Monday, January 19, 2009

The Downside Proof of being a Stay At Home Mom

I'm a stay at home mom. And when someone is a stay at home person, they basically stay home all the time. That's like their degree and what they do best at.

Myself included.

I do get out every once in awhile. You know, to put gas in the van. Or buy milk. Or maybe I'll be really wicked and go shopping. But basically, my driver's license only comes in handy when there's no one else on the block to rush my bleeding and dying child to the hospital and I have to be the brave hero that responsibly transports the innocent child to the local ER. Actually, that's never happened so I'm really not sure why I have my driver's license...

Anyway, on a certain day of a certain week recently, my charming husband was busy working on our basement project. Unfortunately, the incompetent delivery men truck from a few days earlier had not supplied us with the ingredients we had ordered that we needed in order to progress in our project. We were lacking in the "installation kit" to the drop ceiling Toby was installing in the basement. And if you don't have the installation kit, basically you can't install the drop ceiling.

So, being the virtuous wife that I aim to be occasionally everyday, I offered to go pick up the TWO installation kits that had not been delivered.

(This entailed a trip to Menards.)

My dear husband took me up on the offer and was relieved when I also offered to take our screaming youngest child with me. That enabled him to accomplish more work without having to care for our screaming littlest child.

As I headed out the door, Toby handed me the 3 foot long receipt I needed for proof that the installation kits were already paid for and also included the delivery report that the incompetent delivery guys had given us when they delivered all most of our stuff.

On a side note, he had written a few more supplies that I could pick up since I was going to Menards anyway. While on my way into town, he added a few more things to the list via my handy cell phone. And while I was shopping at Menards he called a few more times to add a couple other grab-while-you're-there-anyway items.

The list included (but was not limited to) the following:

24" right swing pre-hung door (6' long)
Black door knob
2- door stops
2- light fixtures
4- 8' long medium grade 1x4's

As I went into town patting myself on the back for being such a flexible person that was able to drop everything and just run into town for 2 installation kits so my husband could finish a project, our screaming youngest child sat in his car seat as quiet as a mouse. I was noticing that and commented to myself (quietly, mind you) that the child seemed quite out of the ordinarily quiet. I had to look in the rear-view mirror to make sure I hadn't left him on the side of the driveway. There he was sitting there perfectly quiet. What a nice surprise.

Suddenly, my passenger yelled:


I responded meekly with, "What?"

He said, "MOM!"

I said, "What?"

He repeated, "MOM!"

I said, "What Alex?"

To which he contemplated for a second and then said, "MOM! MOM!"

I decided to be quiet since responding wasn't helping him get his point across.

He said, "MOOOOOM!!!"

Not being able to figure out what this code word was, I glanced back at him and noticed he was adamantly pointing his finger at something in the front of the van. I could see my purse, a plastic bag, some paper and a box of Kleenex.

"What do you want, Alex?"

Getting more excited he said, "MOM! MOM! MOM! MOM!"

I finally turned on the CD player, thinking maybe that's what he needed.

There was no resounding "mom."

And then Alex started singing and looking out the window, content that his request was finally fulfilled.

I mentally filed away that now the word "mom" means:

"Mom" (literally, as in one's mother)
"Janae took something away from me"
"I'm done in the tub"
"Get me out of my high chair"
"Put me down now"
and... "Turn on the CD"

I have an idea the list will be added to as his definition for "mom" continues to expand.

So, we get to Menards and I find a parking spot and take my singing child into the store. Unbeknownst to me, the van door gets left open but that is due in part to a) me forgetting to shut the door or b) the electric door deciding to reopen while I walked away. At least I did remember to lock the van while standing IN the store about 15 minutes later. Like my remote key pad can work 100' away, I know, BUT at least I remembered I hadn't locked it. Hey, I can't help it-- I'm a stay at home mom. Don't expect me to make logical non-stay-at-home decisions in a busy parking lot.

I zig zagged around the store going from the service counter to the electric counter to the painting counter to the windows and door counter and finally, up the lumber rack with a baby on my hip in order to get 4 boards.

