When I get my water bill? I don't pay it right away. That's what everyone does. So boring. So expected. I like to just let it sit in a drawer. Let it fester. And then when it's due I just let it fester some more. Wait a bit. Prolong the anticipation of payment. I can picture the employees at the water company: Will she pay it today? Or tomorrow. Next week? I like to keep them guessing.
I played a game of chicken with them this go 'round. I got the phone call yesterday telling me it was due that night or they'd shut me off. Did I pull off the road first? You bet I didn't. I let it ride. Waited until this morning to go in.
The adventure took an unexpected and somewhat unfortunate twist though. I pulled up to the drive-thru payment window, only to find out I'd taken the game too far.
I no longer could utiilize the drive up service, I had to enter the facilities.
With all six kids. And our bare feet. I silently criticized my decision to not brush my hair or teeth. And as we walked through a bustling downtown looking like The Beverly Hillbillies? I tried to find comfort in the fact that I'd only paid the past due portion of my bill. Leaving more fun ahead for me and those wacky water company employees.
Keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times, folks. It's gonna be a wild ride.
Tonight a salesman (Jeremy) from the local phone book company came over to our house to discuss our yellow page ad. We discussed how big the ad would be and it's design. We talked about the price and exactly what was included for such a sum. We discovered that we would be able to have our ad run in two sections and that we'd most likely be first in each section. We learned that Jeremy - while drunk in Mexico during Spring Break - almost got a tattoo, but since he was afraid of making such a big decision while intoxicated, he decided to get his nipple pierced instead. What he didn't count on was that after the piercing was removed, that he'd have one nipple that was always erect - as big as a pencil eraser - and one that was normal. The only way to fix it was to get the other nipple pierced, then remove it and then at least they'd match.
Now, I'm no fancypants businesswoman, but I can say with reasonable certainty that the words, "nipple" and "erect" don't often come up in business meetings. Unless you're a doctor. Or Lactation Specialist. Or a builder.
I was ready to mark this as one of the most awkward stories I've ever had to sit silently through, when he said,
"I don't know why I said all that. I don't usually talk about my nipples. I've never actually told anyone that. I can't believe I said it was like an eraser".
Then? Then I started laughing until I was laying on my sofa, tears ruining my perfectly applied - even if a little too dark - eye makeup. He commented about how red he was and that just made me laugh more. The inappropriateness of his revelation was matched by my inappropriately long and involved hysterics.
I wanted to stop laughing, but the fact they'd both resumed the conversation normally as if I wasn't even in the room - and clearly, I was in the room -just kept fueling the scene.
He really was red. Poor red-faced, pointy-nippled Jeremy.
Last night, after putting all my kids to bed, I tucked myself into my own bed next to my deliciously foxy husband. I kissed him goodnight, grabbed all the blankets and holding them close to me, turned over and went to sleep.
See, I was sane when I went to sleep.
But when I woke up, I remembered how motherhood can make you feel like you're crazy. My husband was gone and in his place was my tiny-for-her-age, six-year-old daughter. I had that disoriented feeling you get when the phone rings while you're sleeping and in the moments while you're bringing the receiver to your head, you are dizzily asking yourself, "What am I supposed to do with this thing, again?".
I looked at the clock and realized I had overslept by an hour. An hour! I flailed my way out of bed and realized too late that my legs weren't on board with this decision. I realized this as I careened into the easel I have set up in my room. It made a racket.
That brought me to the fully awake state and I managed to work my legs again and I went running to the kids' rooms barking orders about getting up and getting ready and why did everyone pick today to sleep late??
But their rooms were empty. Beds made. Pajamas on the floor, as if they'd each been dematerialized where they stood. There's that disorientation again. Feeling a little like I'm crazy. Starting to wonder if it's Saturday.
I walk downstairs, finally awake enough to realize that my hair is outrageous and I had smeared yesterday's mascara enough to have created a convincing illusion of having been popped in the face by a Bad Guy.
I get downstairs and see all the kids - sitting at the table, ready for school and waiting for the oatmeal that dad made for them.
Sometimes, motherhood doesn't make you crazy. It makes you fall in love a little more.
Any disorientation I felt was gone when my youngest boy took a bite of the oatmeal and said, "Mom, I like your oatmeal better. Dad doesn't put any sugar in his."
There it is. Right back to earth. The kids are having a meal and Frank is complaining about his food. All is right in the world again.
I can only take the news in small doses. I watch with my fingers laced together, covering my eyes. I want to know but I'm afraid to.
It's silly. I'm silly. I'm afraid of earthquakes. Living in California, it's a valid concern. I was here during Loma Prieta. Which was smaller than the quake in Haiti and happened beneath much sturdier structures and with the benefit of wealth and privilege all around us. Just last week, we had some small ones and I froze on my bed. I was afraid if I moved at all, the bed would just fall through to the first floor. Irrational, I know.
But being scared of tiny tremors now - or even a full-blown shaking - seems sort of like complaining to a hungry guy about how tired I am of chicken.
If I were to picture me and Haiti being friends, Haiti would be the tough, cool dude and I'd be the little wimp walking three steps behind and trying my best to act like I wasn't three seconds from peeing my pants.
Everyone: Find a reputable organization and send all your money to them. Save some to buy groceries for your kids, but maybe you all eat a little less this week.
I won't be serious forever. I'll return to my normal blather just as soon as I can get some of these images out of my head.
I figured, if I could squeeze out six kids, run two home businesses (one of them our main source of support, pitiful as it may be), run a house that is approximately half the size that is appropriate for a family of 8 and still have people come over and say, "It's so clean! And quiet! Not at all like I thought it would be!", provide the brood with three squares a day and kiss them on their clean faces before I tuck them in at night and all the while keep my hair looking fabulous - I can start a little blog.
This is me: I am the mom who can look into a cupboard that most would say has nothing in it and pull enough things out to make a decent, mostly nutritious meal that will be deemed acceptable by most and sketchy only to the very timid or small. But I can't find my car keys ever, ever, ever and when the phone rings, I am certain it is someone calling to tell me I am late.
I am never late.
I will be annoyed if you are late, but I won't trash you to our friends. I will, however, click you in the forehead when you finally show up. Late, as usual. Gosh. Get a watch.