5 a.m. Iron Maiden attacks me. Suddenly there is a slim blonde telling me how traffic is doing on my television. Then a brunette tells me the weather. Then an older man tells me news that I may or not wish to hear.
Chris staggers up like a zombie but just before I can get my crossbow to take him out he speaks. He mutters something at me, crawls to the bathroom. I continue to stare at the news and wonder how much make up the women are wearing. Eventually Chris wanders back with a cup of tea for me, coffee for him and either Red Bull or Energy Drink for me.
6 a.m. Chris goes to Mark’s room, turns on the light and tries to shake him. Gives up and comes back. In ten minutes I wander into Mark’s with a little evil clown that laughs maniacally. Holding the clown directly over his head I press it. The eyes glow and the annoying laugh begins. I do this until I am sure Mark is not dead. He will groan or swipe a hand pathetically at me, so I leave. If he does not come out in fifteen minutes I bring in a box that plays the theme to Psycho and then has the female screaming hysterically. I turn this on over his head. By the time the woman screams Mark wraps his blanket around him like a cocoon and staggers out.
Depending on his mood Mark will either go to a computer or will throw his body on the couch. If he lands on the couch, the lady on the news telling me that everything I eat and drink will kill me, suddenly turns into Family Guy or American Dad.
6:30 a.m. I turn on all lights and we talk over Melissa loudly. She sits up and decides which piece of her hurts too much to go to school today. Sore throat, sore stomach, headache..I spend the next twenty minutes trying to decide if any pains are real. The kids are offered breakfast. Five cereals or toast with either butter, cream cheese or peanut butter. They complain because “we never have good food we like”. They do not like Chris’s answer to this. Melissa asks if she could have a cupcake. She does not like my answer.
6:45: Three ferrets are chasing us because we are going into the THE ROOM. The kitchen is blocked off and the ferrets climb us to get in. Now we are making toast, Chris is making Mark’s lunch while the ferrets fight him for the peanut butter. At least until they discover I have butter.
6:50: breakfast is served and they are reminded to get dressed as soon as they finish eating. I stare at them and remind Mark that he is NOT to swear at his teacher even if she really is a fucking bitch. I glare at Melissa when she tells me her toast isn’t made right.
7 or so: I set out Mark’s clothes, he stamps into his room and slams the door. Melissa is a bit harder. We go to her room and she picks about four outfits..none are the right one. The one she wants will always be in the laundry…always. Twenty minutes later Melissa comes out in who knows what and asks what we think. Chris and I have learned this is a dangerous question. If we tell her its nice or cute, she will go change again. Best to just smile and say “good”. It doesn’t matter that she is wearing leopard leggings with a striped top and a fluffy tutu. She is dressed. Good enough. Time for Melissa to do her hair. We just wait for the tantrum.
Mark emerges dressed and goes to either the desk or couch. I ask him if he has used his deodorant. He says “no” but seems unconcerned. I ask him if he would go brush his teeth now. He politely declines. While I am trying to convince Mark to try a little hygiene, Melissa goes off like a bomb. As I am trying to fix whatever Melissa’s hair issue is, Chris is leaping over me like an a drunk acrobat, trying to make sure lunches are in packs, notes are signed, medication is sent to the nurses.
Somewhere between hell and 7:40 it happens: A bus will pull up in front of our house and beep. You need to understand that my husband Chris reacts to buses beeping the same way a war veteran would react if they heard a gunshot. He screams, “BUS!”, grabs the nearest child, stuffs shoes on their feet, runs them to the door with a back pack and shoves them out. It does not matter if it’s the right child or the right back pack..all that matters is getting the bus to leave.
The second bus shows and Chris scuttles down from the ceiling, grabs onto the last child and tosses them out. Then Chris sits in his green chair, sips at his coffee and waits for the shakes to stop.
