Cancelling Monday

Mondays

 

Yesterday was the Monday of Mondays.

It was also the second Monday of the month, which meant I had to haul across two towns to to the branch on the far edge of the next town over and get everything set up.

were ten minutes late leaving the house because the same children who had sworn to me the night before—on the life of their mother, which was an ironic touch—that they had everything in their backpacks and their favorite clothes laid out for morning and already knew what they wanted for breakfast woke up unable to find their flute, their homework, or a matching set of shoes.  They also developed a sudden hatred of every single item of school-appropriate clothing they owned, plus allergies to Cheerios and toast.

I dropped them off and, having looked at the traffic reports, decided to avoid construction and take another route to work.  Along the way, I discovered that there are 37 traffic lights between the children’s school and the western branch library, and if you time it just right, you can hit every single one of them—including the one that allows the fire station to manoeuver their big truck in and out (and in and out and in) of the garage.

There are three schools on that route as well. One of them had an electronic sign that compared the speed limit to how fast you’re driving. That’s probably what caused the three car pileup about ten feet past.

When I arrived, the building services guy told me that the program—which has been held on the second Monday of the month (barring a few special scheduling adjustments for holidays) for the past seven years—wasn’t on the schedule and someone else had booked our room. We later figured out that Labor Day had confused the scheduling software, but at the time I was too busy wondering how I could fit twenty-plus people into a meeting room meant for ten.

We decided, since the other group was smaller and didn’t need the kitchen, to switch rooms on them and put up big signs in front of each door that were, apparently, completely invisible to anyone registered for that other meeting. I apologized a lot, to them for the confusion and to my group for the constant interruptions, and took a carafe of coffee over as a peace offering. I’m not sure they accepted the apologies, but they did interrupt us twice more for refills.

I managed to get everything cleaned and drive myself back to my regular branch, just in time for lunch.

Lunch, I have to admit, was pretty good: homemade matzoh ball soup. I only splashed a little on my top.

The afternoon was productive, but left me wondering about people who trust their memories of an article someone briefly showed them fifteen (or six . . . or maybe ten . . . no more than twenty, I’m sure of it) years ago over a comprehensive, full-text index that indicates that this specific newspaper (of our four regional papers) did not publish that article.

It was gently brought to my attention halfway through the afternoon that I’d been humming this all afternoon. And possibly singing it not quite far enough under my breath. Badly.

My husband sent me a text telling me that Sunny had forgotten her math workbook at school and was grounded from screen time.

The commute home was spent behind two enormous trailer trucks that were literally incapable of going over thirty on that road and were, apparently, completely invisible to the man driving his pickup veryclosebehindme, unless he thought my Honda Civic could shove an eighteen-wheeler up a 6% incline. Or would serve as a decent bumper buffer if he tried it.

When I got home, I got something out of the trunk—I half expected the pickup to be in there—when I realized that Rocinante’s tags expire next month. After a search of all the places important papers hide in the house, I decided that if I’d received a renewal notice from the DMV, I didn’t have it now. I’m so looking forward to visiting the DMV . . .

I managed to pour cold water on my foot and half a soup pot of warm water down my front when I was doing the dishes.

Sunny managed to extend her bedtime nearly an hour by refusing to do the math problems her father had reconstructed from the images another parent had sent him, via Facebook.

The other adults in the house were, apparently, completely invisible to the kids in the house and the very grumpy cat.  The very grumpy cat’s litterbox was likewise invisible, officially making random invisibility the conspiracy of the day.

There was no chocolate in the house.  Unless it was invisible.

I absolutely did NOT feel like writing anything at all. Oddly enough, the writing I managed to do didn’t feel like anything at all.

The bureau tried, with some success, to bite off my toe as I walked past.

I squirted a blob of toothpaste into the sink instead of my toothbrush. Five minutes later, I dropped a contact into the sink. Guess where?

I sat down at the computer to check my e-mail one last time before I called it a very long, doomed day. There were two messages waiting.

One was a(nother) rejection letter.

