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.

1 comment:

pat ve said...

Yep! How come we get a perspective check when company is coming or any other inconvenient time?