I get more tea and as Chris stands up, I get out-of-the-way! Leaping into the shower, sliding out wet with a towel, Chris runs to find his underwear, you know, the favorite pair, the one that looks like wolves attacked it. Then he wanders around collecting clothing, rejecting them, getting new clothes. Eventually he is dressed, then he leaps over the kitchen gate to grab his lunch, flings himself back over the gate, ferrets chasing his feet, leaping and clutching his legs thinking this is a wonderful game! Chris grab his shoes, discovers the ferrets have stolen the soles again. We quickly crawl around the house till we find the soles. Don’t even ask where we find them or what else we found. I am still shuddering about it.
Chris’s phone starts to buzz, its his ride and he reacts as if a bus sneaked up and beeped. As he grabs his stuff, he throws the ATM card at me, tells me he loves me, then I wait for him to crash through the door like a cartoon character. Then I sit in his green chair, sips at my tea and wait for the shakes to stop.
I survey my surroundings. There are little plates with rejected or mostly eaten toast everywhere. Coffee mugs and glasses of water now have ferret heads in them as they consume caffeine and water. Before tackling this mess, I have to go through the house clicking all the lights off in every room. There is a strange japanese cartoon on Mark’s tv with a smiling bleeding half-moon that creeps me out. This is shut off quickly. Back to the living room. I begin to stack plates, cups, mugs, napkins, tissues and other assorted items until they tower over me and I no longer can see. Staggering toward the kitchen, wondering how I am going to open the gate with no hands. No matter, a ferret will trip me and everything will fall just over the gate. Ferrets are jumping over my head in joy as the THE ROOM becomes open. I grab ferrets as they scuttle through all my dropped items, clumsily I climb over the mess, clutching ferrets that are desperate to be free. Finally I reach a counter and release all the fur and claws. There is a frenzy over a bottle of Ferrevite. While the ferrets are busy with their vitamin supplement, I go back the dropped mess. As I bend down low to clean it up, (my back screams a bad word at me) I cannot help but notice that a humongous pile of laundry is slowly and insidiously wrapping around my legs. I dis-tangle from the laundry so I can toss stuff in the trash and put plates in the sink. That is when I realize the sink is so full that adding the plates will cause the altar to Peg Bundy to topple. Carefully, I balance the plates on top of the extra bowls and cookie sheets that are sitting on the counter next to the sink.
I look between the writhing laundry mountain and the dishes, trying to decide where to start. Since the dirty clothing is starting to leave by itself, I decide to start there. I manage to fill a laundry bag, start to drag it towards the cellar door and the first phone call is heard. Leaping over laundry, stagger on a puppy pad, slide to the dining room, I can hear the phone’s ringing but they are not on their stands, in fact, they seem to be nowhere. Twenty minutes later I locate a phone in a couch cushion, next to a ring Melissa borrowed. Listening to the message, no surprise, its Mark’s school counselor. Mark is having a bad day, some swearing, some crying and he wants to come home. I call back Nate the counselor who tells me he had no intention of letting Mark go home anyway since he was not psychically ill, but he wanted me to tell Mark this. Thanks for doing YOUR job, buddy. I speak with Mark on the phone, calm him down, get him to agree to try his next class. As I am ending the call there is a crash in the kitchen. The forgotten ferrets have tried to climb the dish altar and caused a landslide. Time to collect all ferrets and put them in their cage for a bit. Trevor disagrees with this by climbing the bars and banging them, I can almost here him yelling, “Set my people free!” Teacup is a little more subtle with her upset by simply refusing to use the litter box and leaving me “presents” on the water bottle shelf.
Back to the kitchen, stopping on the way to fix the puppy pad that my feet had decided to ski on. Grab the laundry bag, ignore the rest of the laundry mountain that is squirming angrily because it was not picked. Opening old doors that can attack back, I drag my laundry bag downstairs. As I am tossing clothing into the washer and dryer, fill the bag full of clothing in the dryer, I can hear the phone ringing upstairs. I press buttons everywhere till the machines are working, then I drag a heavy bag upstairs, stagger into dining room, toss bag onto a chair. Breathing like I am Darth Vader making an obscene phone call, I start to locate a phone again. How can I have two phones yet never find one when I need it? This time I locate the opposite phone in Melissa’s room and listen to the message. It is Melissa’s school nurse and she wishes to speak with me right away. I call her back and she tells me, your daughter does NOT have lice in her hair. Uh..thanks? Do I get some sort of medal? Apparently, there is a huge amount of paperwork that i have forgotten to fill out and she needs it by tomorrow. Fine. Hanging up, I now have to search the house for this package of paperwork. My dining room table is covered with packages of paperwork, mail and anything someone didn’t want to put away.
