Friday, February 26, 2010

Welcome to the Jungle

Romantic. That's what he is.

Seriously, the man gave me a gift! And it isn't even a holiday or any sort of Officially Designated Gift-Giving Occasion. But yesterday morning as I was hiding in the bathroom, there was a little knock and Jeff told me he'd gotten me a gift. He had found it underneath the garbage can. I immediately began trying to think of anything at all that I wanted that would be found underneath a garbage can. Hmmmmm.....uh.....NO.

"Check it out. Jules has it," he said.

This was confusing. Especially when I saw what Jules was holding.

OK. So I was disappointed. But then Jeff said, "That is going to keep them occupied ALL DAY." Smile. Then he left on a business trip. And I was loving and adoring him from a distance because that dang reptile did indeed keep them busy ALL DAY. He has been named Reginald and he has been set up in an aquarium and he has been fed a menagerie of crickets, beetles, and moths. His new pad has been decorated and re-decorated a thousand times. I probably have another 12 hours of this reptilian reprieve and then my sanity will depend on my husband finding me another gift possibly under a rock or something.

You see, Wednesday was a Bad Day. I am stressed. I am tired. I am overwhelmed by a multitude of things. You know that feeling you have when you're in the grocery store and one of your kids is pushing the cart behind you? That sphincter tightening waiting-to-have-your-heels-rammed-by-a-loaded-grocery-cart feeling?? I have been walking around with that feeling for days. I don't know why. Hormonal maybe.

Also? We've all been taking turns being sick. Right now I'm sick.

Also Also?? This is Ellie's big competition season - and besides contests - she is making a name for herself and has been invited to play here and there and give recitals AND we're still filling out the dang paperwork for From the Top. We started the process a long time ago and then became distracted with some other This Has To Be Done Right Now emergencies. So the deadline is March 1 and we're back at it. Because she is also applying for the scholarship there is literally a mountain of paperwork. Do you know how hard it is to keep spaghetti sauce off of a mountain of paperwork? I'll tell you how hard it is IMPOSSIBLE. And we haven't even had spaghetti. The Paperwork is also a crayon/marker magnet and I finally told her to stop starting over every time a little person scribbled on a piece of paper. We can't guard it all constantly. Occasionally one of us needs to pee, eat, or answer the phone and then large food chunks and/or scribbles suddenly appear all over the papers.

Also Also Also??? I'm dealing with Mr. Spock, Arnold Schwarzenegger and the meteorite that attacks him, and a giant dancing green apple that really looks like a giant booger but don't tell Camille I said that. Anyway - so did you figure out what time of year it is? That's right. It is Odyssey of the Mind crunch time. The tournament is next weekend. I'm coaching the high school team. I have been telling them all along when the tournament is, I have paraded the calendar in front of them, I have nagged and whined and done all of those ineffective Mother/Odyssey Coach things. On Wednesday, I got through to one of them.

"Are you saying we have a little over a week?" she said.

"Yes! Yes! Oh my God!! That's what I'm saying!" It was such a moment, I tell you. It was like I was Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller had just freaking figured out I was talking to her. Seriously. It was a Made For TV Movie Moment.

What resulted from the light bulb finally clicking on, was mass hysteria. Well, actually, only half of the mass became hysterical. The other half curled up into fetal positions.

My team is working on the Vehicle Problem. They are building a human-powered vehicle driven by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Because Joel does an awesome Arnold impression, that's why. Anyway, they went for the Out-of-the-Box thinking....came up with a brilliant idea...only they can't quite make it work. Jules is on the Middle School team - and they are also building a vehicle - but are using a simpler concept. He plays Mr. Spock. Camille is on the Elementary Team and she is the dancing green apple/booger. I'd tell you more about their solutions/skits but then, according to official Odyssey rules, I'd have to kill you. On Wednesday I sat with my friend and fellow Odyssey coach, watching our kids drag their vehicle around, trip over props, knock over signs, etc. They were whiny/frustrated/tired. My friend had her head in her hands. I said, "And to think we could have just used birth control." Sigh.

