I was switching laundry when the phone rang.
Hello? This is Blah Blah Blah from the the Government of Canada. Statistics Canada is surveying families with young children, and lucky you, you got picked. (Or words to this effect.) Is this a good time?
Me: Huh? Oh, it's okay. (The terrible two were out on the sunporch dismantling Cass's bicycle. Or something. I loaded the washer.)
Voice on the phone: Today we'd like to ask questions about Rosemary.
Me: Go ahead. (Thinking that her last sentence implies there will be other calls on other days, about other family members. And what if I really wanted to talk about me today??)
Voice on the phone: (Launches into huge, long, involved questions, most of which involve scales of one to ten - and the horrid thing is that the bases keep switching. One question, answering 'one' can mean Very Bad or Terrible, and the next? 'One' means All the Time.)
So now I have to pay attention while trying to ignore the washer, which is slightly off-balanced and whamming itself pretty determinedly across the floor.
Me: (Doing best to wrestle large unwieldy appliance back in place, grunting attractively) Unhh! Now don't you dare come out from the wall again, hear?
Voice: Ma'am? Now we'd like to talk about your coping skills as a parent.
Me: (I'm sure at this point this poor woman thought I was hauling Rosey around. Her voice got that eeek! quality to it. In defense, I went into mode Perky) Sure!
Voice: How often do you restrain or hold back Rosemary when she does something wrong? This would include time-outs, sending her to her room, etc.
Me: Um, she's not even two yet.
Voice: So once or twice a week?
Me: (Are my kids still here? Did they go for pizza?) Whatever. Okay.
Voice (drones on, and on, and on. I folded laundry and started plotting lunch.)
When we hung up the counter on the phone said a little over seventy-one minutes.
Now, I know these surveys are requested by the government of Canada, and I know the results from them will help decide where money for programs, day-care slots, and schools will go, and I don't mind helping, but seventy-one minutes?
Mail me a form, would you?