One was a brief note from a good friend telling me, out of the blue, that I was “the best fangirl writer-buddy poetry enabler a girl could ever have.”

Huh.

Who knew it would turn out to be such a great Monday?

Pigeons in love

 

What Size Sanity?

 

I believe I’ve mentioned once or twice the tactical warfare sheer parental bliss how much I enjoy clothes shopping with Jane.

Last week, I was insane privileged enough to try it with both kids. At the same time.

Sunny finally outgrew her shorts this summer, which shouldn’t have been the surprise it was, considering the labels said “3 Toddler” and she’s seven now.

Jane, who outgrows things every Thursday and has apparently developed Ideas about style—without parental permission, mind you—as well as simply . . . developing . . . needed long shorts she could bike in, and better foundation undergarments.*

So after lunch, we headed to Kohl’s and Target, both of which were having sales.  They’re also right next to each other, so we parked in the row between them and sallied forth.

Sunny, as it turns out, is still a peanut, something we discovered when she stood up after pulling on the smallest pair of shorts we could find from the 7-16 Girls section and was suddenly wearing them around her ankles.  We backed up into the children’s section and, lucky for us,  her actual size–5 Toddler, as it turns out—was easy to find.  That she really doesn’t care if her wardrobe comes from the discount racks was a lovely bonus.

That took us roughly two trips to the changing rooms and twenty minutes.

The other two and a half hours of our trip was all about Jane and her size, shape, sense of fashion, and sensitivity about all three versus the limitations of my credit limit, my discomfort** over the undeniable fact that my eleven-year old has a cup size, and my Ideas about the amount of room there should be between an eleven-year old and the fabric of her clothes.

Add in one bored seven-year old who was feeling neglected and marginalized while I ran in and out of the dressing room, fetching different sizes for her increasingly frustrated and rude sister,*** and it was not a particularly fun time.

But we lived through it and—with the lack of common sense and short term memory usually found in horror movie victims or party guests in The Game of Thrones—decided to hit the next store.

Again, Sunny was easy—two pairs of leggings, two of biking shorts, and one watermelon-striped sunsuit, no dressing rooms, everything on sale.

Jane, however, had decided during our struggles at the first store that if I had  forced her^ to shop for adult sizes, then she would rather die—or put a hit out on me, from her expression—than touch any size other than extra-small or small, regardless of the difference in designs or designers.

Sometimes this worked.

Most of the time, it didn’t.

And while I understood the self-esteem issues that can come with wearing adult sizes at her age,^^ I wasn’t about to buy a twenty dollar tee-shirt that wouldn’t fit her in two weeks or a pair of pants that didn’t fit her now because of a number.

At that point, it wasn’t even the money; it was the horrible thought of having to do this again so soon.

But we survived and I drove the hard-earned spoils of two spoiled kids home,^^^ put up my feet, and kept ’em there until dinner.

And that was that, until yesterday, when my MIL said, “You need to buy Jane more long shorts.  Those don’t fit.”

I looked and they didn’t but it wasn’t my fault.  “Those are her old shorts. I bought her two pairs of new ones.  I’m done clothes shopping for a while.”

“But what about the wedding?  Sunny has her Easter dress, but does Janie have anything to wear?”

“I don’t think so.”  It dawned on me that I didn’t have anything to wear, because the last fancy-schmancy wedding I attended was in 1998. “It’s on the twenty-first,” I said, shuddering.  “We have time.”

“It’s on the twelfth.”

I ran to the calendar.  Oh, $#!%.

Guess who’s taking her overexcited pre-teen shopping this afternoon for wedding outfits?

Help . . .

____________________

*As in, undergarments with actual foundations built into them.

**Stemming from my memories of being that eleven-year old, at a time when the only bra options for me were of the 18-hour, industrial-grade, blade-seamed, torpedo-cupped, saw-banded kind, with loose-ended straps that would suddenly let go of the clips on one side in seventh grade math class—the class with the hard-of-hearing teacher whose loud questions about why exactly I needed to visit the bathroom ensured that everyone was staring at my lopsidedness.

