Those are the words you never want to hear from your child while you’re on a business trip – they conjure up visions of vet visits, broken treasures, missed commitment for a school event, natural disasters, burglaries, and other calamities that are too horrible to put in writing.

I was one week into a two week business trip to Hong Kong several years ago when I heard that phrase.

Alexei was about 8 years old at the time, and I thought I had everything taken care of at home before I left.  Meals were cooked and frozen for use while I was gone.  Baseball carpool was arranged for practice and games.   BFF and Mother-in-law were on standby in case Vlad couldn’t pick up Alexei from school,  or if he needed an evening sitter for a business event.   Alexei’s school was notified of emergency call change since I would be in Asia.   Doctor and vet phone numbers posted on the refrigerator so my engineer husband could see them easily if needed.

What on earth could go wrong?

“Dad sent me to school in damp pants!”

I almost fell out of my desk chair.  The visual that created had me laughing hysterically.  My staff were looking into my office wondering what was going on.  I had to find out the story.   The details that followed were priceless.

Alexei’s school had a uniform requirement that I loved and he hated.  It was strict and there were only certain things he could wear and not get sent to the Principal’s office.    Vlad had to do laundry the night before since Alexei had playground dirt on every piece of uniform clothing we had.

Since the only time Vlad even knows we have a washer and dryer is when one or the other is malfunctioning, he was a bit stymied by having to use two large pieces of Equipment Designed for Females (his term, not mine) before going to bed, but he gave it his best shot.   I have to hand it to him – he got the washer going and put the clothes in the dryer before heading up to sleep.

The problem came the next morning when Alexei went down to the laundry room before breakfast to get his clothes.  Vlad had set the dryer on “Air” rather than one of the heat-based drying settings.   Every piece of clothing Alexei pulled out was wet.  Since time was short, and Alexei had to get to school and Vlad had to get to work,  Alexei got to wear wet uniform pants to school and sit in them all morning until they dried.   Vlad said Alexei couldn’t wait to get home that evening to call me and tell me the story.

“You have to teach me how to do laundry, Mom.   Dad can’t be trusted to do it right”.   8 years old, but very wise.

Vlad hasn’t done a load of laundry himself since that day in 1998, and I’m still wondering if he planned it that way.