The Battle of the Dying Ducks

I was cleaning house. Jane was working on Biology homework. The boys were entertaining themselves quietly in the living room. My husband was resting in the living room. The dog was sleeping. It was a quiet afternoon.

As part of the cleaning process, I had asked Daryl to help me move a sheet of plywood left over from a recent remodeling project from one side of the hallway to the other. This would allow me to then put the scraps of door frame and baseboard into the hot water heater closet. It also happened to block Jane into her room. Which she didn’t mind.

While I worked on moving the wood and sweeping, Daryl decided to practice his bassoon reed. As a sixth grader, he’s in his first year of band. He received his instrument this past week and, as all woodwind instrumentalists do, has to start by playing just the mouthpiece – for bassoons, that’s the reed.

Jane says it sounds like a dying duck.

She’s not wrong.

As he stood in his room, right next to hers, honking an increasingly longer duck death song, she begged me to close his door. I did, but first encouraged him to stand in his closet, which shares a wall with her room. I even moved the clothes so he could lean in close to the wall. And then he began honking as loud as he could as close to the wall as he could get.

Jane, who was sitting on her bed against that wall exclaimed, “He’s getting even louder!”

I smiled and said, “I suggested he practice in his closet so it’d be quieter for everyone.”

She glared at me.

And then she said, “Fine. I’ll show you guys what it would have been like if I had been in band in sixth grade.” (She took private lessons and joined the band a year late).

With that, she got out the headpiece of her flute and began blasting away at it. I must admit that the flute headpiece is a more palatable sound than the bassoon reed but the two together was quite a racket.

I found the situation hilarious – the two of them trying to blast each other. So I recorded it. I started outside his door and then migrated to her open door, blocked on the bottom half by the plywood. The video began to shake because I was laughing at what I saw. She was inches from the wall, facing it and blowing as loud as she could.

Eventually, she turned, saw me filming her and yelled (good naturedly – with a smile): “Go Away!”

I walked away laughing as I composed the Facebook post to go with the video.

Jane apparently decided it was as good a time as any to cease Biology homework and move to flute practice instead. But first she needed to tune. (At least, I think that’s what she was up to).

Since Daryl was standing outside her room, she handed him her phone with the tuning app on it and said, “Here hold this.”

She meant for him to hold it up where she could see it but he shrugged and walked away with it. Jane, trapped behind the plywood began to shriek for him to come back. He ignored her. I dropped to the living room floor, laughing. My husband looked at us with furrowed brow and asked what was going on.

I gasped for breath and tried to tell him. But Jane was still demanding her phone back and then she started yelling (again, in a mock angry voice), “I hate you guys! I hate all of you! Give me my phone back!” Each time I started to explain, she’d yell and I’d double over again.

Daryl walked toward her and she got even more aggitated. “Did you just FaceTime Brent?! Seriously?! Did you just FaceTime him? Oh my gosh! You did! I can’t believe you did that! Give me my phone! Give me my phone! I hate all of you!!”

Daryl gave her her phone back. She ended the FaceTime call. I dried my eyes. My husband gave up on getting the scoop.

Man, it was a fun afternoon.


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