Yesterday, as a small group of us moms was standing in front of the school, waiting for our short charges to come dashing out, clutching their backpacks and empty lunchboxes, one of my friends commented to the rest of us, “I did nothing this afternoon! Nothing! I didn’t have my preschooler, because she was at a friend’s house playing, and a person would think that I’d have been able to get scads of stuff done. But I didn’t! I peed two full hours down my leg and accomplished absolutely nothing.”
We all laughed.
And we all knew that we had, at one time or another, been there.
Oh, Scrabble Blast, you alone can gobble up thirty minute chunks of time like they were M&Ms.
As I loaded the boy into the Suburban, I was actually glad that I didn’t feel that way yesterday. I’d been to Bible study yesterday morning, and I’d taught four back-to-back PE classes at school in the afternoon. And then, I went home, tossed a roast and potatoes and carrots into the oven, balanced the checkbook (To the penny! Naturally!), paid all the bills, helped the boy review his spelling words, diligently worked until a ketchup stain completely vanished out of one Mini Boden T-shirt, did a load of laundry, from start to folding and putting away, went through the boy’s closet and had him try on exactly one thousand pairs of size 7 jeans, JUST TO MAKE SURE that they were too short (all but one pair were), and then I had him try on seven thousand shirts, so that we could weed out the 7’s that are officially too small and some of the 6’s. And really? The boy hasn’t worn size 6 shirts for months. And months. Don’t ask me why they were still in the closet! I don’t know!
After that, we ate a late dinner (because the roast, people, took some time to cook last night), and then I scrubbed the kitchen down.
Although I went to bed with a decorating scheme that focused on enormous stacks sitting haphazardly on the dining room table and a K2 Mountain of discarded clothes folded neatly on the boy’s closet floor, I still felt like I had accomplished much yesterday.
And then there was today.
I think my friend’s statement after school yesterday was a premonition of what was to come.
I woke up this morning and met my friend, Peggy, for coffee, and we spent nearly two full hours catching up and warming our hands on our Starbucks drinks.
Afterwards, when all the chai was slurped down and the cup was long empty, I came home, with some hopes of loading all the clothes making up K2 into a box and delivering them to Sister’s house, only it was about this time that I realized one thing.
I realized, people, that I was plum grouchy.
Oh, not from meeting with Peggy; don’t think that. I had a wonderful time with Peggy, but then blam! I came home, I looked at the piles scattered hither and yon, from the ones that needed permits to climb them to the little molehills, and I was suddenly uber grouchy. The fact that I was craving a salt lick dipped in chocolate seemed to indicate that my problem may actually have been hormonal.
And really? I plum reminded myself of my landlord’s wife from college.
My roommate and I shared an upstairs apartment in a rather large complex when we were juniors, and Reuben and his wife lived on the grounds. Actually, they lived in the apartment right below us, but one over. So clearly, not really the apartment RIGHT below us.
But below us. And then one over.
Reuben wore overalls every day of his life, or so we guessed. I never saw him in anything BUT overalls, with patches sewn on at awkward angles here and there, and he did a right fine job of wandering the grounds and making sure everyone had hot water.
His wife wore the pink plastic curlers in her hair every day of her life, and my roommate and I could never really decide if she ever took them out. The curlers were in at 9 AM; the curlers were in at 3 PM; the curlers were in at 7 PM. And she wore house dresses and orthopedic shoes, and I cannot, for the life of me, remember her name.
I think we just called her Reuben’s wife.
But Reuben’s wife could holler like no one’s business, and she was never fully convinced that the entire apartment complex’s population wasn’t gathered together in one living room somewhere, listening to raunchy music and smoking dope.
Because that’s what she always called it.
“Young kids today! All they ever do is smoke dope and listen to the evil music.”
And also take curlers out of their hair. We did do THAT.
And really? I doubt anyone was really smoking the dope in our complex, but Reuben’s wife was plum convinced of it. And she was going to have none of it. She made it known that she’d be the first one to dial the police and stand in the squad car’s headlight’s of fame, giving a graphic report on how you never paid your rent on time, and how she always did know that something wasn’t quite right in that apartment, but renters have their rights, you know, so she couldn’t just barge in there and discover the truth for herself a whole lot earlier.
I think Reuben’s wife was pining for a spot on the ten o’clock news.
And my roommate and I always wondered if she would take her curlers out for her fifteen minutes of fame.
And again? I don’t think a single soul was smoking the dope in our apartment building. Let’s be clear about that!
Reuben’s wife also smoked like a chimney. (Just the legal smoking stuff.) Or rather, she carried an unlit cigarette around most of the time, which perpetually clung to her bottom lip, permanently stuck in her 7:00-AM-coating of lipstick.
It was always the color of jellied cranberries that retained the shape of the can on the Thanksgiving table.
The lipstick, that is. Not the cigarette. Well, actually, the END of the cigarette was probably the color of cranberries, too. Clearly, 2 + 2 = 4. Cranberry Lipstick + White Cigarette = Discolored Camel.
