The day before my husband’s company potluck picnic lunch last week at Pep’s Point, was quite a tester of a day. I am thankful I made it through without yelling at anybody or crying at anything, as I could feel my hormones going awry from the time I woke up that morning.
First sign of the times, no coffee in the cupboard. I chose/was forced to drink Mountain Dew for my early morning caffeine fix. Good thing I had stayed up extra late the night before getting in a few extra hours of “me time”. That last hour of dawdling on Facebook and Pinterest at one in the morning was now becoming a bit regrettable. Mountain Dew first thing in the morning is not comfort like the warm flow of coffee heating up one’s brain in the morning. It is a neon shock of sugar that burns with the first gulp and exacerbates the plaque on the as of yet unbrushed teeth of one’s mouth. As I stood there in the middle of the kitchen chugging the stuff, I turned on the oven so I could bake the sausage and egg breakfast casserole I’d prepared the night before. It was six in the morning, and it felt every bit of earlier to me. On my second cold glass of Dew that I stood in the middle of the kitchen chugging, I heard a slight buzzing sound and then a definite ZZZZZZZZZAP, and final little POP! I sighed. Twice. Walked over to the oven, and the opening of the oven door confirmed my suspicions that the noises were coming from it. The heating unit in the bottom of the oven was not turning orange. The oven was not heating up. Not only would there be no coffee, there would be no casserole. No coffee and no casserole does not a happy mother make.
I poured myself another glass of Mountain Dew. Time to really wake up! I heard the toilet flush and into the kitchen walks my husband, groggy and unaware. “Morning, honey.”
I handed him the glass of Mountain Dew, “There’s no coffee and the oven just broke. I’m going to go take a shower.” I brushed past him squinting and rubbing his eye, “Morning.”
I don’t know why I ever bother to clean anything. I walked in to the bathroom and there was dried toothpaste running down the curve of the sink, long teenage daughter hair that missed the wastebasket, and many many remnants of a certain teenage daughter’s leg hair stuck to the tub. Not to mention, someone had not flushed the toilet, used the last of the toilet paper without replacing it, and left wet towels and action figures on the floor. Likely the work of my seven year old son. Before showering, I cleaned up all the mess. As the hot water from the shower was just starting to relax my body, the shower curtain gets pulled back, and I nearly jump out of my skin with the surprise. My sweet three year old boy, coming to find his mommy. Instead of the usual, “Good morning, sweet boy,” I greeted him with, “Rex! Let Mommy shower by herself! Go find Daddy!” Immediate poke out of the lip, and tears. Sigh. As I tried from the shower to console him, he complained of me getting him wet, and cried louder. So much for a relaxing shower. The day was just beginning.
Dressed and ready to face the day by 7:30, I began the task of waking the other children. Teenagers do not wake easily in general, and teenagers out of school for the summer wake even less easily. Tara was signed up for soccer camp, and I needed to get her to the field (a 15 minute drive away) by 8:45, so I could have Frankie to his day camp by 9. Rex, the three year old, was going to be playing down the street for the morning once I managed to get everyone else delivered to their destinations. I opened up Tara’s door, “Honey, time to get up.” No response. “Tara. Get up. You have to eat breakfast before you go play soccer all day.” Nothing. I stood in the doorway waiting for a movement. “TARA! I don’t have time to play this game this morning, RISE AND SHINE!!” A groan. I flipped on her light and pulled the covers off of her. “Wakey, wakey.” I stood over her til she opened her eyes and shot me the look of annoyance/hatred I have become accustomed to. “Time to get up, Tara. Put on your clothes and come to breakfast. Right now. Ten minutes.”
I walked down to Frankie’s room to find him dressed and already playing video games. “Frankie, good morning. Turn that off, time for breakfast.” It’s almost as big a battle to get a boy to turn off his video game as it is to pull a teenage girl out of bed. After a mild protest, and three requests of “just one more minute, hold on” he reluctantly turned off the thing and headed for downstairs.
I called on my husband to get Rex dressed. He was on the computer, when I popped in the office to request his help. “Hey can you get Rex ready? What are you doing?”
“I’m checking Partselect.com. I pulled out my gear and took a look at the oven, and it looks like the bake element on the oven is busted. I’m going to order a new one.” It’s nice to have an electrically-inclined husband.
“Oh. Okay, cool. Thanks, honey. I didn’t know you had looked at it already. Um, when you finish up could you get Rex ready?”
“Yep.” He’s so easy.
I walked back up to Tara’s room to find her still in bed. “TARA! GET UP! WE HAVE TO LEAVE IN TWENTY FIVE MINUTES!” Another groan. “NOW!”
“OKAY, MOM!!” I see legs thrown rather violently off to the side of the bed and am satisfied enough that she will continue the process of dressing and making her way into the kitchen. She does.