Anyway, I don't think my team's vehicle is going to be working in time for the tournament. We'll see. Between now and then? My life is going to be Pure Hell. And speaking of hell, Jasper has recently become possessed. By a demon. Or something. I keep telling him, "Dude - you're like almost six-years-old....CHILL OUT." But then he just spins his head around and climbs up the walls. I am so glad he is not in school. They medicate possessed kids. Anyway - so looking forward to the 6th birthday (next month) whereby the demon will be commanded to come out on a matter of principle.

It hasn't all been bad, though. I have exorcised a BIG DEMON recently. That's right, folks. I paid my library fine!! Yes!! It took two attempts (I forgot my checkbook on the first attempt) but I got 'er done. The kids are like, "We can go back in the library?? Are you serious??" Yes, children. The Time Of Shame has officially ended. We are paid up and ready to check out books which we will never lose or return late. Because I said so.

*Okay - just to show you how crazy my life is.....right this very children are excitedly proclaiming that they have found maggots and they are bringing them INTO MY HOUSE to feed to Reginald, the gift that keeps on giving.

I look back on the days when I was a young mother of only small children. I often thought it was overwhelming (it was) and busy (mind numbingly so) and looked forward (guiltily) to the times they would all be older. They are now all older. And my life is overwhelming and busy and I occasionally guiltily look forward to the day I will have an empty house. Because right now I have two people playing electric guitars and one banging out Chopin on a baby grand. My Asperger's kid is screeching because he has consulted the Google Gods and they have told him that Reginald is sensitive to loud noises - so of course he is responding to this info by LOUDLY screeching at the noisemakers. There is an electric guitar and amplifier in my off-limits-meditation nook - my one little holy space in this house - because, "mom - where else can I practice? there are people everywhere!" and sometimes it just seems as if one day the roof is just going to blow sky high off of this house. So I try to imagine it without the ruckus. And I can't, really.

The truth is, when I think about the future, I wonder if the house will feel like a sanctuary or an empty tomb/womb? I imagine it will be a little of both.

Ahhhh...Joel is now playing Welcome to the Jungle. The Universe has spoken again; with a smile, I'm quite sure. There is no future - there is only the Present Moment Which Happens To Be A Jungle.

Next year, the first monkey will leave the jungle. I'll watch her go with a combination of joy and sadness. And I'm pretty sure I'll seek my solace in the mayhem and noise of this wild place. Before it disappears.

Sardine Mama


    Okay, so I exaggerate, as usual. But seriously one can learn much from a horn toad!
    When startled or frightened, he does squirt blood out of his eye, or rather a sac underneath his eye, to escape danger. It does work!

  2. thought your name should be after this one, jungle mama. :)

  3. Okay..I threatened every living human being on 4 different OM teams today. Not one of my prouder moments. Vowing to never do this again. Then? I read your post. Thank you for the reminder that this, too, shall pass.

  4. Cheesey - it shall pass...but will you do it again? And to WM - it isn't actually a horny toad (you can leave the "e" off -really - I'm not offended) - it is a Texas Spiny Lizard. I miss those dang horny toads - stupid freaking pesticides! When I was a kid they were EVERYWHERE and we played with them endlessly. My kids have never seen one :(.

  5. I don't know..maybe one team. 4? No way. Not fair to anyone. Especially the kids. Two of the teams have other coaches but one is out of town and the other is brand new. (Bless her heart). I would let her fumble through this on her own,except my kids are on her team and (ahem) not pulling their weight.

  6. Somehow I got really behind reading your posts, so I had a big ole laugh-fest just now! Wow, that was fun. I have a guitar in my meditation nook too (and a cat).

  7. Truly a gift that keeps on giving, that lizard. And so glad it's you and not me.

    My son once had a green anole. Darn thing was a pain in the, er, rear end. Not only did he try to escape at every opportunity, the crickets we PAID MONEY FOR chirped all night long... and also tried to escape at every opportunity.

    It's a major milestone in child development when they can reserve their own library books online, walk to the library to pick them up AND be responsible for either taking the books back OR paying their own damn fines.

    Good luck with the pile of stuff you have going on. I feel fortunate that I just have home and work.