Friday, June 29, 2012

Do You Forget Who You're Talking To???

Recently, I had a dear friend write me a private message relaying to me her frustration with a day that had just gone wrong.

Her message started with, " So ... do you ever have one of those days where you just feel like you fail at life?! Ugh ... today was THAT day."

She relayed to me the events of her day that, one by one, just fell apart.

When I replied to her, I said, " LOL... Do you forget who you're talking to??? I mean, really!!! My children have glued their siblings to the carpet...we've camped on tarantula mating grounds ... I belong to the "Brotherhood Of The Squirrels" for cripes sake !!!"

I reminded her that I have SO MANY days like the one she described, that it was what inspired me to start this very blog. Even the leader caption for my blog refers to my constant status of days that just go wrong:
"Ever have those days where it feels like the world is pressing in, pushing you down, squeezing in from all sides til you feel like you'll burst like a grape???"

I encouraged my friend to sit back, take a deep breathe, let it all go and  she'd be OK. I also promised her that I would share with her one of my days that stick out in my mind the most... just like it was yesterday.

So, Candy, this post is dedicated to you....

In 1988, I was 21 years old and the young mother of 3 boys, ages 5, 3, and newborn. Our growing family lived in a little triplex in Southern California and I was afforded the luxury of being a stay-at-home mom. Although I would strive to become the  little Suzy Homemaker that I felt my family deserved, I generally fell short... far short!

These are not MY little angels, but you get the idea...
The Thomson family mornings would usually start with a frenetic melee of diapers, pajamas, breast feeding, burping, breakfast, school clothes, cartoons, pacifiers, burp rags, more diaper changes, backpacks, tying shoes, locating missing homework assignments, more breast feeding, chasing 5 year old who has removed his shoes and socks, removing pacifier from 3 year old and returning it to 1 month old, retying shoes,opening front door to leave only to realize 3 year old is naked, shutting door, dressing child, open door, go to car, go back to house to retrieve baby you set on the couch to tie shoes, strap baby and 3 year old into car seat, get behind the wheel........ have a 15 to 30 second internal melt-down-brain-fart while staring off into space... get out of car to go back for car keys, etc.

 This particular fall morning was dreary and foggy, with a heavy mist hanging in the air. By the time I actually made it to the point where I got the car started, turned on the headlights and backed out of the driveway, I could already tell this was going to be a challenging day.

I deposited James of at his school and bee-lined it back to the apartment in hopes of getting something, anything, accomplished before I had to complete a half-melee marathon in 3 hours in order to go pick him up. In hindsight, Kindergarten is the most trying time in a young mother's life. There's just something about those half-day schedules that just make it nearly impossible to get anything done !!!

I rushed back home and popped in a VHS of  the vintage cartoons; Felix The Cat, Popeye, etc. Nursed the baby, changed the baby and just when everything was quiet and calm for 3 minutes, I managed a quick shower.

Lather, rinse, no time for repeat ... jump out, dress and get started on some chores.

I had planed a beautiful chuck roast and vegetables for dinner that evening. So while the baby slept and Joshua mimicked Popeye, I lovingly prepared all the ingredients and placed them in a roasting bag, tied it up and popped it into the oven for a low-n-slow cooking method that was sure to make my house smell like Betty Crocker herself had stopped by and invaded my kitchen!
You remember those roasting bags right? They were such a time saver and  made clean up a breeze!

I nursed the baby, changed the baby, did a load of laundry, rewound the video for replay number two or three for the morning and ran back to the bathroom to blow dry and curl my hair before picking up James.

As I start to blow dry my hair, my appliance starts making all these funny noises and the air flow is sporadic. I continue of course, rationalizing that I'm probably going to need to get a new blow dryer next pay day. But, that poor thing had given up the ghost. Before I could even get my hair mildly dry, sparks began shooting out the back and front of the hair dryer causing me to drop the dryer into the bathroom rug. It took me a few seconds to react and unplug the electrical cord from the wall.

Update shopping list... blow dryer AND bathroom rug to be replaced on pay day.

With droopy, mangy, damp hair, I repeat steps 1 thru 42 of my morning's routine, get out to the car to go pick up James from school. I put the key into the ignition, turn the key ......... nothing. Turn off the key, adjust my rear view mirror, check my seat belt, determine just where 10 and 2 were on my steering wheel (I had only been driving legally for 2 months or so... and this was a new-to-me car, so I figured I must be doing something wrong ) ...

All adjusted, I turn the key ... nothing. The car is stone cold dead and I have a 5 year old ADHD child 2.7 miles away from me waiting to be picked up. Even more important was the fact that I had a teacher of a 5 year old ADHD child waiting for me to come pick him up !!!

I call my husband to come rescue me and see why this dumb, unreliable car is dead.... again!

