Sunday, May 2, 2010

Come what may

It's Sunday afternoon and my man just left for a week long work trip.  My kids are fully entrenched in their loud and messy playfullness, while I am in busy cleaning mode so I can throw myself into something other than sitting around sulking that I'm on my own again.  Five days flying solo is not that long in the scheme of things, but it's still hard when I'm used to having a partner around shouldering some of the cooking, mediating, driving, disciplining, bribing, reading, homework, waking up at 6am, parenting duties.

I've got a load of laundry in the washer, a load in the dryer, a dusting cloth in one hand while trying to explain to meaning of the word compromise and why they need to do that RIGHT NOW or ELSE!  Suddenly, I hear a loud crashboom!! in the laundry room.  I cock my head in a "huh, what was that?" motion, then cautiously make my way toward the source of the unknown noise to find out for myself.  I slowly open the door, with the same trepidation like when I tip-toe down the hallway when my kids are being oddly quiet and I'm fearing I'll find them doing Sharpie drawings on their bedroom walls...and the cat.  Oh, but it turns out to be far worse than that.  I see the enormous Costco sized plastic container of liquid laundry soap that I bought two days ago, that was once on top of the washer, but is now on the floor, gulp gulp gulping out, wait...more dramatic...rapidly gushing the contents all over the floor.  The bucking bronco washing machine must've launched the container and then it hit the floor at precisely the right angle - hard enough to rip off the cap, which is now shattered in pieces.  The walls, washer and dryer, cat food, and step stool are all splattered.  Fantastic.

I stand there jaw dropped and completely frozen.  I flashback to the similar what-the-hell-do-I-do moment when my daughter barfed all over herself in her carseat in my car and all over the floor below her was about an inch thick layer of fresh puke.  I could pull her out of her seat and straight to the bathtub, but how in the world do I clean up the rest of the nasty stuff?  It took me about twenty bewildered seconds to form a plan consisting of kid/tub, gloves/towels, soapy water/sponge, and tall glass of wine/me.

Finally, I get my wits about me and jump into action.  I go to the kitchen and grab a large measuring cup with a spout.  Back in the laundry room, I get down on all fours and start scooping the soap into the measuring cup with my bare hands cupped together.  Again.  And again.  And again...  To add to the glorious scenario, my well-meaning daughter stands in the doorway adding her running commentary "Ooooh, mommy.  Eeeeeewwwww, what a mess!!  How did that happen??  Did that fall on the floor?  Maybe next time you shouldn't put the laundry soap on the washing machine like that.  Hey, you missed that area over there."  I look up at her, and in my best trying-not-to-be-totally-mean-but-I-really-want-to-curse-and-growl tone, I calmly say through clinched teeth, "Please go away and leave me alone."  She doesn't say a word and walks away.

Sometimes being a grown up is not fun at all.  If I was a kid in this situation, I'd probably just close the door and pray that my mom wouldn't notice the soap covered floor.  Or, maybe just cover up the mess with towels and then the soap would magically go away.  Now there are no cleaning elves, no housekeeper who won't complain, no mommy to make it all better, no husband to rescue me, no one to blame - no one around but me.  But, what can I do?  It is what it is.  Life is messy.  It's not a broken leg or a burned down home.  Life is a continuous round of clean then dirty then clean then dirty again.  If this is the worst that happens this week, then it's kind of laughable.  Really it is.  I can think of far worse things that I don't want to deal with, like finding a new job, dealing with a mother-in-law's deteriorating health, my husband's painful back problem that's not getting better, and the fact that I'm turning forty next year!  This soapy mess is nothing that some homemade chocolate chip cookies and the Annie soundtrack to sing and dance to can't make all better.  And my kids are more than happy to help me make that happen, so I'm not totally on my own after all.

*The blueberry covered face about is Quinn at about 11 months, and the winking is a six year old Quinn being cheeky.