Monday, September 13, 2010

"The question isn't 'what are we going to do', the question is 'what aren't we going to do'?"

“I’m here to help you clean,” she said when I opened the door.
“Clean?” I asked, somewhat perplexed.
“Yeah. You know. Or whatever.”
“OK.”
“Mom said you sounded distracted, so I decided to come over to help you.”

I’ve gotten the “distracted” comment a lot lately. I don’t know about that. Here’s what I do know.

The day my sister arrived at my house was a Saturday. We sat and talked for hours, and when I became busy putting a baby down for a nap and readying for a birthday party I never got to attend because the baby napped overlong, my husband sat with her and they talked. Turns out it was exactly the kind of help I needed.

We’ve been supremely busy with homework, but only have 2 assignments to show for it, one of which was not even for a grade. Then he went and read a chapter that wasn't even assigned. My poor husband is burning out! The next few months are going to be wicked-crazy crunch time to get everything done by my November 30 deadline. I’m such a task-master! (No, really, that’s the deadline my husband agreed to when I placed the dangling carrot of a graduation trip to Hawaii in front of him.)

This morning, when I went to brush my teeth, I took a look at the toothbrush on my bathroom counter and was suddenly unsure whether it was mine. I traveled to the other bathroom to make sure. Nope. Definitely mine. “What does this say about my level of distraction?” I wondered. Probably nothing, I decided. It probably speaks more to the health of my teeth than anything else, yes?

M had never seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off, so we watched it. In pieces, of course. I love that movie. But The Princess and the Frog? Ermmm, not so much! It's been sitting at our house for almost a month, and that's a long time to have it build up expectation.

I took the opportunity this weekend past to make my son’s first birthday party invitations. He doesn’t turn 1 for another couple months, but I figured I had to use the time while it was available, because Time doesn’t just show up at my house and ask for some milk and biscuits or come over to sit and talk like my sister does. Maybe Time is over at your house for a visit? I don’t know?

Hrrrmmmmm. Maybe I need to stock up on milk and biscuits to lure the old codger over to our place? Because when I looked in my fridge this morning, it wasn’t pretty. Weeks-old chicken noodle soup stared back at me, among other sad-eyed leftovers. And I, finding myself feeling entirely too lazy this morning, threw out the strawberries because who wants to pick the good from the moldy on a Monday morning? Not me is who.

I start forming a mental post about all this distraction. And then I remember how I have several mental posts about running (the one with the skinnybutt girl trying to outrun me) and mothering (the one about the new and improved birth story, and the other one about mom-to-mom dispatches, and the other other one about how much my kid can do nowadays).

As I scoop wheat germ and flax seed into my granola, I make a list in my head of stuff we need from the grocery store (dish soap, Ester C tablets, diapers, wipes, moisturizer. . . what else? Milk? Biscuits?) Then, I manage to avoid eating even more homemade cinnamon-raisin bread that M made yesterday; instead, I pick up the Bug’s towel and rehang it in the bathroom, start a load of whites to humming in the washer, pick up various discarded clothing off the couches and put it in the designated discard pile in my bedroom, gather paperwork and file it in the tragedy I call an office (which filing consisted entirely of stacking new Stuff on top of piles of old Stuff).

I survey the house and spy with my (baggy) little eye all the other things left undone. Perhaps my sister was right? Maybe I really should clean at some point? But then I decide that it all gives our house the look of having been acutely lived in. I also decide that I kind of like that. Still, I clean up clutter on my bathroom counter and stick the mousse and other stuff I haven’t used in months in the cabinet for good measure.

As I back out of the driveway, I ignore the overgrown bushes and the weeds poking up through the rocks. Instead, I am grateful that M rolled the garbage out for pick up. And that a flag once again adorns our house.

Then, I come here and look at my last post. And the one from before that. And then the dates between all of them. Wow. How’s that for distraction? I don’t see it getting better. But, hey, my life, much like my house, looks acutely lived in. And that’s the important thing.

[Title quote is from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"]

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