Victory is ours!Yesterday Adam and I had a 45-minute meeting at school. Rather than get the kids signed into aftercare and then out again, we sent them home to do their homework in the company of the lovely gentlemen who've been working on our attic the last few months.

These men have been here long enough that Lucy no longer feels the urgent need to perform acrobatics and comic monologues in their presence. For us, this counts as the comfortable silence that can exist between friends. (There is otherwise no silence in our house.)

When we arrived home, in a chop-chop sort of mood because we had to get Alice to a music lesson right away, I noticed the kitchen was a disaster.

"Oh, you made shakes for a snack," I said. "With the rest of the chocolate ice cream."

"We tried," Alice said. "But they weren't good."

"I accidentally used cornmeal instead of that magic powder you use," Lucy said.

The "magic" powder is a protein powder I put into the shakes to make them at least somewhat nutritious on Milkshake Mondays. Unlike cornmeal, it has the added benefit of being soluble in cold liquids.

When we got home after violin, I also noticed they'd attempted to make popcorn. The Whirlypop pan--which is awesome, for all the rest of you people who do not own a microwave--was in pieces next to the sticky blender.

Alongside the ailing whirlypop was a pot of tea utterly stuffed to the gills with tea leaves. And next to that was a half-empty jar of slightly damp almonds. In the garbage can, we found the cone portions of two Drumsticks (everyone knows the ice cream is the good part).

I asked Lucy what she and Alice had for snacks, given the evidence of several attempts to make something to eat.

"I had a pickle and Alice had a Luna bar," she said.

When you think about it, that is a lot of snack activity in less than an hour, a lot of failed attempts at deliciousness that must have been comic to watch. It sort of explains why the dogs were so cheerful when we arrived at the door. Dogs understand to know what it's like to want something to eat, only to be foiled in the attempt.

We put the cornmeal away, reassembled the Whirlypop, mopped the floor of pickle juice and grit, and congratulated the girls on getting their homework done. It should not have been possible, given the amount of time and kitchen activity.

But they did it--an accomplishment that called for ice cream sundaes, which we had to have at our neighborhood dinner joint because we were completely out of ice cream.