Best Laid Plans

A Very Long Post in which Nothing, and I mean nothing happened the way it was supposed to happen. And by supposed to, I mean the way I wanted it to, the way I needed it to, and the way I planned it to.

Few things rankle me like being late. I hate hate hate being late. Fabric scraps three inches deep in my sewing room and  a play room that needs a snow shovel? Meh, whatever. But late? I can feel my temple start to throb and my blood pressure climb. So I had my day planned out- breakfast, school, gym, chiropractor, grocery store, lunch, bus, school for me, birthday prep for Abby, carpool, chaperone field trip to the inflatable playground fundraiser, home for dinner, baths, bed, done.  Not forgetting that all this would be done juggling three kids, one of whom is autistic and hates tagging along, and another is trying to master her bladder and still “oopsing” quite a bit. Sound like fun yet? Add in hormones just for the cherry on top.

Right off the bat, the train jumped the tracks. I woke up with a sore throat and allergies. I got Jeffrey out the door fine, and had jumped in my gym clothes first thing so I could throw Bean and Abby in the car. I had a 90 minute window to get to the gym and back, and to my chiropractor appointment. Bean decided this, this was the morning that he suddenly hated going to the gym and playing on the rock wall, the playground, and with his buddies. Oh no, nope. He was not going. It went downhill- and it was 9:40 by the time he was calm. Time to reassess.

Okay, I think. I can be flexible. I rearrange the puzzle pieces of my day, and we all jump in the car.

I get to the doctor and we have to wait longer than I planned, but the kids are surprisingly good. Beanie likes my chiropractor, and this helps things go smoothly. But by the time we are done, we have just enough time to run into the produce stand, then zoom home and gobble lunch before the bus gets there.

Bean gets on the bus, and I change Abby into dry clothes, because eating lunch is too important to stop and use the toilet. We are out of milk, bread, peanut butter and popsicles. A real jump to the grocery store is necessary. I have two hours before I have carpool- and I forgot about Bean’s post-school field trip.  Into the car, off Abby and I go to the grocery store.

With all the false-alarm trips to the potty, the grocery takes five times what it should. Also, she likes the Dyson air razor in the bathroom. I am patient. We now have 30 minutes to get to Jeff’s school, and we aren’t even out of the dairy aisle yet.

Pulling into Jeff’s school 32 minutes later, I had forgotten that I agreed to take another girl home- and that with Bean’s field trip I had to pick him up at school and not have him take the bus. Also, the car is full of groceries. Cold food. I drive the girl home, and realize as I’m coming down the hill from her house that I will never make it to Bean’s school (across town) before he gets on the bus. Also, the food thing. Crap.

Executive decision: go home and put the groceries away, and wait the 20 minutes for Bean’s bus to get there. Done and done. And then we wait some more. His bus is almost 15 minutes late, and the other kids are in the car waiting when it finally pulls up. Our time-slot for the field trip was supposed to be 3:30 to 4:30, but now it’s already 3:45. I still feel like, despite my burgeoning anxiety, that I can salvage this… until I get caught in a construction zone detour and cannot even get to the place we’re supposed to go.

When I finally get to the place, the obnoxiously perky and cheery PTA lady tells me, with a sing-song voice, how sad it is that we are late… She chews on her pencil as she confers in actual whispers with the lady next to her about whether we should be let in. I am not amused. I paid, I plan on playing. I am informed we can jump in the next shift from 4:45 to 5:45. Oooookay. Crap. That means I need to revamp dinner plans and get the kids something to eat. The only problem is we are in a BFE office complex in the industrial part of town and the only place I can find is a deli.

Awesome. Bean is hepped-up and so excited he’s ready to jump the tracks, and they don’t understand why we have to wait. Me neither, but I remember that today I am flexi-mom, and drag everyone to the deli. At the cavernous, dark deli, we are the only ones there, and the kids are wild and loud while I try and find something Bean will eat. At a deli. Yeah.

While I was ordering, Jeffrey climbs on the metal railing for the queue, and breaks the whole thing. The insanely loud clatter of metal bars hitting concrete floor sends Bean running and screaming, and Abby pees herself. I still haven’t ordered, and I think I may cry. I find Bean in a corner, and tell him I can get him a PBJ, and he crawls out.

