Sunday, April 23, 2006

She's Growing Up

So the transformation continues. From bare land, to a foundation into a peek at what the finished house will look like. I guess at this point I can say that the house is "potty trained" as it is officially "in the dry." We flew out to Franklin the first weekend of April, ignorantly bliss of tornado warnings and golf ball sized hail. And even though it was a bit unnerving for me, it wasn't all that bad. What does that tell you about living with 5 kids? It does tend to get a little chaotic here at home, even on what should be a typical quiet evening. Like one not too long ago.

Rick was off on a business trip and I was holding the fort down fairly well. That particular evening the house was a mess and the Mac & Cheese dishes sat in the sink, but those were things I planned on tackling after the kids went to bed. However my plans were going to be changing. I soon found out that the 3 year old had an explosion of a poopy diaper. I put baby daughter in the baby bouncy seat and started with the diaper changing. It didn't take long for me to figure out that it was going to take more than a fresh package of baby wipes to clean up that mess, so in to the shower he goes. Looking around the bathroom it became obvious that with 3 older boys sharing a bathroom, letting the place go unchecked for more than 2 days was a bad idea. I begin to wipe things up when I discover that the toothbrushes are on the floor in a puddle of pee next to the toilet.

I take toddler son out of the shower, towel wrapped and into the hallway. Then step over various toys and Playdough creations taking the toothbrushes downstairs for sanitation rituals, which included running them under the sink and zapping them in the microwave. Now because my husband just happened to be on a business trip that evening so there was no back up for me in case I unexpectedly happened to go brain dead, which unbeknownst to be was just about to happen. One of the older boys was upstairs playing on the computer, the toddler freshly showered and baby daughter was not screaming her head off to be held. I was in charge and boy was it showing. It was a crowning moment!!

But then this strange smell began wafting through the house. This electical short ciruit wiring smell. Something was smoldering and it seemed to be coming from the computer. I pull a few plugs, inspect a few wires, palm the drywall for hot spots, but turn up nothing. Now fearing an electrical fire regardless I do what any calm, cool and collected Mom would do. I dial 911 and ask for the fire department to please come quickly. I was instructed to get all the kids out of the house. So out we go. Into the dark. Then we hear in the distance the sirens coming. Dogs start howling. Crickets stop chirping. Flashing lights start arriving. The kids start jumping up and down so excited to see firetrucks coming to our house. In OUR driveway. Mom is a hero!!!!

Well I knew it wasn't good when I take the first fire fighter dressed in full rescue regalia into the house and he can't smell a thing. I tell him to get someone else in there then! Of course you can smell an electrical fire. You are a fire fighter and have been trained for these things. I am a mom on the edge and I could smell it. How hard could that be?!? A huge older calming fire captain arrives next. Yes he could smell it. Yes it was stronger upstairs near the computer. Then he starts asking questions. When did the smell start? Where did it start? Did you turn on the oven?

"No" I tell him, "We just had Mac & Cheese, no oven involved!"

He calmly climbs the stairs and has a sniff. The smell not so strong anymore. Then we hear the young "can't smell anything" cowboy of a firefighter yell up, "We found the problem!" Oh thank God. The children and I will be saved tonight. He opens the microwave and pulls out 3 melted, exploded and otherwise disfigured toothbrushes from the microwave. The calm fire captain glances out at my brood who are running all around out on the driveway and asks, "I wonder who put those in there."

I sputter ... cough... then answer as quickly as the words could come out of my mouth "Well I did. You see my husband is out of town on business and I have these 5 little kids and one had this HUGE poopy diaper and I had to get him in the shower, and well, I saw all the toothbrushes in this pee. And well I have 4 boys you see and they share this bathroom and well they HAVE to brush their teeth every night right? and gee, well, I didn't know that one of the toothbrushes used to light up like 3 months ago and if I did I certainly wouldn't have put it in the microwave where it would SMELL like an electrical fire with the wires and lightbulb and batteries and all melting like that and well I know you can understand because, like, I am here with FIVE kids and my husband is out of town and did I mention I have 5 kids?"

That 8' tall calm fire captain gently tells his crew that it's time to go on and all is secure and that the kids can come back into the house for a good night's rest. And he didn't even issue me a fire citation for the condition of the kids' bedrooms. I once again, counted my blessings.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Packing continues

Well what can I say? Packing this house with the kids in it is like herding cats. I want every box packed up neat and orderly; all game pieces together, all marbles in their rightful place, all Army guys sitting in their respective jeeps so when we unpack in TN it goes smoothly and things are put away neatly. Rick wonders why I just don't take some Prozac and either throw everything out and buy new, or just throw it in the box and be done with it, letting the sorting take place in the middle of the floor amongst a pile of knee deep toys the way it always does. After all, aren't the kids supposed to feel at home in the new house? But I press on and I continue to look like a little hen scratching through closets and pecking out a few things here, a few things there. Little piles of things that match with other things which go with other things that I am sure I just saw the other day while pecking through another closet. A true test of my mental capacity! Imagine my feeling of fulfillment when I have found the last game piece and placed it all in a well organized box ready to be inventoried, taped and sent off to storage!!

But what happens after I do find that last golden nugget and set it in the box with other matched treasures is that life calls me away for a few minutes. The lone box is left. Unattended. Open. Unmarked. Unsealed. I hear faint voices squealing in delight, "I CAN'T BELIEVE MOM FOUND THIS!!"
"Oh wow, I haven't seen this forever!"
"Look what else is in here!"

My work! Hours of searching gone in an instant. Puzzle pieces, action heroes, Hot Wheels track scattered again about the house. Pushed under the sofa, stashed behind the toilet, tucked between the wall and the bed. My pride swirls around me and won't let me seal the box until the contents are all back together! I search, I stack, and peck around some more until all pieces are together once again. The items are once again packed, but now the tape is missing. Certainly one of the 28 rolls of 150 yard packing tape must be around here somewhere! But I don't dare to leave the box! Scotch tape can hold it all together right? The marking pen! Holy cow, where did that run off to? I don't even want to see the movers' expression when they see how many boxes are marked in purple crayon. Inventory book?! Where did I leave that? I figure I'll just write it all on the back of an envelope, I'm always finding those laying around the house. When I find the inventory list I'll just transfer it all into the book then. I'm sure once I find it again there will still be a few pages in it that Amanda hasn't scribbled on.

Did I mention that packing seems to be going slower than I expected?