You know, normally I pride myself on my optimistic attitude. Normally I don’t get bogged down by silly stuff and can see the bright side of things. *Normally* I consider myself a relatively cheerful person. But I must admit, the past six weeks or so I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed.
The move, living with my mom for a week, setting up the new house, trying to ready the rent house, getting the kids in their new school right off the bat, trying to merge my “old” Oklahoma life with my “current” life, and then just about the time I felt I was coming up for air, the holidays fell on my head. None of these things are bad or stressful or evil by themselves, just that you add them all together and I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut off, busy all the time, yet feeling like a total loser because my “to-do” pile is consistently bigger than my “already done” pile, no matter how hard I work. It sort of hit an apex this week when Blaine was sick because instead of using this Christmas Break as an opportunity to get lots done like I planned, well, I’d look over at him, huddled under a blanket, alternately shivering freezing and then burning up and then getting up to puke, and good wife that I am, I just felt like, “Geez Louise! One more #*(&$#(*& thing to take care of!!” (Yes, he is one lucky man, isn’t he?)
I hate whiners, and yesterday I decided I was tired of listening to myself whine about it. About my life, and the stress in it. (Waaaah. What a baby. Was my kid diagnosed with cancer today? No? Then it was NOT a stressful day, is all I need to remind myself.) So I decided to get up today and make a fresh start --- mainly with my attitude. As long as I accomplish *something* every day, then it will eventually all get done, right? And I’m going to feel good about it in the meantime.
We needed a new cable outlet in our living room, and had Cox scheduled to come to the house this morning between 8am and 10am. I set my alarm for early enough that by the time he showed up at 8:30, I had already made a triple batch of chocolate chip pancakes and done two loads of laundry. Pretty good start, eh?
Then, the minute he was done, I loaded up the kids and drove to the rent house, where I met with the “handyman” I hired and discussed the work I want done. (OK, to clarify, the work I *can afford* to have done at this time.) But he seemed very competent and pleasant and receptive to my ideas, so when we were finished, I was feeling pretty damn smug about myself.
I had planned a bowling outing for my kids and let them invite a few classmates in an attempt to help them make friends here at their new school. So two moms that I don’t even know were meeting us at the bowling alley at noon sharp to take advantage of the free bowling passes that were given out on the last day before Christmas break started.
We had exactly enough time to make it to Home Depot and purchase a new medicine cabinet before going to the bowling alley … exactly. And not wasting a minute of time fell right in line with my new “Total Efficiency Time Management Strategy” Since I was on a roll and wanted today to be as productive as possible, off we went.
Walked in, found the precise size and color cabinet I needed, paid for it, walked out, and BLAM!!! The Oklahoma wind, which was blowing at about thirty degrees below zero and at about a bazillion miles per hour today, slammed into the cabinet, flipped it out of my cart, and the mirror shattered all over the Home Depot parking lot.
It was one of those slow-motion moments, where I could see the cabinet falling, and tried to catch it with my foot (the hell? What was I thinking? Do I have, like, a bionic foot?) A lady several parking spaces over saw what happened, looked me right in they eye, and said, “Wow, that sucked.” Yeah, thanks.
So I picked up as many broken shards of glass as I could, as the wind was whipping the curse words in an icy frenzy around my head, and then traipsed the entire length of the parking lot because for some reason I don’t understand, you have to walk IN one end of Home Depot and walk OUT the complete other end, so I had to carry that broken medicine cabinet (did I mention HEAVY broken medicine cabinet, despite my freakishly strong arm muscles??) all the way to the other end. I tried desperately to find a way to blame it on my children, but no, it was just the wind, and the fact that I’m too moronic to securely place things properly in the cart.
Kudos to Home Depot, they offered to let me change out the cabinet for a new one, no charge. I looked the customer service lady right in the eye and said, “But you understand there was nothing wrong with this one except the fact I’m a LOSER who broke it??” and she kindly said, “I’ll get one of the guys to help you get the new one loaded in your car.” Now how nice was that?
Except, we were now running a little short on time. And I had apparently bought the very last 30x30 surface mounting tri-fold mirror with white edging medicine cabinet they had. Oh, wait. Except for that one waaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyy up on the very tippy-top shelf, so they had to drag that motorized ladder from another part of the store in order to reach it.