Reuben’s wife could talk a mile a minute, and that cigarette wouldn’t drop from her lip, even though she never held it there with her hand. Ever. She could holler across the complex, and still, the unfiltered Camel remained right where she’d stuck it at 7:00 that morning.
She was also continually announcing that she couldn’t be late for Supermarket Sweep on the television.
It was sort of along the lines of, “Uh oh! Eight minutes to Wapner!”
Without a doubt, Reuben’s wife was a gem. She harrumphed every time we went up the stairs, as if she were hoping that we’d make too much noise and she could shout out at us that the youth of today had no respect for their elders, who knew how to walk upstairs quietly, and wouldn’t have ever dreamed of slamming up the stairs like an elephant on steroids during Supermarket Sweep.
And today, I felt like Reuben’s wife.
I paced around the house, examining my piles and knowing that I really should do something with them, and yet I was unmotivated to do so. I simply wished that I had a program to watch, but my memory suddenly reminded me that the daytime television and I have never been close friends.
Hence, no Supermarket Sweep. Or All My Children, for that matter.
So I simply snarled quietly to myself all morning, dug in the pantry to uncover any piece of chocolate candy left over from Halloween ’09, and wished that I had some young children to yell at for a while, just to make myself feel better, and I accomplished nothing.
And that’s when I remembered that I would soon have an entire gym filled with kids.
So I taught me some PE this afternoon, and wouldn’t you know it? The kids were relatively mild-mannered and no one needed a good yelling-at today.
And then, we had a fire drill at precisely 1:30.
1:30 is plum-smack-dab-in-the-middlest-of-middles of kindergarten PE. There I was, feeling as grouchy as Reuben’s wife, minus the dangling Camel and the pink curlers, and I had to line the kindergartners up and walk them safely to the far side of the playground, while they all covered their ears and yelled, “Make it stop!”
Loud Bells + Kindergartners = Significant Ear Covering By Tiny Hands.
Big Gym + Kindergartners = Significant Running and Screaming and Ear Covering By Teacher’s Hands.
I did survive the fire drill with the kindergartners. Thank you for asking.
After school today, I stopped to talk to Missi on the sidewalk while we were picking up our kids, and I emphatically announced the obvious: “I am quite grouchy today!”
Missi replied, “Dude! So. Am. I. I wish someone would take my kids, and I’d just go home, crawl into bed, and have myself a long winter’s nap.”
I didn’t even offer to take Missi’s three cherubs, because really? Let’s face it. I would have been sorely tempted to lock them in a cage and feed them chicken bones, while I went outside and used the hot glue gun to affix gumdrops and candy canes and gingerbread to my siding.
Only let’s face it.
I doubt that I’m officially crafty enough to hot glue candy all over my house and have it look anywhere near decent, and my Type A personality couldn’t take the crookedly-glued-on Lemon Heads, so I probably wouldn’t even have started that little project in the first place.
If I need a project to work on while the kids were fattening up in the cage, I could clean the garage, because holy smokes! I may have mentioned once or eighteen times on this blog that our garage is just an episode of Hoarders waiting to be filmed. We’re not proud, people. In fact, Hubs worked all weekend (again — working until 1:30 in the mornings on the weekends is Hubs’ new hobby), and Brother came over to borrow a ladder for something or other. The ladder which was in the garage, and I did emphatically start to say, “I WILL GET THE LADDER! REMAIN RIGHT HERE IN THE FAMILY ROOM AND DO NOT FOLLOW ME, OR YOU WILL SEE OUR DIRTY LITTLE SECRET OF OUR HORRENDOUS GARAGE!”
However, Brother didn’t even pause in his question of asking if I had a ladder or not. He simply threw open our garage door, in mid sentence, and barged in to haul the ladder out.
And then he said, “What I love about your garage is this: It makes me feel so much better about mine.”
When Brother was done with the ladder, he returned it to our garage, bid me farewell, and said to his small fry, “Come on, B. We’re going home to clean our garage! We can’t be caught looking like these hillbillies!”
Immediately after Brother left, I met with our attorneys to have him completely written out of our will. Every penny that we were going to originally leave to Brother (and believe me, those pennies were few, even in the beginning), I have decided to invest in preserving the wildlife around Brother’s property.
Namely, the deer who eat his trees and garden.
So clearly? I had some projects that I could have been working on today, if I didn’t feel like running around the house in my pink rollers and shouting out encouragement to today’s youth.
I’m not sure what tomorrow’s forecast is for Mama’s attitude, but for now, I’m content being as grouchy as Reuben’s wife used to be, and really? I have no grounded reason for it.
It’s the hormones, people!
Except, it’s Family Night at the boy’s youth group tonight, so I’d better get my Game Face on before we head over to the church and do my best imitation of a moderately well-adjusted mother who bakes cupcakes for bake sales, has a clean and organized garage, and never dreams of gluing gumdrops to her siding.
Wish me luck, people.
(Oh. And one more thing? One of the grandest girls who runs around in my group of girlfriends is pregnant! Oooh! That news was almost exciting enough to break me out of my Reuben’s Wife Funk!)