Thursday, July 3, 2014

Getting My S(tuff) Together

The first thing I did this morning was log on to Facebook to find out where exactly my siblings are.

Usually one is in Wisconsin and one is in Indiana. Last night they were both on their way to me, and we had some three-way Facebook messaging going about the joys of travelling long distances with small children in cars. These days, of course, my children are apt to be the ones driving the car, but I have a long memory. Anyway, my sibs were going to make it as far South toward me as their eardrums and patience would allow. My brother and his wife gave it up in Lexington, Kentucky, as did my parents, travelling separately, but my dear nephew Louie fell asleep and my sis was putting the miles behind her.

She could be here honestly just about any time now. I'm not remotely prepared. I had actually planned today to write a follow-up blog to yesterday's post about intervening when your child needs you to--I got some interesting responses, some private, and I think there's room for lots more discussion--but oh, honey. I keep walking around seeing my house through Other People's Eyes. Not that my family are judgmental--they're not. My mother is a meticulous housekeeper and while visiting has been known to clean out my refrigerator, top to bottom, including the gunk in the drawers, but she manages to do this in a way that doesn't piss me off at all, just leaves me happy and grateful. That's an art form that doesn't get nearly enough international acclaim.

And it's not like I've been handling everything on my own this last week. I've long been a fan of Put Your Child To Work Day. On Monday I laid out a pretty impressive list that included Clean The Front Porch (it's wraparound, big); Weed Everything; Clean Up the Playroom, and Do All Your Own Laundry, Fold It, and Put It Away. With a deadline of yesterday. Not only did my lovelies meet the deadline, they exceeded it, doing things they knew would be necessary that I'd forgotten to list. The only query I got was from my daughter: "How do you work the powerwasher?"

Still. This morning I remembered to ask my husband, before he left for work, what ingredients he needed for his July Fourth homemade ice cream extravanganza. We had our annual math contest, in which we tried to calculate the number of cups in a gallon, and then he told me he needed one thousand eggs. I said he did not. Last year he claimed to need one thousand eggs and the leftover eggs took up valuable refrigerator space for months. He dropped it to 500 eggs. I will buy 200, and that will still be too many.  (Note: I am, actually, exaggerating. But the idea is true.)

I had promised back when to clean up the packing peanuts scattered all over the garage. Do you know how hard electrically-charged packing peanuts are to sweep up? I've had an easier time with mercury spills. Also I would prefer that the entire mudroom did not smell like the ancient incontinent dog. I would also prefer that the ancient incontinent dog did not smell like the ancient incontinent dog, but I'm solving that by shipping him to the kennel for the weekend. The combination of fireworks and my three small nephews will put him over the edge, and if any of the boys get bitten my sister/sisterinlaw will kill me.

There's laundry to do, and horses to ride, and a wash stall in the barn that we've got to turn into a horse stall to stuff a pony inside for the Fourth (we have one more horse than stalls; clearly bad planning on behalf of whoever built the barn) because horses don't like fireworks either.

Yet I know, in my heart of hearts, that all this scrambling is really Amazon's fault. Amazon.com, which Tuesday night dropped off at my door, in the same package. the new J.K. Rowling mystery and Jil Paton Walsh's new Peter Wimsey mystery. The agony of that decision. I decided to read the Walsh first, on the grounds that Peter and I are old friends, while Cormoran Strike and I have only just met. It was a satisfying novel, but--sorry, Jil--nothing compared to the Rowling. Damn, that woman can write. I was on page three, reading each paragraph over, savoring the sound of the sentences, when I realized that really I had to get my shit together. I'm on page 171 now.