Today has been like a herculean Olympian test of my strength and will to survive. I just know, at the end of this day, someone will come forward and lay a laurel of leaves on my head and inform me I've passed some test I hadn't even realized I was attempting.
Let me back pedal a bit for you and set the stage. We are having our living room and kitchen floors ripped out (Goodbye cracked and loose tiles and NASTY green carpet) and hardwood floors will replace them. While this is generally a cause for celebration, it just makes my life all that much more complicated. You see, I work from my home. I can't leave at 8 am and come back in the door at 5 and be amazed at the demolition and progress. I get to live it. The kicker is I get to live it with lots of little ones in tow. This is where the Olympian test comes in.
First off, I had to clear the rooms of knick knacks and all that stuff that accumulates in your life without your permission. Stuff like catalogs, dust, bouncy balls, newspapers, dog toys, random pieces of toys, shoes. It's all in there and I walk by it every day of my life and then something like this happens and I HAVE to sort it or toss it or find someplace for it. I don't do disheveled very well either. It is like having grit in my eye to have things out of place. Those cubes do NOT belong in my bedroom and the blanket basket needs to go back in the living room and nothing is where I expect it!!!! So anyways, I spent a few hours over the weekend getting all the extra stuff out of the way.
I also made lists, you know there had to be lists involved, of what I would need to bring downstairs when the dreaded deed takes place. Lucky for me I have a playroom in the basement. It isn't fancy but it would do for a couple days. Oh, I forgot to mention that this playroom had to be sorted and cleaned and stocked with toys as well before the week could begin. As I sat making my lists I looked at my attendance sheet to see how many children I would have on the days when the dreaded deed would take place and HORRORS!!! I discovered that day one was a half a day at my children's school. Which would mean the bus would return my children to me three hours earlier than normal. What in God's name was I going to do with them? How would I keep them from waking up my little ones because as we all know, naptime is the Holy Hour and don't you ever go messing with the naptime! I was all in a panic. Thankfully my son requested that the wii be set up in the basement and with a brilliant spark I realized I could set up the wii in the screenhouse out in the yard. That would keep them separate from the sleeping little ones and occupied forever if need be. So they play a bit more video games than the should...one afternoon won't kill all their brain cells. I added the wii and all it accessories to my list. At this point, I actually had several lists. One for food, one for food related things (like knife, colander, etc), one for the kids and school necessities, one for miscellaneous things like my camera and laptop and one for project related materials.
The night before the dreaded deed my living room and kitchen were stripped bare of everything but the big stuff. In other words, things I could not physically move myself. One of which included my husband, who sat lounging on the loveseat as I scurried to and fro carting boxes of essentials down into the basement. I cut up all the vegetables for my omelet in the morning. I chose clothes for the kids and laid them out. I finally collapsed into my bed.
The next morning I rose bright and early. Okay, I just rose early. Not too much brightness going on. I brought down the last of the food and sorted everything into it's place in the basement playroom. I plugged in the toaster oven and cd player. I counted out diapers. I forced myself to do a workout and shower as fast as humanely possible. Then I started to make my breakfast. My first little one arrived and I got her settled with a few toys as I finished up my omelet. I woke my kids and chivvied them into their clothes before they even had a chance to stretch and had the lot of us downstairs in the blink of an eye. I went back upstairs and let the dogs out of their crate and out into the yard. Started breakfast for the kids and made myself a cup of tea. I meant to bring the dog's crate down but the kids stated arriving and I realized I had run out of time. The dogs did their obnoxious jumping to the first daycare friend's parent so I nabbed them and shoved them into the basement workroom. No sooner had I turned around when both dogs came wriggling with joy out the door. I swear these two are descendants of Houdini. They can escape from anywhere. I shoved them back in the workroom and braced a cement cinderblock against the door adjoining the playroom so they couldn't pull their escape trick again and got my daycare kids settled in. The work crew arrived and my friend Tony comes right through the basement workroom and out the dogs go again. Seriously, I do not have time to be chasing them this morning. But, I have to, so I cajoled them in with treats and scolded Tony. Breakfast for the kids was ready and I got them fed and had the older ones brush their teeth. They donned their backpacks and headed out to wait for the bus. I thought once they left things would settle down.
