Thursday, July 15, 2010

"The laundry moved. The LAUNDRY MOOOOOVED!!!!"

Summer time is here and that means 3/4 of our family has no schedule, no set bedtimes, nothing to do, nowhere to be and the concept of time has melted into one ambiguous lump like those creepy clock pictures by Salvador Dali.

I love it. My girls love it. My husband loves it for us, but we all feel horribly sorry for him that he still has to adhere to the rules of the real world when we do not.

Gabby who has a heart of gold says almost every morning, "Poor Daddy. Why does he have to go to work in the summer?". Bella, the realist, will reply almost every morning, gesturing frantically in the air, "Because he has a JOB, Gabby. He has to work for us so we can do all the fun stuff!" Rightfully said, my dear.

But life as we know might be ending. I have a real, honest to goodness INTERVIEW coming up. It's a part time dream job, so I'm actually really crossing my fingers to get it. I know I can do it while still continuing to be the happy over-caffeinated mom my family is used to. So last night I went for a mountain bike ride with Yeti Jen and then we went suit shopping. This is truly the blind leading the blind. We delighted in the fact that we had sweaty helmet heads and I still had elastic lines on my belly and legs from my shorts and here I was trying on a suit.

I have not tried on a suit in 10 years. I blatantly told this to the very kind sales woman who took us on as kind of a project. It worked. I found the perfect suit and now I just have to get my self ready in a happy way and not go all Annette Bening from American Beauty where she slaps herself for being so weak after doing an open house. "I will get this job today. I will get this job today."

Anyway. I get home late to find that our precious girls were having a sleep-over together in the basement, or "Horror Land" as they like to call it. As far as basements go, I think it's pretty sweet. It's finished, has plenty of room for two bike trainers, a treadmill and a partridge in a pear tree. As far as they are concerned, though, the balance ball is haunted and there's a creepy amount of spiders "and their babies who are waiting to eat us!".

Nonetheless, they made it all night. But this morning I awoke to the sound of baby elephants charging up the stairs...which is unfortunate since I tend to throw dirty clothes down the stairs and sometimes that makes for a treacherous run. I heard, running, giggling, screaming, then thuds, and more running. By the time they got to me, they were panting and Bella screamed in my sleepy ear "Horror land was scarier than ever!!!! THE LAUNDRY MOVED!! THE LAUNDRY MOOOOOOOOOOVED!!!!!"

"Yeah, Mama!," Gabby continued. "It chased us up the stairs!!! You should take care of it today! Wight now!!! Get up!!! Do that laundwy...and make us bweak-wast!"

My interview is tomorrow. I've got a full pot of coffee brewing because I have several things to do to get ready. But perhaps, I could throw in a load of laundry or two. Because even though we all giggled, I did peek down the stairs and I half-way believed them.

Friday, April 16, 2010

...As to Get the Prize

My grocery shopping skills have now officially been finely honed to an elevated art-form. Like most things in my life, this is out of necessity. The majority of my day goes something like this:

1. Ridiculously long "to-do" list.
2. A silly short amount of time in which to complete this list.
3. A debate in my head between my slothful angel and my over-achieving angel as to whether I'll finish or not.
4. The phrase crazily uttered aloud "Oh, I'll finish it alright. I have plenty of time."
5. A cup of coffee frantically made, spilled on my shirt and swallowed too hot to fuel my efforts in order to put the U.F.C. smack-down on my slothful angel.

Repeat steps 1-5 at least 3 times a day and viola (or "vi-oh-lah" as my daughter would say). There is my day.

Grocery shopping is usually squeezed into a window of 25 minutes. Enough for some, but not nearly enough for me. As mentioned in an earlier blog, I have my list organized by aisle/peripherals of the store and coupons stapled in order according to that list layered on the top left corner.

I have also learned to leave my cart and run for the item down one aisle and doing a mad sprint up the next back to abandoned cart to save time on wheeling the cumbersome beast to and fro. Occasionally I have dropped a can here or there and twice I've run into people--literally slamming my full body weight against someone with only a loaf of bread or a bag of 2% shredded Kroger brand Mexican cheese to cushion the blow. Most people just hear my flip-flops slip-slapping and they move to the side in horror.

I know all the "fast checkers" and which baggers can handle my frantic pace. I always compliment them on how fast they are as I'm wiping the sweat from my brow and unstapling my coupons. They always seem to want to get me out faster as if I have a fever of some sort. And perhaps I do. It's called, "You are gonna be super late to pick up your half-day Kindergartner, you slow, slothful, tortoise of a being."

