After the dinner of mac and cheese, Peter and Kenny both sat on the couch in the living room. And both were rolling their eyes in astonishment at what they had done.
“I’m so full. I didn’t I eat that much” said Peter looking tired.
Kenny looked at his uncle and more or less said what his uncle had already said.
“Man, I’m stuffed!”
In an effort to outdo his uncle he also produced an incredibly large belch. I could only guess that was a ten-year-old’s way of saying he had had enough to eat. I asked if they wanted to go back to their slot cars. Kenny collapsed backwards on the couch and his head slid to his uncle’s shoulder. Peters answer was somewhat different.
“I’m so full. I don’t think I could go downstairs if I was paid. For the life of me, I am really, really tired and I don’t why. Can we watch a DVD or something, one that doesn’t tax the noggin?”
Peter rarely watched cable television, and just as rarely said anything remotely complimentary to say of the shows or the “talking heads”. He liked cartoons. So I went over to the DVD shelf and picked out something that was entertaining and didn’t ask you to think. After perusing the titles available and considering the condition of the audience I picked out “Aladdin”.
I picked out the DVD and showed the cover to Peter.
“Perfect mind candy. Kenny may object to the romantic aspects but it’s our TV. He can watch it or hit the hay now. I know that’s where I’m headed after the film. I’m just so bushed.”
I walked over to the DVD player. After searching for the “on” button for a while I finally found it. The disc drawer came out and I inserted the disc. After I sat back on the couch I looked at Kenny when the film started to play but there was no reaction. He was still out cold. But as soon as his brain heard the voice of Robin Williams Kenny returned to the land of the living. But when the character of Jasmine came on the scream Kenny made his feelings known.
“Uh oh. Here comes the mushy stuff.”
When Kenny said that Peter pointed at me and growled “Your Aunt Cassie is my Princess Jasmine. And one of these days you’re going to find your own Princess Jasmine.” When I heard that I snuggled up to Peter. However, Kenny could not be swayed. There was no way to convince him that he might soon find his own Princess Jasmine.
“No way old man. Girls have cooties.”
I started to laugh and so did Peter. So little had changed since we were his age.
“You just might be surprised sport” was Peters last comment on the subject. He wanted to watch Aladdin. Kenny lasted about forty-five minutes before he conked out. His eyelids got lower, and lower till they stayed shut. His neck went slack and his head fell back against his uncle’s shoulder. I was enjoying snuggling up to Peter so it wasn’t until he said something that I noticed.
“I think our diminutive critic has flaked out again” he gurgled. I got up as gently and quietly as I could, took out the DVD and turned off the DVD machine. Peter moved very slowly and got Kenny in his arms. He then carried him into the guest bedroom. “When this kid is out he sure weighs a lot,” remarked Peter quietly. We debated who should change him into his pajamas and quickly found out that it was a two person job when dealing with a comatose little boy. Kenny stirred a bit but not enough to be helpful. I opened his overnight bag and pulled out his Spiderman pajamas. After we got those on him Peter slid him under the sheets. I remembered about Mr. Spanx and tucked him under Kenny’s arm.
“What the heck is that thing? Sure is an ugly little brute” asked Peter.
“I haven’t a clue but Wilma told he sleeps with it every night” I replied.
“Whatever happened to teddy bears?” Peter commented.
Then I told Peter to get him a glass of water.
“How do you know he’s thirsty?”
“Let me guess. You never babysat a kid.” Peter just stared at me. “I’m a guy”
“Every kid I ever babysat has wanted a glass of water. You can get it now or wait till four in the morning when he announces very loudly he’s thirsty.”
Peter grumbled as he slowly walked towards the kitchen. When he returned he placed the water on the nightstand. He then asked me if we’re were going to be doing the same thing with our kids. “You bet Mr. C”. I shook my head slightly and asked myself how someone so smart could be so clueless when came to kids.
