Lemon-scented frustration

By Mir
August 25, 2004

So you know how I was getting all nostalgic last night before my vacation had even, technically, ended? Know how I was saying that it was time to come on back to reality, blah blah blah?

Reality was here waiting for me! Yessir! Reality welcomed me home good and proper.

But wait. Let’s back up, first. Our trip today was uneventful in spite of the fact that today is apparently Close All But One Lane Of The Road Day in the northeast. Road work was happening everywhere. No matter; the trip was a little bit longer than usual but not too bad. But I was thrown off my game early on today when I realized that something horrifying and strange is happening. I don’t want to alarm anyone, but in all three states I went through today, there appeared to be some sort of vegetation blight. It was very odd. Everywhere we went, there were trees–not all of them, mind you, but a good portion–with red leaves. I’m an intelligent adult (at least that’s what all those pieces of paper in my basement say) and since it is August and many of us are still waiting for summer to arrive amidst the forty days and nights of rain interspersed with cold snaps, I know this anomaly cannot possibly be the start of fall, because that would just be Wrong. Bad. So I will just conclude that there has been a local outbreak of a rare and terrifying plant disease. Do not panic! But do lock up your ficuses (ficii?) and be extremely wary.

In retrospect, all of those incongruous red leaves jumping out at me from the countryside may have been a harbinger of how strange and displeasing this whole return-to-reality thing was going to be.

So, we drove and drove and then drove some more. Monkey fell asleep and despite my hissed threats Chickadee poked him until he woke up. We all arrived home stiff and crabby and tired. I assigned the children each a few items from the back seat to take inside. Oh, sorry, my mistake. Did I say I asked them to bring their toys in? I meant to say that I charged each smallish child with carting several tons of manure. At least, that’s what I’m guessing, based on their reaction. By the time each one had managed to carry in two stuffed animals and a small blanket, I’d made twelve trips between the garage and mudroom and completely emptied the car. Then I set the children free (they ran to make sure none of their toys had evaporated in their absence) and walked back outside to get the mail.

Junk, junk, bill, junk, junk, bill, junk… job offer? No, job offers are for people who have good luck. For me, we have a lovely consolation prize: a beautifully typed form letter thanking me for my interest and participation but regretting to inform me that the position has been filled by someone cooler and savvier and probably prettier. But I know that there must be a silver lining to even this, so I content myself with the fantasy that the person they hired has genital warts. That helped.

Back in the house, I am now trying to figure out how to proceed with the rest of the day given that I would like to scream and yell and cry and maybe kick something. As none of these activities go over very well with the kids, I decide to channel my anger into tidiness! Because that would be mature and adult-like! And also because reality smack number two has just come along in the form of Chickadee bringing me a cup “of water” that she says she found “with a tissue in it.” Well, honey, that’s not a tissue. That’s your cup of milk from the morning we left which has congealed and clumped and for the love of God get the bleach because if I have to smell this cup for one more minute I am going to hurl.

And so began the cleaning. I unpacked! I started laundry! I did dishes! I cleaned the whole kitchen! (Which I’d sort of done before we left, but that cup of rancid milk made the whole place smell so I did it again.) I put out the trash! I recycled! Cleaned out the fridge! Scrubbed toilets! And so on! Until everything was tidy! And fresh!

Strangely, none of this changed the fact that I am still unemployed. Or that five days of vacation is just about enough time to make coming home really, really suck. But it smells better in here, now.

To celebrate the joy of being back home in my fabulous life, I capped off the day by discovering and then removing a tick from my daughter’s stomach (one of my less favorite parental duties, that) and putting the children to bed early for their own safety. I don’t think there’s too much left for me to clean. I may just have to park myself in front of the Olympics and have some ice cream.

I’m pretty sure that the person who got that job is also lactose intolerant. Sucker.


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