Sometimes It’s Louder When the Door’s Closed

It’s week 2 of our collective summer vacation, and already I’m feeling like a rabid squirrel with Alzheimer’s. The last week has been filled with no uncertain degree of unintended chaos as we welcomed two more teenagers to the house and I watched the refrigerator go from full to empty in less than 36 hours.  Seriously, I don’t know how you people with multiple boys are doing it.  Ya’ll know how much I love going to the grocery store, which I have admitted to visiting no less than 3 times a week.  I could have gone every day last week.  By the end of this week, we will have gone through 2 watermelons, 2 pineapples, 3 cantaloupes, 2 bunches of bananas, 4 loaves of bread, and one box of super-sized Special K.  There’s more, but I can’t remember it all … just like when I get up from my chair to get something in my bedroom and by the time I get to the hallway I’ve already forgotten what it was.

For five solid days I’ve been wandering aimlessly around my house trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing.  It’s not pretty, particularly when one forgets she has house guests and wanders into the kitchen in her underwear to make the morning coffee. (Okay, so that didn’t really happen, but it could.)  My own children have been getting on remarkably well – almost frighteningly so – and I’m constantly bracing myself for the lightning which often precedes the thunder, a level of anxiety seemingly impervious to prescription medication.

My 10-year-old is bored.  Already.  Yet, she has managed to make an entire batch of chocolate chip cookies by herself (all of which she gave to her father last weekend, though she gave a box of them to my dad that mysteriously disappeared before he left our house), cleaned her room, played Grand Theft Auto with her brother (yes, I’m that mother, but in my defense she’s only driving the cars and her recent adoption of the teenage eye roll has me forgetting just how old she is), and engaged nephew #2 in a screeching cat-and-mouse chase through the house that left my soul trying unsuccessfully to jump through my skin. 

Yesterday, she bathed the cat.  And, since this was his first since the flea infestation of 2012, I’d have given up all my Hershey bars to watch that go down had I known she herself wasn’t showering.  He disappeared after that until 3 a.m. this morning when I was up checking blood sugars.

If boredom existed in myworld, I’d have no fodder for this blog mill.  I’ve managed to clear off the kitchen table (aka, my work station) of all but the essentials, but still things collect here and I have no idea how it happens.  Kind of like kitchen counters, which are wiped clean after dinner but by daybreak are littered with any manner of items.  It’s like the kitchen plays practical jokes on me – and has included the dishwasher in the game because on any given day I push the buttons on it no less than a dozen times before it will run.  Todd comes in, pushes it once, and it’s on.  I know I’m not crazy.  And, because in my world all things come in threes, I’m waiting for it to commit to the appliance mutiny that began on Friday.

Todd had meetings on Friday and so was gone until 5.  Meanwhile, the kids got picked up here at 4:30 because Owen has football practice at 5:30 and I had to leave for work.  I go downstairs to the laundry for something and there’s water all. Over. The. Floor.  I’m assuming it’s from the washer, which we had previously determined had a cracked barrel (which, really, is no surprise seeing as it sounds like a 747 landing when it spins out).  I calmly mentioned it to nephew #1 who I thought had done wash and when he said he hadn’t I ran back downstairs and opened the door to the water heater closet and there’s water. Pouring. Out. of. It.  Here was my chance to again prove how fucking clueless I am about the inner workings of the house (well, at least I knew where the water heater was) as I’m turning valves to shut the water off and it’s. Not. Working.  So I dash through the tide that is now my laundry room floor to find a main valve.  It worked!  And then I called Todd on his way home and told him to HURRY UP.

Anyhow, I go to work Friday and Saturday and $1000 later Todd replaces a water heater AND a washing machine. Meanwhile, my dad gets the flu (the flu, in June) and he will not be attending our Father’s Day dinner at the restaurant with the in –laws.  And all weekend it’s been 100 degrees.  Well, not really, but with this humidity I’m sure it could be measured somewhere.  You know it’s bad when you need to carry a full change of clothes for work later (full = underwear and bra).

I cleaned out one of our guestrooms downstairs which I had filled a mile high with Christmas boxes and old baby stuff (crib, stroller, play yard, high chair) I can’t bear to part with, other boxes of memorabilia, and totes full of Legos Owen purged last year.  It was an all-day affair that I think made Todd nervous since I just moved it all into the other unused guestroom downstairs.  He gently announced that “we” must find a place to store all this stuff and “we”know that means me since I’m the crazy one who worries over where is the best place to store it.  Nevertheless, I purged the first room of 3 large cardboard boxes filled with cardboard boxes – including shoe boxes because doesn’t everyone save empty shoe boxes for some unknown craft project we haven’t discovered yet?  (I saved a couple, just in case I try out that one I saved to Pinterest.)  And two monster trash bags filled and waiting to be picked up today.

Yesterday I dove into guestroom #1 where nephew #1 was holed up playing this video game that must be really exciting because every few minutes there erupts this whoop or holler and there’s something about scarlet witches and mutants and I would really like a closer look myself since this week I would really like to try out a new identity. I painted the walls a softer shade of blue and cleaned the ceiling fan, wiped the windows clean, and washed the floor.  Owen and Ava were playing Call of Duty (yes – because all 10-year-old girls should know how to fire an automatic weapon) until they got bored and started bickering, and then nephew closes the door against the noise.  At some point they decide it would be fun to shove Ava across the floor on the leather ottoman (it has wheels) so that she’s careening the length of our rec room at breakneck speeds and crashing into stuff.  Nephew observes that it’s actually louder with the door closed, and I agreed and wondered if it was too early to start drinking.

Meanwhile, back at the trash cans, all three cans are filled to the brim with garbage and recycling, and last night Owen and I carried out the last two items:  a cardboard box, and a baby carrier.  I know it’s silly, but I have long held onto the belief that there might be one more… but more than that, I’ve been holding onto that first baby I held in my arms.  I carried that baby boy out of the hospital in this carrier, and last night he walked beside me as I carried the empty car seat out of the house for the last time, and placed it gently on top of the trash can.  As I turned to walk back to the house, I stared at his back in front of me – this 5 foot 8 inch boy whom I have loved more deeply than I have ever loved anything – and the tears filled my eyes until they silently spilled over.  He turned around and then suddenly he was wrapping his arms around me and holding me close like he meant it, like he remembered those early days where we stared into each other’s eyes with hope and love.

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