Instead of writing the PTA newsletter

By Mir
November 26, 2006

So last night, I got home (the trip back was as uneventful as the trip there, save for the lady next to me on the plane sucking down drinks in a manner that made it necessary for her to exclaim loudly to her companion across the aisle about every fascinating item in her Stampin’ Up! catalog) and ran around my house turning the heat back up and went through my mail and then sat down to tell you every fascinating little iota about my mini-vacation.

And discovered that my internet connection wasn’t working.

It was touch-and-go there for a few minutes, while I tried to remember what one does with no internet. Do I panic? Cry? Read a book? Rub two sticks together? It had been so long, I just wasn’t certain of the protocol. Finally I broke out of my paralysis and called the cable company.

They were, predictably, no help whatsoever. But they would be happy to send a technician right out… on Wednesday. “But,” I said (perhaps a bit more plaintively than I intended), “I work from home. I can’t be without internet for half the week.”

“I can have someone there on Wednesday,” she repeated.

“I have to WORK,” I said, already wondering if the people at Panera would notice if I spent the entire day there in the corner, on my laptop.

“Do you want an appointment on Wednesday or not?”

Not. I extracted a promise that a supervisor would call me, and hung up. Then I called Otto and whined.

In a delightful little comedy made possible by modern technology, Otto stayed on the phone with me while doing a live customer chat on his computer with tech support. After twenty minutes they were able to determine that my modem was offline. Wow! Such sleuthing! I was so impressed.

Anyway. They couldn’t do anything to fix it, and so eventually I went to bed. This morning? Everything’s working fine. Go figure. Thank you, cable fairies!

All of the things I wanted to tell you yesterday that seemed so interesting I now find paling in comparison to the epiphany I had this morning. Remember my new bed? It has ruined me, utterly, for sleeping in other beds. I spent the entire weekend at Otto’s insisting that there was a pea under the mattress. Or just waking up a lot and tossing and turning. Then last night I slept in myyyy bed and woke up bright and shiny and refreshed and realizing that while I have given myself an amazing gift here at home, I’ve also ensured that I will be a gigantic pain in the ass any time I have to sleep somewhere else.

Of course, I don’t need a bed to cement my status as a pain in the ass. On Friday night Otto got cocky during a game of Scrabble. I don’t want to embarrass him by telling you exactly which grave errors he committed (other than to point out that, dude, once you’re challenged you use the DICTIONARY, not the booklet that came with the game so that you can sneak a look at all the valid two-letter words; I am so on to you), but suffice it to say that he was down quite a bit. There was a triumphant moment where he added RE to QUEST for the triple word score and the perfect catch-up, and he wasn’t even finished with his victory dance when I slapped ED on the end for the other triple word score. That was just mean. I’m sorry. Mostly.

Saturday I was fully in favor of doing absolutely nothing until it was time to head to the airport, but Otto lured me out with promises of eggs and bacon and grits. Because I’d hardly had anything to eat since I’d arrived. (Okay, in my defense: Yes, I’d done nothing but eat. But I hadn’t had any grits, yet!) The diner we chose DID NOT HAVE GRITS ON THE MENU. There was some confusion, and some tension, but then our waiter told us that YES, they did have a little bit of grits left if I wanted them. Now, I’ve had grits before, so I knew about the “grits” part. What I misunderstood was the “little bit” part, because my plate came with a heaping soup bowl overflowing with grits. I swear to you that I ate from that bowl for close to twenty minutes and barely brought the level down to the brim.

So that’s what you would’ve heard about yesterday, if I’d had an internet connection. Scrabble! Grits! For an encore, I was planning to read from the phone book. Oh well.

Today I set about doing all of the things I meant to do over break while I was home with nothing to do. Unfortunately, I had five days worth of stuff and only one day in which to do it. So I was forced to prioritize. Which I hate. There’s plenty left to do, but I did manage to clean both the kids’ rooms, which took most of the day. It was scary in there.

Now both rooms are tidy and pristine and dust-free and organized, and you’d think I’d be thrilled, but I fear it has backfired on me. See, the kids are responsible for their own cleaning, though as we already know, they are not always easily cajoled into doing it. I wait as long as I can stand and then do the cleaning myself, and when I do it, things get thrown away. Because both the bedrooms AND the playroom were such horrible messes, and because my last attempt at getting them to clean the playroom had gone over like a lead balloon, I decided to clean the bedrooms as per my regular method—sorting and pitching as I saw fit.

I was sure that the kids would get home tonight and start wailing about missing this or that important scrap of paper, and then I’d be able to point out that they should definitely, in that case, help me clean the playroom next so that they would have some say in what stays and what goes.

Instead, they twirled around their bedrooms in glee, exclaiming over every novelty. “I can sit in my chair again!” squealed Chickadee. “And my dresser is completely clean!” Monkey quickly located his beloved Pokemon cards (previously strewn about the house, now localized in a single bin), heaved a sigh of relief, and took out a box of cars to play with. They were thrilled.

“You know, I threw a bunch of stuff away,” I offered, hoping to evoke at least a little bit of panic. They gazed at me with serene calm, unruffled.

“What did you throw away, Mama?” asked Chickadee. Monkey merely continued arranging his cars on the carpet.

“Well I don’t know, I guess you’ll have to wait and see,” I tried to sound ominous. It didn’t work at all.

I continued on about how they’d better help with the playroom, to save their stuff, and Monkey scampered off, commenting “Well you did a pretty good job here, I’m sure you’ll be fine.”

