Thursday, December 03, 2009

It's Thursday

It's 5:00 am when the alarm sounds and the dread of waking sets in. It was after midnight when I finally got to bed. I get up that early (mostly) every day to get the Mister off to work. Actually to send him off to sit in DC traffic before he gets to work. I'm such a good wife. I pack his lunch and supper, he's gone nearly 15 hours every day, make him a take along breakfast with coffee and sort him out before he leaves by 6:00 am. Generally it's an easy routine. I know what you are thinking. Why would a lovely lady like myself who adores getting a good night's sleep wake up this early every week day to do all this for the Mister? Because if I don't he panics by being absentminded. He'll forget his food. He'll forget his phone. He'll forget his wallet, or office keys, or train ticket, or computer, or clean underwear for after his workout, or a coat, or an umbrella, or even the very breakfast he made himself. It's always something and typically in pairs. And never anything inconsequential. It would be his phone and wallet. Or maybe the keys to the car as he locks himself out of the house only to ring the doorbell waking me and the children up in his panicked calling for help.

I wake up with him so that even on days when he's rushed there is a least a wave of calm. I set everything on the counter for him, lined up ready to go. The biggest part of my job is to make sure he actually takes all that stuff with him. Today I failed, he forgot his phone. But he'll live. See last night about 9pm he calls me to give me heads up on a big meeting he has for today. He needs to have a suit and shirt ironed and ready to wear for today. By 9pm I am officially off duty from household tasks. I clock out after the supper dishes are finished. He insisted that I set out the charcoal gray suit he wore to church recently and that it was still hanging on the closet door. I assessed the suit determined that it was in fine condition, not needing any major ironing, and went on the search for a shirt. There is a major problem with the Mister and his shirts. Nearly everyone has a stain or something on them, all wounds from his sloppy eating habits, which makes dressing him up quite a task. I found a nice shirt which I ironed before we left for Thanksgiving which meant I didn't have any more work to do. The point: when he came down this morning I noticed that the pants he was wearing were not the suit's matching pants but just plain black. Hardly noticeable. Have I mentioned that my other job is to make sure he is wearing clothes that match and are not dirty or stained? Well it is and that's when I notice things. In a panic he emptied his pockets and made a dash for upstairs to find the proper pants. Since he emptied his pockets leaving a trail of items I missed where he placed his phone. It wasn't until I was leaving to walk the girls to school when I found it next to the nativity scene on our hall table. It was buried in the "snow" unnoticed. There goes another long day for him without the comfort of his phone. I'll be told in full detail tonight how bored he was driving home in silence not being able to chat his way home. Tragic, I tell you.

With the remaining 2 hours of time to myself before the girls wake I try to get laundry done or some other little quiet task. Often I read. I prefer doing about a load of laundry a day over saving it all for one day. This seems to keep me from being overwhelmed with folding and putting away so much at once. I don't like putting away laundry so when I end up making it a one day event that clean laundry ends up sitting there in baskets until I need to use the baskets for dirty clothes. This morning was going as usual. I had breakfast got to read 2 chapters in my novel and then went to get ready for the day. Most days the girls eat cereal for breakfast or leftover pancakes. I assumed today was that sort of day. I was wrong. Before my shower I woke a sleepy Olivia setting out her clothes for the day. I reminded her to get dressed and pack a snack and put her homework in her folder and get her backpack ready to go. It was a little after 7:30am so I had plenty of time to get ready and not be rushed.

That did not quite go as planned. Whereas Leah is up and dressed by 7:30am and right on task with eating and putting her backpack together, my Olivia is still considering waking up. Also I think Olivia reviewed my clothing choices, making certain the proper underwear and socks were selected, because all the cool girls have everything coordinated. She spent quite some time in her room doing other things. Likely writing a book which she has been so very fond of doing these last few weeks of fall. As a result of her constant distractions she finds her way to my room at 8:30am requesting an egg sandwich for breakfast. Which is not atypical for her. She loves that for breakfast and will wait for me to make one for her. Then I ask about the status of her backpack. Nothing done. I ask about lunch. She's not sure if she will pack but since it's chicken sandwich day I assume like always she'll buy. It was then that my panic set in. 15 minutes is not a lot of time when you're dealing with a dreamy 7 year old and a logical conversational 9 year old. Between brushing hair and making breakfast the incessant questions from Leah nearly made my brain leak out of my ears. She has so much she wants to learn and I hardly have the mental capacity to answer her properly when I am having a very trying morning keeping her dreamy happy go lucky sister on track. There I was rushing around the kitchen frantically making breakfast and putting together her hair, mentally reviewing my own to-do list all while trying to keep us on track. We can't be late to school because I don't like to get those stupid "you can't get your kid to school on time you loser parent" letters. That's when I see the 4th grade project sheet on the counter. With dates on it. Due dates that have passed. Days ago passed. I interrogate Leah and make it clear that presenting me with a project that needs to be done yet is days overdue is not cool. I instruct her to come up with some ideas so that after school she can get it done and have something to turn in before it is too late for any points. I tell myself I love homework.

Finally when all was going as planned and I was feeling like we were going to be on our way without any more problems Olivia mentions she needs to pack her lunch. It was 8:45am and they have to be at school by 9am. Walking them there on a good day can take 5 minutes but today it would clearly be longer. I quickly packed her lunch as I barked orders: stop rolling around on the floor, finish eating, get on shoes, put on a jacket, pack your bag, eat your breakfast and get a snack. Leah was all ready to go leaning against the back door watching this circus unfold in the kitchen. Just as I was going to grab Olivia's lunch to put it in her bag I saw her sifting through it, trying to make sure it was good enough. And if it wasn't she had plans to add other things. I nearly lost my mind. It was 8:53am and she had to make sure I put the good potato chips in her lunch! I snatched the lunch and its contents away from her shoved it all in its bag and crammed that all in her backpack. I forced her backpack on her while pushing her toward the door. On our way to school I informed her of the being late to school lunch packing etiquette. Which is basically you get what you get and you don't throw a fit. In Olivia fashion she shrugged it off and skipped on ahead.

Somehow they made it there on time. I felt like I ran a race and needed to lie down. My poor brain is fried and now I have hours of cataloging ahead of me yet somehow I must maintain my stamina. Some days are tests of endurance in ways I prefer not to revisit.

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