Law.

Then I started laughing.

I stopped laughing momentarily thinking that if it got to that level, they probably won't be suing for peanuts. (Ha! See what I did there?)

Then I started laughing again over how far we've come as a society -- lawyering up over a granola bar.

So I started writing my own note with my own research (and a made-up masthead from Silverstein, Silverstein & Jones to see how they respond to my THREE attorneys) to hand to the parent next week when I'm scheduled to fill-in for another parent as camp volunteer for the day.

Let the arms race begin. Or end. I'm not sure where this is going to go.


“Bring Your Pierpont to Work Day” 

I fell ill on a day when Pierpont didn't have day camp and since Pierpont had been starting to ask questions about Bradley's work, Bradley decided to take him in so I could NyQuil the day away. Obviously I wasn't there, so I can't attest to either version of this story.

According to Pierpont...

Pierpont ran excitedly into the house and into the living room where I was lying on the couch watching the final season of The Closer on DVD.

"I got to meet Daddy's boss!" he exclaimed as he knelt down against the couch to tell me about meeting Bradley's boss. I only met her once and it wasn't entirely pleasant...

...in an odd coincidence, Bradley was sick. I was trying to nurse him back to health but people from work kept calling and Bradley kept answering. I finally had to take the phone away from him -- which led to a fun game of hide and seek (he's gets frisky when he's sick). I deflected the next few phone calls, including one from the boss lady herself, before finally turning it off. An hour later, Boss Lady showed up at the house. After a tense exchange between her and I, Bradley came downstairs, gave her what she was looking for, answered a few questions and went back to bed. After a few more awkward moments with me, she left.

"That's great! Did you tell her to give Daddy a raise?" I asked.

"Yeah and I went into her office and she showed me all her awards and told me about her family and what she was working on and I got thirsty and had some water."

"I hope you didn't distract her too much from her work."

"No. I wasn't in there very long."

"It sounds like you had a great day at Daddy's office. But I need you to go upstairs and change out of those clothes. Jake and his mother are going to pick you up to go to dinner with them in about fifteen minutes," I told him. Since Bradley was going to have Pierpont all day, I figured he could use a rest so I pre-arranged the dinner.

"Yay! Okay!" Pierpont exclaimed as he ran up the stairs, into his bedroom and slammed the door. It was so cute that Bradley dressed him up in the same paraprofessional button-down shirt and khaki pant ensemble that he typically wears to work -- even down to the awful boat shoes he claims coordinates well with the outfit. I'm no fashionista, but even I know better than that.

Fifteen minutes later, Jake and his mother picked Pierpont up for dinner. And as I feared, Bradley's version wasn't exactly the same as Pierpont's.

According to Bradley...

Bradley lagged behind in the kitchen as Pierpont bounded into the living room to tell his story. I could hear the faint pop of a cork being pulled out of a wine bottle. I didn't hear any being poured into a glass so he must have just taken it from the head. This can't be good.

After Pierpont ran excitedly up the stairs and into his room with a slam of the door, Bradley walked slowly into the living room and sat down on the arm of the couch nearest to my head. He didn't have the wine bottle with him, so he may or may not have finished the entire thing.

"What happened?" I asked.

"He met my boss," Bradley responded. That was pretty much the only correlation between his story and Pierpont's.

After a few hours of occupying Pierpont with coloring and reading, Bradley had to step into a quick conference call with a vendor. But Pierpont soon got bored and started wandering around. Not knowing a boss from an assistant, Pierpont greeted everyone as he walked by -- to varying degrees of warmth in their respective responses. At the end of the corridor was Bradley's boss's office, which Pierpont walked right into, sat down and introduced himself.

Bradley's boss was amused by this and would have gone along with it if curiosity hadn't gotten the best of Pierpont. He slid off the chair and started asking about everything. We'd taught him not to touch things that didn't belong to him, so that wound up being his saving grace. But even the most patient adult only has a shelf life of a few "what's that?", "what's this?" and "who are these people?"

After ten patience-trying minutes, Bradley's boss took Pierpont by the hand and escorted him down the hall to Bradley's office area -- just as he was returning from his conference call.

"Does this belong to you?" Bradley's boss asked, swinging her and Pierpont's arms back and forth.

Bradley reached down, wrapped his right arm around Pierpont's torso and lifted him up and away from his boss. "I've never seen him before in my life, but I'll return him to his rightful owner." he joked.

"Hi, Daddy," Pierpont said as he was hanging sideways at Bradley's side.

"My husband Terrence is sick," Bradley explained.

"Oh yes. I remember him," she replied as she turned to walk back to her office. "Give him my regards."

********************************

"That didn't seem so bad," I said to Bradley.

"It wasn't -- until the end of the day when Pierpont got thirsty while I was on the phone and remembered what he thought was a water fountain in her office."

"Dee has a water fountain in her office?"

"Yes, but not for drinking. For zenning."

"He knows better than that, why didn't he ask?"

"He did. He asked me if he could go get a drink of water. I said yes, but to reuse his cup from lunch. I didn't think I had to tell him where to get the water from."

I slapped my hand on my forehead and chuckled. "What did Dee say?"

"She walked in as he was drinking from the cup and deduced where the water had come from. She called me into her office and had her assistant watch him while she "kindly" reminded me that a) the office was not a day care, b) her zen water fountain is not for consumption and c) the next time you were sick, I should also call out sick so I can stay home with Pierpont."

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