***And, it might be noted, passing on all suggestions that I buy her costume jewelry, perfume, or a rhinestone-encrusted watch to heal her hurt feelings caused by my lack of parenting skills.

^Presumably through the combined powers of genetics and having credit cards in my name.

^^Boy, do I understand it, and have worked damn hard to keep the body acceptance to a maximum in our house.  This was a lot easier once my kids acquired peers.

^^^Yes, that remark was snide and unfair.  No, I’m not taking it back.

Monday made me do it.

Mondays

Wore my uncomfortable shoes this morning, because it was raining and I don’t care if they get soaked, plus I wasn’t planning on doing much walking today.

Dropped off the kids and arrived at work, crossed the street from the parking lot toting my purse, my lunch, and a six pack of 24-oz water bottles through the light rain. Bumped my purse into the staff door’s sensor pad so my badge would register.

Nothing happened. I bumped again. Still nothing.

Dug through my purse, wondering if the chip was finally going in my badge and if I had to get a new one, maybe I should get a new photo, too—one that wasn’t taken the day I came back from my last maternity leave and might not look quite so much like me—and realized that the sensor couldn’t register a badge that wasn’t there.

Trudged back to the car to look for it, figuring that if it wasn’t there, I’d wait for a coworker to arrive and follow them in.

Did I mention it was raining? And that I was schlepping my lunch bag, purse, and nine pounds of water instead of an umbrella? And that my shoes hate me even more after stepping in that puddle, which was an accident?

Found my badge and lanyard, which had wrapped around the parking brake. Freed it, slung it around my neck, and trudged back.

Rain. Heavy. Hurting. Ow.

Bypassed the stairs and headed for the elevator, which took its own, sweet time, and then took me UP, when all the buttons I’d pushed had told it I wanted DOWN. Pushed them again and was punished by stopping on every, single floor on the way to the one I wanted.

Slogged to my desk, wondering why I’d bothered to brush my hair at all, shed my coat and pulled my sweater straight, only to find that my badge had embedded its metal clip in the weave and I’d just yanked a bunch of threads into long, festive loops, directly over my right nipple.*

Did I mention that this is a brand new sweater and the first time I’d worn it?

Took off the sweater, which I don’t really need in our department, since we share space with the boiler room . . . And learned that due to everyone in reference calling in sick today, I’ll be spending the day at the desk not ten feet from the front entrance.

Did I mention that it’s raining even harder now? And the wind likes to come in and browse the new DVDs whenever a patron opens the door? Which is probably why reference keeps calling in sick?

Logged into my workstation to check e-mail for the ten minutes left before I had to clock in, and remembered that I hadn’t written a blog post yet.

Here.

Monday made me do it.

________________________

*It was suggested by a co-worker, who shall remain nameless, but not forgotten, that I should pull matching loops over the left one for “symmetry” and also to boost the library’s popularity.   As librarians can’t accept tips—and I wouldn’t find the place some of our patrons might want to put tips at all acceptable— I didn’t really see the point.

Poetry Wednesday: The Cold Earth

ShelleyI don’t like Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Personally, I mean—his poetry is okay for the type (she says, grudgingly) but his life was a mess of his own making that spilled over into everyone else’s.  And he didn’t really seem to give enough of a damn about that.

You can call me a prude or provincial or whatever, if you like, but I’ve always felt that if you want to embrace free love, you really ought to make sure that the people you want to freely embrace  understand what freedom means to you before you snuggle up so they can decide what it will cost them, before anyone ends up in an asylum or wracked with guilt.

Or maybe that’s just me?*

Regardless, this is one of those times when I’m going to separate my feelings about the poet from my feelings about a poem, because Shelley wrote one that absolutely nails my feelings about winter, which are edging into the sociopathic.

In fact, I hate winter so much that I’m only offering one poem today, as in half an hour from the scheduling of this post, I will be driving my kids through the remains of last night’s storm, which didn’t leave enough behind to justify staying home, but did put a nice, glossy coating of ice on the streets.

I’m at the point where the only good thing about winter is its poetry (she says, grudgingly).

