So . . . Here’s What Happened . . .

Yesterday, was my day off. I’d planned to use the gift certificate I received for Mother’s Day to get my nails done and then maybe blog about it because I know how much y’all adore every detail about my nail care routine.

But I also  had to buy a birthday present for Sunny’s friend, dishwashing detergent, pumpernickel bread, a specific birthday gift for my husband, balloons for Jane’s science assignment illustrating static electricity.  I needed to make dinner for a friend who just had surgery (which is why pumpernickel bread is mentioned in the previous sentence) and deliver it.  I then had to pick up the kids from school—because my husband graciously agreed to take them to school that morning—and get them home in time for my husband to take them to their respective music lessons.Dancing Cake

Piece of cake.

I perhaps slept in a little more than I wanted to but I did get on the exercise bike without too much whining.  Showered, dressed, and sufficiently caffeinated, I set off.

The first store had Sunny’s friend’s gift and the detergent,* but no pumpernickel, specific husband gift, or reasonably priced balloons.

The second store had reasonably priced balloons (plus the gift bags and birthday cards I’d forgotten to add to the list), but didn’t carry bread or gifts my husband would appreciate.

I zipped over to my nail appointment, by which I mean I followed at minimal safe distance a series of other drivers who seemed to be unclear about where they were going and how quickly they needed to get there, but were adamant about leaving their turn signals on to save time.  But I did make it with minutes to spare.

Say what you want about the frivolity of manicures, but it’s always lovely to have someone hold your hand for half an hour, add a little color to your life, and then massage pineapple oil into your sore writing muscles.  My nails are now a shade called “Imagination”, which might look beige under artificial light, but sparkles gold in the sunshine.  I like that.

I only wish I’d remembered my gift certificate . . .

The third store had my husband’s birthday present and every kind of bread I could have wished for, as long as I didn’t wish for pumpernickel.

The fourth store had pumpernickel.

I went home, hid some of my shopping,** and started scraping carrots, de-stringing celery, and denuding spuds for a vat of baked potato soup (this one with smoked sausage bits added to the onions—and yes, the cat still considers himself a key ingredient) to feed my friend’s family, plus enough for my family the next night.

Halfway through, my stomach demanded to know what I was going to do about its state of impending implosion, so I made lunch, ate it, and continued making soup.  Once soup had been achieved, I let it cool and called my friend for directions.  Her husband, who is a jwonderful man who fully intends to take on his beloved’s work load but had no idea she did quite this much, answered and gave me detailed directions that depended on landmarks that haven’t existed since well before we moved up here, so I secured the street address to their town house complex and dug out the GPS.

I love my GPS but its suction cup mount and I have a non-aggression pact, which it violated by popping free just as I reached the part of town I knew nothing about.  Figuring that GPSing from one’s lap was worse than texting, I pulled over and got my own back by licking the suction cup and slamming it onto the surface of my windshield, where it stuck . . . upside down.  I pried it free, tried again, and we all went on our way.  I don’t believe I was imagining the disapproval in the GPS’s voice, but I didn’t start it, so I didn’t care.

I delivered the soup, bread, a box of Godiva, and hugs to my medication-goofy friend and her exhausted husband, and went to pick up the kids.  While waiting in the Parental Line, I checked my e-mail and found that Jane’s Humanities teacher had cc’d me on an e-mail that supplied the four assignments Jane had missed that month, all of which were due the following day at 3:30.  To her credit . . . pun woefully unintended . . . she fully acknowledged that she needed to do them and told me she needed my computer.

I agreed, because legitimate excuses for writing avoidance are not to be ignored and I’m not interested in providing her with a scapegoat for her lousy grades, thank you.

Brain FailWhen we got home, my husband had put the potato soup in the fridge, which would have been perfect, except he’d inadvertently unearthed the roast I’d bought, which I’d meant to slow-cook Monday but had instead ended up dropping it into the black hole I have where other people keep their memory centers.  The date label suggested that I either cook it by the next day or lose it in the black hole we keep where other people have freezers.

So instead of spending the kids’ music lesson time doing a post on my busy day, I prepped the roast for crockpotting (it’s a Real Verb, Downith, I swear), and began gently reheating potato soup.

