Things About My Life Right Now

I am going to work in three hours. It's 9:17 PM. You do the math. But somebody offered me good money to go to work at midnight, and far be it from me to shun the almighty dollar. I should be sleeping right now. But I have been trying to put the kids in bed and they think I am nuts for insisting that Everyone Go To Bed Early two nights in a row.

But that's how it is with teenagers. They all have opinions. They think they know stuff. Like when is a good time to go to bed. And they all want to hang out and watch TV shows with me. When clearly it is MY time to be by myself with my TV shows. When did they stop being 8 years old with early bedtimes and no viable opinions? And when did I start buying cars and iPhones and grown-up things for MY KIDS? Something is terribly wrong with this picture. How can a person who can't grow up possibly raise grown up children? It just doesn't work. Already I am playing out in my head the scenarios where I take my kids out to dinner, like my parents take me out, and they insist on paying. But here I am thinking - wow - now that their 18 I don't have to pay any more, right? Wrong. You never stop being a parent. Not ever. No matter how old and/or irresponsible your children get. My parents could speak to that one.

As one would expect, in a household of girls, and mostly teenagers, a day rarely goes by that isn't fraught with emotional turmoil and several crises of massive proportions, like a misplaced aqua flat, or someone having someone else's favorite shirt in their drawer, or somebody listening to headphones Way Too Loud. And always, of course, Doing It On Purpose.

A few weeks ago, on a particularly emotionally charged day, which may or may not have been a day when I Sincerely Wanted To Put My Children Up For Adoption, my sister went somewhere fun without me, maybe a thrift store or a yard sale, I am not sure, and she found a couple of adorable vintage tablecloths. Knowing that I was having a bad day, and knowing that she possessed one of the Only Known Cures for a bad day (i.e a vintage table cloth), she delivered it to my house post haste.

The thing about a vintage table cloth is that when you put it on a table, no matter how battered or ugly or even dirty the table is, suddenly All Is Right in the world around that table. There is happiness and joy and order. People smile. Because how can you not smile around a vintage table cloth? Maybe it's because it represents a better time, when priorities had to do with things bigger than missing shoes and noisy earbuds. Maybe it's because it ties us back to growing up and all of the people we love and the values that we adhere to. Maybe it's because all of the merry color overpowers the gloom of selfish fits and petty arguments. Or maybe it's just that it functions like a bandaid to cover the ugliness of day to day junk.

I could use a bandaid today. To cover a whole lot of fail. As a mom, as a person - a bright little tablecloth might have helped. Except it's lost. Somehow it got put away somewhere Very Safe, where no one will probably ever find it again. No bandaids for me. Just have to go on with all of my ugly showing. I guess that's why they make wine. So at least I won't notice so much. And dogs, who love you unconditionally, even when you are a jerk. Teenagers tend to tell you when you're being a jerk. And apparently I am being a jerk a lot of the time, because they tell me so. But not the dogs. Or the wine. They both treat me with unconditional devotion and care. Until I find the tablecloth, I guess that will have to do.

Things About Sundays

Here it is, Sunday afternoon once again. Somehow it works out to be my day off more often than not, which shouldn't be surprising since there is no school (hence no work) and the restaurant is closed for dinner (again, hence no work). But it always takes me by surprise that I have absolutely nowhere that I need to be. More surprising is the complete lack of children altogether from my house. It makes for an eerily quiet afternoon.

Last night after work, and a long Ambulance drive out to the boondocks for a nothing call, I went to bed with noble aspirations of Getting All Of The Things done today. But I woke up with even stronger aspirations of Staying In Bed All Day. Luckily, the latter hopes were dashed by a giant black hairy horse-like beast howling on my front porch. How he got onto my front porch and why he was howling still remain mysteries to me, but I let him in and decided to worry about it all later. We are having a 7+ day sleepover party with two of our best dog friends, Charlie and Stella. It's going really well, other than the grouchy words exchanged periodically between Truck, who thinks his only mission in life is to sleep on the stairway landing and say grouchy things to other dogs, and Charlie, who is much younger, bigger and more confused about his only mission in life, but feels certain it has something to do with sitting on top of my vintage record player to watch out the window for his people.

 Stella is a small hairy mop-like object who likes Dagny Very Much, and the feeling seems to be mutual. Their favorite pastime is fighting like two tiny Big Horn Rams, rared up on their back feet and punching and biting with tiny paws and teeth. Dagny is at a serious disadvantage in this activity, as A) her legs are much shorter and her punching distance reduced, and B) every mouthful of Stella she manages to grab is always primarily hair. She holds her own though, and this goes on for hours. Usually until Truck says something mean to both of them and they decide to take a nap on the back of the couch together. The other favorite thing for both of the visiting dogs to do involves foraging for unknown and as yet, unlocated treasures in the flower bed outside and then bringing half of said flower bed into the house to show off. Other than Penny, who is too fat to jump over the flower bed edging, the other dogs are totally unimpressed. As though they have already found ALL of the treasures to be had in that flower bed, so who really cares. Stella is so proud of her dirt acquisitions, that as soon as I swept up two cups of dried mud and at least one Pekingese worth of dog hair in the living room, she had to run through it three times to keep some souvenirs. Truck gave her a dirty look and continued to shed actively on the couch. Dagny successfully taught Stella that unwashable Pendleton Wool blankets are the best ones for getting mud off of ones paws, as well as sticking unwanted fur to. They have had a good time redecorating my Acadia National Park Blanket, which is foolishly made of black wool. I am pretty sure I am ready to give up this fight until next spring, when all of the dogs will be banished to the outside. (famous and false last words)

In addition to this endless entertainment, I am absolutely transfixed by a mountain of clean laundry facing me on the other couch. I am sure you think that I exaggerate when I say mountain, but seriously. Ten loads of laundry barely fit on the full sized couch, piled at least 4 feet from the seat. It is a veritable mountain. One that requires folding. And sorting. This particular mountain however, is cause for celebration, since 48 hours ago, every single stitch of clothing was piled on the floor in "Aspen's room" which is the space of the house where all family members throw anything they don't want, don't claim or don't know what to do with, and then protest loudly about the youngest child's messiness. Some well meaning friends of sisters came in and "cleaned" "Aspen's room" which resulted in ten load of laundry consisting of every costume piece, long missing bath towel, matched pair of socks and rejected hand me down that has ever existed here. I am waiting until the kids get home tonight to fold and sort the mountain, which is the best excuse I can find to avoid doing it right now.

Sunday might be my favorite day, if I had TV to watch football on. And friends to drink beer with. But this weekend they all abandoned me. As if I were nothing to them. So for all I know the Broncos could be losing a tremendous battle with the NY Jets and I am not there to strengthen their morale. Instead, I am avoiding eye contact with a mountain of laundry and a very muddy black horse-like creature who is pretty sure he wants to sit in my lap. My only escape is in the kitchen, cleaning out a refrigerator that tells the sad tale of a mother never home at dinner. It is time for the weekly ritual of throwing away fruit fly infested apple crisp, moldy corn bread, vegetable soup that NO ONE will eat, and all of the remaining scraps of top ramen and macaroni and cheese that seem to be the only edible thing in the house if I am not cooking. I need to sponsor some starving children somewhere to compensate for all of this waste. It really irks me. Apparently I need to leave detailed notes telling the children to EAT THE CORN BREAD that was once moist and delicious. I guess it doesn't go well with top ramen and olives right out of the can. The one piece of chocolate raspberry truffle cake that accidentally came home with the groceries the other night will need to be dealt with as well. To avoid future temptation. I guess since it's Sunday it's up to me to do it.

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