An hour later I have found my scissors which had been missing since last year, the duct tape Chris was looking for, a pencil sharpener that Mark owned and needed yesterday. I found the kid’s school pictures from last year, or maybe the year before, who knows? Ah, ha, the packet. Now I need to find a pen. Might as well look for jock strap in RuPaul’s Drag Race. Another twenty minutes to find the damn pen. I go to the living room to start the paperwork. I notice that my living room floor is covered in pillows, blankets and stuffing from the couches. Heave all blankets and pillows to Melissa’s room, get the vacuum to get rid of all this stuffing. Then I notice the ferrets are glaring at me from the cage. Run to the kitchen, put the gate back up, open the ferret cage. Wrestle the vacuum into the parlor and spend at least ten minutes trying to figure out what I would be shutting off when I pulled a plug out to put the vacuum plug-in. Start up the vacuum and here comes Trevor who is a mortal enemy of the vacuum. As I try to suck up stuffing, Trevor is war dancing, hissing and leaping at the vacuum. Not a single piece of dirt or stuffing is moving. Shut off vacuum and pull the filter open gently. Dirt, glitter, dust, and old stuffing comes flying out all over my clothes, the ferret and the floor. Well, at least its empty again now. I finish emptying the filter and then spend another fifteen minutes swearing while I try to put the damn vacuum back together. When I finally accomplish this, Trevor is ready and waiting. I vacuum and he tries to kill the evil black machine. Halfway through the rug and the phone is ringing. Again. Shut off vacuum, try to get past the dancing, warring ferret, and manage to locate a phone before the person hangs up. Score! It turns out to be someone who would like me to do a survey. Toss phone onto nearest spot and climb back to the vacuum. Decide that most of the stuffing is up. Good enough since I have that paperwork to do and the laundry needs to be moved about again.
Run into kitchen ahead of Trevor and put the gate up. I am glared at and I grin back. Run downstairs to switch laundry around and stuff more into the washer. Of course I hear the phone going off again. By the time I have switched everything and am carrying more laundry up, to set down next to the rest of the clean but not folded laundry, the machine is blinking at me. Time to find the damn phone again. There is one in the clean laundry towering over the chair. This time the message is from my doctor’s office, they need to talk to me. I call and am greeted by a machine that wants to tell me its options have changed and why. Then it gives me thirteen different options and not one of them includes calling back the doctor. Eventually, I find a human and explain why I am calling. I am put on hold. For the rest of my life. I have time to make a cup of tea, have a smoke, check my Facebook page and just as a begin to fall asleep, a nurse I have never heard of in my life speaks. She asks if I have gotten my x-rays done yet. She does not understand why I laugh. I tell her no, not yet. “Mrs. Casey, are you still in pain?” I tell her yes. “Then we really need those x-rays to help you” I tell her I will do them as soon as I can. “Also, Mrs. Casey, have you contacted the surgeon?” I tell her no, not yet. “Mrs. Casey, we need to get those MRI’s on you. We need the surgeon to take out that ANS so we can get this done!” I tell her I understand and will call him as soon as I can. She probably does not believe me, but she hangs up.
Since I am already sitting I might as well start the paperwork for the school nurse. I get four pages into it, writing the same things I wrote last season, writing almost the same thing on every page in fact. Then I hit the pages that require continual searching of numbers, names and papers needed of diagnoses. Eventually, my back and writing hand are aching and I am having the urge to start playing with my answers. I want to write things I should not. So I decide Chris can fill out the rest when he gets home. As I stand I crackle and creak, my back calls me a bad name. At this point maybe I should do some dishes till my back feels well enough to go back to the laundry. I get maybe three dishes washed and I hear a bus beep out front in such a frantic way, you would think it was being attacked by wild zombies and needed help.