The kids came home, told me they didn’t like potato soup and would prefer Campbell’s, please, and dispersed to deal with their Humanities backlog and top up their RDA of cartoons, respectively, which may well have saved their lives and the state of Illinois the cost of a trial.

So I opened cans and heated things and kissed my husband good-bye . . . I think . . . and ended up burning the bottom of the potato soup, because of course.  But everyone was eventually fed and homeworked (she says) and showered, so I made good use of the dishwashing detergent, and sat down to write a belated post about I don’t even know.

And then my MIL came upstairs to complain that her toilet was bubbling, and the last time it did that, the sewer line outside the house had backed up into her back room.

It did that this time, too.

So that’s why my regular Tuesday post is being posted today and also why there will be no random Thursday post tomorrow.***

Because life is being random enough at the moment.

Time Flies

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*Which was so well-hidden behind a young man examining a bottle of drain cleaner and his full cart that I made three passes down the aisle before I realized he was blocking the shelf I needed.  When I finally stopped and said, “Excuse me,” he smirked and said, “Sorry, I have a girlfriend.”    I gave him Sunny’s best unimpressed look and said, “I’ll forgive you if you move so I can get that green box right there.”  Wait for the pitch before you lob it back, gentlemen.

**Not because my husband doesn’t know exactly what he’s getting, but to prevent the kids from opening the bag if front of him, pulling out the gift and saying, “Mom?  Who is this for?”  Bother birthdays and parenting often depend on plausible deniability.

***That and Sunny’s Girl Scout bridging ceremony Thursday evening.  And I just remembered that I have to iron all her badges on her vest.  And that the ironing board is in the back room of my MIL’s apartment . . .

 

 

 

The Karma Chill is in Negative Digits

Driving in Snow

I’ve survived three commutes, so far, since the big snowstorm on Sunday dropped eight inches of the deceptively gorgeous white stuff upon us.  Even more is predicted tomorrow and I’m seriously thinking of quitting my job so I can stay home until Spring.

Except if I do, I’ll quickly be living in my car, which kind of negates the sense of safety I was going for.

It isn’t a long drive—eleven miles or so, depending on the route and whether or not I’m dropping kids off at school—but it has hills and valleys and treacherous snowpack in most of the spots that require turning or breaking or playing chicken with gravity. Plus there’s that mile-long bridge, currently coated with ice, right in the middle of it.

I can drive in snow and with one exception,* I’m not bad at it. I’m one of those slow and steady drivers who give themselves plenty of time so they won’t have to rush—and who send all those other drivers who assume they’re the only ones who know how to handle winter conditions (e.g., floor it like it ain’t happening) literally around the bend and sometimes into one of the ditches or retaining walls we grow along the sides of the roads around here.**

Snow CommuteBut that kind of focused attention takes a lot out of me. I save up all the stress and horror and road rage and impatience and let it go all at once after I’ve arrived at my destination,*** leaving me in an odd state of twitching lethargy and strident vocabulary overshare.

I’ve been told it’s amusing to watch—primarily by those who purport to love me—but while I’ll do a lot to make people smile, I’d rather wear a clown nose and burp Yankee Doodle Dandy, which at least has the advantage of embarrassing the kids.^

I’m nearly to the point where I’m crossing my fingers that Janie’s cold will worsen juuuuust enough to keep her out of school tomorrow, so I can stay home and take care of her without blowing any vacation days.

I’m sure she won’t mind supporting me in this endeavor.

 

WHY DO YOU HATE WINTER?
(Yes, you do. Lying is beneath you.)

snow-ark

I wouldn’t worry. I’d jump aboard and make ’em drive me to work.

 

 ________________

PSST: To further fuel my state of nerves, my stats are jumping today for no discernible reason. Normally, I’d be thrilled, but as no specific post is being singled out and no referring sites are listed, I’m forced to assume that either someone’s mouse is stuck or I’m under investigation for something for which ignorance is no excuse.

So if you could please make sure your computer is working properly, check my financial records to prove it’s not worth paying a process-server to deliver the subpoena, and/or just leave a comment to tell me why you dropped by, I’d appreciate it.

You don’t have to STOP, by the way; just let me know, please. I have a writer’s imagination and I’m already chanting ATTICA! ATTICA! under my breath.

