Shutting up about Basementgate

By Mir
May 18, 2006

[Well, except for this: And lo, on the third day, the water table did begin to recede. As of about 2:00 this afternoon, the pumps are actually removing water instead of just maintaining. I expect to hit concrete tomorrow. Never before have I been so excited by the prospect of seeing floor. I turned the pump off at 12:30 because I was afraid to let it run all night, and the water was down to half an inch. This morning? Four inches. KILL. ME.]

Anyway. Hi! The kids went back to school today, so I decided to pretend Life Is Normal.

After all, life IS normal. Right? Work to be done. Dishes to be washed. Kids to be yelled at. Crazy people to be avoided. Groceries to buy. And, um, killer dandelions. Aaaaaaaaaall perfectly normal.

This morning as the kids were eating breakfast and I was packing lunches, I asked Chickadee if she wanted half a sandwich or a whole sandwich. She asked for a whole. “Are you sure?” I pressed. “Do you really think you’ll be that hungry?” She assured me that she would be. I packed her a whole sandwich. File this away for later reference.

Once the kids were off to school, it was my first chance to do some actual WORK since last Friday. Woo! Nothing like sitting down to all the stuff you should’ve finished days ago. I find that it feels like an insurmountable task until I’ve had about three cups of coffee, after which everything feels inconsequential next to the hammering of my heart. So I had my coffee and did some work and then I took a break to call my bank.

I love my bank. I do. They are lovable and slobbery and not very bright. Wait, that’s my Dad’s dog. My mistake! My bank is not actually slobbery (at least not so’s I’ve noticed). But they are quite wonderful and lovable but still, not all that bright sometimes.

The good news is that when I went in about a month ago and finally opened a business checking account, they were fabulous. I had NO idea of what I needed or how to best handle things. (To wit: “Hi! I have some accounts with you! And I think I would like another one, for business stuff, maybe. Um, I like money. Do you have money?”) Two bank employees gave me their undivided attention and walked me through the options and got me all squared away. And gave me a lollipop. It was great.

The bad news is that about a month ago I opened this new account, and it has mysteriously remained MIA from my online banking center. So today I called them up to suggest that perhaps that let me access that account online, along with the rest of my accounts, because my whole financial strategy involves moving money around between my various accounts until it FEELS like I have a bunch.

After about half an hour on the phone, we determined that I could access my business account from a (new) business login, and that I could link my personal accounts to my business account, but that I could not link my business account to my personal accounts. Why? We do not know. Do not question The Bank. The Bank has its reasons. You will obey The Bank and in return The Bank will sometimes allow you access to your money. Eat your lollipop.

So. I got that squared away. I took care of some other things. I bailed some water. I considered taking a shower, as it was now lunchtime and I was still in my jammies and partially drenched with swamp water. Naturally, this was also the point at which someone rang my doorbell.

I froze. Noon. Jammies. Swamp water. Who would be at my door? The bell rang again. I had decided to ignore it (because I wasn’t expecting anyone, and I looked like crap) when the knocking started. And the rattling of the doorknob.

Then I freaked out and ran upstairs to look out the window. It was a dear friend, bringing me lunch. I felt quite silly for freaking out. So I went outside, swamp jammies and all, to tell her to COME ON IN! And then we were attacked by dandelions. The rain has been good to the dandelions. They come up to my KNEES. And they want to eat our brains, I’m sure of it. (My friend and I had a good laugh and came inside. And then I went and took a quick shower, because, really.)

After lunch I did some more work, and then before I knew it, it was time to get the kids and go for groceries.

This is milk-free trial week for Monkey, so I wanted to make sure I had plenty of milk alternatives on hand for my little dairy hound. Vanilla rice milk for him. Organic green tea soy milk for me. (Why? Because I am a masochist. Also, it was on sale.) Soy yogurt. Tofutti ice cream. Lots of fruits and veggies. And $1.99/pound salmon steaks. (No, he probably won’t eat those. But, dude. $1.99/pound!)

