Scramble at Seven-Thirty


I was up all night New Year’s Eve. I’ve heard you can never really catch up on sleep. A few mornings into the year, I sprang up in bed and blinked in disbelief at the digital clock on the television across the room. Hadn’t I punched the little alarm beside my bed only a couple times (just 7 minute intervals) since it went off at 6 a.m.? How could it now be 7:30? Seldom do I sleep past the alarm, but a whole hour and a half was impossible!
“Get up Kathie!” I yelled across the house. “It’s 7:30.” We had 10 minutes till the time we usually leave for the school. My bare feet pounded up the hall into the kitchen. Kathie’s door opened in a small explosion and I heard her bolt into the bathroom.
“I need your lunch bag.” I demanded. I ran back to her room where she pulled the bag from her backpack and tossed it at me.
Back in the kitchen, I grabbed the new 6 pack of Easy Mac we decided to try in her packed lunches. “Microwave, uncovered, on high for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes on high,” it read. I poured 2/3 cup water in a Pyrex bowl, dumped in macaroni from its cellophane pouch, and tapped the time onto the microwave’s panel.
While it cooked, I pulled the last individually wrapped Slim Jim beef stick from a can, found a small container to put the mac ‘n’ cheese in and pulled a plastic spoon out of the cup with the circus pictures that is stuffed with recycled plastic cutlery. I pulled open the white metal cookie tin that says “Soyfoods” on the lid, picked two of the few homemade chocolate chip cookies left and slid them into a snack-sized Ziploc bag.
Remembering fruit and veggies, I vetoed baby carrots that showed crazed white lines of dryness, knowing they’d either find their way back home or end up in the trash, and I stemmed some green grapes.
Before I strained the water the cooked macaroni was swimming in, I checked the package. Good thing; “DO NOT DRAIN. Some water remaining in bowl is desirable and necessary to make cheese sauce. (If cheese sauce appears thin, do not put back in microwave