Thank you!

confused

________________________

*Our driveway. It’s a short slope and not very steep, but I can’t manage it in snow or ice without slipping, sliding, or spinning my wheels to the point that I smell burning rubber.

**As long as I’m alive to rack up the negative karma points, I’ll continue to rack ‘em up, five miles below the speed limit.

***Or halfway up my driveway to my destination, like last night. After three tries, I gave up, parked, stomped into the house and confessed my inability to get my car into the garage. My MIL and daughters looked at me in disbelief and told me my husband never has any trouble. I KNOW THAT. And I was grateful that he brought my car in when he arrived home—and secretly vindicated when I could hear him spinning my tires the whole time.

^Or one of them. Sunny is a great musical burping tutor (That sentence is grammatically correct no matter how you parse it, by the way).

Let it Snow, my blue, frozen @$$

hate-snow-Lucy

You know why this post is so short?

Because five inches of snow and a 20 minute commute that took and hour and twenty, that’s why.

Because EVERY WINTER, certain owners of big vehicles tell themselves that other people—presumably everyone in front of them—can’t drive in snow and then end up doing some asinine tailgating-passing-too-close-snow-isn’t-slippery-when-I’m-driving-on-it-engine-gunning-mine’s-bigger maneuver that ALWAYS ends up with their beloved behemoth and three or four other cars turned the wrong way at the end of a mile-long bridge, with bumpers and headlight pieces strewn all over the place, blocking the whole works.

That’s why.

At least the kids weren’t in the car with me when it happened and a Terry Pratchett audiobook was, so my tension levels were nearer Eye Twitch than Defcon.

I don’t like driving on snow. And I especially don’t like braking while driving on the packed stuff—which I did for three miles and forty minutes this morning.

There is hope that the roads will be clear of both snow and idiots—Karmic Darwin* to the rescue—because Jane’s birthday is tomorrow, and I would like to pick up a couple of things on the way home, in case her school closes due to “extreme cold”.**

And if you have it worse—and many people do or did or will, this winter—all I can say is that your pain and frustrations don’t negate my pain and frustration.

But if you’d like to share your Winter Wonderland horror stories below, I’m listening.

___________________

*Best superhero name ever!

**It’s supposed to be -30F with the wind chill, and many of the kids have to walk outside between classes.  It’s one of the hazards of having a school that outgrew its original historical landmark building.

Whine of the Wild Librarian: Owww

Wild LibrarianMy library branch is currently closed for recarpeting and renovation and will remain closed until the day after Christmas.

This is a good thing, as all the nonfiction from the second floor is now on rows and rows of tables in my department on the lower level, fiction is filling up the first floor elevator bay to the children’s department, Horror is in YA, and most of the furniture in the building had been gathered or stacked in great piles to be broken down or assembled, respectively.

Shifting the library

The visual answer to the question, “But why can’t YOUR department stay open?”

I spent my day helping to transfer books from ranges to carts, deliver the carts for unloading, and take the empty carts back to the ranges.  I also tagged shelves, which involved tearing pieces from two rolls of identically-numbered sticky tape and slapping matching numbers on the first book on a shelf and the shelf itself.

This is necessary and saves reshelving everything after someone realizes after finishing the Ms that we forgot a cart way back in the Bs.

But since the tape is ancient—so old I couldn’t even find an image of the rolls—and very sticky, I had to scrape and pinch the pieces off the roll, which meant I repeatedly jabbed my thumbnail into the tip of my forefinger, for two hours.  It also meant doing a series of very slow toe touches at each section of the ranges, for two hours.

It was difficult to move this morning.  I may have cried, just a little, when I passed my stationary bike and remembered that I owe it some time tonight.

They never mentioned this in Library School. I didn’t have to shift books for the final.

It was bad enough to learn that librarians don’t actually sit around and read books all day, if at all, and that math is required on a daily basis—but this is adding injury to insult.

And next week, we’re going to have to put  everything back.

But it does have to be done, and who better to do it than people who care about the books and about being able to find them again, once all this is over?

So this morning I put on my favorite tee-shirt,* comfortable jeans, and my old, broken-in Adidas, and packed myself a nice Advil sandwich for lunch.

Bring it.

. . . slowly . . .

____________________________

*
Tee2

 

 

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