Home again, I thought perhaps I would do some of the dishes that have been sitting in the sink since… ummm… let’s not think about it. I shovelled out the kitchen, and let me just say, it had been a LONG day. I worked hard today. And no matter what I did, there was always more to be done. And no matter how much advil I ate, every muscle in my body still expressed extreme hatred for how heavy a gazillion buckets of water turn out to be. I was not in top motherhood form, is what I’m saying.

I grabbed the kids’ lunchbags and discovered that Chickadee HADN’T TOUCHED HER SANDWICH. Would she eat the whole sandwich? That had been the wrong question. I SHOULD have asked her if she would even bother taking it out of the baggie. It was pristine. Untouched. Slightly smushed, but not even nibbled.

My brain exploded and I stepped outside of myself and observed as my corporeal self lost her shit in a grandiose fashion.

CHICKADEE ROSE LASTNAME, did you or did you not PROMISE me that you would eat an entire sandwich today? Did you not LOOK ME IN THE EYE this morning and SWEAR that you NEEDED an entire sandwich? And what is THIS? Why, I do believe it’s YOUR ENTIRE SANDWICH. WASTED. And can we afford to be throwing food into the garbage? Let me think. Hmmm. Well, we have a BASEMENT FULL OF WATER, and maybe you do not realize how EXPENSIVE it is to have your house turned into a POND. Maybe you think it’s FINE AND DANDY to throw food away. Of course you WOULD, because YOU never have to go without. No matter how tight money is, YOU always have everything you need. No, when food gets thrown away, WHO ends up going without? ME. I GO WITHOUT. TO FEED YOU. TO FEED YOU FOOD YOU DON’T EVEN EAT.

Her eyes got rounder and rounder, and I stopped about five seconds short of “NO MORE WIRE HANGERS” and feebly concluded, “I’m just frustrated. Please don’t waste food. You can see it makes me a little nutty.”

“I’m sorry, Mama,” she said, almost sounding sorry. “Don’t be stressed.” She gave me a hug. I collected my Worst Mother of the Year award and went back to washing dishes.

Yep. Everything’s back to normal.


  1. Susan

    So did you eat her sandwich? Because one time I gave Charlie the SAME lecture about a lunch he took to school and didn’t eat (well, not EXACTLY the same, our basement wasn’t flooded because we don’t have a basement and we seem only to have droughts here so I’m sure that wasn’t the SPECIFIC issue that was driving me to the brink, but it was essentially the same lecture) and he looked me RIGHT IN THE EYE and said, “Okay, Mama, YOU can have the sandwich.”


  2. Cele

    And people give Oregonians heck for all the rain we have? Go figure.

  3. Woman with Kids

    With all the rain we’ve had lately, a little loss of mothering sanity is to be expected.

    P.S. Hope your new pond goes away soon.

  4. chris

    I am sorry to say that I stole the WMY award away from you this morning. Sorry. I know you wanted to savor your win a little longer.

    I think my head actually did spin around and spit did fly out of my mouth. But good Lord answer me this, why would a 5yr old color a trail on the floor with a red magic marker, through the house, up the stairs to his bedroom. And then…. deny he did it.

    You can’t answer me. There is no answer.

  5. hollygee

    Yep, just read this on Word a Day email:

    This world is divided roughly into three kinds of nations: those that spend lots of money to keep their weight down; those whose people eat to live; and those whose people don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
    -David S. Landes, author, professor of economics and history (1924- )

    I thought back to it when I read your blog today.

  6. Bob

    okay – not to bust your chops here, but 4-5 hours beforehand even I don’t know how hungry I will be at lunch. Now, deciding whether I want a ding-dong vs. a twinkie for afters – that’s a horse of a different color.

    (I freely admit that I would have lost my shit too. I would then have put the sandwich in the ‘fridge and given it to her for lunch the next day.)

    I hope that you didn’t have more water this morning. Send up a flare if you need WOL to fly to the rescue.

  7. Peek

    Hmmmm, I never get hugs after one of my tirades. You did great!

