Monday, July 24, 2006

Picking Up Speed

Well the time has come. The moving van arrives in the morning. Time to start packing things out and loading them up. It seems like all of a sudden our normal household has become more like a madhouse. All changing in just an instant. A lot like when the phone rings.

When the phone rings at our house, it's like the signal that all semblance of order is to be abandoned immediately. It can be calm and quiet in the house, kids watching TV or playing with toys without any screaming or fighting or such. No one is hungry or needs a drink and not one really cares where Mommy is at the moment. But if that phone should ring, the atmosphere changes and changes quickly.

All of a sudden there are urgent needs to be met among the troops. Instantly everyone wants to know where Mommy is and things need to be answered and responded to immediately. Important things. Things like, "Can we have a cookie? I need chocolate milk. Is it OK if I invite 8 of my friends over? Can I ride my bike in the street?" I answer them all the same way. Making the scariest face I can, waving my arm wildly about my head like I am fighting off a swarm of angry bees and adding a boot kick with my foot all while cheerfully answering the phone caller with, "Oh yes, we are all doing fine here." My answer only persuades the kids to move 6" out of the reach of my foot while still preparing their second wave of attacks by gathering up packages of cookies and chips and water color paints to be opened.

"Oh but PLEEEEESE Mommy! Can't I just have ONE can of soda?"

Thankfully things have gotten a little easier on us mothers with the invention of the cordless phones, as now I try to outdistance the throngs of 4 feet tall and under younglings by heading up the stairs while still cheerfully carrying on the telephone conversation. I disguise my breathlessness of climbing up the stairs with a little faux cough and wheeze. But 10 seconds behind me and there they are! With juice boxes and marking pens and a 36 pack of Crayolas. Their demands growing louder and stronger. It's time I take a stand. I put my hand over the phone, grit my teeth and say, "NO! Get. Out." That just causes one to cling to my leg and implore to me, "Please Mommy? Pleeeeeeese?" I try to shake off said urchin as I wander upstairs from room all while brightly following my phone conversation. Once I break free, I head back downstairs where I can converse in peace. In my wake I strategically place roadblocks in order so slow my entourage down. The dining room chair in the kitchen doorway. Hot Wheels cars placed at eye level. Packages of fruit chews next to the TV. All the while making my way to that one place of solitude.

I have often wondered if callers knew that if they talked to a stay at home mom for more than 15 minutes that chances are she was probably locked in the bathroom or closet somewhere. A closet is the preferred choice as there is less echo, but the bathroom is a good alternative during peak conversation hours. There the fan can be turned on to help conceal the noise of kidlings pounding upon the bathroom door. However, usually in 5 minutes or less, the mom is flushed out, fleeing yet to another space.

With beads of sweat on my brow I lower my head and navigate my way through the children, continuing on the search for a that ever elusive noise free area. Once again up the stairs, down the stairs and finally right outside the front door. But in the back of my mind, I am fearing retribution and I can no longer stay on track of the conversation and the phone call must be terminated. Returning the phone to the receiver, stumbling on a Hot Wheels along the way, I survey the damage. Dining room chair turned over. Fruit chews opened and smashed into the carpet. TV turned up loud enough that the neighbors can understand it through their double paned windows. Kids looking somewhat weary and defeated yet otherwise contented and happy.

But I got to listen to a friend talk on the phone, so it was worth it.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Using the Force

The house seems to be in it's final count-down
to being ready. We have tried to explain by phone and email to our builder during this whole process certain requests for our house. Now that Rick is in Nashville and can go see the house in Leiper's Fork we have found that even though we thought we were quite clear, we maybe just weren't clear enough. I guess we were not trained in using the force of the Good Side and the old Jedi mind tricks quite well enough. But even Jedi Masters don't get it right all of the time.

And even if we did think we were clear, sometimes the person we are communicating to has some other image in their head and thinks we understand each other perfectly.

Sort of like one morning when my 3 year old had something very important to tell me.

As a mom, I have gotten pretty used to rude awakenings in the middle of the night and some groggy early mornings. This particular morning, my three year old had gotten up quite early. The sky was just turning a soft grey outside. Rick wasn't home, but on a blissful business trip with a mini bar and turn down service, so I was once again in charge. Little son comes up a bit timidly to my bed and starts talking about how there is a kitty sleeping on the daybed in the guest room.

"Yes even our kitty needs sleep dear. Please go back to bed." is all I can mumble.

He walks off toward his room to and I have great hope that he is content with my answer and my infinite wisdom and he will go back to sleep.

A few minutes later I can hear him breathing again at the side of my bed.

"There is a kitty sleeping in there. He's on the bed, but not on the bed." he tries to explain to me.

"Ya well kitties are funny like that." I tell him. "Just leave him alone and go back to bed."

He slowly leaves my room and I put my head under the pillow thinking that if he comes back he won't know I'm there.

A few minutes pass and I hear him fidgeting by my bed.

"Mom it looks like Freddie kitty but he's different."

Ok, now I'm starting to stir a bit. "What do you mean he's different?" Foggy thoughts of the cat being stiff with rigor mortis enter my mind.

"Well he's like a different color." he answers softly.

