"Rain, rain, go away
My toddler needs to get out and play.
The cat's outside and now wants in
My daughter's raising a terrible din.
Her "inside voice" is amped too loud
It's like these walls contain a crowd.
The dogs are snappy, my rump is red,
My husband's hiding from us all in bed.
The cat must shit, the child must shout,
The kid-cat-dogs must all go out.
Trapped inside by chill and mud,
Their fidgety noise makes my head thud.
It's such a dreary, cloudy pain
To be stuck inside because of rain."
There's nothing worse than being stuck at home on a rainy day when you have kids and animals.
It's amazing how big an obstacle the weather becomes when you're facing it with a small person who is still convinced that all events are "clothing optional".
The turn of weather to rainy and cold has served to highlight all the things my two-year-old does not understand: Wind and rain make you cold. Clothing keeps you warm. Laying down in muddy puddles on cold concrete makes your clothes cold, wet and muddy, makes everything you touch afterwards cold, wet and muddy, and inexplicably makes Mommy's face turn red and causes her to shout. Tearing off all those cold, wet, muddy clothes in the middle of the park also has the same effect on Mommy.
So while we've taken numerous training runs out into the blustery weather, fears of hypothermia and Manteca's new anti-nudity laws have kept us inside more than usual. While Lillian alternately colored and dribbled the cat around the living room like a basket ball, Mommy wrote the above poem and sent it to her "poetic sensitivity" coach, Cheryl.
"It's a step up from knuckle dragging," Cheryl sent back, "but not by much. Try writing about some emotional, meaningful event. Write about what you know."
I thought about it for a little while, then sent her the following:
"Oakland at Carolina, week 9
A dreary day for Oakland,
The black and gray disgraced;
Their foe: feeble Carolina,
at the expansion sissies' base.
The Raider's record, two and six;
They've played like girls this year.
But with Carolina's one and six,
There's a chance at kicking rear.
No touchdowns for poor Collins;
He rushed for negative one.
I like to think he's back on the drink
Cuz it seems his career is done.
And yet the Raiders were not lost,
The running backs saved the day.
Just when their cookies seemed most tossed
In came Wheatley and Zereoue.
Then nineteen yards from victory,
The score at 24 tied,
From sidelines in did stride.
The pride of all the Raiders
on the kicker's shoulders stood:
And with six seconds left to play
Oakland's field goal was good."
Like any fan, I like to think
Our earlier losses were just teasin',
And that no more shall Raiders stink --
Victory for the rest of the season!
Cheryl's only response was, "I take back what I said about knuckle dragging. Before you try writing verse, perhaps you should see if you can shape some simple bone tools."
I looked over to where my daughter was studiously feeding the cat one animal cracker after another from her snack bowl. "What did you think of Mommy's poem, honey?"
"Blue!" Lillian announced in what I like to think was a positive tone of voice.
The cat hiccupped once and then promptly sicked up half a dozen animal crackers onto the carpet.
"Everybody's a critic," I sighed as I got a soapy rag to scrub cat barf from the carpet.
"Write about what you know, huh?" I grumbled. "No wonder so many great writers and poets shipped themselves off to cafes in Paris. What do you think, Lillian, would you like to go with Mommy to Paris?"
I looked up to where Lillian was shrieking with laughter as the cat pretended to attack the curls on her head. "No!" she answered, then exploded into another fit of giggles as cat tried to stuff a double pawful of curls into his mouth.
"I think you're right, kid," I grinned, despite the fact that I was going to have to wash her hair after I got done cleaning up the carpet.
There's nothing better than being stuck at home on a rainy day when you have kids and animals.
Comments and rainy day odes to Alex.Queen@gmail.com.
This article first appeared in the Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin.