Help Wanted

The other day I received a spam message titled “Sexy Neighbor Wants to Come Over…”  My immediate thought was “I wonder if she would be willing to help me clean this place up.”

Hold Me Closer Tony Danza

pizzaSo close but not quite right. This is how I feel I am doing on multiple levels of my life. I’ve almost got it, but then I muck it up the further I go. See those jazzy frozen pizzas cooking above? Forget about breakfast, I missed brunch, lunch came and went, and now I’m thinking that this may be linner. It’s the only “cooking” I’ve done in days. I’m not gonna lie. I love me some bad news bears frozen pizza. I just wish it was going to be coupled with anything worthwhile for my family to eat in the next couple of hours.  The older members of the family learned to forage a while back, but it’s not how I would like them to find nourishment.  I am a good cook.  I’ve just been too crazy tired and over-scheduled to do it lately.  And by lately, I mean every day in way too long.

I’m not the suckiest parent and wife out there. At least not today. Yes I am still making my kids camp downstairs, but I did invest in some very nice foldable mattresses that they tell me they love. (This may just be a joint line they are feeding me in an attempt to get on my good side. Little do they know, but they are already on my good side.)

mattressI saw these mattresses online and thought how great it would be to get something I could fold away for storage. Being a mathematician, you would think that I would have crunched the numbers and figured out that they would fold into a cube with dimensions so large that coffee tables would be envious. As I now own multiple mattress cubes, I may have to ditch our sofa and switch to these on a permanent basis instead. We would literally have a fold-away bed sofa, and it would be the only comfortable one in all of history.

Today has consisted of dropping of my smallest at childcare, being frustrated at the mayhem in that room that wasn’t apparent a couple weeks ago, visiting another potential childcare place, being frustrated that there was a teeny playground there, visiting another another potential childcare place, liking their playground, and being totally uncertain about what is best for my daughter. That was today until 9am.

The rest has consisted of business calls, spreadsheet updates, more spreadsheet updates, more calls, and I’m still so in the weeds with all that. As working moms don’t get smoke breaks (at least not in this house), I scattered a few minutes here and there to tackle laundry, dishes, cleaning, more laundry, more dishes, more cleaning… However I have to pause all that now though because I need to stop by the pediatrician’s office before they close, pick up my smallest from mayhem care, and then take my girls to gymnastics while the boys chill at home. I get/have to participate in one of those classes which consists of picking up my two-year old over and over again for an hour. The scale lies. It says that she weighs 35 pounds, but my arms and back know with full certainty that the truth is that she weighs 85 pounds. I also need to go to the hardware store, the UPS store, the pharmacy, and the grocery store. The last of those probably won’t happen, as I committed to work on the fairy garden with the kids. Despite my insistence on mainlining caffeine it throughout the day, even it calls it quits after a while.

astros lightsI don’t have anything ready to go for Father’s Day, but in all fairness to me, I am a total goof and thought it was last weekend. Now that I write those words, I see that this admission isn’t really a positive note either. I didn’t have cards then, but my husband hates cards. What a weirdo. I hate the sappy stuff, but I love me some good funny. However I was able to spring a Father’s Day surprise and load everyone in the car without knowing that we were actually going to a baseball game. Admittedly the level of surprise probably had a lot to do with the fact that it wasn’t Father’s Day. Who knew??? (Everyone else knew.) Surprise to me, too!

I just can’t seem to execute everything on the list. Ever. Every time I mark something off the list, five more items take its place. I am trying. I’m not succeeding like I would like to, but if caffeine can’t keep up, neither can I. So we will have our linner pizzas. I will break my back yet again. We will fairy garden a bit. I will have to work over the weekend some. Laundry and dishes and dust and life will keep happening. And my husband won’t care about the cards.

Hold me closer tiny dancer…
Count the headlights on the highway…
Lay me down in sheets of linen…
You had a busy day today…
“Tiny Dancer” sung by Elton John

I read these lines, and all I could think was “Ugh – linen sheets? Not soft enough and what a pain to iron!” But with or without Tony Danza, it’s still a lovely song.

***MoJo***

The Trash Can Band

On average, my kids tend to be relatively happy when I pick them up from school (perhaps because they are leaving school), but every now and then, they have something extra exciting to share, and I can see it in their eyes before they even open the car door.  A couple of days ago, I saw that very look on my daughter’s face.  She jumped into the car with a massive grin so big it would have made the Joker envious.  I thought maybe it was Free Kitten Day at school, but of course that wasn’t happening until next week.  And then she revealed the big news. “Mom!  I got into the Trash Can Band!”

Naturally, I burst into laughter.  It was my instant reaction, and of course anything that makes her that happy makes me extra happy (excluding cutting her own hair or shirt, indoor basketball / indoor moon sand, and that time they got the sock stuck on a window ledge fifteen feet high).  I wasn’t trying to make fun of her or step on her feelings, but her smile disappeared and twisted into a hurt grimace in an instant. My heart broke when I saw her face fall.

Far be it from me to recognize that the best way to improve an initial misunderstanding is to go with a different approach, so I dug myself further into the emotional rabbit hole.  I went for levity yet again – my go to defense mechanism when it comes to diffusing an uncomfortable situation. I explained that I wasn’t teasing her by laughing, but I hadn’t been aware of her love of the trash can musical arts.  To the surprise of no one in the universe, she became angrier and it devolved from there.  I switched to overt and clear validation of the “Well that’s so exciting!” and “I’m so proud of you!” genre, but she had already tuned me out and the moment – the joyful happy “I can’t wait share this with my mom” moment – was gone.

Kids are like rubber balls that bounce right back.  She was onto a different topic and back to normal before our car had even made it back home.  I, on the other hand, continue to wrestle with it days later.  I keep trying to get that excitement back. I want it for her. I want it for me.

How long will this keep circling around in my mind?  Her birthday is a couple weeks away, and I will probably end up buying her a metal trash can and drumsticks. I have visions of purchasing all of Amazon’s Oscar the Grouch paraphanalia because no one appreciates the magic of trash cans more than that surly muppet. Maybe I’ll switch from an SUV to a larger truck designed to move and empty dumpsters. Given the amount of garbage my three kids have left in my car over the years, this may be a logical vehicle change anyway.

Raising kids is like aiming for moving target.  Sometimes you are spot on, and sometimes you just miss the mark.  All I can do is try again, and hopefully I will get it right the next time.

That’s it from me for now.  Ironically, today is garbage day, and I have trash cans of my own to tackle.

***MoJo***

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