Now I am becoming more awake and I begin asking myself what in the world did that cat get into that would change its fur a different color? Last I saw our cat was a long hair black cat with just bits of white on his face and paws. I then remind myself that we are now living in the urban/wildlife interface and we have encountered many small creatures around our house. I begin to figure it out, Oh dear Lord, it must be a opossum. A wild, rabid opossum has gotten into our house and is making a new home on our guest day bed. I can't think. I have to clear my foggy mind. What should I do next? If I go in there it may go crazy and escape and then be running wild all through the house. If I ignore it, it may have babies on the day bed and then I'd have 8 wild rabid animals in the house. I then begin to formulate the thought that the 3 year old had been in the room with that creature several times and that didn't seem to agitate the animal. So I instruct my 3 yo to quietly please go see what "kitty" is doing now. "But don't go in," I explain, "just look and then close the door so "kitty" can't get out."

He dutifully and bravely faced the dangerous task I had asked him to endure. He comes back with a report that it is "Still there and sleeping." I think well of course it is, being feverish with rabies and all. It must be too sick to move much anymore and I was thankful that my 3 year old had enough sense not to go and pet it or anything.

I decide I need to quiz toddler son some more.

"So, it looked like Freddie kitty but was a different color. What do you mean 'different color'?"

"It was like Freddie kitty but with more white."

The wheels were churning in my mind. Black animal with more white. Holy smokes! A SKUNK!! Of course! They were all around and I could smell their sweet fragrance when the dogs next door decided once every other night to bark at them and chase them toward our house. One finally decided to just move in.

Now things were getting a little more complicated. If I scared the skunk I would be buying tomato paste for the next 4 years. This was something that had to be dealt with in a very cool and quiet manner. Should I call animal control? The fire department? Being the thinker that I am, I decide that a peek in the room with a baseball bat at the ready would be a pretty good plan before I went off alerting TV news stations about the wild animal I went one to one with heroically saving not only my own children but very possibly every child in the neighborhood. Yes indeed, this skunk picked the wrong daybed.

I tip toe quietly to the closed guest room door and press an ear to it in order to pick up any rustling sounds. It seemed pretty quiet it there, but skunks are known to be that way. Then as I wait I ask myself if it really is a good idea for me to combat this animal by myself. The decision is made that I must press on. I slowly turn the door knob and crack it open just a tiny bit, bat at the ready. The room is lit by the pale grey sky just enough that I can make out most of everything in there, but see nothing on the daybed. Being a bit more confident I open the door an extra inch to get a better view, but still see nothing. The poor thing must have been scared and scampered into the darkness under the bed. I back out of the room, close the door and whisper to toddler son asking him just where was the "kitty." We wait a few moments and then he comes closer and we softly open the door together. He points to the daybed and quietly replies, "Right there." Well, the wild animal obviously wasn't right there any more. So we enter the room, just a step or two.

"Look!" he says getting louder, "He's right there."

Holy crap! "WHERE?!" as I start prancing up and down hoping nothing climbs up my leg as we back out of the room with me swinging the door closed behind us.

"It was right there on the bed." he says calmly.

Things are starting to get creepy. I've seen those movies where kids see weird things that grown ups can't. I just never thought it would be one of my kids and that they would be seeing haunted Pet Semetary stuff on our guest daybed.

I catch my breath and proceed with caution. I knew that the haunted animal would now be agitated because not only did I show fear, but I slammed the door closed on its tormented face. A few moments pass and I courageously crack open the door again and look more closely at the day bed. I don't see anything. I glance around the room and see nothing out of the ordinary there, just a lamp and piggy bank on the side table, my sewing machine and assorted odds and ends as usual on the other side. Yet toddler son still insisted that the "kitty" was still in the room.

Once more I back out of the room and I get down on my knees so I am at my little boy's height and instruct him to point to the "kitty" when we open the door. With all the fear I have pushed aside and armed with the knowledge that the creature must consider my son his friend, I cautiously open the door. He points to the bed, but just passed the bed. I put my eye to his finger and I finally see what it was that he saw. From his toddler view the big old fashioned ivory with painted sleeping dark eyes piggy bank on the side table, did indeed look like a semi-white kitty sleeping on but yet not quite on the daybed.

And people think that moms can't solve mysteries!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

House for Sale

The Buy Me Fairy needs to come fly over our house in California!! After a few months on the market, price adjustments, open houses, scheduled (and unscheduled) showings, our lovely house is still For Sale. We love our house and can't understand why someone just hasn't walked up and offered us a million dollars for it, but I suppose not everything deserves to be so easy. And some things just take a lot of constant work. Like laundry.

Ode to Laundry

My washer churns
My dryer burns
Clothes scattered every where.
I need more soap
I'm losin hope
My dressers are all bare.

I sort and stack
Socks and slacks
Different colors like I know
But that one last sock
Surely mocks
That in he didn't go.

Tried in vain
To get that stain
Out of my favorite shirt
How can it be
That moms like me
Must deal with so much dirt.

Crouch and reach
I find the bleach
And pour in generoulsy
And if I'm right
Things turn white
And I dance around with glee.

Fold and fold
It's getting old
But laundries being done
I look around
More on the ground
I think I just may run.

It could be worse
I often curse
I wonder in my head
If it'd be OK
For just a day
We all go bare instead.

The hamper grows
With laundry woes
Will this chore be ever complete?
I hang in there
Vow no underwear
Will bring me to defeat.

I take a day
Just one away
From my laundry due
How could it be
That now I see
My pile has grown by two.

I throw in more
Behind the door
I'll do some clothes tomorrow
But man alive
It's grown by five
I'm drowning in my sorrow.

I see some room
Behind the broom
For just a few more things.
Then I'll start
I'll have more heart
With what a new day brings.

Now there's more
Than I've seen before
But I bet I still can do it
Within the hour
I have the power
But I think my fuse just blew it.

I will be brave
And will not cave
But finish this washing dance
Alas no more fun
Call 911
It's a laundry avalanche.