After turning on the night light we both kissed him on the forehead and quietly crept out of the bedroom. We didn’t close the door all the way. Then we turned on the nightlight in the bathroom. That’s when Peter said it.
“I think the kid may be on to something. I’m hitting the sack.” I had forgotten to tell Peter that Kenny may visit in the middle of the night. Peter headed for our bedroom, stood for a few seconds and stared at the bed. His smile disappeared quickly. I saw him reach for something then approach me. He was holding his pj’s.
“PJ’s for us too?. You know I hate PJ’s. Please tell me you’re joking.” I just stared at him and tried to smile. “I don’t hear anything.”
“Wilma told me Kenny likes to sleep with her and Dr. Willowby. And to expect a visit from his lordship” I pointed towards Kenny’s room. “Do you really want him to see me in my birthday suit?”
Peter sat on the edge of the bed as he got changed. He muttered something but nothing intelligible.
“But I love touching and feeling your skin next to mine.”
I had expected him to say something like this but I was getting sick and tired of having this argument. I was really too tired and I really wanted to go to sleep.
“Oh for Pete’s sake Peter its for one lousy night. Plus when we have our own children we can’t sleep in our birthday suits. It just isn’t practical. So get used to it and get in bed” I tried to say quietly.
“Alright, but I draw the line at having Mr. Spanx in the bed. I don’t why but that thing creeps me out.”
Peter didn’t say one word about my sexy purple satin pajamas. But he sure groused about his pj’s. His were blue, red, and white. “I look like toothpaste with feet!”.
“Oh, get in the damn bed and stop grousing,” I said. One kid was more than enough but Peter was behaving like a spoiled brat.
As I reached for the light switch I glanced at the time. It was eleven at night. Peters’ head was already on the pillow and he was out cold. At four in the morning, I was just exiting the bathroom when I heard a clicking sound from the door handle of the guest bedroom. A bleary-eyed Kenny emerged from behind the door. “Can I sleep with you and Uncle Peter?” I knelt down and looked at his eyes. “Let’s go and see what the old man says.” I took him by the hand and led him into the master bedroom. Peter was snoring but not very much. But it was more than enough to startle Kenny.
“Gosh, he sounds like a grouchy old bear.”
I put my mouth down by Kenny’s ear and whispered.
“Before we wake the grouchy old bear can you leave Mr. Spanx in your room. The old bear doesn’t like Mr. Spanx.”
Kenny looked at me and scratched his head.
“Why doesn’t the grouchy old bear like Mr. Spanx Aunt Cassie?”
The little sneak caught me by surprise. I had to think fast.
“I don’t think the old bear had a toy like Mr. Spanx when he was a little boy. That’s probably why he’s a grouchy old bear.”
Just then the snoring stopped and the old bear came to life.
“Are you two gonna stand at the foot of the bed all night debating the meaning of life or are you going to get into bed? I’m lonely.”
I scooted over to my side of the bed while Kenny got in the far side of the bed. I snuggled against Peter. He put one arm around me and pulled me towards his chest. I put my head on his chest. His heartbeat was very soothing. Just before I drifted off I heard Kenny. “Good night you old bear.” Peter pretended to growl. I started to get misty eyed. I could get used to this very easily.
I don’t know how long I had been asleep but it felt like a million years. But then I heard creaking, cracking, and snapping. Convinced I really did hear something I woke up Peter concerned about our little charge.
“Peter, wake up. I hear something.”
Peter mumbled something about mice in boots. I wasn’t amused. “Get up and find out what that was,” He raised his head from the pillow. He heard it too. “If that’s what I think it is I’m going need a new dock.” Gingerly, Peter crawled out of bed taking care not to wake Kenny, walked through the living room and proceeded to put on his snow pants, boots and parka. Once was outside he moved slowly towards the water and with the aid of light from a flashlight discovered the dock he worked so hard to install was now a collection of splintered wood. He shone the light over to the deck belonging to Blue Cottage. It was now simply kindling. When he came back in he gave me a full report. “The waters risen at least ten inches. The ice is now four to six inches thick. It’s snapped my dock in half. The half closest to shore is slowly being crushed and snapped. The deck at Blue Cottage has been completely destroyed. I suspect that’s what you heard. A lot of people will wake to find a helluva mess. I wouldn’t be surprised if some folks who had their cottages close to the water’s edge got flooded out.”