Mark bursts through the door, hurls his jacket and backpack at the couch, tosses his shoes right into the middle of the floor, perfect for tripping. As the ferrets dive into his shoes, I ask Mark to please put his shoes away where the other ones go. He sighs so hard, my hair ruffles, but he hurls his shoes into the general direction of the shoe area, while scooping up the ferrets with a huge hand like Godzilla. As he lovingly mauls the ferrets, he mutters that he has homework. I ask him if he wants a snack first and he gives me a look as if I have lost touch with the world. In a voice usually reserved for small children, he carefully enunciates every word as he tells me that yes, a snack after school would be nice before spending hours on homework. Gotcha.
I am followed by Mark and the ferrets into the kitchen. While I am getting his snack and drink (going through the empty boxes, kids did not bother to toss out), I ask Mark how his day was. “I built a cat” That gave me a small pause and I thought to myself that science classes have certainly changed, we just dissected frogs. “Uh, did it work?” I asked cautiously. “Nah, my cat came out like something from Satan, which I thought was awesome and my friends thought maybe the teacher would give me credit for creativity, but she did not. Besides they weren’t even real cat bones, just plastic which was kind of lame!” Mark takes his snack and drink, rumbles off leaving me to chase down all the ferrets. One is deep into the sink, seeking who knows what, another has made it behind the microwave and the third delightedly discovered Melissa’s Halloween basket. Sigh.
By the time I get the ferrets out of the kitchen, gate the room off, clean the “presents” that Teacup left me on her water shelf in the cage, Mark is ready to do homework. I hastily lug all the laundry baskets and bags off the chair and table (you wouldn’t believe the word my back called me), wipe it down, find a pencil, sharpen it with the newly found sharpener and sit in the next chair, ready to help. Mark brings over a folder overflowing with crumpled papers, thumps it onto the table and throws himself into the chair, his face looks as if he is facing a death sentence. I remind him of the rule of the teachers is that he only needs to complete enough to show he understands what is taught during the day. I get the look again to remind me I am too simple. This should go well.
I am tossed paperwork that he said is for me. As I try to smooth out the papers, I see that last week three parent workshops happened. Another one tells me there is a bake sale and can I donate something? Unfortunately, it was dated two days ago. Lovely. Mark pulls a stack of papers all stapled together and says this is the science work. I think to myself, I hate this woman, why is she doing this to me? I smile at Mark and assure him we can do this easily. I am lying. We discover that I know almost nothing of DNA, molecules, and many other little things that work in our bodies. We start hitting the computer to find the links the teacher provided for assistance. Two of the links are dead. Three more need Mark to create a user name and password, then a parent password, then the acceptance will come to the parent email. I open my email, wait ten minutes for it to show up, then give the acceptances to Mark.
Another bus pulls up front and beeps, while Mark hunched over the computer trying to make sense of what he is reading. I run to the door to let the bus driver know I am alive and she may release my daughter. Melissa starts up the stairs and I try to read her emotional temperature. It is not good. As she strips away her jacket and backpack, I hear that lunch was awful, the girls hate her, she misses her old teacher and she feels the regular classes are too large, fast, hard, just awful! As I hug her and open my mouth to console her a bit, Mark hollers from the dining room that none of the stuff makes any sense and he is ready to give up. Dragging Melissa with me, I go to Mark and tell him to take a breath I will be there in two seconds. Tell Melissa she should go get a nice snack before we start her homework and that later I would listen more. Trying to keep Mark from a meltdown, I am counseling him to stay calm while I frantically look through the stupid links for the answers. I find about three of the twenty answers. Guiding Mark through the three questions, I tell him, good enough, let us move on to the next thing. He shoves the science papers violently back into the folder and pulls out history. Okay, I know this will be better, he likes this subject a lot and so do I. We should be good here.