At one point I realized the phone was not working. My phone is all bundled in with cable and internet. So I ventured upstairs and discovered when Tony and company moved the tv they disconnected the cable. I plugged it back in and tried the phone again. Success. Ah, but success was shortlived. Not even ten minutes later I had lost phone/internet/cable again. So back up and plugged us back in. Once again, it was short lived. This time I took a good look at the plug end of the cable and found the little wire inside was bent. So I unbent it and plugged it in tight. That seemed to solve that little dilemma. The kids were all happily playing outside so I decided it would be a good time to set up the wii in the screenhouse.
One of the glories of the wii is the simplicity in setting it up. You just plug a couple wires in and you're good to go. I was feeling so smug that I had it up and running. Well, up anyways. I pushed power on the tv and got zippo. Nothing. I kept pushing thinking it may have stuck or something. Nope, nothing. No, no, no, no! I had to have the wii. First and foremost it was all I had to keep Sam and Teresa out of my hair for the afternoon. And second Sam expected it to be ready for him when he got home and it is a disaster if things are not as Sam expects. I tried the stereo. Nothing. It seemed there was no power going to the screenhouse. I checked the plug on the extension cord and made sure it was plugged in. Yep, nice and snug. But still nothing. I unplugged it and plugged it back in. Still nothing. At some point I figured out that there was no power in the basement workroom at all. I finally realized this was beyond my expertise and called Joe. He advised me to check the circuit breaker panel. Now I am not real accomplished when it comes to house maintenance stuff but I can handle flipping a breaker switch. Unfortunately none of the switches were in the off position. Joe is only slightly more capable than I am. He told me to flip all of them anyways and see what happens. Besides pissing off Tony and losing Joe because the phone lost power, nothing happened. Still no power to the screenhouse. I was nearabout a panic. I tripped over a basket full of heavy duty extension cords and while cursing them realized they were actually my salvation. I strung a couple of cords from the laundry room out to the outside extension cord and voila! Power was restored and my world was back in balance.
I decided to serve lunch in shifts and fed the little kids lunch before the school bus arrived with my school aged darlings. This worked out really well, I was shocked something actually went smoothly!, and the little guys headed back out to play as the big kids ate. I laid out mats and put on the lullaby cd and my little ones headed off to sleep. The wii kept the big kids busy and I managed to eat at breakneck speed my sandwich and nectarine before writing up all the daily notes.
My blissful peace was all too soon over as naptime ended. I kept the kids outside and the dogs on their runs and managed to keep the chaos to a minimum. Joe came home and began fiddling with the circuit box and switches and cords. After a fruitless 45 minutes of fiddling he sat to take a break when we both realized...gymnastics!!! The girls were supposed to be at gymnastics in less than ten minutes. Neither were wearing their unitards and it was at best a ten minute ride. Joe chased them upstairs, into their clothes and out to the van while I stayed behind with the last couple of daycare kids. After their parent's came to collect them, I indulged in a snack that I actually sat down to eat and started gathering up my stuff to meet Joe and the kids at the gymnastics school. I had decided I was not preparing dinner. If any night called for a night out, this one was it. As I was heading out the door I noticed Sam's sneakers and socks right in the middle of the floor. Hmmm...that was weird. What was he wearing on his feet? Joe wouldn't have let him go to the school without anything on his feet; would he? I went out to the van. Something, call it a sixth sense or Mother's Intuition, made me call Joe before I left to double check if Sam was wearing shoes. I nearly fainted when he said he had no idea if Sam was wearing shoes because he didn't have Sam. Where the heck was he???
I called for him in the house and got no reply. I yelled out the back door into the backyard and heard a faint "what" coming from the direction of the screenhouse. Sam was in a wii coma. He was oblivious to everything else going on around him and nearly got left behind. Yeah, Mother of the year here, video games and abandonment all in one afternoon.
Later, I reflected that I had made it to the finish line as I sat back in my chair at the restaurant and sipped on my glass of wine. That was poured by someone else. Waiting for my meal that was prepared by someone else. I'll take dinner and wine over a laurel of leaves any day. Oh, and guess what? I get to do this all over again tomorrow.