I flourish when I’m busy. I work well under pressure. But everyone has a saturation point.
Imagine this: the day after Thanksgiving; that fateful Black Friday that I’ve been all too delighted to avoid, the boys are still asleep. I awake early to shower, get dressed, put on a pot of coffee and start cleaning and organizing my “lived-in” home after two weeks of neglect. Marley & Me is on in the background and I compare similarities in my life-as-stay-at-home-mom-with-crazy-dog to the more than realistic illustration in the film. The dishes are being cleaned to a blinding shine in the dishwasher; the rug is vacuumed; our Black Lab, Pete, is outside, most likely howling at squirrels; and inside, a place for everything and everything in its place.
I light a candle to fill the home with the delicious artificial scents of the holiday season, slump into the couch with my favorite Country Living magazine, and wait for my guests to arrive.
In the real world, the candle is about the only thing that went right…
Michael wakes up at 7:30. OK, I’ll put off a shower and get him settled.
“Mooommmy!” Steve is up. Michael down, but now to make oatmeal. Instant, of course.
“Mommy, oatmeal and eggs?” OK, here come scrambies. I start to heat up the skillet. I lit the candle in the living room just in case my house did smell terrible (you can never tell if your own house has a ‘smell’) and my guests would at least have a pleasant fragrance when I opened the door.
I go to change clothes so as not to answer the door in pjs. BEEP! Oatmeal is ready. Oh yeah, the eggs. I crack two eggs, add some milk, start to scram– “Mommy, milk please!” ok, milk is on the way.
Up to change clothes…What’s that smell? Oh yeah, the skillet. I go back downstairs to the kitchen to finish the eggs.
“Mommy, can I open the door?” “No, stay inside.” But he’s pointing to the microwave. I forgot the oatmeal in the micro. OK, done. Steve has oatmeal, eggs and I’m on my way up to…
I’m organizing a massive Christmas program at church, complete with holiday bazaar. Back in September and October, before the baby came, I called out to everyone I knew for craft show help and donations. My friend put me in touch with her friend, who was more than willing to donate a few knit scarf creations. I was soon to find out she’s a professional knitter and even teaches classes at JoAnn’s!
Now, a week before the show, she was in the neighborhood, returning from Thanksgiving with her family, and was coming to drop off the items she had made for the show.
I wanted to invite her in, have a seat on the sofa, offer some coffee, chitchat, visit, get to know this fantastic crochet artist, give a big thank you and continue with my delightfully organized day…
I open the door. Pete nearly tramples the talented knitter and her husband before they even enter the house. Welcome! Wow! Thank you!
Introductions pass (I’m thinking, OMG I’m still in my pajamas…pretend like everything is OK).
The scarves look fantastic, BTW.
Pete starts sniffing out the new visitors. (I’m thinking, GREAT. I should have taken him outside.) They say they have bunnies… he must smell the bunnies.
Just when I’m about to offer a seat and coffee, I hear, “Omigosh, he’s peeing!”
(Omigosh, I’m dying inside. How did I lose control of this situation?!)
Steve is now standing in his chair, oatmeal and scrambies in his hair, “Mommy, Pete spilled.”
And he’s still peeing. On the rug near the sofa, “Pete no!” then all along his mad and shameful dash into the kitchen, and piddly zigzag line seeping into my unpolished wood floor. But it didn’t stop there. Oh no, he continued to leave steaming puddles all over the kitchen.
As I bury my head in my hands, trying to convince myself this isn’t happening, nervous laughter trying to cover my embarrassment, I hear another gasp from my guests.
Yes, Peter came back to drink what he spilled. He began licking his trail of my worst nightmare.
I tried to force some pleasant conversation but our little visit was violently severed by my zoo of a home. As they left laughing about the situation, I plopped into the couch, Steve still alerting me of the catastrophe, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Pete spilled!”
I needed just a few moments to myself to let reality sink in. Marley & Me was a sign. It was a window into my morning and the madness that was to pass. I took Pete outside and considered renaming him “Marley, World’s Worst Dog.”
Finally, its official: Black Friday morning 2009 has taken its place as my No. 1 Most Embarrassing Moment.
Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.