Melissa comes over with her folder, sits on the other side of the table and starts to yell at me that I have not read the papers the teacher has sent home yesterday. You know, the ones she did not show me. Mark’s big shaggy blonde head comes up and he growls at his sister. “I have to read all of this crap, five pages, it’s not like the baby stuff you have to do, so shut up!” As Melissa starts to respond, I say to her that maybe she would like to work on the comfy couch in the living room with her lap desk. Without waiting for her answer, I scoop her up and we go to the living room. Get her all set up, sit next to her, and she dumps a huge pile of papers in my lap. “This is all yours” she says as her own homework and pencil get set on her lap desk to her liking. As I start to slog through papers, useful and useless, Mark is spelling out words to me he cannot understand and I tell him what the words are. I make three piles of the paperwork. Things I don’t care about such as PTO, fundraisers, charity balls that want any antique items I may have (the only antique item I own is myself), and old notes about things that have already happened. The second pile contains things I must keep for remembering, such as Lunch Calender, School Month Notes, upcoming Book Fairs, seminars,etc. The third pile are things that need attention now. Like the IEP I forgot to sign. Again. Field trips that require permission, trips or parties at school that require money, a note from the lunch lady reminding me she needs another check.
As I toss away the useless pile, hang the notices and sign papers and checks to toss into folder, Melissa discovers she needs four crayons, one marker, glue, a ruler and glitter. Time to fly through the house and find the items before she finishes her spelling homework. Mark roars at the top of his lungs and I understand it is time to help him with his homework again. I throw the items into Melissa’s lap and fly into the dining room. I help Mark by taking the pencil and taking his oral answers down. (At school he is given a word processor for all answers) He turns to me and says,”The last one is math Mom so you are useless to me now, you can go help Melissa now” I get back up and check on Melissa, I can see glitter everywhere, glue is in her hair, but she is coloring and humming so we are good.
At this point I start to fold laundry on a small cleaned off spot on the table, my head rotating around like a paranoid owl, making sure neither child needs me. I fold half a basket before Melissa hollers in anger. Dropping the laundry I go back to her. She is angry because she has finished her work, but does not wish to waste time putting everything away since she must go walk the elderly lady’s dog. I remind her that she does not have to be there for another fifteen minutes. “Yeah, but Mom! By the time I put away the stuff I needed for this stupid project, I will have like..five minutes to get there!” I gently remind her that the lady lives on the next street. This is not soothing her in any way. I help her put away her school supplies so she may do the important things like style her hair and change to a more glittery bright outfit. As Melissa runs out the door, Mark announces he is finally done and wants to use the computer. I thought of asking him to put away his folder, then saw the fire in his eyes, decided to do that myself.
Suddenly, the house is filled with the sounds of a war between humans, robots and zombies. Then I hear male teen voices, all of them hollering at each other about their war, and here is Mark, wearing this head device so he may talk and hear his friends. He looked like a lunatic 911 operator on the edge. I lean over to see what they are so excited about and at the bottom of the screen I see the time. Holy cow, its time to start doing dishes and cook dinner, Chris should be leaving work soon! Just as I head for the kitchen, Melissa and the dog enter. Both have muddy feet, of course. She tells me that the owner needs to go out to pay a bill and Melissa was now dog sitting. Emma the shih tzu happily laps up the water that Melissa provides her from my best bowl used during holidays. Then Trevor comes out, checks out Emma, who whines and shakes. Trevor is satisfied with this and goes to get the other two ferrets. Five minutes later I hear a knock on the door. I open the door to let in Melissa’s best friend, Gage. He gives me a huge smile, says hi and goes straight to pet Emma, pat Melissa’s shoulder, greets Mark, who responds by murmuring. Melissa plugs into her computer, Gage plugs into the laptop and Mark switches his game so he is in their game. Now that everyone is engaged, its only the quiet of three kids hollering as if talking thru a great distance (all computers were in the dining room, they could have put out a finger and poked each other), the sounds of Iron Maiden from Mark’s computer, Pop music from Melissa’s computer, the whimpering of the dog, who has now been cornered by three chattering, dancing ferrets. I put the dog on a blanket next to Melissa, pulled out tubes and boxes everywhere for the ferrets to play in. Okay, time to hit the kitchen. I get through our gate, which then simply collapses. The ferrets and the dog are running as fast as they can towards the kitchen, they can practically taste victory. I manage to get the gate up just in time and I do a happy little jig.