For two sandwiches, two cups of soup, and two pops, it was $22. I know. I wanted to cry. What the heck kind of deli charges $8.95 for a cup of soup and half a PBJ?? But I was stuck. The food came, and lo! look! the PBJ was, of course, on the wrong kind of bread. The soup had celery and red peppers in it, Abby wanted HAM not turkey, and they could not share drinks. I should have just thrown $22 out on the lawn and danced a jig- it would have been more successful.

Once again at the play place, we take off our shoes, Abby is in clean clothes, and we play. When our hour is up, the employees clear out the kids and begin to clean up. I can’t find Bean. The whole play area has been emptied, and the workers are starting to clean and sanitize the place, and no Bean. I put Jeff and Abby in the car, to which Abby bursts into tears because we are leaving Bean forever! and I go back in to find him. I know he’s there somewhere because I have been watching the door like a freaking hawk. The employees help me, and we finally find him in a crevasse on one of the giant slides. On purpose. He didn’t want to leave. I had to drag him to the car, and he honked the whole way home- great keening honks of dismay and misery. Because his mom was so mean.

We get home and he locks himself in the car, refusing to come inside until I take him back to the play place. Sayonara buddy- I’ll bring you a blanket- keep the doors locked. As I jam my keys in the lock, the phone starts ringing. I rush in, dumping everything on the counter, and it’s Bean’s dentist. His oral surgery, which was scheduled for June can be moved to tomorrow morning- do I want the spot? Oh yes. Yes, I do.

They remind me that I am not to bring siblings to anesthetized dental visits. And his appointment is for 7 a.m. Crap, now I need a babysitter. At the butt-crack of dawn- what am I going to do?

The phone rings again. It’s someone from Primary at church who wants me to run the potato-sack races at the Family Fun Run on Saturday at 8:45 in the morning. I am THIS close to the breaking point. I tell her my kids and I were going to participate in the run, and I ask if she knows I’m a single parent? yes, yes she does, can I help? I start to cry. I tell this poor woman more than she ever bargained for in this simple phone call, and end the conversation with me saying No, I can’t. I hang up.

Meanwhile, the kids have found the Nerf Samurai Swords in my closet and are beating the crap out of each other in my room, and the clean laundry that was ON my bed is now all over my room.

Out of sheer exhaustion, I call my RS president and ask her if I can be exempt from people asking me to do anything extra. Just for a little while. This is accompanied of course by the requisite female grief. I cannot print what she told me, but I will say I love my RS president, and she totally gets it, and I won’t be doing anything for a while. I will have a big, invisible placard around my neck that says “hands off!”. I sigh with relief.

It’s now bedtime- and oh look! Abby has peed all over her jammies and her blankets- the ones I just stripped, bleached and re-did yesterday. Beanie starts to keen, because he is hungry. That’s right- because he didn’t eat his $22 PBJ. Go figure.

As I put him in bed, he thinks this would be a great time to freak out about The Dentist tomorrow, and Jeffrey, ever the opportunist, tries to sneak off to my bed while I deal with Bean. Meanwhile, Abby spills a whole cup of water on her new, dry bedding.

(…Shall I go on? Is it quite enough now? No? Okay…)

And then my period started.

The End.

16 thoughts on “Best Laid Plans

  1. The one good thing about all of this is that you talked to your RS pres and now have that “hands off” placard around your neck. Would any other kind of day have pushed you to the point that you would have admitted to needing it?

    I am really sorry about how gut wrenchingly hard it is, I say that as I know I don’t understand at the same time. Hoping for better days ahead.

  2. I don’t even know you, and I am so proud of you. You are so strong, and such a good mom to those lucky kids. What a day you had, and if I saw you on the street I would give you a hug and tell you to drop the kids off here for Beans appointment. God Bless you.

  3. What a horrid end to a horrid day – I would’ve thrown in the towel MUCH much earlier and just said “to heck with it all”

    You are one AMAZING woman to be holding it all together!! I’m saying many prayers for you and your kids – hope the blessings float your way :)

  4. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. “And then my period started.” That just makes all the rest 10x worse. Hoping things are better today and that all goes/went well with the surgery.