Hmph. Maybe I’ll threaten no Christmas tree until the playroom is clean. Do you think they’d fall for it? Or maybe I can just challenge them to a game of Scrabble, loser cleans the playroom.

I have a sinking feeling that after I get the PTA newsletter out of the way, I’m going to be cleaning the playroom by myself.


  1. Steff

    We clean out bedrooms and made a trip to goodwill this weekend as well. In fact, I swear I hauled a 50lb black trash bag full of toys out of one room. We actually found two games still in the celophane to donate! Our youngest loves his new oranized room, while I begged my oldest to take a mental picture of his room because there are consequences if it does not stay mommaginized!

  2. Steff

    I have never been first! WOOOHOOO!

  3. Cory

    I should have warned you, once you sleep on a calif. king you really can never go back. EVER.

  4. Dawn

    Great, now I’m craving a big bowl of cheese grits (specifically, Waffle House cheese grits) like nothing else. Since I live in Chicago, this is going to be something of a problem.

  5. Daisy

    Lack of internet connection? Been there. But ours was easy to diagnose — lightning strike. Ew. I hope we don’t go through that again anytime soon. Thank goodness yours is up and running again!

  6. Sharkey

    Does Santa visit your house? Because I’m thinking Santa can’t bring any new toys if the playroom is such a mess that there’s nowhere to put them.

    What good is Santa if you can’t use him as motivation?

  7. Michelle

    Yea, I too have used the old “Santa doesn’t bring toys to bad girls or boys” ploy. Sad but effective.

  8. Bob

    maybe the “no christmas tree until clean” threat with last minute “I will help you do it” might motivate the little buggers. or maybe not. you caved, they know it and you know it. kids are ruthless, they smell weakness and go for it. they also never forget. “remember when you told me last year you would take me to -somewhere- if I did -soandso-? Then it rained and we couldn’t go? When are we going?”

    I see a solitary Mir cleaning the playroom in the near future.

  9. Kimberly

    Santa doesn’t bring toys to messy playrooms.

  10. Sophie

    Your kids: they’re on to ya.

  11. Santa Claus

    Ho Ho Ho!
    Hello from the North Pole!

    Santa likes the technology of the internet!

    Darling Mir, you can tell your children that when I’m delivering gifts, I like to walk into the playroom and double-check to make sure I’m not duplicating anything – if everything is a mess, Santa could easily leave something you already have – and that’s not much of a surprise on Christmas morning, now is it?

    See you soon!

    Santa Claus, Pere Noel

  12. Nancy

    Would they fall for a cleaning scavenger hunt?

    First pick up all the trash.

    Next pick up all the dolls (or whatever), etc.

    Or the ole set-a-timer for 15 minutes and see if they can beat the timer.

  13. Karen Rani

    I clean while they are school. So far, so good.

  14. Ruth

    I think some evil entity created Mary Poppins to torture us with our desire to be perfect nurturers. I know one mom, “snap!” anything on the floor is out the window and gone forever. Two minutes tops. Best of luck to you. Maybe you could “tub” some of it up and rotate? That helps us.

  15. Jen

    I cleaned out my son’s room and threw out two large garbage bags full of stuff. I give it a week and it will look as if I never touched it !

  16. Ei

    My son digs through the trash if I tell him…so I never tell him and he never notices.

    Thanks for the tip Santa, I’ll let my boys know.

  17. Stevie

    Hi – I’m kinda new here. Just wanted to say that I share your no-internet-panic-attack sickness. Some might say that I’m the kind of person who goes directly to the computer store and buys a new computer before even trying to get the old one fixed. Beacuse getting it fixed might take DAYS. I mean, some might say things like that about me.

  18. Jenn2

    You could put EVERYTHING from the playroom in garbage bags. Hey, it’d be clean!;)

  19. chris

    Don’t you have Santa’s number on speed dial? I do. Let me know if you need it ;-)

    I am so glad you got away for the weekend!!! I almost called you ON THE TELEPHONE because I was taking a self imposed computer break.

  20. rudolf

    I find the throwing away part is much more effective if the interested parties are actually present while you’re doing it.

    But in the end, still not guaranteed to produce the immediate behavior change you might be looking for :-)

  21. Cele

    My second ex use to dump my daughter’s clothing in the middle of the floor because she refused to clean her room and fold her clothes. I’m not sure what part of his brain thougth that was the appropriate response to a dirty room of unfolded clothing? But it ticked me off, the ones in the draw that I folded were the only ones that had been to start out with.

    I like your solution much better.

  22. Belinda

    We’ve been having a good measure of success with threats of phone calls to Santa. It has developed into a daily discussion of the day’s “naughty vs. nice” tally. Pretty effective, overall, and we’re hoping it lasts until she’s done with college.

  23. OneTiredMomma

    Um, the Stampin Up catty totally rocks this year, I’d be screaming along with her! :)

    I love when I announce I threw a bunch of crap away and they give me that glazed, cocked head, “Mom’s flipped” look.

    Just wait till they have kids and we come over to visit, kick shit around to corners, dropped a million cards on the floor, throw some wrappers on the table, and then turn around and walk out.

    Ohhhh… payback… will… be… mine… my pretty!!

  24. InterstellarLass

    No one will play Scrabble with me. It’s not that I’m good…they just are bad spellers.

    I haven’t had good grits in a while. Now I’m hungry.

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