I put my ear buds in, turn on my mp3 player, and tackle the dishes. As musicals, rock, heavy metal and ballads burst my eardrums, I fly between washing pots, pans, I turn on the oven, pull things from counters, cabinets, freezer and I cook while I wash dishes. Every few minutes or so a child sneaks up behind me, scaring the hell out of me. I rip my earphone out and glare at the child. “Yes?” They want snacks, they want drinks, they want to know if dinner is something they had for lunch. They want to know when dinner will be. They want to know if they can go out, stay in, can they borrow my duct tape, tacks and tinfoil because they have an idea for a project. I never do find the bottom of the sink, or the back of the counter. However, I do manage to cook dinner without burning it. Let’s see, we have chicken tenders and potato wedges from Mark (since he only eats about three food groups), roasted chicken, gravy, stuffing for Melissa, brown wild rice for Chris (who cannot have the stuffing because of his diverticulitis), fruit for Melissa (who hates veggies), broccoli (which contains no seeds so Chris can have it), ginger ale for Mark (no caffeine!!!), milk for Melissa, (high calcium diet by her doctor) and Chris and I have water because we hate drinking it but should.
Chris staggers in the door, climbs through boxes, tubes, ferrets and children. Says goodbye to the dog, and any children that he does not think are his. Says hello to Melissa who says she has several new videos she made to show him, plus wishes to work on her japanese singing tonight. As Chris promises these things can happen in a minute, he says hello to me about eighty times before I catch sight of him and shut off my music to respond. He asks where Mark is, and I tell him that Mark has barricaded himself in his room with his mp3 player and Nintendo DS games. Chris nods, makes coffee and we attempt to chat. Melissa wants to know what the dinner movie is tonight. She also would just to quickly mention a few things about everything and anything. Mark appears and tells his father about games that are not working that his father must fix, games he wants his father to buy for him and by the way, he wants his Dad to watch some cool video moves he can make on some games.
As the two children continue to speak at the same time, slowly moving forward, as their father clutches his coffee cup, eye twitching, inching into a corner, ready to climb into my bottom cabinet, I announce its dinner. All of a sudden, I am all alone in the kitchen again. I set up everyone’s plate with food, cut meats, add gravy, add pepper if needed, make sure Mark and Melissa has food that does not touch other foods. Make sure the proper utensils are on the plates. Ready, I approach the kitchen gate and call out names. Eventually someone comes to claim their specific meal. Then its time to pour the drinks. It takes everyone a little longer to show up to get their drinks. Now I can set up my food, cut my meat, get my gravy, utensils, grab my tea! I stand in front of the gate with food and drink just to see that all three ferrets are waiting for me to open the gate. I have to holler for help. Chris grabs the ferret and lets me out of the gate. I find everyone in the living room with a tv tray and comfy seat, watching whatever movie they all eventually agreed on. It’s usually something that is so exciting i can barely keep my eyes open. The very second my large backside touches a cushion, someone will need seconds, salt, pepper, or a refill on their drink. I leave my food and drink and become like a drunk gazelle leaping around getting things. The requests keep coming until eventually my husband puts a stop to it. When I finally sit down, my food is cold and there are ferret footprints in it. I eat it anyway.
As we eat the dinner discussions can become intense, creative but never boring. I look at Mark and beg him to please take a shower after dinner. Melissa looks at her father and begs him for a cell phone. Chris looks at me and begs me to consider a Mustang as a family car. Mark looks at Melissa and begs her not to ask for a sleepover this weekend because he is tired of kids running through the house. I agree that Chris may have his Mustang as a family car. Melissa wants to know why Daddy can have a car but she cannot have a cell phone and exactly why Mark has such an issue with her friends. After all, it’s not her problem that he cannot deal with having a social life. Mark doesn’t want to shower tonight, why can’t he just shower tomorrow morning, and it’s not his problem that Melissa wants a social life! I tell Mark I am no longer asking, I am now telling him that he is going to shower tonight, then he could show Dad his new computer game moves. I tell Melissa if she wants a cell phone so badly she is welcome to write a letter to Santa and as for a sleepover on the weekend, we will talk about it when it was actually the weekend! Mark said he is more evil than I am and one night I may find this out. I told him I would invite an evil clown into the house and under his bed sometime. We hugged.
