Parental Super Powers…yes, we have them…

This house is bigger.  Sound has farther to travel than at the other house.  Never mind that the floorboards are creaky, the walls not as thick as we’d like them to be…sound takes longer to reach me.  This, however, has not dulled my powers of sensing when something is…I guess the word for it would be “awry.”

Like any other parent on the face of this planet, I can sense inactivity, laziness, mischief, surreptitious snacking, middle-of-the-night roaming…  There are times when I know what J is planning by merely catching a fleeting expression on his face.  There are other times when I have no clue what he’s thinking, but my Holmes-like powers of deduction and my very suspicious nature allow me to figure out he’s up to no good.  The Sephardim genes don’t hurt either; even though our Jewishness diluted sometime around the Spanish Inquisition (although I DO believe it was that one of my ancestors tried pork, which is even worse than having chickened out under Torquemada’s pressure,) I still think that I know when people need sweaters or to have their temperature taken…

By the way, J didn’t seem “right” this morning and Dada had to rush to get him from school because of an earache.  Allow me to define “earache,” please: J’s ears are notoriously waxy, and he is totally traumatized from the time the ENT had to remove earplugs that his teacher had jammed too far into his ears.  Cleaning J’s ears is a task I do not take lightly, and today they were bothering him enough that he’s letting me do it in installments.

As proud as I am of those particular Parental Super Powers I have mentioned, perhaps my greatest pride rests on my uncanny ability to say NO.  That’s, hands down, my favorite PSS.  I’ve been using it for years and, like all other superheroes, I have moments when it doesn’t quite work, but every superhero has his/her kryptonite and I can live with NO failing from time to time.  NO may verbally fail, but there are other ways where NO takes shape and is always effective…  The older the kids get, the less NO comes trotting out, stomping its nasty, enormous feet over everything, but it does turn up once in a while.  It has to turn up.  It’s what parents say, isn’t it?

J and NO are very close to each other.  J even initiates the NO when my facial expression seems to hint at it, and his rate of accuracy for anticipating a flat-out NO is pretty darned good.  In baseball, he’d probably be close to Hank Aaron.  Maybe it’s because I have an ease for saying NO, or maybe it’s because (over time) the kids have realized that NO isn’t just a random word that lacks weight and meaning…

And here we go with Miley Cyrus…yeah, that’s what I’m building up to, people.

We don’t watch MTV.  Honestly, I haven’t watched MTV since the early 90s.  When they started airing things like The Real World, I realized that it was outside my generational comfort zone.  It’s a little like suddenly watching Pretty Little Liars at my age, or being a fan of Twilight when I don’t have daughters.  It’s just not right for me, not that it wouldn’t be right for other people, but that’s just not the way I’m wired.

Anyway.  At one point, J liked watching Hannah Montana (this lasted about six weeks,) and The Wizards of Waverly Place.  I totally get the Good Luck, Charlie thing because those parents are very similar to us as parents.  But I have never really encouraged the kids to be glued to whatever show is on and, furthermore, to idolize the people in them when the expiration date on their characters is long past.  I’ve never had qualms about telling either kid “you’re too young to watch that” and sticking to my decision.  For example, The Godfather (and all its sequels.)  TGG protested quite vocally about my firm decision to not let him watch this movie until he turned fourteen.  I’d already had to deal with the consequences of his biological father allowing things like Alien and The Mummy when he was about 8…Signs had been a complete and utter disaster at 11, and I figured that -if Sci Fi was an issue- more “real” fare would be even worse.  I can rationally diffuse fears over a monster, alien or mummy under the bed much better than I can explain that there ARE mobsters in real life and, yes, crime is committed every single day in this world.  When he finally got to watch The Godfather, TGG was impacted by the violence because, while still in costume, these people operated in a world very similar to the one we occupy.

Now…why on Earth would anyone let their children a) watch the MTV VMA show, b) encourage viewing any celebrity as a role model, or c) raise a stink about Miley Cyrus’ uncouth behavior?  Where, for crying out loud, is the power of NO???