Gabby gets out at 11:40. Today I did all sorts of things that I didn't necessarily have to do until 10:45 a.m. Setting myself up to lose, is apparently what I do best...I mean, in a way, it really does make me work smarter and faster. But the level of stress is just insurmountable at this point and somewhere between the grapes and the hummus, I often wonder to myself, "Is THIS really how normal people function?" the answer to that is always a resounding "No," in my case, but that's beside the point. Why not just take Gabby with me? Well, here's a quick why. She does great in the store. Really great. In fact, sometimes I get really creative and we play Grocery Bingo with homemade cards and all that jazz (slothful angel got pummeled that day). But mostly, I am painfully aware that this is my last few months with her as a morning Kindergartner. From here on out, she will be lost to full day school. We will not have our afternoons of lunch, playing out back, cozy reads, mid-afternoon hot cocoa/coffee dates, Go Fish-a-thons, park walks, bus-stop tree climbs, just the two of us, trying to make up for those first two years that our entire family ignored her because Bella talks all the time.

I just don't want to waste that time with her at the store.

Any way. Everything was going as planned until I spent more than my self-allotted time per section on the bars section. You know, Cliff bars, Kashi, Luna, etc. It's a science. Price, flavor, protein content. My five minutes turned into seven and before I knew it, I was doing the Homer Simpson squeal of fear and surprise as I glanced at my watch and saw that I hadn't even made it to the check out and it was 11:31.

At 11:33, I was trying my hardest to be a good listener to the bagger who was telling me about the blizzard of 06' when she worked at the Pepsi Center, AND Wendy's, but secretly my slothful angel was riding a unicycle around my head celebrating it's victory, tooting for some reason a clarinet. But still. I knew it took only 5 minutes if I hit every green light (which of course I WOULD) to get to Gabby's school. If I could do my trademark full-cart sprint out the store to my car, I could still make it work. I grabbed my receipt muttered a thanks and had just started to get my cart a really rocking, when it happened.

A 90 year old woman in a motorized wheeled cart moseyed out right. In. Front. Of. Me. Right in the middle of the aisle that surely is big enough to stay on the right and get passed on the left by people like me...moms mostly. Hmmmm. Just like a bike path. But there she was, right in the middle. My end of the game hail Mary shot had just been deflected. Three minutes. It took three minutes to go from one end of the check-out stands to the front door. Her hand was not all that steady and it kept slipping off the go button. So here I was tailgating a 90 year old woman in her motorized grocery cart and several times I almost rear-ended her.

Up ahead now at 11:38, I can see the opening to the store. I try to nonchalantly whip around her and gather up my full speed again, only to almost run into the assist-a-ride Arvada bus that she was destined for. As I bank a hard left to get around the back corner, I catch just out of the corner of my eye, a car that was crossing behind the bus--the car that would undoubtedly hit me, run me over and bring my untimely, inpatient death. I come to a screeching halt--almost forcing my sweet 90 year old friend to rear-end me (ironic, isn't it?) and there go my bagels and bananas that are stacked precariously on top of a bag. Off the side, rolling...under the bus. Then I hear a familiar voice.

"Nice, Macarelli. Real nice."

It was my friend Michele and her 4 1/2 year old daughter heading into the store--they had been witness to it all.

I didn't even really have time to justify my actions.

"I...uh (scramble for the bagels, grope for the now mushy bananas destined for banana bread)...can't (pant, pant) gotta get...Gabby!" I wave frantically in the air back at them, throw the groceries in the back, run the cart back around the bus at the entrance, see my old friend scowl at me from the motorized lift. "Sorry! Have a nice day!" (pant, pant,)

I test our Subaru's all wheel drive on the way to the school and believe it or not, roll into the parking lot, groceries spilling all across the back, at 11:41. I race up and Gabby comes running to meet me happy as a clam.

"Honey. I'm sorry I'm late."
"You're not late, Mama. (wrinkles up her freckled nose like it's gross to even think about) Let's play." She drops her back pack, smiles at me and heads off to the monkey bars.