Breakfast is Fruit Loops, eaten quickly. I pile everyone in the car on time to find that the van is on empty. No gas. The nearest gas station is two miles in the opposite direction from where we were going. Not too big a deal. Until the van ran out of gas a mile down the road. Really? Really is this happening to me? I felt my hormones twitch and felt a rise in blood pressure. I called my husband, who was on his way to work, to come help. He arrived in ten minutes calm and collected with a gas can full of gas. “Thanks, honey.” We were on our way again.
I got the kids all dropped off, filled up the gas tank, and my instinct was to just go home and plop on the couch. There are just times in the month when I feel overly stressed. This was one of those times, and I just needed a little break before starting my daily chores. I had been lounging about fifteen minutes when the phone rang. “Hello?”
“Hey, honey. It’s me. Just wondering what you were going to fix for the picnic now that the oven is broken.” I had almost forgotten about the picnic. In fact, I had forgotten.
A sigh escaped, “I don’t know!?” Sigh. I was going to fix vegetable casserole, but now I have no idea. I’ll figure something out.” I hung up the phone and face planted into the couch. I did not want to do anything. At all. Maybe ever again. Not in a good mood. I stayed there on the couch another half hour, respectfully denying any notion of getting things done around the house. The phone rang again. “Hello?”
“Hey!” It was Teresa from down the street. “I think you need to come get Rex. He and Alex were jumping on the trampoline and Alex landed pretty hard on Rex’s arm. It looks really bad? I think it might be broken! I’m so sorry!”
“Oh my gosh! I’ll be there in a second.” My whiny mood instantly vanished, and the unselfish concerned mother cape magically appeared as I zoomed down the street to get Rex. They were waiting out front, and I could tell the moment I pulled into the driveway, that yes, Rex’s arm was broken. It was bent at quite an unfortunate angle. The poor dear was howling, “Mommmmmmy!” and I felt my eyes well up with tears of empathy as I kissed his little head. What a day this was turning out to be.
“Hey baby, bless your heart, you poor little thing. Come on, let’s get you in the car.”
“OUUUUUUUUCH!” the pain he was feeling was unbearable for him as well as me.
Teresa apologized profusely, “I am so so sorry!” I assured her it wasn’t her fault and told her I’d call her later as I hopped in the car and headed off to the hospital.
Thankfully the emergency room was not so busy and Rex was admitted quickly. The waiting, the x-rays, and the putting on of the cast only took about three and a half hours. Three and half hours was an eternity to a little boy with a broken arm, but through my experiences with emergency rooms, three and a half hours to be in and out of the hospital was lightning speed. We were home by two, had a quick sandwich (more Mountain Dew for me) and set out to get Tara at the soccer field at three.
We pulled up to the soccer field and got out of the car to wait for Tara to finish up the drill the players were doing. When scanning the field, I saw her. Throwing up. A lot. I whispered under my breath a few choice words and approached the field as Tara and the coach approached me. “She’s pretty dehydrated, is my thought. I’d go home, let her sip on some Gatorade and just take it easy for the rest of the day.” I thanked the coach as Rex excitedly showed off his cast. We stopped at the corner store and I picked up some Gatorade’s and despite Tara’s complaints to just drop her off at home, we headed out to pick up Frankie from day camp. Thank goodness Frankie takes after his dad, and was easy to pick up, no broken bones, body fluid emissions, or complaints.
I looked at the clock, it was four thirty, and it hit me, again, that our oven was busted and what I had planned to cook for dinner was no longer an option. I called my husband and asked him to pick up a bucket of chicken on his way home. He asked no questions, he just agreed.
It wasn’t until I’d gotten the two youngest kids put to bed that I remembered the company picnic in the morning. I was beyond ready for the day to end, and sighed once again as I flipped through the cookbook to find something quick and easy and cold to bring to the potluck. I decided on Ambrosia. All it required was for the ingredients to be mixed together and stuck in the fridge. Delightfully easy, delightfully tasty. Here’s the recipe: (just mix the sour cream and cool whip then fold in the rest.)
2 cans pineapple chunks, drained
2 cans mandarin oranges, drained
2 jars maraschino cherries, drained
1 can coconut flakes
1/2 bag mini marshmallows
4 oz. sour cream
16 oz. Cool Whip
While at the store, I remembered at the last minute to buy the coffee as well. I did not want to go through another day like this with no “Mommy fuel”.
Back at home, ten o’clock in the evening, I quickly whipped the Ambrosia together, put it in the fridge, kissed my husband on the mouth, promptly skipped the urge to post about my day on Facebook, and headed to bed, betting on a better day tomorrow, and secretly proud that I had made it through the day without yelling or screaming or letting my hormones get the best of me. A success in the day of mess after all.
Guest Author Malia Anderson is a Jacksonville, FL native and overemployed stay-at-home mom. In her spare time, Malia enjoys freelance writing, gardening, and DIY projects. Thanks for reading!