Let’s start with my opinion of Robin Thicke’s song Blurred Lines.  It’s not Art, as he has claimed; if you have to explain your intent, it’s no longer Art.  It’s not a “conversation starter,” and you can’t take back things like “What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I’ve never gotten to do that before. I’ve always respected women.”  Even if your wife suggested the nudity in the video; even if your wife thinks it’s cool; even if you claim you were joking, the video’s director and the models all say it’s empowering…it’s not.  You laid a big ol’ cow pie and people turned it into a hit because it’s hip and cool to be controversial.  Controversial isn’t “smart” unless there’s actual thought behind it…know what I mean?

So, not having watched this show (because I am way past the MTV point in my life,) I had not a single clue about this stink until I saw Mika Brzezinski blow a gasket about it on TV.  Not once, mind you, Ms. Brzezinski blew a gasket repeatedly.  Her daughters are high-school age, if I’m not mistaken, and if she lets them watch MTV, that’s her choice, but…Ms. Brzezinski is only a couple of years younger than I am and SHOULD know that the MTV VMA show is usually rife with Britney Spears and Madonna French-kissing, Howard Stern exposing his derriere and farting, Britney Spears with a large python coiled all over her body (a clear phallic reference,) Madonna writhing all over the floor in a wedding gown singing “Like a Virgin,” and so forth.  THIS is NOT a family show, and no one should be even remotely shocked to see Miley Cyrus “empowered” by no longer being a Disney kid and performing with a man -who mere weeks ago- was calling himself an artist and saying he was “starting a discussion” with his song.

How about a little more NO and a little less harping on where we’ve failed to draw a line?  Who hasn’t noticed that Miley Cyrus has been proactively (and rather immaturely) pursuing the shedding of her Hannah Montana persona?  Who expects her to come out in a pinafore and sing Over the Rainbow at the MTV VMA show?  Who, who has been paying attention, doesn’t know that this no-longer-a-child is always scantily clad, sticking her tongue out and pretending to kiss mannequins?

TV is what it is because WE WATCH!  The so-called Arts are what they are because we buy the songs, tune in to shows, pay tickets for movies.  WE have made it OK for Freedom of Speech to happen, and THAT is a good thing…

BUT…

(There IS a but, of course)

Freedom of Speech doesn’t mean we have to relinquish the Super Power of the Parental NO.  Freedom of Speech doesn’t mean we get to denounce what we don’t approve of simply because we weren’t paying attention before it happened.  MTV rated this show unsuitable for children under 14, that doesn’t mean “let your fourteen year-olds watch without supervision.”  Joe Scarborough suggested that they tag a warning to the show that says “there might be objectionable material.”  As parents, we should always operate under the premise that there WILL be something objectionable, and scale back depending on circumstances.

It’s not just J who benefits from the power of NO.  It’s not just J, with his limited abilities to decide for himself, who needs some sort of vigilance on our part.  Every kid deserves that kind of attention; every kid needs that sort of filter.  Intelligent, seemingly-mature, seemingly-sophisticated though they may be, they deserve to be guided and protected by the Parental Super Powers until we know they are ready for us to face the kryptonite of actual maturity and readiness for certain experiences…

Blowing a gasket in disgust over spilled milk is pretty silly when you know the container is flawed and the person carrying it has their hands covered in Crisco…

Just say NO, and accept your lack of popularity as yet another Parental Super Power…used for The Greater Good, regardless of how well the sound of it will travel through your house.

 

 

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Now that the dust, the boxes, the mess, the packages, the old house and the new house have [sort of] settled…

If I don’t have arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome has proven to be just as bad.  I am being referred to around these parts as Wonder Woman.  This is not because of my impressive physique or my Lasso of Truth.  It doesn’t even reflect my dynamic approach to all things move-related.  This is purely because of the two wrist braces that I’ve been wearing to deflect pain, suffering and a barrage of cursing.  The two wrist braces have worked…to a degree.  As I told the rental property manager this morning when I turned in our keys: I don’t know if the jolts of electricity I was feeling while cleaning the ceiling fans were actual electricity or my nerve endings protesting all the exertions I’ve put my body through.  She’ll kindly have the electrician check, just in case the next tenant runs the risk of frying while doing the same task a few months from now.