Now, if you have ever gotten wood at Menards, you know the usual routine:

Locate type of lumber you need (in my case, I needed pine.)
Find correct width (in my case, 1x4)
Scan racks for desired length (in my case, 8')
Look around store for assistance.
Call husband to see if he really needs the wood.
Look around store again for assistance.
Shoulder your purse, put baby on hip and mount stairs to the second level of the lumber racks.
While shouldering purse, and balancing baby on hip, pull out random pieces of lumber.
Look around store to make sure no one is watching.
Pretend you can recognize a bad piece of lumber as you eye down the length of the board.
Put wood back since both ends warp in opposite directions.
Listen to baby whine because you put the wood back (like he really wanted that piece anyway.)
Continue pulling out nicked pieces of wood and putting them back.
Conclude they're all nicked and just look for unwarped pieces.
Decide that they all must be slightly warped.
Narrow down 4 boards that are less warped than the others.
Carry baby and 2 boards down to the cart.
Lock baby in cart and position 2 boards on side of cart.
Relieve shoulder of purse since it would look bad that you kept your purse with you but left the baby in cart.
Climb steps for last 2 boards and position them on opposite side of cart.
Walk to front of store with 5' of wood on both sides flaming behind your cart like a race car.
Ignore stares and the natural impulse to speed.

Thankfully, the Windows-and-Doors-counter-guy had been capable of putting my 24" right swing prehung door on a cart and pushing it to the front of the store. It was waiting for me with ample room for my 4 - 8' long boards.

I had to finish up at the electrical counter and then on to the service desk before I could check out. Funny thing is, the installation kits I originally came in for were out of stock. How convenient!

A kind wall-coverings lady helped me improvise on the needed ingredients and I was soon set to go. I ended up saving about half the money we had spent on the original installation kits since we improvised and ended up with something more cost effective. That at least paid for my gas to make a special trip into town, thanks to the incompetant delivery guys and I felt like the classic Proverbs 31 women, like one of my friends who always seems capable of being since she knows how to shop at CVS.

Anyway, I paid for my purchases and watched a capable young man load my van with a large door and 4 long pieces of lumber. I couldn't see out half of my windows or out the rear-view mirror but at least my tail gate could close. And I could sit in my seat without bumping my head on large wooden objects.

Since it was long past supper time and Alex's shouts for "mom" were taking on a I'm-hungry-and-starving-and-near-death sound, I picked up a snack for him. He commenced to fake choking on it most of the way home. At least he wasn't screaming for food though, for which I was relieved.

My industrious husband made my effort worth it. By the time we went to bed at 2 am that night, the door had been hung, the installation kits had been implemented and the van had been unloaded. Plus, the room he was working in had all the trim installed that the four-year-old had painted earlier. It was a productive day.

And I felt right at home when within 30 minutes of resuming my stay-at-home position, my daring darling daughter had crushed egg shells on the kitchen floor because she liked the way they felt in her hands and she had also broken glass from a candle holder on the livingroom floor because she had scooped up a whole selection of such candles into a snow shovel and then dumped them, resulting into shards of broken glass.

There's nothing like sweeping and vacuuming your house and planning and making supper all within a 30 minute period. Since I can witness handle all three events at such short notice, I must indeed be a stay at home mom.


Cheri said...

I laughed all the way through, Courtney. =D I hope that someday if ever I'm married and have children, I'll be able to handle such things in the same positive way that you do!

Kate said...

I thought I was the only one who had strange Menards/Home Depot/Lowes excursions! Your story is proof that it's really not our fault, but the stores themselves!

pat ve said...

You should send the description of your shopping trip inside Menards to the company. It is appalling to go into a lumber yard or hardware store and not be able to find assistance. Maybe "stay at home moms" look or smell bad.

Jean said...

That lack of assistance in those types of stores is a regular occurrence in this city and it is twice as bad on a Sat. when the wife has to do the pick-ups believe me I've been there and done that.

You are getting very proficient at interpreting your son's vocabulary.

Jayne Otterson said...

Love your stories. Wish I (gramma) could help and be in on these adventures.

The Ansons said...

What a great story. I have lurked here a few times before and always feel blessed to know I am not the "only one out there". :) Do you ever notice after those treasured and anticipated outings you rarely get to make, that you end up hating driving, hating stores, and totally ready to be homebound again? Sometimes I wonder why I want to leave my home. I finally realized what I miss is sanity and I am not going to find that on a shopping trip.
Thanks for the laughs!

Anonymous said...

i like what alex said in the van.he is so cute! i love him so much!
love, tabitha