  5. Someone recently asked me what was my special gift, the thing that I can always do. And the only thing I could think of is that my period always starts at the worst time. If there’s a trip, that’ll be it, no matter the time of month.

    I know what you really need is sympathy and days like this happen on occasion despite the best planning, but I count 4 outings in your day (gym, grocery store, chiropractor, field trip), which in my opinion is way too many, even in the best of circumstances. I wonder if you should make an executive decision that you’ll make some cancellations if there are every more than two or three.

  6. Thanks everyone. The thing is, this day was not atypical of late. This really wasn’t the worst day I’ve had this week, let alone this month. I think I’m just getting used to it. Scary.

    I mean, right now it’s not quite 10 am. I have already dropped two of my kids off at a friends house after getting them up before dawn to get Bean to his 7 am oral surgery appointment. (He has a mouth full of stainless steel now, but his teeth will be okay. He’s groggy and loopy, and watching cartoons in my room) Jeffrey forgot both his coat and his backpack for school- it’s raining so I had to take them to him. I coordinated carpool from my cell phone in the dentists office, picked up a prescription for Bean, and then crossed-paths with my friend watching Abby, playing phone tag trying to figure out if I should pick her up, or if she could be dropped off. (Last night at 11 I started sewing Abby’s birthday present, because she turns 4 on Sunday- and I have to finish that.) The laundry from all the pee accidents is waiting for me, and I have carpool this afternoon, followed by a Scouts Pack Meeting and Awards ceremony at 6. It’s also campfire night at Scouts where they will learn fire skills and make s’mores.

    And all that is allowing that nothing else goes wrong. I’m not playing my own violin- and I sure as heck don’t want pity- I just can’t figure out how to slow down the merry-go-round.

  7. No pity, just empathy.

    You are amazing. I was really, really glad one of your appointments was to the Chiropractor. It is so important to take care of yourself when you are the last adult standing surrounded by little beings. You gotta do what you gotta do.

    One musing: With the hectic schedule, would it be cheating to keep Abby in Pull-Ups during the wildest hours? I know it can be confusing and possibly delay the wanted end result, but not having 500 zillion potty runs and accidents to clean up after.

  8. Tracy, sometimes there simply is no way to slow down the merry-go-round. You just have to wait for it to stop on its own. I know, that is *so* encouraging, isn’t it?!

    Here are the two things that keep me sane on the wildest and craziest of days:

    I constantly remind myself to take each moment as it comes and to prioritize. I try to make executive decisions, like you did in taking the groceries home first… but honestly, most often I don’t do that nearly as well as you did here.

    And I try to find ways to enjoy (or at least appreciate) the wild ride. That one is **really** hard to do! But when I succeed in this, it helps shift my perspective and I am able to tighten my grip so I don’t fall off the merry-go-round.

    Hugs, friend. Hope you don’t get too dizzy on this crazy ride of yours!

  9. I too love the Dyson Razer in the bathrooms. They are awesome and I can’t figure out why more places don’t have them.
    I am glad you have a great RS pres who will give you a break.

  10. Ugh, ugh, and more ugh. Just reading all of that wore me out (and made me frantic, hoping Auntie Flo wasn’t going to visit me anytime soon). All I can do is send cyber hugs and understanding about not wanting to be asked to do anything for awhile.

    Did I tell you that you are my hero?

  11. What a crapola day. I’m so sorry. I’m glad you called the RS pres. – that will be helpful.

    As far as slowing down the merry-go-round a teensy bit – is there another parent that could take Jeff to Scouts every week (or every time there is an activity)?

    Thanks for sharing your life with us. I hope it helps you to write about it. I know your posts help me to understand what others may be going through that I come into contact with at church or school.

  12. Thank you, berzerkcarrottop for saying what I wanted to say, but couldn’t figure out. “I know your posts help me to understand what others may be going through that I come into contact with at church or school.” Exactly.

    Thank you, Tracy, for helping me see all the ways I can help the single mothers in my own ward and neighborhood. Your honesty on this blog is a gift to many. May God bless you and your family.

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