We are home.  We are officially settled in and simply working our way through the details that make home even homier.  Where does this picture hang?  Where do we want that chair?  Are these the right curtains for this room or do we need something heavier?  J has settled in and is quite comfortable, so comfortable, in fact, that on Saturday night he threw a blanket over himself and fell asleep on the Ginormous Bean Bag in the J Cave.  We would have noticed this sooner if we hadn’t fallen asleep on the couch in the sitting room.  There are pictures of both events; TGG’s phone, of course, has a camera and we’ve been warned that these could end up in Facebook if we’re not careful.   These pictures are not flattering.  We’re being careful.  J looks adorable, but we the parents look like two middle-aged people who have just scrambled to move across the parking lot…

There isn’t enough glucosamine to grease these knee joints…

But we are home.  Undeniably, irreversibly, unequivocally at home.  Hopefully, the fact that I don’t yet know where a lot of things ARE is indicative of this new sense of belonging.  In my defense, I did spend quite a deal of time saying “I thought I’d tossed this!,” “so THAT’S where THAT was!!!!,”  “we own one of THESE????” while packing away our old home.  I am sure that I will, at one point or another, remember where it is that the hide-a-key is hidden.

J loves his new house.  J loves his new room.  J loves the TV room and the privacy of that door (that lovely, lovely door) between us.  He’s not rude about wanting to be alone in there, but we knows he prefers it to our company.  As I told Dada a few days ago: if my parents had provided me with such a space at that age (at any age, really,) I’d love them so much I’d want to stay away from them.  So J falls asleep on his bean bag, and we fall asleep on the couch.  He out of the sheer delight of being comfortable; we out of the sheer exhaustion of moving.

Things are leveling off now.  The house is full of our things, and they’re slowly creeping, crawling, rolling, edging to their rightful spots.  The garage is organized…sort of; J will be able to use his Wii for exercising tomorrow afternoon.  The cars, we have decided, can sleep outside unless a major weather event is expected…which reminds me that the Farmers’ Almanac has predicted a rather difficult winter and, upon hearing this bit of news, the cats ran to curl up on the couch we now claim as our own.

Little by little, we’re back to whatever normal is.  We no longer leave dusty footprints when we step in from the garage or the front porch.  We no longer have small bundles of mysterious bits and pieces we can’t quite place yet.  We now live with the realization that, with the click of this or that button, we can make our TV switch from the HDMI cable for the blu-ray player to the HDMI cable for the cable box.  We are back to eating what I cook rather than begging for the respite of something I don’t have to be involved in other than to whip out paper plates.

J has adjusted better, and more quickly than we have.  Granted, we made sure his entire “world” was quickly transferred and arranged here, while ours lagged behind and (much to my chagrin) smelled increasingly of dust and detergent.  The walk to the bus and back is easier, and that makes me happy.  My knees won’t scream as loudly when they’re done with their current cycle of complaining.  J likes walking down the dirt road, asking for his NOODLES and SODA and asking for the KEY to OPEN the DOOR to HOME.  He comfortably settles in, especially now that the hooks for his book bag and his lunch bag are firmly placed where he wanted them.  He is comfortable with the notion of a closet he can walk into, and a mirror to inspect his appearance.

Some habits we haven’t changed: in the morning (regardless of whether TGG is working or not) J will open the door and let the light from the hallway stream in…I’m working on a solution.  The recycling bins had to be placed in a very specific area, with J supervising.  He will be breaking in his new can crusher this weekend.  All the cardboard boxes that made their way to the dumpster broke his heart and he was NOT amused by our wastefulness.  I had to explain that the vast wasteland of the garage couldn’t accommodate our environmentally-conscious ways for the time being.  He was not impressed with my excuse, but was very forgiving when he finally came home this afternoon to watch me follow his instructions.  “Order away, sir; the recycling center is ready to be set up!”

I don’t know if it was my willingness to let him order me around, or if it was the prospect of continuous recycling joy, but J was happy…which makes me happy…which means,  yeah, we’re home.  Definitely!

 

 

 

The best organized catastrophe EVER!!!!!!

It is August the 22nd…a week since we started moving into our new home.  We are firmly planted here, and hanging loosely like vines in the jungle at the old place.  The first part of that sentence is the good news…the second part – ah! – that is the good part of the story.

On Thursday, Queequeg and I started moving things from up the slope to down the slope.  Ever so slowly, of course, especially as the day progressed and the humidity and heat started climbing.  At the time, I thought I was making significant progress, but I now realize I was fooling myself into very positive thinking.  J watched the old house slowly loosing its contents into the new one, but he was not yet impressed with our efforts…

On Friday morning, while Dada went to pick up the truck, I did yet another bunch of trips.  These amounted to as much as a middle-aged woman who seems to be suddenly suffering from seasonal allergies (to only God knows what!) could possibly contribute to the cause.  Once the truck arrived, things started moving quickly.  J’s bedroom and TV room got set up as quickly as we could get them organized.  J, as usual, is priority A Number 1 in these circumstances because you want the autistic individual to arrive from school to find a picture of what their new equilibrium will look like.

