It's all In the Planning

the usual disclaimers apply--thanks to Ermintrude for the challenge
words and for providing the prize

4247 Maplewood Dr

Saturday, October 27th 1996

7:30 AM

"Amanda, I can't do this," Lee paced back and forth across the
kitchen, the cordless resting against his shoulder. There's just no

"You can do this." Even over the phone Amanda's voice held a faint
note of amusement. "It's really not that difficult."

"Not that difficult? We are talking about 35 second graders here—why
couldn't Billy have postponed this training course until after?"

"Lee, they're not going to postpone a training course because I have a
classroom party to organize," Amanda said. "I'll be back Monday
night—you'll be just fine."

"That's what you think," Lee muttered. From the family room Lee could
hear the faint sounds of the Scooby-Doo' theme. Peeking around the
corner he could see Jenna in her nightgown, eating cereal as she sat
cross-legged in front of the television, her eyes fastened to the screen.

"You can do this," Amanda repeated. "I've already made all of the
cupcakes and they're in those two Ziploc containers on top of the
fridge. The stuff to decorate them with is in the pantry and Jenna can
help you with that. The cookie dough is in the fridge—all you have to
do is slice them and bake them in the oven."

"Is that it?" Lee said.

"Not quite," Amanda said. "There are also the Place cards and you have
to make the slime."

"The slime?" Lee's voice rose slightly. "Did you just say slime,
Amanda? I have to make slime?"

"The recipe's on the fridge—I bought the ingredients last week,"
Amanda said. "Jenna can help you with that too. Trust me, you'll have
fun together."

"Fun," Lee muttered, running one hand through his hair. Fun would've
been able to kick back and watch a Redskins game. But now—

"Speaking of Jenna, you're not letting her eat breakfast in the
family room, are you?" Amanda said. "Last time she spilled orange
juice all over the rug and it took forever to get it out."

"Family room?" Lee thought fast. "No of course not—she's eating
breakfast in the kitchen just like she's supposed to be." As if on
cue the sound of Jenna's laughter filled the house.

"Really," Amanda's tone was skeptical. "If she's in the kitchen what
is she laughing at?"

"A really funny comic strip in the paper?"


"Everything's fine," Lee said. "I've got it all under control, trust
me. Have a good training class—I love you."

"Love you too, Mr. Stetson," Amanda said.


3:35 PM

"There," Jenna said. "That's the last cupcake." She held it up for
Lee's inspection. "Does it look okay?"

"Well," Lee began, "there's certainly—um—there's an awful lot of icing
on them, munchkin."

"But kids like a lot of icing, Dad," Jenna said. "See? I put chocolate
and orange icing and every one has a candy pumpkin on it. The last
time I went to a Halloween party they didn't have pumpkins on every
cupcake and I didn't think it was fair. I mean, everyone wants a
pumpkin, right?"

Whatever else Jenna had inherited, Lee thought with a smile, she'd
definitely inherited her mother's gift of gab. "Right," he said,
ruffling her hair. "Everyone wants a pumpkin."

"I think we have all the place cards written now," Jenna said. "We can
put bat stickers on them too—that'd be cool."

"Very cool," Lee agreed. From the family room he could hear the faint
sounds of the Redskins game—he was very tempted to go in there and
take a little peek at the score—see if they were still beating

"The only thing left is to make the slime," Jenna said.

"Right," Lee said. "Ah—do we have everything we need?"

"We've got glue, borax, water, a bowl and a spoon," Jenna read aloud
from the index card where Amanda had written the recipe. "Shouldn't
we use food coloring?"

"What for?"

"Colored slime would look neat," Jenna said. "We could make it green
or orange—maybe we could even make it black—that would be kind of

"Jenna we are not making black slime," Lee said. His daughter
looked at him. "But I do see your point—do we have any food coloring?"

Jenna nodded. "It's in the cabinet by the oven-Mom keeps it for when
we make play-doh."

"I'll get it," Lee said. He looked in the cabinet. Just like Jenna
had said, there was a box of food coloring. Lee took it down and came
back to the kitchen table. Jenna had already emptied the glue and the
water into the bowl and she was stirring it.

"If we mixed yellow and blue together," Jenna said. "That would make
gooey green slime—just like on Nickelodeon."

"Right," Lee said. "Blue and yellow, here we go." He squeezed a few
drops of each into the bowl.

"Now we need to add more water and borax," Jenna read from the card.
Lee looked at the pitcher of water and box of 20 Mule Team Borax.

"Here," he told her as he took the bowl. "Let me do that part, okay?"

"Okay," Jenna said. "But I get to mix it after, right?"

"Right," Lee said.


7:30 PM

"Lee you can't blame yourself," Amanda said. "You didn't know what
would happen."

"No I guess not," Lee sat on the couch, holding the cordless to his
ear. "The food coloring was her idea—then she wanted to mix it and
play with it—I didn't think about what might happen."

"It's hardly the worst thing," Amanda said. "The only shirt Jenna
messed up was a play shirt—at least it wasn't a school shirt."

"Well the shirt wasn't the only thing, Amanda" Lee said. Jenna came
into the family room in her long nightgown and robe, holding her
Scarecrow doll, her blond hair still damp from her recent shower. Lee
raised his eyebrows questioningly at her and Jenna shook her head,
displaying her still bright-green hands and arms.

Amanda laughed. "Well that'll wash off in a few days," she said. "How
did the Redskins do?"

"Pretty well—they beat Indianapolis 31 to 16."

"So the day wasn't a total loss then," Amanda said.

Jenna grabbed one of her books from the nearby shelf and walked over
to Lee, who patted the space on the sofa next to him. His daughter
snuggled next to him and he took the book.

"No, actually it was a very good day," Lee kissed the top of Jenna's

"I'm glad to hear it," Amanda said. "Give Jenna my love, okay?"

"I love you, Mom," Jenna called out as she flipped the pages to the
part she wanted Lee to read.

"Love you too sweetheart," Amanda said. "Good night, Lee—I love you."

"I love you too, Mrs. Stetson." Lee hung up the phone.

"Okay, Munchkin," he said. "Where were we?"

"We stopped right here," Jenna pointed to the place with a green
finger. Lee began to read:

"When the Scarecrow found his friends again he was so happy that he
hugged them all, even the Lion and Toto—"

The End