Cold Earth

Well done, Mr. Shelley.

You putz.

________________________

*It isn’t.  I told my MIL at breakfast this morning that I was doing an unflattering bit on him, and she said, “Oh, yes, he was a jerk. And selfish.”  Then she smiled and said, “Isn’t it nice to know that for all his fuss and nonsense, his wife is more famous than he is?”  Yes, ma’am.

Tuesday Morning Ramblings

Right before I left the house with the kids this morning, I told my MIL, “It’s going to snow, because I decided to wear my favorite flats instead of my boots.”hate-snow-Lucy

By the time I backed out of the garage, there were fat flakes sailing through the air and a nice fluffy layer on the ground.  It must have started the moment I slipped on my shoes.

So I turned on the windshield wipers and said, “I’m going to win the lottery, because all that money would be a terrible inconvenience.”

I’ll let you know how that goes.

CD PLayerThe kids understood my need for radio silence during the snowy drive to school, and helped out by singing the first two lines—and only the first two, over and over—of their current favorite songs, at the top of their lungs.  When I protested, Jane explained that she was just showing me which songs she was planning to earn with her good homework behavior* this week.

I didn’t tell her that hearing the first line of the homemade KidzBop version of “Wrecking Ball” wasn’t doing anything for my level of parental follow-through.**  Maybe I should have . . .

Sunny gave me an extra hug when I dropped her off—I suspect that she wanted to see me skate around the car again like a moose on ice, but the reward was worth it.

Had a close call on the way to work with a minivan driver, who thought I should have gone through the yellowred light at a slick intersection, despite the two cars that had already stopped in front of me.

Honking while sitting at a red light because the driver in front of you won’t try to defy the laws of physics, not to mention the traffic laws, at your psychic command doesn’t just display your self-righteous impatience—it also makes you a jerk.

Red LightActually, honking at any red light makes you a jerk.  Turning on red is allowed in most of the U.S., but it isn’t required, and we aren’t allowed to decide when the driver in front of us can safely turn.  If we believe that we are allowed—nay, required—to make these judgment calls, we should keep in mind that our line of sight is impeded by distance, other vehicles, and by having our heads lodged where the sun can’t get to our corneas.  It’s physically and karmically safer to wait for the green light.

CoffeeOne of the tiny, drive-through coffee houses that punctuate my morning commute had a new sign up this morning:  New Soup and Pumpkin Flavors!

I thought that a tomato-pumpkin parmesan latte didn’t sound so bad—sort of like bisque with a caffeinated kick to it.  But I expect the pumpkin chicken noodle mocha wouldn’t go down so easily—up, maybe.

When I arrived at the library at quarter to eight, I had a breakfast bar, cracked open the first diet Pepsi of the day, and decided to reward myself for hopping on the exercise bike this morning by having a grilled chicken salad at my favorite lunch place.

Cheese FriesAt the writing of this paragraph some hours later, I have decided that “reward” and “salad” do not belong in the same sentence.  “Burger and bacon cheese fries,” on the other hand, might.***

I can always hire a personal trainer and chef—and a chauffeur and homework tutor—once the lottery thing pays out, right?

__________________________

* My library subscribes to Freegal™, which allows our cardholders—including those of us with staff cards—to download three free songs a week.  Since Jane has a card from a different city, I told her that she could earn my songs throughout the week, if she did her homework without complaint and to the teachers’ standards—or mine, if her teachers don’t make their directions clear to me.  If Freegal™ doesn’t have a song she wants, Jane can save up three free songs for one that I’ll buy for her.  I get song veto rights, because I’m not stupid.  We made this pact after her report card arrived Friday—it told us in no uncertain terms that we have a bright kid with a bad homework attitude, which wasn’t exactly a surprise.  We’ve tried everything else to get her to understand why homework is important and thought we’d might as well move on the bribery.

** Nor is the realization that I’ve been humming that one line to myself all #%$&ing morning.

***It says a lot about my nutritional attitude that I already had image of cheese fries in my media file.  But I’m not inclined to listen today.