Boxes streamed into the garage as quickly as our middle-aged bodies could carry them.  Notice a theme there???  I’ve mentioned middle-age more than once already.  There’s a reason for that.

At 2:40 I walked down to wait for J.  On the way to the corner I crossed paths with Dada.  Where had Dada been???  Well, dealing with Catastrophe #1: his boss called in a panic needing him to run down to the office.  I will tell you this much: he didn’t smell good (it was very humid and hot,) he looked scruffy, and he was already pretty winded from all the back and forth with our belongings.  I didn’t look much better, and it was about to get worse.  While I waited on the corner, Dada rushed home and hooked up J’s new TV.

The sun wasn’t just shining brightly; the sun was pounding heavily on the asphalt, the black capri-length leggings and three-quarter sleeve top I was wearing (WHAT was I thinking????,) and I was sweating -and forgive the image but this comes from an acquaintance in grad school and fits rather well- “like a whore in church on a Sunday.”  If I was wilting before, I was melting by now.

I saw the regular bus roll up.  I saw the UPS truck come and go.  I saw the FedEx truck.  I waited.  I saw my shadow start stretching farther and farther past the 3 o’clock mark (what?  You never read an old Boy Scout Handbook from the 40s in your spare time???)  I waited.  I was upset, indubitably, but I didn’t really start to panic until the elementary school bus rolled up to our corner and children started emerging.  J’s school releases at 2: 30, and the elementary school closest to us releases after 3:30.  Panic started to set in; without knowing it, I was in the throes of Catastrophe #2.

Dada arrived, concerned for the prolonged absence and wondering what could be holding us up.  I was angry because it took him that long to get worried, because he WALKED rather than drove the car, and because when I am worried (and I WAS worried) I tend to get very, very cranky.  Since he had the cell phone, and had left it in the car, he had to walk back to check for messages.  By the time he got back, I was breathing heavily, and not in a good way, so I sat in the car and held my head in my hands.  I was worried about J.  I figured something horrible must have happened for them to be nearly an hour late from their scheduled arrival time.

The bus pulled up shortly before 10 to four.  A medical emergency for one of the bus ladies had prompted a serious delay, and they’d tried to reach us, but the cable company had messed with our phone line (but not helped with its transfer to the new house) and we were in a bubble of silence.  I breathed deeply…

We gave J the key to the new house, and in he walked.  Like the subject of a home remodel show, J was duly impressed with his new surroundings and the familiarity that had crept into it with our boxes and packages.  When he got to his bedroom (his big, comfortable bedroom,) he happily announced that he was changing his clothes and, like a duck to water, he took to the new walk-in closet, additional floor space and ease of access to all his things.  He inspected it all with the eye of one who appreciates being able to get out of bed without immediately walking into the closet door.

By the time we reached the TV room downstairs, J was clearly very much at home.  His snack box sat on top of the fridge, his dishes were stored in the cupboard next to it, and the rest was easy to figure out with the cupboards, cabinets and all else that he requires for his daily routine.  Opening the door to the TV room was the cherry on top of the sundae of his joy: if the world had turned to color and Munchkins had started singing right then and there, you’d think he’d crash-landed in that place beyond the rain…

You might recall that the plan was for J and TGG to share the basement-level TV room.  It’s not happening.  TGG was promptly disabused of this notion by J.  The Caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland was never as comfortable or as imperious.  The giant bean bag is a centerpiece, the place where J goes to lounge and watch TV.  Instead of moving closer to the TV or turning the volume louder (as he did in the old living room,) J sits in the middle of the room, with the volume at a discrete level, and we occasionally go to check on him only to find that he is happier than we could have imagined.