  8. kelly

    I think I have that same hair shirt in my closet! Isn’t it the suck how fast we can suddenly find ourselves wearing that itchy old sonofa you know what?!

  9. Kris

    Just get some lily pads, a few frogs, and put a fountain in the middle of the basement. Enjoy.

    Bluegh – really, been thinking about you guys and hoping there’s some end in sight – complete with some sanity to follow.

  10. RSM

    Ummm, the above comment from Kris – who just so happens to have the same name as me … De ja vu, or what?

    I actually am really scared of banks like an old person – I always think about being like one of them and keeping all my money (all twenty five bucks of it!) stashed around my house in the floor boards and matresses, etc but then I know my house will go up in flames, so… I just act normal and pretend that having money in the bank isn’t scary. haha. I need help.

  11. Aimee

    But lookie! You didn’t say “NO MORE WIRE HANGERS” so you are not Mommie Dearest. Maybe just Mommie Dear?

  12. laura

    I’m going to add “when you waste food, I go without. ME.” to my arsenal of passive-aggressive ammunition. Very good, Mir.

  13. Cele

    What happened to throwing your sandwich away? I was much sneakier, but then my sandwiches totally sucked when I was a kid. I hate lunchmeat….ABHOR!!!

  14. carson

    So that’s where my trophy went! Give it back, I earned it fair and square!

    Your pitiful sandwich rage didn’t even make the semi-finals. I’d share, but it’s not my blog. Cut yourself some slack, and take some time to smell the dandelions.

  15. InterstellarLass

    I would put the sammich in the fridge and re-pack it tomorrow, thus tying you for the Worst Mother of the Year award. Yep, misery loves company!

  16. Gillian

    When I was single mothering a gazillion years ago the thing I wanted most was ‘imaginary partner person’ who could step in when my eyes started to whirl and say,”You know, I think I will take child person to Marvel Land to buy new pencils. You can have a solid hour alone to drink tea, take a bubble bath and soothe your soul.”

    It is so impossibly hard to be a parent and a person and somehow also an objective monitor of yourself to intervene with ‘you’ about how you are being with the child. It is like trying to cut your own hair with a dental mirror and pruning shears. Gaaaaggghhhh.

    You do better than I did.

  17. Lisa

    Chickadee got wind of all those bank accounts and assumed you had food to waste. ;-)

    Seriously, you’ve held it together better than I ever could’ve with a flooded basement. Let’s just say there would be more liquor and prescription meds involved if I were in your soggy shoes. I’m impressed!

  18. Heather

    Hey, I had a panic attack for no reason today! At least you had a motive for getting cranky! And I think you’re a good mom, for what it’s worth.

  19. Shash

    I’ve done that exact same thing to my boys, freaked out when I get their lunchboxes back and the sandwich is still in it.

    Just today my preschooler’s teacher said that he didn’t eat any of his lunch I so lovingly packed for him, andI could feel a blood vessel start to bulge in my forehead.

    He was saved by the fact that it was my hubby who suggested what he had in his lunchbox, not him.

    Hubby is now eating it for his dinner. In the corner. That’ll teach him.

    (have a good night anyway, okay?)

  20. Beverlee

    I guess she’ll eat her half sandwich tomorrow? lol. I find the kids barely eat anything on a school day but when they’re home, WATCH OUT, let the eating begin …

  21. Amy-GO

    No, no, no. I am the Worst Mother of the Year. ME. And I’m not giving the trophy up anytime soon, either. Tra LAA!

    And I would SO pack that sandwich for her again tomorrow. Possibly with nothing else to go with it. Thou shalt not waste food! Hang in there.

  22. Shelley

    Sorry, but the dandelions – THANK GOD IT’S NOT JUST US. They’re horrible this year, absolutely monstrous. And we too have had rain….and rain…and more rain…and it’s raining again.
    Though for once, knock on wood, it’s not in our basement.

  23. the Mater

    As Marie Antoinette said, “Let them eat cake.”

    You’re a darn good momma but the stress levels are rising faster than the rainwater right now. I hope you’ll be on drier ground soon!

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