Photo: One of the few fleeting moments of suburban bliss this week. Also one of the few fleeting moments when the boys weren’t at each other’s throats.
I am so sorry that I didn’t post on Wednesday. So, so sorry…but the truth of the matter is, you didn’t want me to post on Wednesday, because it would have been some fire and brimstone type crazy.
I hit “Overwhelmed” on Wednesday. It was not a good look.
But can I tell you? My no-good-very-bad-week started on Sunday. My no-good-very-bad-week has multiple layers… like some real cerebral type shit going on…
So the post that popped on Monday was actually written on Sunday afternoon. I’d seen the response video by Don Lemon and I was like “ROAR” so I started writing and didn’t stop, then put it in the can to pop on Monday morning. I went about my day feeling pretty good about myself–I had, essentially, given myself a free Monday afternoon for writing fiction (which is what I’m usually doing when I’m not blogging). I got some laundry done and a few other things, and then I got a phone call.
“Hey, we just wanted to talk to you about the house,” Said my uncle on the phone, “Oh, and remind me to tell you about Uncle [D]’s dream.”
Lord. Uh huh. So we talk about the house, I tell him about the crap going on with negotiations, he tells me he has to go but he hands the phone over.
“Hey Uncle D,” I say with a smirk, “You’re having dreams about me? That’s super awkward…”
“Shut up,” he yells and laughs, “But it’s probably going to be awkward nonetheless. I had a dream that we were driving up to Boston because you had had triplets… 3 boys…. and you were totally overwhelmed and we were on our way up to help. We spent the entire dream changing diapers and and stuff because you were basically losing your mind.”
Awesome. Some of you are probably wondering what could be so bad about that. But I have a thing about dreams, especially when you have dreams about other people. It’s usually the foretelling of something. Not necessarily that I was going to actually have triplets, per se (though he insisted that I was), but that I was about to be overwhelmed and three major events were coming my way.
The house fell through.
I basically had a mommy meltdown on Wednesday.
It’s Friday and I am snowballed by all of the things that I didn’t accomplish this week because every time I had a singular moment to be productive, my phone rang or my children began screaming.
Sooooo the house: We played hardball with negotiations and lost. There is still a bit of hope (if you can call it that), but in my eyes this is dead in the water. We had an inspector last week who determined that the house needs $35k worth of work. We asked for at least $15k off of the house price (the heat is shot, the plumbing is shot, and the electrical is “knob and tube” which means, in layman’s terms, that it’s old and we can’t get home insurance) in order to help us mitigate some of the cost to bring it up to servicable. Well, the seller’s agent is a maniac who didn’t get back to us, dragged her feet, himmed and hawed, called us crazy, finally got down to $9k off the house and decided to go no lower. Every single day this week, during nap time and during dinner, i’ve been on the phone with my realtor trying to avoid the “walk away” and make this work. We even called a plumber to come into the house on Thursday to go in and give us a hard estimate. But by Wednesday night, the seller’s agent didn’t get back to us, so we canceled the plumber and called it dead. I was like, fine, we’ll make this house a home, we’ll wait until the spring market, we’ll bide our time and save up money.
Until last night, when my husband decides that we really should work harder to make this deal. So we’re getting people in next Wednesday to give us hard numbers. I’m at the point where I’m entirely sick of this process.
But that isn’t even what made Wednesday an absolutely awful day.
On Monday, I got an e-mail from our new preschool. Playdate! At the big playground in town! 10am! Be there or be square! I forwarded the e-mail to my husband. “I very much want to go to this,” I said. He emailed me back, “Not a problem.” WOO HOO! I was going to make a day of it: Park in the morning, lunch at the local seafood joint that makes great fish and chips, quick trip across town to pick up a package at my old apartment… it was going to be so satisfying to get out of the house. We suffered through a rainy day on Tuesday, went to bed early so that we made sure The Husband was up early for his first trip on the commuter rail, woke up to a perfect Wednesday morning.
And The Husband was up with no problem. Out the door. Gets his train. Awesome! I had some laundry going, go dressed, got breakfast set up before the boys woke up. I was totally back in my zone. This is me, the suburban mom, makin’ it work, doing what we set out here to do. I got the boys fed, we watched some Word World, I cleaned up and then made the boys PB&Js for the park, waited for them to poop (I know you other moms can relate!), got them upstairs, cleaned their little tushies, put them in great “first impression” outfits, brushed out their hair (and took pictures), got shoes and socks on, got them sunscreened and bug sprayed and got the diaper bag ready to go.
and then looked for my keys.
and looked for my keys.
and looked for my keys.
and tore up the first floor of my apartment.
and the second floor.
and the basement.
and could not find my keys.
There is an episode of the Twilight Zone, Time Enough At Last, about a man who is given the opportunity to spend all of his days reading the books he loves so much… only to stumble and break his glasses. He rages and crumbles in cruel despair at the end of the episode. This was me at 10:30am on Wednesday morning, my children following me around this townhouse intermittently asking, “Mama, what are you doing?”
