Last week chewed me up and spit me out and then sneered at me and told me my mother dresses me funny. Then it stole my lunch money and stomped on my fingers.
The sad part is that I really didn’t get the worst of the week; I’d say the men of our household had a significantly worse week than I did, even. In fact, some might say the only person who had a great week was Chickadee, except for the tiny detail of some of her choices having resulted in a few extra chores this past weekend. And although it cheered ME up immensely to watch her mop the kitchen floor, I’m guessing that wasn’t her favorite thing. (I’m still trying to decide if it was mine. I mean, of all the joys of parenthood, slave labor is one of the finest.)
We four sat around the dinner table last night, making a grand mess with taco fixings, talking about how much better this week will be, and how we’re all going to pull together as a family and support each other and be kind and respectful and diligent and BETTER. I think we were all trying to convince ourselves. I find guacamole is an excellent confidence booster in these situations.
Eventually the meal was cleared away and the kitchen was spotless and the children were headed off to bed in their nice clean rooms. I gave extra hugs and kisses and said a silent prayer for grace over each of my children. And an extra one for me.
After the kids went to bed, I retreated my office and Otto to his; both of us are behind on work, wrung out from the week of illness and crisis and stress. I patted myself on the back for at least remembering to take something out of the freezer to make for dinner the next day, as my grocery trip earlier in the day had consisted of me wandering around the store chanting to myself “Milk, orange juice, eggs… and… some other stuff.” I mean, ordinarily I plan out the entire week’s menu and make a list. Yesterday it just seemed like too much effort. Which is probably why I got up to the register and discovered that I had nearly $10 worth of pears, because instead of grabbing the ones on sale for $.99/pound, I’d instead filled my bag with pears that grow on platinum stems. I mean, they looked exactly the same to ME, but no, these ones were $4/pound. I like pears. Hell, I’ll go so far as to say they may be one of my top three favorite fruits. But I do not like them enough to pay $4/pound for them.
[In my defense, apparently the sign had been misplaced in the produce section, and I was the fourth or fifth person through that line to have made the same mistake. The cashier immediately asked me if I’d meant to buy that kind, and my horrified face caused her to pat my arm and assure me that she could send someone back to get me the other kind, not to worry. This is one of the things I enjoy about the south. Up north the cashier would’ve been all, “You got the wrong ones? Sorry, sucker.”]
So I was working. Otto was working. And then Otto came into my office looking a little shell-shocked. He’d spent most of the afternoon doing grading, and the file he’d been using had… vanished. I tried to make helpful suggestions, and to his credit Otto didn’t smack me or tell me to shut up, either of which I probably would’ve considered if our positions had been reversed. Eventually he concluded he’d just need to start from scratch, and I offered to record Mad Men and watch it with him another time, but he said no, he was so far behind, now, he might as well take a break for an hour.
We each left our work and retreated to the couch to watch people who are more screwed up than we are on television, and during the commercials we chatted a bit about things both mundane and serious, how life has gotten in the way of so many things, lately, and how surely things will get better, easier, in the weeks to come.
Otto’s long stint on steroids has introduced him to the joys of the steroid munchies, and so eventually I went and grabbed a brick of our new favorite cheese and some crackers for him, and of course I am completely powerless over cheese so I ate some of it, too, and we sat there on the couch together, nibbling on these incredibly spicy slices of cheese, sucking extra air through our mouths to cool the burn.
After a while Otto started laughing at me and my attempts to bear the searing heat without crackers (I am still not eating wheat, which is particularly problematic when eating habanero cheese), and then I laughed at HIM as he tried very hard to pretend it wasn’t too spicy, and then we just laughed because the week sucked and sitting together on the couch eating something that was setting our mouths on fire just seemed like a fitting end to it all.
So, Otto, I just want you to know that there is no one on earth I’d rather permanently damage my taste buds with, darling. This week will be better. And if it’s not, well, we have plenty of habanero cheese.