Other women had even harder problems, what did they do? Few women had steady, clever husbands like Bert. Few had energy and enthusiasm like hers. But she was so tired, all the time, that even when the daily routine ran smoothly, and the marketing and Junior’s naps and meals occurred on schedule time, the result hardly seemed worth while. She whisked through breakfast and breakfast dishes, whisked through the baby’s bath, had her house in order when he awakened from his nap, wheeled him to market, wheeled him home for another bottle and another nap. Then it was time for her own meal, and there were a few more dishes, and some simple laundry work to do, and then again the boy was dressed, and the perambulator was bumped out of the niche below the stairs, and they went out again. The hardest hour of all, in the warm lengthening days of spring, was between five and six. Junior was tired and cross, dinner preparations were under way, the table must be set, one more last bottle warmed. When Bert came in, Nancy, flushed and tired, was ready, and he might play for a few minutes with Junior before he was tucked up. But the relaxation of the meal was trying to Nancy, and the last dishes a weary drag. She would go to her chair, when they were done, and sit stupidly staring ahead of her. Sometimes, in this daze, she would reach for the fallen sheets of the evening paper, and read them indifferently. Sometimes she merely battled with yawns, before taking herself wearily to bed.
“Can I get you your book, dear?” Bert might ask.
“No-o-o! Pm too sleepy. I put my head down on the bed beside Junior to-day, and I’ve been as heavy as lead ever since! Besides, I forgot to wash my hands, and they’re dishwatery.”
“What tires you so, do you suppose?”
“Oh, nothing special, and everything! I think watching the baby is very tiring. He never uses all my time, and yet I can’t do anything else while I have him. And then he’s getting so mischievous—he makes work!”
“What’ll you do next year?” Bert questioned sometimes dubiously.
“Oh, we’ll manage!” And with a sleepy smile, and a sleepy kiss, Nancy would trail away, only too grateful to reach her bed after the hard hours.
Bert had carefully calculated upon her spring wardrobe, and she became quite her animated self over the excitement of selecting new clothes. They left Esmeralda in charge of Junior, and made an afternoon of it, and dined down town in the old way. Over the meal Bert told her that he had made exactly three hundred dollars at a blow, in a commission, and that she and the boy were going to the country for six weeks.
This led to a wonderful hour, when they compared feelings, and reviewed their adventure. Nancy marvelled at the good fortune that followed them, “we are marvellously lucky, aren’t we, Bert?” she asked, appreciatively. She had just spent almost a hundred dollars for her summer clothes and the boy’s! And now they were really going to the blessed country, to be free for six weeks from planning meals and scraping vegetables and stirring cereals. Radiantly, they discussed mountains and beaches, even buying a newspaper, on the hot walk home, to pore over in search of the right place.