I awoke this morning to the faint smell of smoke. Naturally, this concerned me enough to wander around the house half dressed in the dark hours of the morning. It was 6:45 and John had already left, both girls had miraculously appeared in my bed, and the back door was wide open. What the hell? Arctic wind was whipping through the house, the fireplace was on, and, wait, was that the oven I heard turn on? Someone please tell me why John would choose this morning to try out the Self-Cleaning Feature on our oven. Based on the toxic fumes pluming from the kitchen, I'm guessing that the house should probably be vacated during this process. And oh, what luck, it's the coldest weather we've had all year, dumping rain and pitch F$!@#ing dark. I repeat, WHAT THE HELL?
John and I don't own a portable DVD player. In fact, I'm proud to say that we've completed a handful of 4 to 6 hour road trips and air flights, plus two kids, minus electronic devices (unless you count books on tape). And then today, Rome fell, pigs flew, and I watched a movie in my car. Let's rewind for a moment, shall we? I am an old pro at trotting behind the technology revolution. My parents showed me the way a long time ago. We were the last family on our street to get a VHS player. We grew up with one TV set in the entire house, not a cable box in site. When John and I wired for surround speakers in the living room of our current house, it was a big deal. When we finally agreed that our cramped living quarters didn't allow for a desktop computer, we waited over a year before we purchased a laptop. I pined after iPods for years, dropping subtle hints, clipping review articles, and finally asking outright for one last year, which resulted in another year of waiting. The floodgates opened after we bought the laptop, technology had us by the balls, we were hooked, and were soon the proud owners of an iPod, too. We bought the iPod that stores movies and pictures along with music. iTunes has us scrambling to keep up with our credit card bills since we opened an account there. It's like crack. Somebody help me to just say "No". Well, before I knew it I had purchased a movie and !Voila!, it appeared on the iPod. I swear the thing is possessed. One day it's going to get up and make itself breakfast, shoot red laser lights around the room and then whoosh my family away in it's iPod space car to a great big apple in the sky. Which brings me back to where I began, the day Rome fell. It was one of those days I like to refer to as, "Mommy Monday", when nothing goes right. Running a few errands turns into bathroom trips, tantrums, diaper blowouts, and then the inevitable moment when you get both kids strapped into their car seats and Ana is screaming at the top of her lungs. If she could speak it would sound like, "I'm ssssttttttaaaaaaaarrrrrvvvvvviinngggggg!" So, I pause before turning the key in the ignition and ask myself, will this moment lead to therapy? Mine, or hers? I decide against carrying on, and intelligently avoid the next 10 minutes, barrelling down the highway at dangerous speeds to the wailing of not just one, but both kids screaming in harmony at pitches only a mother's ear detects. I put the keys down and step out of the vehicle. I am aware of the people staring at me when I pause outside the car. The doors are closed, the earsplitting screams slightly muffled, the car is swaying to Shelby's silhouetted tantrum behind the tinted glass. I actually think about walking across the parking lot to the coffee shop. I wouldn't be too long. STOP. Deep breath, open the door and feed that screaming child. Fast forward. Ana is calming herself to the rhythmic sucking of milk, and Shelby has climbed into the front seat and is mauling the iPod in it's tuning cradle. The light goes on. An idea! Before I know it, Alice in Wonderland is playing on the tiny screen on my dashboard, ear buds have found their way into Shelby's ears, and the only sound I hear is the distant flap of little wings as a flock of fat pigs takes flight in the parking lot.
I admit it, I shopped at Wal-Mart. Yes, I've read the book, I've theorized the union issues, I've traversed the globe for alternative bargain options. But, yesterday I shopped at Wal-Mart and liked it. Did you know that you can buy Fat Tire beer for $7 a six pack there? I also bought an entire cart load of completely out of season plants for less than twenty dollars! Because the main basket of my cart was already filled with the blooming garden from last fall, I made my purchases and loaded the beer on that bottom shelf of my cart. Who invented those stupid things? Where are the sides to keep all your shit from rolling off? Well, I never asked that question myself until yesterday. Let me paint the scene for you: It was a dark and rainy afternoon. The baby's car seat was "precariously balanced" atop the cart (once, again, when will I learn?). Plants on top, beer on bottom. We rolled out the double doors and onto the course blacktop, Ana jiggling along in her seat when I heard the first beer bottle hit the ground. The cap had already blown before I could rescue it from its kamikaze mission with the curb. One... bottle of beer on the floor. I saw the second one roll off that F%$&*!ing bottom shelf in time to watch it bounce off the cart wheel (yep, and that's what it did next, a cart wheel into a hundred pieces). Damn it. What is it with beer and babies lately?
A midnight rendezvous in cyberspace with a fellow mommy colleague in New Zealand has left me facing my day after only 3 interrupted hours of sleep. I-Need-Coffeeeeeeeee. And tell me why it is that the minute the words, "Mommy doesn't feel good" crosses my lips my toddler becomes 14 times more needy and talkative. I'm feeling a little like a pirate in pajamas, "Aarrggh, matey. My good eye be me guide while the other gets some sleep. Shiver me timbers, I've a 3 foot parrot squawkin away in me ear!"