On Saturday we put together his coffee table, and he had a wonderful time doing this.  I am always amazed by his dexterity with tools and hardware.  All his things are carefully and neatly stored around the room, and he allows you a brief visit, a quick storybook, a hug and a pleasant chat, but then you’re out of there…the King of All Wild Things is happy in his corner, and don’t you forget it…

What I refer to as Catastrophe #3 is that I got sick.  Galloping allergies to some sort of airborne element that cannot possibly be dust because we have lived in a construction zone for two years and I would have noticed any allergic reaction by then.  I am thinking that it’s either the newness of the carpet, the vegetation behind the house, or just that I’m allergic to moving.  Catastrophe #4 is that my arthritis has decided to put on a show of force.  Last night I was anxiously waiting for TGG to get home from work so he could pop open a can of corn for me.  Catastrophe #5 is that we didn’t find anyone to help with the washer and dryer so that will get done this weekend…and I will then be doing laundry until -quite likely- next year.  Catastrophe #6 is that TGG and Dada are basically unavailable to help me until the weekend.  TGG has work and school, and Dada has his training classes for staff.  I have been trying to get things done on my own…

But J is happy.  And, all in all, things went rather well.  THIS looks more like home.  THIS is getting settled.  There are small pockets of chaos here and there, but that is to be expected.  We know that there will be a period of settling in and getting comfortable, and we know that -as of this moment- our bodies are too sore and our brains are too addled to fully appreciate that we’ve managed a rather monumental task.  In the midst of all these catastrophes, we’re doing OK, except for the Biggest Catastrophe of All: the realization that we are now suffering from Murtaugh Syndrome (you know…Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon???)…we are TOO OLD FOR THIS SHIT!

And my creaking bones, aching muscles, addled brain and hot flashes go back to the grind…

A summary of the first day of school and the first day of our move…

I have walked more miles between this townhouse and the new townhouse today than I ever imagined.  My feet hurt.  My back is protesting.  My age is showing.  I made countless trips with several breaks in between, and I managed to take more stuff than I had expected.  In the midst of it all, Queequeg ran away from me and I had to run to catch it, and then Queequeg chased me down the slope and I had to stop it.  In a nutshell: I am bruised, scratched, tired, stinky, and I’ve got more stuff to do before the end of the day.

J had an awesome day at school.  The teacher told me he is working very hard at speaking more.  (Can I get a Hallelujah?)  He seemed happy to be back, and he came home very happy…

On the way back, he was chirping and giggling.  I told him “we’re going to see the new house,” and he was very excited.  I got the keys last evening, and we took him there to walk around.  Like a home-improvement show, he didn’t want to go in until everything was finalized.  J turned the key in the lock and walked in…he was happy.  This place that he had been looking at from outside all these months was finally ready for him to take possession.

We visited his bedroom first, and I let him roam around, explaining “this is TGG’s room.  This is your bathroom.  Look at the hallway closet.  Your closet is big…you can walk into it!  Look at our bedroom, and this is the balcony…you can see the river.”  Then we took him downstairs to his TV room.  I explained that this was the hang-out room, and his TV and big bean bag chair would be there.  I showed him the bathroom downstairs.  I walked him around the laundry room and the closet under the stairs…

Tomorrow, we told J, is a big day!  You’re going back to school and this is going to be our new house!

This afternoon, he turned the key in the lock with a look of wonder on his face.  We stepped in and made our way to the kitchen.  On the counter, several boxes and baskets waited for my attention, but the rest of the street-level was bare.  J turned to look at me with a “that’s IT?” expression on his face.  “Well…come look at the TV room!,” I said, and -handing him a box I’d let at the top of the stairs- led him to the basement level.  The sitting room is bare.  I have been working on taking things to the basement and the third floor because I want the street level clear for easier navigation.  J looked around and his face fell.  I led him to the TV room and showed him the boxes and packages I’d brought from our current home and announced “by tomorrow this will all be ready for you!”

He was not impressed.  J’s look clearly said “WHAT have you been doing all day, woman????  Didn’t you tell me we’re moving???  Where is my STUFF??????”  With a roll of his eyes, his shoulders slumped and he said “NOODLES…SODA” in the same tone some men use to say “bar…whisky.”  Clearly, I fell short of his expectations.

The kid is being hard on me.  I understand him.  He wants this move over and done, and I can’t say I blame him.  I want it over and done, too.  I am not going to feel offended by his disappointed.  I’m too sore to feel offended.  I need Tiger Balm, Tylenol, a hot bath, Epsom salts, and a drink…and I get to do it all over again tomorrow, but this time with Dada’s help.  I am sure we will get everything that J expects to find when he gets home squared away between the two of us.