For the next ten minutes, I tried to convince everyone that they can take their own dinner mess in to the kitchen for me. They sort of do. Next time I enter the kitchen there is a towering pile on my stove, pieces of everyone’s dinner dripping down. Chris is being dragged from watching Mark’s games to seeing Melissa’s videos, then back to Mark so he can be shown all the other new games Mark would like, Melissa yanks him back to her so they can practice her japanese singing. I use this time to use the bathroom. Doing what we all usually do in there, I pick up a book, (it should be noted here, that I love to read and I can read rather quickly, yet this book has been in here for two months and I am still on the first chapter), within seconds there is scratching sounds, a small paw appears, maybe a few more and then the door is swung almost half-open. Ferrets circle me, climbing my legs until I put them the tub so they can play in the water. Next comes a child who wants to either tell me a story of something or they wish for a high level decision on a snack. Eventually Chris will wander over to tell me of his day and I hope that eventually I can at least wipe in peace, all by myself. Dear Santa, for Christmas can I have a personal lock for my bathroom door?
After my bathroom visit I will fold laundry if I am feeling well, but if my back or other parts decide they are all done, I will try to sit down. Melissa comes to tell me the bathroom sink is clogged and full. Again. Also, when can we get a dog? When can we buy our own house? When can we redo her bedroom so she might actually sleep in it? Did I remember to wash various items? I ask Melissa to please go do her chores. She changes all the puppy pads in the corners and guess what? She is back. Can I have a puppy when we get a new place? Can my room be all pink? A pink desk? A pink cell phone maybe too? When can she get her nails done? I ask her to go put pajamas on, please. I catch sight of Mark who is wandering through. I remind him about that shower. He says he has his twistie in hand, can’t I see that? Cannot I not tell he is telling himself a story? I mean, really, after all these years, I should know that he is in the middle of a mind story and to stop in the middle is stressful and almost impossible? I apologize for pausing his story but when it ended I needed him to shower. I receive a glare as an answer and he stomps the other way into the hallway, muttering his story.
Chris goes to set up the children’s medications, I help Melissa set up her bedding on our living room floor and we begin the same conversation we have every night. Why can’t she sleep in her own room again? Because the way it looks since Mark left for what used to be Mom and Dad’s room, the room is too big, too creepy, the huge window with the built-in seat in it is scary because anyone could see in. I reminded her that she hung her favorite curtain up so who could see in? She assures me that as soon as her room is redone she will sleep in it, I can only pray this is true. Mark comes in and says, if you want me to shower it has to be right now before I change my mind. Hurling myself toward the bathroom, I set up his water temperature and turn the shower on. Make sure he has towels and he shoves past me and the door is slammed in my face. For a moment I have the craziest urge to grab the ferrets, Melissa and Chris to have us all barge in him. I resist this urge, I get it whenever ANYONE else gets to use the bathroom in private.
Melissa is taking her medicine as I walk back through. I take whatever clothes I have managed to fold and put them away. Mark’s clothes go in his dresser, he has one trick drawer that tries to kill me every day, but I will win!! Melissa’s clothes go on her bed so in the morning she can spread them out and judge them. Chris’s laundry gets put on his old nightstand that sits in the darkened corner in Mark’s room. My clothes get shoved into a plastic shelving unit snuggled up next to the darkened corner. I have put Mark’s pajamas on the bed for him. As I finish putting away the laundry, Mark bursts out of the bathroom wearing every clean towel I own, stomps into his room leaving huge puddles everywhere. My back is now making death threats to me as I bend to clean all the puddles, entering the bathroom, swimming my way through it to soak up all the water. While I do this, the ferrets are dancing in the huge puddles, leaping up at the towels and tunneling through the clothing pile left on the floor. By the time I have dried the floor (some of this is due to the fact that our three shower curtains hanging above our tub are so old they are just colored strips with big holes) and have lifted up all the clothing on the floor, I discover that the sink is full of water which is many colors. There is black tiny hairs everywhere (Chris), small smears of what seems to be kibble, (Melissa cleaning ferret bowls), unrecognizable floating items, (Mark and no I do NOT want to know) and the whole water is tinted purple.(Yeah, that is me). I plunge the sink to no avail. I hail Chris to try. No luck. I say we need to pick up Drano when the next corner store was made. We will forget instantly.
