#2 daughter ambled into the kitchen. “Who’s been making sock monkeys?”

Wait — that is not the beginning of the story.

I was the only one of the three drivers in the household who was working yesterday, and I am also the one with the unreasonable fear of freeways, so naturally I was the one to go pick up #2 daughter. She had gotten a ride with a nice young man from the county just north of us, and for most people it would have been nothing at all. For me, it was a drive on a freeway. In the dark, alone, when snow was predicted. In other words, the stuff of which horror movies are made.

Really, it was good for me to do this. And I survived. But it is one important factor in the sock monkey incident.

Another factor is the kind of day it was at work. The Princess and I were working, and it was of course a busy day with lots of toys and books being gathered up for Christmas and Chanukah gifts.

But it was also a day of tragic tales. The Princess had trouble with her heater and had to go fight with the gas company. #1 daughter’s mail delivery has been stopped for some reason — I thought maybe they had accidentally held her husband’s mail while he was on the sub, which presumably they do for the single guys. And then there was the sudden death of a customer’s child, the customer who told us humorous tales proving that his ex-wife was “evil,” the grandmother nearly incinerated by an exploding aerosol can, the baby born terribly deformed following the accident at Chernobyl — they just kept coming, one after another. Usually at this time of year,we keep chocolate under the counter to soothe the stressed-out, but yesterday it was the box of Kleenex that had to be pulled out.

When #2 daughter called in the midst of all this to say that she would be home earlier than expected, and I would need to leave directly from work to fetch her, I called home and asked #1 son to hide all evidences of the mysterious craft project I was making for #2 daughter — namely a sock monkey.

Then I returned to the tragic tales, and then I did the Terrifying Drive of Doom.

Thus it was that by the time I got home with #2 daughter, I was not in tip-top condition. And so, when she ambled into the kitchen as I was fixing us omelettes for a late supper, and asked who was making sock monkeys, I cried out, “What?!” I was not functioning as well as I usually do, you see, and was not able to suppress my reaction.

What?!”, in this context, means “You’re kidding! I told that boy to hide the evidence!”

But it was obviously not a sensible rejoinder to the question. I had a split second to come up with something that might turn the unthinking exclamation into something sensible. So I said, with an expression of shock and horror, “Someone’s making sock monkeys?!”

That didn’t really improve the situation much, of course. By the time my husband came in, we were flopping all over the kitchen in gales of laughter. And I had to give in and give away the surprise.

It’s great to have her home. And here is “The Christmas Waltz,” a really fun and happy song. The only page that I could find with a midi file was covered in ads, including salacious ones, so I apologize, but it is a very fun song to sing. It has been recorded by everyone from Frank Sinatra to Amy Grant, and you can find the guitar chords here, so you are all set.

I must make one last trip to the grocery before work today (I know, I said I was through with all that, didn’t I?), and try to get the house cleaned up or at least shoveled out. Enjoy your weekend!