Jim leaves work and stops by the house to give the car a look over.  He has me come outside to see what's wrong. He guides me to the driver's side door...(I comply)... he asks me to get in... (I comply) ... he asks me to turn off the f*&%$#@ headlight switch ... (I comply and slink out of the car without making eye contact and head back into the house as I realize I forgot to turn off the headlights... again!)

I don't recall how I retrieved my little one from school that day (certainly, Jim must have jump-started the car)but I'm certain it involved some finger wagging from an exasperated teacher who was in need of a drink by the time I got there.

Home again, I am welcomed by the smell of the finely seasoned roast. Felix is once again up to no good and probably inspiring my children to attempt a household coup as they munch on an afternoon snack. I nurse the baby...again, and change a diaper...again, and head off to the kitchen to compile a tasty dessert to go with dinner.

Now, I had made this dessert before and the entire family loved it. They loved it SO MUCH that it only made sense to me to double up, or even triple up the recipe. Because I love my family THAT MUCH!!

This was a dessert  made with layers of graham crackers, vanilla pudding, and chocolate ready-made frosting. Simple enough, a dessert resembling a boston cream pie, of sorts...any fool can make it (long pause....)

I lovingly laid out the graham crackers in the bottom of the 9x13 glass baking dish, alternating with layers of chocolate frosting and vanilla pudding. I then slathered two whole tubs of chocolate frosting for the top layer, I slightly melted the frosting in the mic and slathered that frosting on thick! Into the fridge it goes until dinner time.

With my hair in a scrunchy and no time for make up application, I anticipate the arrival of my husband, so I can amaze him with my sumptuous feast.I look out the kitchen window as he pulls into the driveway and approaches my car. He shakes his head and reaches in to turn off the lights ( dammit, again??) ... he wanders over to the trash can to throw away the newspapers left in the drive for the past week and notices the charred remains of the blow dryer. I think I catch him contemplating just getting back on his motorcycle and riding off into the sunset; alone.

But, he doesn't. Poor soul walks into the house greeted by two little faces with peanut butter smeared all the way from the corners of their mouths to their hair and ears, Popeye is chortling in the background, and a hungry, crying, pooping infant. Brave man that he is, he presses forward to his Stepford-wanna-be-wife minus perfect hair and make up and gives me a kiss and a squeeze before realizing that the baby is attempting to suckle him through his shirt and then being karate punched in the wedding tackle by two overly zealous 3-ft ninjas.


I encourage Jim and the boys to go wash up because Mama has made a feast for their enjoyment. The moment arrives. One that is worthy of a Norman Rockwell painting as I reach into the oven.The family gathers round the table as I pull the roast from the oven....and it's not until I set the roasting pan on the counter that I realize that something is wrong... something is very, very wrong.

The roasting bag that was to maintain an optimal roasting environment had split down the middle and was peeled back on both sides. The roast was horribly burnt and the vegetables had been rendered to something just this side of charcoal briquettes. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. Thank God my in-laws were nowhere around to witness this. This was a burnt offering of Biblical proportion.

Jim says nothing (smart man), I am standing there crying and the boys are cheering because they figure we're going to McDonalds ... again! But, Jim gives me the baby and he skillfully locates and carves enough roast and veggies to afford each of us something in our tummies until tomorrow without a visit to Ronald's.

The evening is somewhat saved and I am smiling again when I bring out desert. It looked beautiful! and nothing can make a somewhat defeated woman feel better than a good old dose of chocolate anything. I set four dessert bowls and my masterpiece on the table.  I grabbed my serving spoon and dug in...or attempted to dig in, because my spoon was met with such resistance I nearly bent it in half. Another try at a slightly different angle...nothing. I get a butter knife and find the top frosting layer is impenetrable !!! The act of melting the frosting and adding refrigeration converted my yummy, chocolaty, frosting into a solid mass of polyethylene-like crust!

With butcher knife in hand, I use all my might to break a chunk of dessert free for each of us. It should still taste good. But,the best we could do was suckle on a chocolaty corner and randomly dip that corner in the pudding for added flavor. 

Dinner was ruined. Dessert was ruined. I suck back the tears and decide to bathe the children and put them to bed; no easy feat. I manage to give them a good rinse and get them into their jammies and get them into bed. I nurse and change the baby, again, and head of for a nice warm shower.

I step under the shower head to wash off the days' disappointment; nothing luxurious since I know I won't have much hot water left after bathing the boys. Stepping out of the shower, I dry off and get into my own jammies. I look at my reflection, standing there dripping wet in my WalMart flannel jamjams. Yeah, I'm feeling sexy. 

I brush out my hair and reach into the familiar vanity drawer for the blow dryer. Empty. Defeated, I go to bed with a wet, towel-dried head. I fight back the tears, kiss my already sleeping husband goodnight and close my eyes. Goodnight moon, goodnight family.... 

and the baby wakes for another feeding.

Surely, tomorrow will be a better day. 

1 comment:

  1. Oh my how this sounds like my life right now!