Saturday, October 31, 2009

When a Friend in Labor, Piano Tuning, Kittens and Evening Plans Collide

Do you have any idea how many times I've come to just to blog something and all I do is type in a fury and then delete it? Or I stare at the screen and wonder what kind of life people must have before they're entitled to having something to blog about? And then there's the time I stare at the very blank blog screen and line it up to match perfectly with my very blank brain. I've learned that as honest and open as that may seem, that blank screen doesn't produce a blog post either.

My days are busy and full but not much worth mentioning in a blog post. At times, the day's happenings seem almost too crazy to blog about. Anyone in their right mind would read what I'd say and go, "Wow, she has issues." And believe me, I do have issues.

Like the evening my husband came home from work and said, "Hey, let's go out for supper tonight." And I happily said, "Sure! Great idea!"

But then I had to finish up the closet organization project that was all over our bed while dealing with the allergy attack the cleaning had given me.

And I also had to finalize things with the blind piano tuner guy that was sitting at the piano, making out-of-key "dah-dah-dum" sounds over in his corner with the piano.

Plus, a lady was coming to look at 2 of our kittens and before she could see them, I needed to extract the kittens from their hard-to-reach corner in the garage and make sure they didn't look like orphaned kittens or anything.

Meanwhile, friends had brought the piano-tuner-guy over and we were thinking of working out supper details with them for the evening.

On top of it all, a friend of mine overdue to have her baby was having contractions. I had offered to watch their other child for the delivery so I was pretty much on-call for babysitting.

So, I squared away the kittens. Got in touch with my laboring friend just in time to hear her say, "Yuck. My water is breaking." And then showed the blind piano-tuner-guy to the bathroom.

Realizing the imminent reality of birth just around the corner for our friend, my husband came up with plan B.

I would stay home with Alex.
He would take the older two kids to town to get the errands done.
I would call our friends to cancel supper plans.
He would take the truck so I'd have a vehicle to go get my laboring-friend's child.
I would stay home long enough to pay the piano-tuner-guy and make sure his ride came.
The kitten lady would come to pick out her kittens.
I would go pick up laboring-friends' child.

Now, does any of the above make sense? In the 2 hours the above entire post took place in, it made no more sense than it does to you on paper. (Or computer screen, however you want to look at it.)

That was my evening.

Except the highlight happened when less than 2 hours after I picked up laboring-friend's child, I heard my no-longer-in-labor friend's bright and cheery voice on the other end of the phone say, "We have a little girl." Her voice, her chipperness and her tone made me think her evening had been far more relaxing than mine.

So maybe the next time we decide to have a quiet evening together, I'll just go in labor and have a baby.

(Now you believe me when I say I have issues, don't you?)

Monday, October 12, 2009

On Stoves, Perspectives and Kids

Today I want to focus on the "usual" and "predictable" things of mothering that we often try to overlook. We mistake them for "abnormal" and "shocking."

Take for instance when you get all the laundry done only to turn around 5 hours later to find the hamper stock full again. (You had to see that coming.)

Or you no longer finish preparing and cleaning up one meal only to turn around and make another. (Seriously, that is SO normal, why did you expect something else?)

How about when you no sooner get all the clean sheets on the bed and your entire quiver of children ends up needing clean sheets the next morning because of circumstances beyond your their control. (Just a little tip: getting all the bed's changed at once, will jinx your laundry life.)

If you think I'm complaining, you need to get your brain checked. I'm NOT complaining; I'm simply stating facts of motherhood that come and go with the changing of seasons (and seasons can be as long as 9 months to as short as 30 seconds.)

Like the day Alex swallowed 12 chewable acidophulus pills. Try googling "acidophulus overdose in child." Actually, never mind: don't waste your time because no known side effects have been documented because basically, this has NEVER happened before. (It'll make you feel like your child may have a strange and unheard of disease with no cure because no one has researched it because no one has ever over-exposed themselves to acidophulus.)

Or the day all three kids were found playing with a dead four-foot-long bull snake. While eating crackers. (Don't worry -- they all had rubber gloves on.)

Or the time I found the piano had been covered in chalk. (Yes, the piano: NOT the sidewalk.)

I love the entire world of mothering... don't get me wrong. It's just that some things in life (like blogging) tend to not only take the back burner, they often get pushed right off the stove.

Which reminds me of the day I cleaned out the fridge and set the old food on the stove (my only "counter space" next to the fridge and on that side of the kitchen, for that matter.) Lo and behold, one of the containers of old food got pushed off the stove where it popped open and spilled between the stove and fridge.

Now, this just happened to be THE day I was getting ready for THE company of the year to come and voila! I had the chance of a lifetime to scrub and clean and sterilize all the unknown and unseen space behind, between, underneath and around the stove and fridge.

It was spic and span when I was done and it inspired me to do something novel. Like make supper. After I happily pushed the stove back in place and admired the top of the fridge that was now dusted off and clean (if you clean UNDER the stove, it's only natural you'd clean the TOP of the fridge too), I turned the stove to "ON." It seemed like a logical action since I was intending on cooking supper WITH the stove.

Suddenly, I was thrust right back into the stone ages. Where electricity was unheard of. Where suppers (did they call them that?) were cooked over an open fire outside. Where people lived in caves.

