The following is a true account of just ONE day in my life. Looking back, it's sadly funny.
The Perfect Household Storm
I was working part time, the mother of a 2-year-old, and the wife of a husband who traveled often. Our home had been under renovation for over a year and was finally near its completion; the builders had finished all of the major work, leaving us with the ‘finishing touches’ still to do. The large projects had included an entertainment room with the always-drooled-upon-but-never-before-purchased plasma TV screen mounted with reverence on the wall. The items that remained to be completed were simple trim work, putting doors back up, and laying down a new floor in the walk in closet. Day care closed that day so my husband volunteered to stay home with our toddler. I had no idea what I was going to come home to. I never thought that one little day home could almost destroy everything.
David had obviously been wrapped up in work; Abby has been off on her own on a secret mission to explore the limits of the floor’s toy-storage capacity. She took about every toy that I can think of and strewn them about the floors, counters and furniture. It was a disaster of epic Hasbro proportions.
I stumble over the Legos strategically placed to break an ankle and follow the sound of THUD-THUD-THUD to the bedroom. My darling husband had obviously decided that today would be the day that he would install an intricate organizer in our walk in closet. The closet that isn't finished yet. It has no trim, the door isn't stained, and there is no floor, but hey, now it had shelves! I find Abby sitting on a box in the not-finished-but-darn-it-has-cool-shelves walk in closet. David is beaming with pride. My bedroom is a construction zone. I numbly tell him what a great job he had done. Abby pokes my foot with a screwdriver and says, "I'm fixing your foot! Stay still!"
I am mentally calculating the sheer amount of work it's going to take to get dinner done, clean the house, and pick up my bedroom before Lost comes on at 9:00. I have officially declared the bedroom a disaster zone.
I detach the screwdriver from my shoe and head off to the kitchen, leaving Abby to poke David with the screwdriver instead. I discover that Mr. Fix It never took the garbage out this morning, and the two dogs have gone at it as if it were their own personal buffet. They have also started to shed their winter coats in cat-size clumps all over the house. I pick up garbage and try to sweep up the dog hair that 'POOFS' into the air with every pass of the broom.
I add the kitchen to the declared Disaster Zones.
It's getting towards dusk, I start dinner (hamburgers, hot dogs, tater-tots, and green beans, it's a white trash kind of night) and decide that it's a little dark in the room. I try to switch on the sunroom lights. Nothing. I try the sunroom ceiling fan. Nothing. In horror, I look at our TV cable box. Nothing. ACKKKKK!! No TV!
David comes running in. "OhMiGod"! he yells. “Abby stuck the screwdriver in a light socket! She's fine, but I saw a big spark!” I immediately go and check her out. She's fine, not a scratch on her and she has a newfound appreciation for the enormity of electricity. Child disaster averted. Then the next horrible thought hits me. The kid's fine, yes, that's great, but...my cable is out and Jack is going to find out that Kate is a fugitive tonight on Lost and I'm going to miss it!
I call the electrician. They can't come out till 5:00 tomorrow. Shit.
David disappears around the corner with an extension cord. I assume he’s on a mission to appease the cable gods with the sacrifice of a small household appliance.
I add the electricity on the back half of the house to the Disaster Zone list.
I walk outside to start the grill for dinner and smell...shit. No, really, this time I mean it literally. I smell shit. It’s our septic tank. Ah yes, the pump on the tank is clogged again, and it isn't pumping you-know-what out the leech field. A few more flushes and we're going to have sewage in the lawn.
I call the septic people. They'll be out in the morning and we can’t use the water until then.
I add the septic system to the Disaster Zone list.
The phone rings as I’m hanging up on the Septic Company. It's the people from the well testing company on the phone. Our well testing positive for bacteria last week and we're going to have to hire someone to decontaminate it.
Well. Disaster Zone. Check.
I walk in circles, not knowing where to go next, when I hear a triumphant holler. What’s that? What do I see? The CABLE IS ON! David, who would walk through fire to have a TV on, has jimmied the TV, Cable, and DVD/Sound system to another outlet in a room on the high class ‘with electricity’ side of our home. WE HAVE TV! We have no lights, no water, no septic, construction equipment and toys everywhere and burnt tator tots falling though the slots in the grill, but we have TV!
I pause and gently run my hand down my daughter’s long silky hair as I admire the blinking 12:00 on the DVD player. But her hair isn’t silky. It’s sticky. David had never brushed Abby's hair today, but he did give her lollipops. Her long, fine, thick hair was stuck together in one big mat resting on top of her cherubic little head. I need to give the kid a bath, thoroughly wash and condition her hair and then get a brush through it. Oh, wait, we can't use water, remember?
Abby. Disaster Zone.
I have to put my poor kid into the empty, dry tub with a bucket of warm water to dunk her hair in. I scrub, I wash, I condition, then plop her hair back in the bucket to rinse. (Did I mention that it's a white trash kind of night?) Abby is crying and shivering, the dogs are hiding, David is admiring his handiwork and I’m considering adding myself to the Disaster Zone list.
It takes 40 minutes to comb her hair. She gets Jell-O for a treat to make up for horrible hair-combing experience, 2 books, 3 songs, 4 hugs and 7 kisses. She is in bed at 8:41.
I opened a bottle wine and walked right on past the closet debris, over the toys, and through the rooms that were all, mercifully, too dark to show the chaos they held. I sat down to watch TV with 4 minutes to spare before my show came on.
No day that ends with a beer and your favorite TV show is a complete loss.