By know Melissa is lounging on her floor bed in front of the television, watching Annoying Orange, which makes me want to rip my own eyes and eardrums out. She has turned out the living room light and the dining room light. Basically we are now in the dark. Great. Mark is dry, pajamas on and given medication. Mark will go back to the computer desk and go to YouTube. He watches a video of a game walk thru that two young men with very annoying nasal English voices explain how they are winning, using screams, swears, insults,etc. Melissa falls asleep and I begin to fix up our destroyed couches, adding pillows and blankets for myself and Chris. It takes me quite awhile to find the remote and the little controller for the volume. When I have finally accomplished this, Mark decides he want to watch a show on the couch. He hurls himself onto the couch, as he clutches Trevor, his personal therapy pet. He takes the remote and finds Family Guy, American Dad or Doctor Who. I go to Melissa’s little computer on the dining room table and sit on the broken chair that someday will kill me. Chris goes over to the computer desk. I turn on Facebook, Cracked.com or a mahjong game. Chris turns on a multi-player zombie or fantasy game,(unless of course his cell phone buzzes like it does most times from when he gets home until morning from work) or if needed his work pages. Then we both wait because we know what comes next.
Mark asks if someone can cover him with a blanket. He waits another five minutes and asks for a snack. When you bring him the snack he asks for a drink. After he receives the drink we ask if he needs anything else. Mark will say no, he is all set. Ten minutes go by and mark asks if he could have just one more snack. He is given a snack, he is glared at and icily asks if he needs a refill on his drink. He will say no. Ten minutes go by and we are asked if he can have another drink. Ten more minutes and he lost the remote and needs help finding it. At this point we are talking through gritted teeth. Finally, comes the last request for the night. It will be either can Mom rub his hair or can Dad come rub his feet? This usually means he will fall asleep soon, though some nights he doesn’t fall asleep until ten or so.
He is told that at nine at night the television turns to Mom and Dad shows. This alone usually will make him want to sleep as he hates our shows unless it’s a new Doctor Who or something horror. He cannot abide my tv show. Dance Moms, Parenthood, Major Crimes and Impractical Jokers knocks him out. As soon as they are out, I sleep walk Mark to his bed, tuck him in then turn off the hall light, but I turn back on the dining room light so Chris can actually see the keyboard. Then I turn up the living room light enough so I feel I can be awake without disturbing Melissa. I relocate the remotes and its time for my tv. Most times I will discover I missed my shows or they have ended their seasons. Sometimes Chris will join me but most times he plays his game until about eleven. I think of all the things I did not get done and promise myself they will get done tomorrow. Then I start to drive myself crazy wondering what dates are school meetings and doctor appointments. I wonder when I will get my x-rays. I wonder how long I will be down when I have my surgery. What kind of wife doesn’t devote herself to making better dinners for her husband? What kind of wife doesn’t make sure the rooms are cleaned and cleared so that her husband can safely get inside? What kind of wife allows her children to burst through any moment of speaking or privacy in the marriage?
What type of mother swears like a sailor? Not just that, but allows her kids to swear at home? How could a mother trade threats with her son in a monotone voice? Who would decide to just lay on the couch once the kids are asleep instead of mopping the floors,making sure all dishes were done, scour out the sink? How could I just leave the rest of the laundry? I survey the parlor and see dead juice pouches here and there, more stuffing and debris all over the floors, yet I am not going to try to sweep it up. What kind of mother would bleach and color her daughter’s hair pink? Now I have to see a salon to fix it. For that matter, what kind of mother dyes her own hair purple and decides to keep it after Halloween ends? I beat on my brain, my body beats on me and I sip my tea, silent. Ferrets come out to play and are trying to steal my teabags, wrestling, jumping in their macaroni box which makes me smile. Yeah, I am that mother. Oh fucking well.