The stove had NO power.

"Weird," I thought, "So much for a clean stove that works..."

I pulled the stove back out again, admired the clean and dust free floor and tenderly caressed the side of the stove that was free of grime for the first time since it was manufactured. None of that seemed to effect the amount of power that attempted to circuit it's way to the "ON" setting on my stove.

So, I wiggled the gigantic-if-you-handle-it-wrong-you-will-get-shocked-cord and checked to see if the stove turned on.


I thought about unplugging the cord from the socket but considering the back of the stove was plastered with, "WARNING: DO NOT DISCONNECT UNTIL POWER SOURCE IS SHUT OFF," I assumed I probably shouldn't disconnect it. The risk was electric shock and/or death. The electric shock didn't scare me as much as the death part did but I didn't know how I could just experience the electric shock without exposing myself to possible death. "At least I'd die knowing the underneath of my stove wasn't left for someone else to clean," I thought to myself. But I pushed the stove back and wondered if it was true that my stove could only work as long as it sat on an inch-thick-carpet of dust.

When my husband came home, he pulled the stove out again. He wiggled some things. Read a few labels. Asked me to give every detail on what happened to the stove. Then he pushed it back and told me to order pizza for supper.

The next day, we observed the stove in humble silence. By supper time, it still hadn't fixed itself so I made plans to do supper on the grill. Our grill has always been a reliable cooking source. I was thankful for the grill that day.

As it neared the time for company to arrive, the prepared food waited breathlessly to experience the warm thrill of the grill. I turned the gas setting to "ON" and turned the nobs to "ON" and pushed the start button "ON."

The south burner would not ignite. (This is Nebraska: there's no left or right. Only North, South, East and West.)

I tried again. And again. I shut the gas off in an attempt to reboot the entire contraption. Nothing. I wiggled some wires. Checked the "ON" button to make sure it was adequately connected. NOTHING. I took the whole grill apart. Checked for clogged connections. Nothing started that south burner.

I called for my dear husband. He came outside and looked the situation over and then lit the burner with a match. It worked. To this day, both North and South burners on the grill still work. And you can ignite them with the "ON" button, as it's made to be done.

After supper, my husband's brother checked the stove. Being the handyman this brother is in the electric department, he immediately detected the correct diagnosis of the stove. He gave me a play by play of what had happened the day before when the stove quit working. When I had pulled the stove out to clean it, I had stretched the wire too far. It became disconnected inside the outlet. He informed me that had I pulled it a little farther, there would've been an entertaining hue of sparks. The "DANGER: ELECTRIC SHOCK OR DEATH" warnings flashed in my mind.

The guys pushed the stove back, checked the stove for power and deemed the job complete. The stove worked. The stove was clean. And even the underneath of the stove was clean.

And to this day, the stove still works.

What I'm getting at is the fact that when "normal" and "easy to handle" things happen in our day, mothers should learn to recognize those things as rare and almost unheard of. But when things break or children come running with blood dripping off their fingers or you find the entire contents of the cereal bag on the floor or you stumble upon well lotioned up kids that are supposed to be getting ready for naps, don't panic. Those "disliked" and "unnecessary" occurrences are THE normal.

Like I've said before, it's all a matter of perspective.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

When Life Overtakes Blogging

I like writing. It's the untainted expression of what I think without distraction. And since this is my blog, I have no qualms about what I publish here.

At least that's how I feel.

But, so often I find the need to save lives to be of greater importance to blogging so... as you faithful readers (all three of you) know, my blog is neglected.

Then there's the times when I think about blogging but then I remember my list of stuff to do.

*Vacuum chocolate sprinkles that Two-Year-Old embedded in the carpet.

*Sweep up hot chocolate mix from the pantry floor.

*Locate missing Bosch part.

*Locate missing bread machine part.

*Peroxide up fresh stains on dining room floor (and try not to think about the dining room having carpet in the first place).

*Check clothes hamper for mold.

*Abolish the fragrant smell coming from bathroom.

*Pluck out popcorn kernels from carpet.

*Admire Observe the scene of Lego's peppering the boys room.

*Harvest worms Clean out guinea pigs' cages.

And the list goes on.

About the time I think I'm finally getting a handle on this whole "mothering" thing, I'll wind up shocking myself and saying things like...

"Stop doing that: you're putting holes in the wall."

"You should never put your hand on your plate when someone is putting food on it."

"Don't put that plate on your head: it's Fine China."

"Alex, do you want a time out?" (I'm not a 'time out' kind of mom.)

"If you don't stop crying right now, you WILL get out of the van and we WILL leave without you."

"No, Daddy does not know how to drive a train."

"Never put ink on your lips again. Especially red ink."

"Stop putting stuff in the melted candles."

"No, she is not your mother; I am your mother and she is your sister."

"Never cut your brother's hair again."

"Look at that kid! He's flinging food on the wall."

"If you guys don't stop fighting, we will not do school today."

"How did all that salt end up on the table anyway?"

And other such anomalies.

Such are the occurrences that occur with the passing of time within (and without) our four walls. I love blogging. I love documenting thoughts, happenings, life, etc. But some days, it's just not feasible. Then again, without my sometimes unpredictable and over-interesting life, I would have nothing to blog about.

It's all a matter of perspective.