I drop onto the grass, like I just finished a race (and let's be honest, I did) and then I see it. Coffee stains all down the front of my shirt. I have no idea how long they have been there. Did I get them at breakfast? Did I have them at the bus-stop? The grocery store? Or did I chug from my travel mug while I was driving 75 mph in a 25 mph zone without even being aware of my actions? I decided it didn't matter. Because I did it. I finished it. I got there. And now she and I had the WHOLE afternoon to be together. Do most people my age literally race a 90 year old in a motorized cart? Probably not. But I needed to get that prize.

*1 Corinthians 9:24. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The "score of the century" Up and Dies a Fast Death

About a year and a half ago, my husband delighted in showing me "the score of the century"--which was an add in a magazine for a sort of coffee of the month club with the added bonus gift of a sleek, sexy looking chromified coffee maker. "Can a coffee maker look sexy?", you ask? Well, yes it can. I doubted the merits of this program, and worried about getting sucked in to paying inordinate amounts for crappy mail-order coffee when we can pay inordinate amounts for reasonably good coffee right here at our local store, but he insisted I was missing the point.

"No! You are missing the point. We only order the first batch to get the coffee maker and then I cancel our subscription. I already have the first possible day you can cancel marked on my calendar on my computer at work. Trust me."

I knew he undoubtedly DID have it marked on his calendar, but I still questioned the quality of the coffee maker we'd be getting. As it turned out, I was wrong. Sort of. For a year and a half, our pretty little honey did all we hoped and dreamed. What was more, my husband delighted in pointing out the same coffee maker at all of our friends' houses:

"See? Everyone who is intelligent has done the exact same, intelligent thing."

I loved to hear her chugging away in the morning. I loved her filters--even the efficient looking cone shape. I loved how easily I could fill the glass carafe without spilling it all over. I loved everything about her...until the day she just up and died.

Without warning one morning she just gave up her caffieneted ghost. No notes of goodbye or reasons WHY she was leaving us, she just did. Perhaps we just used and abused her too much and she aged too fast. Perhaps she was flawed to begin with and we ignored the warning signs. Whatever the reason, I awoke after a late night staying up doing laundry, packing lunches and finishing an all important Law and Order only to hear my husband calling up the stairs as he left for work, "Bye Honey. Oh...and I think the coffee makers broken."

I jumped up quick at this. "Wait. WHAT?"

"Yeah, I went to make coffee this morning and nothing happened. Okay, bye!"

As the door closed, I felt oddly abandoned. That entire conversation happened too fast. The death of a friend isn't usually dismissed so cavalierly. I had to investigate for myself.

Five minutes later after pressing buttons, unplugging and replugging, tapping, shaking, begging and pleading, there I was morosely stirring my International Mayan Chocolate Lover's instant Delight. Hmmm. "Delight" is a strong word. After drinking it, I knew why they were trying to subconsciously force my enchantment. Standing there in front of my friend's corpse, I felt accused and dirty.

"You left me no CHOICE!" I hissed to her. "No cho-o-o-oice!"

Three hours later I was feeling the affects of my withdrawal. I forget exactly what I had planned for the day but it was a LOT. There was some volunteering, some painting, some driving, I think we went to gymnastics, but I can't be sure. It was all a blur of sleepiness. I had no time to go get a NEW coffee maker which was what I wanted to immediately after I half-heartedly drank my International Mayan Chocolate Displeasure.

Aaron, on the other hand was feeling none the worse. He has access to copious amounts of coffee at work. I was actually contemplating where I could go to get some free coffee. Even going back to work now seemed a good possibility. "I'll bet the teacher's lounge at the girls' school has it. Perhaps I could just sneak...".

Believe it or not, three days later I finally brought the brand new baby home. After much research on Amazon, some coupon rustling and four phone calls to Aaron from Bed, Bath and Beyond, we found a replacement.

This time I've dubbed it a "he". I have yet to name him, but he is undoubtedly masculine and not nearly as a pretty on the eyes. Not even six-pack abs Men's Health magazine masculine. More like someone that comes over and breaks your plant-stand in two minutes by walking, masculine...and sort of hairy. Either way, I giggled as I walked into Bed, Bath and Beyond with my cup of coffee from the coffee shop. I'd held out so long and I just didn't see me making an educated decision without some positive, alert reinforcements.

So the next time your "score of the century" coffee maker goes out, don't feel bad about going through the drive through. I will never get those three days back. And although everyone around me treated me the same after, I can't shake the feeling that I may have done something inappropriate during my time of mourning and caffeine alienation.