Back to work today. Out of the castle. No more castle-fever.
I had Chicken Pox when I was 16. I got in my car and waved good bye to the three faces that were now becoming well enough to care that one of could leave while they remained imprisoned in the castle.
But, Father, I walked from one building full of spots into another. There were spots on my desk. There were spots on my chair. There were spots on my floor, my stationary, my computer, my clock, my phone – you name it … there were spots. I opened the desk drawer and there were spots in there too. And somebody just plain gross had added pus leaking from the ones on the filing cabinet (Gina? no she’s more subtle than that – she did the drawer. Scott).
My office space has Chicken Pox!
Someone – or someones had obviously brought in a tonne of target bags and catalogues and had a go at them with the scissors – in their breaks, of course …
One of the fun things about office life is that life goes on without you. The problem is, that people still need things when you’re not there. So – over the past three days there have been people ratting through my stuff looking for reports or files or equipment that I may or may not have in an attempt to locate it. There have been people borrowing things and people borrowing things and then there has been Rodney. Rodney has the equivalent position to myself (and to Kelly), but in yet another department. This week he was hauled in to cover my spot on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning to complete something that needed to be sent off by Tuesday afternoon. However, he needed access to stuff managed under a password that I hold to do it, so arrangements were made with IT to get him access which meant changing the password. So Rodney goes on holidays to Scotland without telling a soul what the password is now rendering the computer largely inaccessible to me. I offered to go to Scotland to get it from him, but they sent for IT at 3pm as I was leaving instead.
“Oh, excellent! You’re here to fix up the computer so I can use it? Just leave the information in sealed envelope with the Department Manager when you’re done and I’ll get it in the morning.”
“Sorry. You’ll need to wait. You need to sign for the password or I’ll have to come back at another time. It won’t take long.”
So I wait.
“Look, I’m really sorry, but are you almost done? I really have to go.”
“Just a couple more minutes, ma’am. The password is in but I have a couple of minor adjustments that need to be made for security and then I can shut up shop and you’re right to go.”
“Again, I’m sorry to rush you, but I have kids waiting at home who are sick with Chicken Pox. If you give me the password now, I will sign … ”
“But … ”
“Please … password – or I sneeze in your general direction and you take the risk that I have Chicken Pox a second time … ”
I got the password.
I finally got home to find that the household had gone mad. Well, not mad. Dotty.
“Auntie Alciana,” Jazzie runs up to me, “we’re having a dotty day.”
I would never have guessed by what I see around me … everywhere … dots.
Emily joins us.
“You’re only allowed to do things where there are dots in them. We played Twister this morning, and dominoes …”
“We did join the dots and coloured them in with dots with colouring pencils and we had fairy bread for lunch!”
“And raw carrot cut in circles.”
“An’ Daddy found the twirly apple cutter so he made apple twirlies and they’re round with a big empty spot in the middle where the core was. Isn’t that right, Daddy?”
“It is,” grins Paul, looking tired. “Then, after lunch we all had a spot of sleep.”
“We played dot scotch!” piped in Jazz again.
“That’s like hopscotch, but with dots like the dominoes instead of numbers in the squares,” Emily explained.
“And now we’re building domino houses. Lots of them”
“That’s right,” nods Paul. “Because domino houses fall down with a great big crash every now and then, don’t they?”
The girls nod at me while Paul pulls a face that says he’s had enough domino houses for today, please? over their heads.
“Are they places where dotty people live?” I grin as I ask them.
The girls giggle.
Then Emily looks over her shoulder at her father, receives a nod, then turns back to me.
“Auntie Alci … ” she looks like the child that she is, disappointed not to be able to bring me a surprise. “We don’t know what we should do for dinner … ”
A thought comes just in time. I smile.
“How about spaghetti and meatballs? Spaghetti is long and round, and meatballs are just big round dots! And … while you’re clearing up the dominoes and today’s games, I’ll go to the shops and get a surprise for dessert!”
Before setting out to make dinner I set them up with one last – probably the messiest – activity of the day. I set them up with old magazines and coloured paper, a hole punch, scissors, glue, scrapbooks and a pencil each and introduced them to the ‘Dotty Mosaic’. The idea: draw a picture (try for one that has circles or dots included in it like wheels or wrapping paper), then instead of colouring in with pencils or paint, stick on coloured circles of paper the colour that you want things to be … “like this…” and made a tree.
Off they went. Very content in a very spotty mess. Hands sticky and too busy to be scratching …
I made dinner which went down very well.
Doughnut holes were a hit for desert – hooray!
I’m going home tomorrow. If Paul can manage a “Dotty day”, visits will do from here-on-in.
Lord, I finished the last of James 1 today. What a challenge to lay down. Yet again and again, you challenge me to take up and show my faith by action. Lord my control over my tongue is generally an ongoing and mutinous war. Time and time again it brings me to my knees before you in humility as the only place to go. I struggle endlessly to filter the pollution from the good while living in this world so spoiled by sin. But Father, thanks for the chance to look after a widower and his two daughters in their time of need this week.