So…there you have it.  It is THE Thursday, and it’s almost over…for better or worse, we’re in the middle of moving, and school has started.  By this time tomorrow, hopefully, things will have progressed more…

 

The sore throat cometh…

No sooner had I crawled into bed, congratulating myself for a day well spent, that my throat started closing on me…  Dada had started snoring placidly already so I sat up in bed wondering WHY, after all these sore throat-free days, I was starting to get sick when we’re down to the wire…  My timing, obviously, leaves a lot to be desired.  As I got more and more anxious about this, my neck cramped up, my back began to hurt and I got palpitations.  I sat there thinking “oh, great!  Am I now having an actual heart attack????”  I tossed and turned for a while until, out of sheer exhaustion, I conked out and went to sleep (fitfully) for a couple of hours.  Then I sat up in bed again, drank water, worried that I was dying right in the middle of a very busy week, and went back to sleep (fitfully) for a couple of hours, and ad nauseam until six-thirty when Dada marched into the room and told me “your coffee is getting cold.  Are you ok?”

I sat bolt upright and said “no, no…I’m fine.  Really!  I’m up.  I’m up!”  Once I got downstairs and sat down, I decided to skip the part where my throat was hurting all night, and instead told him about the usual list of ailments I complain about.  “Why didn’t you wake me up?,” he asked.  I would have arched an eyebrow if I knew how, or if I’d had the energy.  “You were pretty soundly asleep,” I said.  “And since you weren’t coughing, I figured I’d let you rest.  I considered writing a note for you ‘if I’m dead in the morning, I didn’t wake you up so you could rest.'”  Dada thanked me for, with my potentially final breath, thinking of leaving him a lifetime of guilt.  “You’re welcome.  I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t do that.”  He smiled.  He admitted he was pretty tired and any efforts (short of firing a cannon in the room) would have probably fallen short.

I have a mildly sore throat now.  It was worse last night.  Now it’s more of an awareness of my throat being there, and not being happy it’s there.   I’ve been drinking lots of liquids; I’ve been having tea.  I’m sure I’ll feel better right until bedtime.  That’s the way these things work…

The yellow bus will be here early tomorrow.  J is excited.  We’ve already sung the Bus Song, and he’s arranged the BUS and BACKPACK on his PECS board so they look nice and solid there.  When the phone rang and I had a brief exchange with the bus aide, J’s ears were perked up, waiting for confirmation that, yes, the boredom and doldrums end tomorrow morning, bright and early.  His comm book (complete with his name, which he wrote, and a Timmy sticker from thinkgeek.com) is already in his bag, and I’ve attached my note explaining all the things we did this summer and a list of the words we’ve been working on.  J is ready for school.  I am ready for J to leave for school.  It’s nothing personal, as you know, but the time is right, and we’re both excited about the school year starting…finally.

It’s the fourteenth.  This is a fact.  It’s an irreversible and undeniable fact.  Tomorrow, if all goes as it seems it is going, our new home will be ready for us to move into…I’ve made progress with all that there is to do around here, but I can’t say all that needs to be done is done.  A good deal of what needs to get done IS done, but a bit of it isn’t done yet.  Like my cousin said last night, moving across the street merely means I can make a thousand trips back and forth if I have to…this fills me with dread!!!!

I am about to do something horribly selfish, and I hope no one (not even myself) holds it against me.  I’m going to lay down and rest.  My throat needs to get better.  I am tired, and I need to be well, too.  It’s not the best course of action, perhaps, but I can live with a less-than-optimal course of action right now…

 

The insidious effects of packing…

I have the sneaky suspicion that there are things in this house that are unpacking themselves in the middle of the night so I have to re-pack them in the morning.  Maybe I’m confusing my home with Andy’s home in Toy Story (and Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3,) but I’m pretty sure that our things are alive.  I say this because I could have sworn I was pretty much done packing the kitchen, and it seem the cupboards are full again.  If it’s not that things are getting unpacked in the middle of the night, then things are reproducing while we sleep.

As you can see, I am now paranoid.  It was bound to happen.  I was so sure this was all under control, and then I woke up this morning and it was THIS morning, and not last Tuesday like I’d been hoping.  When you wish upon a star, my fanny!  Looking around last night I thought to myself “oh, how I wish it wasn’t Monday the 12th but rather Monday the 5th,” and went to sleep with the fervent wish that I’d have more time to get ready.