After the alarm rang I got up first. I peeked outside the bedroom window and saw a mess. Then I looked at Peter and Kenny. Somehow they had both slept through the alarm. They looked so peaceful amid the destruction outside. Peter had an arm around Kenny’s waist and was holding him close. Kenny had an arm across Peters’ chest. I started to get misty-eyed again. After pulling myself together I walked into the kitchen to make pancakes. To make things fair I gave Peter and Kenny a little warning. But first I walked back into the bedroom and took a picture of their slumbering sleepy faces. After I took the photo I put a hand on Peters’ face and a hand on Kenny’s face.
“Hey you two, pancakes in fifteen minutes, and they won’t be coming to you. So you can both forget about breakfast in bed” I said softly. As soon as Kenny heard the word “pancakes” he shot out the bedroom and beat Peter to the bathroom. Peter knocked on the door and tried diplomacy.
“C’ mon Kenny. We’re both guys. Unlock the door.” It didn’t help when I suggested he use the bathroom downstairs. “It’s too damn cold down there.” From behind the bathroom door, a tiny voice was heard. “I heard that Uncle Peter!”
Eventually, Kenny did open the bathroom door. He tore out the bathroom and into his bedroom. And locked the door.
“Attention all civilians. Speed Racer is in the house” Peter croaked.
“Stop pretending you’re a PA system and have your orange juice,” I said from the confines of the kitchen. Still no comment about my sexy pj’s.
“How well did you sleep?” I asked not expecting much of an answer.
Peter finished his orange juice and placed the glass on the counter. “I slept like a log. I must have been so tired I was too tired to dream. What about you Milady?”
I thought about my response. “If I said “Can we keep him” would that answer your question?”
“Okay-y. Something tells you really want one of your own. Would I be right in that assumption?”
“Oh, you would be so right” I just about jumped into his arms. “Can we start trying soon?” Peter did a few rough calculations in his head. “Well, first I think we should be married, but I can’t see any reason why we couldn’t start trying as soon as Blue Cottage is gutted.”
“Alright!” I screamed. Peter gripped my behind, lifted me up and got a handful of sexy silky pj’s. He smiled and made approving sounds. “If this is what I can look forward to I almost want to get started right now.”
“Hey! What do you mean “almost”. Are you trying to weasel out of our arrangement” I teased.
All of a sudden there was a high pitched male voice in the room. “If this is about to get mushy I can always watch Spongebob”.
Hearing that Peter instantly put me down. He knelt till he was eye level with Kenny. “Your aunt Cassie and I were just talking about something. Can I ask you about something?. Why were you calling me a grouchy old bear last night?”
Kenny looked up at me then looked right at Peter. “I met Aunt Cassie when I got up in the middle of the night. When I asked if I could sleep with you guys she said: “let’s see what the old man says.”
Kenny was standing right beside me. As he said the words “the old man” I cringed. Then I looked down at him and quietly muttered “traitor”.
Peter tried to make sense of last night. “OK, I get it. She called me the old man but where did the bear comment come from.” Kenny looked as he was trying to recall the events of last night. “When we entered the bedroom you were snoring really loudly and I thought you sounded like a grouchy old bear.”
Nothing like a little innocent embellishing the truth never hurt anyone. After a healthy supply of pancakes, we all went outside to inspect the damage. Kenny and I walked along the shore. The ice was so thick! And the devastation so widespread. We couldn’t clean up the mess till spring. Old man winter was not through was not through with us. Not by a long shot.