The cruelty of it. The injustice of it. I shook because I refused to sob in front of my children. My first chance since we’ve moved here to get out of this stupid prison of a place, and here I couldn’t. I opened the windows and threw on Sesame Street, resigned to be trapped in this house for yet another day. When the boys asked for lunch, I threw the packed sandwiches onto plates and simply plopped them in their chairs. Half heartedly, I looked around a few more times to find them. It was noon, the playdate was over, but there was a security issue that was nagging at me…
and there they were, in some corner of one of the coaches. I don’t know how they got down in there, but there is where they were.
It was nap time, but I refused to waste the opportunity. The boys finished their sandwiches and I threw them in the car. We’re going to the flippin’ park.
And we did–and for one glorious hour on a cool and breezy and sunny day, we were outside… it was wondrous. Then we got back in the car and we drove to my old place to pick up the package that I’d accidentally sent there. Then we drove back.
Ursa Minor, reliably, had slept in the car.
Ursa Major, because he hates me, had not.
So when we walked by in this house at 3:30, all hell broke loose.
Ursa Major has been pushing boundaries all week. His big thing right now is that he just blatantly doesn’t follow directions, and when he’s given an instruction, his response is “What?” His other fun thing to do is to give me a directive and then repeat that directive every 2 seconds until I complete the task. “I want to eat, Mama. Eaaat. Eat. Eat. Mama, I want to eat. We eat, Mama? Mama, I want to eat!”
and then, of course, Ursa Minor will parrot whatever his brother says. So I have two toddlers chasing me telling me that they want something, even though they are watching me actively try to meet their need.
The other fun thing that we’re doing right now is figuring out how to remove the gates from the stairs so that we can climb and play on them. Oh, and to touch the buttons on the television/cable box, climb onto the couches and jump on them, and fight over toys and scream about them. There is also my personal favorite: Ursa Major physically oppressing his brother through pushing, pulling, smacking, or body slamming him. I named him after an ancient tyrant, and a tyrant I surely got.
My entire week has been dedicated to managing toddlers. From sun up to sun down I have been spewing a litany of “no, sir”, “no, thank you,” “Please, don’t,” “it’s time for a time out,” “stand back from the television,” “Don’t press that,” “stop hitting your brother,” “don’t push your brother,” “give that toy back,”
I gave serious contemplation to jumping off of my roof on Wednesday night. Not to end my life. Just to maybe injure myself enough to result in a prolonged and blissful hospital stay.
(I’m not suicidal and I’m not actually going to injure myself. Don’t worry).
And in the quiet moments when I wasn’t managing babies, someone wanted a piece of me. My step-mother called me yesterday, out of the clear blue sky, sobbed on the phone for a good hour and then begged me to help her write her resume. Then she put me on the phone with my father, who dumped all his problems on me. Awesome. Then there were the requests from the moms at playgroup. “I need an apartment!” one of them asked. “Can you help me promote my new business?” the other asked. I don’t know what about me screams “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…” but I’m really not that lady. Much like the New Colossus, my strong facade hides the fact that I have too many problems of my own.
and despite all of my wants and needs, I wrote only 500 words of fiction this week. The dream that I keep deferring. I think I’ve kissed my husband once this week. And while the house has remained functional with my usual “3 meals a day, 2 loads of laundry” always complete, I haven’t been thriving. I’ve been simply living. Barely.
So I decided last night to get up at 6:30 this morning for muffin baking and blogging. I’m sure you can guess what happened: Ursa Major was up and ready to go at 6:15.
I confess: I certainly wasn’t a happy and loving mom this week. While I’m sure that they won’t remember this week (and maybe I won’t either, over time), I know that I’ve been a mean woman. While I’ve tried to find moments of joy and places to smile, I think that 90% of the things I’ve said to my boys this week have been stern and directive. This place hasn’t brought out the best in me at all.
It’s always darkest before the dawn… or that is what they say. I have to live like this for another week and a half before a much needed vacation and then the beginning of preschool and this life that we’ve been wanting for our boys. I don’t know if a home purchase is going to be part of that. I told my husband that we’re putting up pictures and making this house a “home” next week if things don’t progress. I’m done with the games–I don’t have the energy for them. I want to make this place a home, go to the beach, come back and be a happy suburban family.
or maybe this week has taught me that that is too much to ask for.
And you know what I dreamed about last night?
Twin girls. I dreamed that I was opening presents for their first birthday. I never saw the babies in the dream, but I saw their names. What does that mean? I have no idea… but I suspect that two more obstacles are coming my way.
I’m sorry that I missed my Wednesday post. I’m more sorry that I let myself lose it. I don’t know what it is about this place, but it certainly has not brought out the best in me. The good news is that things can only get better from here, because on Wednesday I hit bottom. I look forward to ascension and improvement. I look forward to happier (and regular) posts next week.
For each of you I wish good weekends, filled with love and patience and children who follow directions–all of the things that were missing from my week. I wish you quiet moments of being alone with your thoughts, I wish you good food and better company. I wish you no premonitions from relatives or of your own. 🙂