Pffffffffffffffffft!  That’s what I get for a) complaining that the construction seemed to have stall, b) thinking I could do this more swiftly and effectively than I have, and c) wasting time wishing it was last Monday night rather than focusing on getting crap done.  My bad!

Today J and I have been working.  We’ve packed a great deal of the kitchen, the pantry, the hallway closets and the dining area.  We have separated the towels that go in the downstairs bathroom from the ones that go upstairs, and we have separated the towels to pack away from the towels that we will need until we unpack the other towels.  We’ve also worked our way through a nice stash of laundry…

J is, once more, shredding mail we get and that is totally worthless to us, but too risky to put in the trash.  Offer after offer after offer for credit, insurance, services, etc. generated by a computer that churns it out for our shredding enjoyment.  Sometimes these offers baffle me ; other times I laugh out loud.  Magazines that I subscribe to insist that I have to renew my subscription NOW (and this is the THIRD NOTICE…in RED ink…BOLDLY PRINTED on the envelope,) but inside it clearly says that I am paid for until 2015.  There was a time when I would panic because of the red ink, and -at the behest of the RENEW NOW!- I’d send a check…hence my seemingly perpetual subscription to magazines that continue to rile me up with these envelopes.  There’s a plastic surgeon that sends me glossy cards with before-and-after pictures of women my age who start out looking like themselves, and end up looking like themselves, but scary.  Those go in the shredder, too.

J has been, as it were, shredding botoxed faces, credit offers and reminders of things that, for the time being, we don’t need to be reminded of all day long.  He takes breaks between piles of paper, and -like me- he looks at the small mountain of unwanted paper with wonder.  Wasn’t it only a few weeks ago that he obliterated something of similar size?  Is this the accumulation of all the pointless trips to the mailbox???  The alumni associations of two universities should know by now we’re not giving them money and we’re not partaking of their offers for alumni trips to Crete, The Netherlands or Asia, but they are relentless and we look at the pictures of happy local children dressed in national costumes and, with the heartache that results from living in this economy, watch the shredder’s teeth gnaw them into bits.

So we have a self-renewing pile of useless paper, utensils that seem to copulate in drawers and multiply, pots and pans that -for reasons unknown to us and, quite possibly, of cosmic import- don’t have lids, and lids that don’t have pots, but no one here seems to recall when this disparity in the pot/pan/lid populations started.  We also do not know why, when we need them, we have no clothes hangers because now we have so many that I’ve had to use zip ties to keep them together.  They are unruly.  You leave them loose and next thing you know you’re running around trying to figure out where they’ve gone to and how they got there.

The illusion of having the move under control is long gone.  I was operating under a mistaken impression that I could be as organized about this as I am about other things.  Now, seeing so many things still left to gather and assign locations to, I’m ready to start drinking heavily.  Ok…no…I’m not ready to start drinking heavily.  I’m ready to start eating ice cream heavily, how’s that?  The problem is that I am not in the mood to go out to buy ice cream (I’d have to wear the kind of clothes that people wear when they don’t mind running into acquaintances at the store,) and I dread going to our car and being reminded that the 4′ X 4′ piece of wood we bought this weekend is still there.  (Don’t ask.  You don’t want to know.  Suffice it to say it’s one of those “I told you so” moments that my husband enjoys very much because they seldom happen…the kind of “I told you so” moment where HE told ME so, and not the other way around.)

The freezer is still semi-full, and I don’t feel like cooking.  The pantry is packed up (yes, yes, yes, I packed up the pantry,) and Dada broke the French press last night…accidentally, but not unpredictably, of course.  So we’re in Chaos Mode, and there’s no ice cream in the house.  There’s frozen yogurt, but that’s not quite as soothing as ice cream.  And there are no Cheetos.  I ate those.  And I cannot eat any more Oreos because they’re from J’s stash and he’s giving me the fish-eye already.

I hear the dryer finishing the cycle.  I can almost guarantee I’ve washed the same pair of scrubs ten times today…yeah, the clean laundry is finding its way back to the dirty laundry pile.  It’s a vicious cycle, and somewhere in this house little gremlins are laughing…

And it’s only AND already Tuesday…egads, Brain!!!!