And we were now officially late for the bowling alley.
Despite the fact I made a terrible first impression by asking these moms to meet me, then not showing up on time, they were both still waiting for me in the parking lot, free passes in hand. Free passes to the WRONG bowling alley, because I didn’t look closely enough and just assumed I was telling them the right alley. Because I’m a mirror-breaking moron.
So I loaded up their kids in my van and drove everyone to the correct bowling alley, telling the other moms that we’d eat lunch at the bowling alley, then bowl a few games, then I’d bring the kids home. I drove all the kids there, got out of the van, traipsed into the bowling alley, and discovered the restaurant doesn’t open until dinner time. So right back out to the parking lot we went, because I am a mirror-breaking, bowling-alley-protocol moron.
I took all the kids to what might have been the slowest working Burger King on the planet, but after a while, we had all been served, had eaten, and were ready to hit the lanes. Finally!
Kellen and his friend decided they didn’t want to use the bumpers, while Brayden, Kendrie, and Kendrie’s little friend did. Oh, did I mention that Brayden was already pouting because we had invited three school friends to go with her and none of them were available? She kept going on and on about how “I’m the only one here without a friend!” and I wanted to say, “What about your brother and sister? Don’t they count for anything?” Hoping things would calm down once everyone got shoes that fit (dear heavens, is that a trial all of its own or what!?!?) I put myself on a non-bumper lane with the boys, and Brayden and the two younger ones on the lane next to us, WITH bumpers.
Now, my kids enjoy bowling. They really, truly like it. But this was the first time Kellen had ever chosen to bowl without bumpers, and once he realized how much he sucked, the scowling began in earnest. By the fifth frame, when he had bowled seven gutters and had a total score of 19, he declared bowling was the stupidest game ever and he wasn’t doing it anymore. And sat down, crossed him arms across his chest, and refused to go again. When I FORCED him to finish the game, because hello, you have a GUEST here, and you are acting like a 2-yr old baby and embarrassing both yourself AND ME, he began just flinging the ball down the lane willy-nilly, not even trying, not even standing there long enough to see if he knocked any pins down. Just rolling the ball and walking back to his seat immediately with a big huge ugly pout on his face. (I’m sure if my mom is reading this, she’s laughing to herself because apparently I was a big pouter in my younger years, too. And if Blaine reads this, he’ll laugh because he says I still pout now.)
Then Brayden got beat by an 8-yr old, which really made her mad, and then Kendrie got tired and started laying down between frames. I had to admit that the only two kids acting properly were the two friends we had along, and my own children were not only embarrassing the hell out of me, but perhaps are candidates for youth boarding school. Abroad. Or, a swift kick in the ass. Either one would have been fine with me.
Then Kellen’s friend wanted to go play arcade games and I had to tell him no, because no way was I going to let him go by himself, and even bigger no way was I going to reward Kellen’s shitty behavior with money for pinball. And the longer I sat there, and watched my kids act like brats, the clearer it became that perhaps Blaine and I should have simply bought an iguana or something ten years ago instead of trying this parenting gig, at which I am so undoubtedly failing.
Finally the bowling was over, and I drove the other kids home. Riding back to our house, I lectured all the way (because we all know how much attention my kids were really paying to my rambling, right?) about how it will be a cold day in Hell before I plan anything fun for them if that’s how they’re going to act, and blah blah blah, their eyeballs were rolling back up in their heads.
Then we arrived home, I opened the garage door, still lecturing, and realized that in my rush, I didn’t pull the door closed securely enough when we left that morning. So now, the back door has been open all day, and I’ve paid good money to heat the double-car garage. Greeeeaaaaat.
That’s when it hit me. I’m too klutzy to be a good home-improvement landlord. Too easily frustrated to be a parent. And too irresponsible to be a homeowner.
Maybe I should just buy LOTS of iguanas, and try iguana farming.
Oh well, to quote Scarlett, after all, tomorrow is, another day. I’ll just keep trying, until I get it right. Or until I give the hell up and move to someplace where no-one owns a home or has any children, because that might be the only place on earth I’m qualified to live. With my iguanas.