It is a two beer kind of night, only I’m too tired to go back downstairs to retrieve one from the fridge. I’m trying to savor slowly the last few drops of this golden Corona, hoping it will last long enough for me to write this post.
DW is out of town again. Our whole rhythm starts to unravel just 24 hours after he leaves. Not that he “does” a lot at night. (No offense sweetie, but keeping the bed warm for me while flipping channels for an hour as I clean up the kitchen, get the kids in bed and put another load of laundry in the dryer isn’t really what I had in mind. But then again, you aren’t a mind reader either.) I know I’ve said this before, but just having him present keeps a steady calmness throughout the evening. There is comfort in having someone to talk to while I maneuver through our night-time routines. There is comfort in knowing that at any given moment he is available to referee between the girls, fold a pile of socks or take the dog out if I asked. He is always willing and able to pitch in if I need it – the trouble is that I usually don’t ask. I’m Super Mom after all, and can do it all myself. Besides, I’ve somehow convinced myself that his day at work was harder than my day at home and that he needs time to “unwind”.
Apparently so do I.
I stayed up too late last night doing nothing. Flipping channels, blog surfing, snuggling with Luna. It was the only time I had to myself all day. So, of course, I had a hard time getting up this morning. The girls took the opportunity to watch T.V. for a couple of hours while I hibernated, even though it had been made abundantly clear the night before that there were certain chore expectations. T.V. watching in the morning was never in the equation, even while eating breakfast.
I stood in my kitchen in shock, surveying the damage. The night before it had been clean and organized. This must have been an episode from The Twilight Zone. Somehow our staircase had transported me into someone elses kitchen because it was inconceivable to think that my kitchen would have peanut butter sandwich crusts stacked on the coffee table, empty chocolate milk and juice cartons laying on their sides on the floor, various dishes and bowls scattered across the counter, a hundred or more stuffed animals lining the couch engaged in a rerun of Sabrina the Teenage Witch and forgotten goldfish beached between cushions.
I gave loud instructions to pick up this mess while I headed to Costco. The day before I had gone to Pearl Vision to pick up my eye prescription. We no longer have vision care, so ordering contacts at a super discount store rather than a fancy eyeglass chain made the most sense. Easy enough – they quickly printed out what I needed, no questions asked. I did inquire about prescription sunglasses and even with their 50% off frames and 10% off my lens it was going to be around $220. Yikes!
This morning the plan was to pick up contacts and order glasses at Costco, but when I got there it turned out that I didn’t have a prescription for contacts, only glasses. Seriously? So I called Pearl Vision, politely asking if they could fax Costco the correct prescription.
“I’m sorry, but you have to come in and sign a release form for that.”
“But I was just in yesterday afternoon and no one said anything about contacts being a separate prescription from glasses.”
“I wasn’t here when you came in.”
“Well, I was and I asked for my eye prescription. Don’t you think it would have been helpful if someone had mentioned I had two on file?”
“Well, how can we rectify this situation? Can’t you fax the release form too?”
“No – we have to verify you are who you say you are. We don’t want to be held liable for your eye care if you get contacts somewhere else.”
“But I didn’t have to sign something for my glasses?”
Images of my destroyed kitchen flashed before me. My cheeks became a little hot thinking about how much time this conversation was wasting.
“This is really a BIG inconvenience. Isn’t there anything else we can do?”
“No – not really. Come in and sign the form and we’ll give you your prescription.”
I hung up the phone, defeated, knowing that my eyes were being held hostage and there was nothing that I could do about it. The next thing on my list was a specific lunch sack that The Tortoise had requested for school. I searched every nook, cranny and end-cap for that stupid thing to no avail. It had vanished. There must have been a run on polka-dotted insulated lunch sacks with plastic containers inside. Strike two. So I bought three bottles of my favorite wine instead and headed to check-out. But my gawd, why do they have to put so many overflowing tables with cool things strategically throughout the store? It’s like a maze you can’t avoid, funneling you to the front, forcing you to say things like, “oh yes, I have always wanted a pair of Ellen Tracy PJ’s…they’re only $12.99…I need one in every color too.” (I have a weakness for PJ’s if you hadn’t guessed.) By the time I made it to the cashier, my cart was filled with wine, PJ’s, salsa, a meatloaf dinner, M&M trail mix and three books. Why?
I wasn’t overly optimistic that the house would be back in order by the time I got home – probably I good thing that I set realistic expectations for myself. Everything was just as I had left it, only now there were two bigger messes upstairs in each of the girls’ rooms.
“What the heck is going on up here?” I bellowed.
“We’re cleaning,” they both sang smartly, “It always looks worse before it gets better, right?”
I had to walk away…walk far, far away before my head exploded – or my mouth, neither of which would be good.
There was just enough time to put my “groceries” away and pack up Luna for the vet. Her ears had an awful stank to them this morning, and she has been shaking and scratching them non-stop for over a week. It wasn’t rocket science to know that she probably has an ear infection. Although it may not seem like it at times, this really isn’t my first dog show. About an hour later it was determined that she actually has two ear infections.
Back to the house, fingers crossed, I stepped inside the mud-room hoping to find a slightly cleaner kitchen and den. It was still the same. Perhaps it was still a mess because there had been great strides made upstairs instead. As I ascended the stairs I could hear yelling.
“Get out of my room now and take your crap with you!”
“Fine! It was your crap in the first place!”
SLAM…stomp, stomp, stomp…SLAM.
The rest of the day was pretty much the same. Until it all came to a head around 5:00pm. We were packing up to go, to another appointment and then to drop the girls off with a sitter so I could go to my first orchestra rehearsal of the season. I stood in the kitchen, consumed with angst over the staggering mess, knowing full well of the mess still waiting to be cleaned upstairs. The girls were dawdling and complaining about something, everything, who knows at that point.
My head started to spin, eyes bulging out, sweat seeping from my pores.
“Would you just SHUT UP!” I yelled at them both. “What I wouldn’t give for school to start tomorrow so that I didn’t have to put up with the both of you for one more second!”
We all stood in silence, staring at each other. The girls picked up their bags quietly and got into the car. I was left to put Luna behind her gate and lock up. It was completely silent the rest of the evening. I was so angry I couldn’t even see that they were both on the verge of tears in the back seat. By the time I acknowledged what a foolish bitch I had been, it was too late. They were already in someone else’s car, and I was already on my way to rehearsal. And now it is too late to apologize. They are both asleep and I am struggling to put into words what I want to say to them. I am supposed to be the grown-up. I am supposed to set the tone of the household, one of tranquility not of temper tantrums. You would think that after 12 years of being a parent that I would finally “get it”, but it appears that the only thing that I have perfected is how to apologize, rather than parent.
Tomorrow is a new day.