Monday, July 7, 2008

You Can Run...

We are now officially well into summer. This means that all of my visions of having a better, more orderly routine punctuated by enriching field trips to fun spots all over Portland are being replaced by the reality of normal life: most of my day is still spent with food, children and laundry. After getting back from my trip to Utah, I resolved to spend my time better. I even tracked what I did with my time for an entire day. The results were intriguing (ha,ha, yes I intended that sarcastically): About 70 percent of my time was spent preparing, serving, spoon-feeding, nursing or cleaning up meals. Most of the remaining 30 percent was spent on laundry. I did spend about an hour on facebook (mostly while I was nursing). While these results may not exactly be intriguing, it does help explain why it seems I can never get caught up on the housework, let alone get to any projects.

So I now have a new official strategy for summer. Each morning I begin with grand plans to get the house cleaned and orderly. After spending several hours limping along, not accomplishing anything, I abandon any thoughts of getting anything done and get out of the house as quickly as possible for as long as possible. The next day, we repeat the process.

We began this process on the last Friday of June. Despite concerted effort, I could not get the kids ready and out the door to 10:00 am park day until almost 11:00 am. We did finally make it to the water fountain park, with PB&J in tow and so we just stayed there until 4:00. On Monday, I repented and tried to get something done. When it become apparent that no progress was going to be made, we abandoned ship and fled to Ranell's house and backyard waterslide, where we stayed for dinner and Family Home Evening until almost 8:00 pm.

On Tuesday, I began with renewed determination to attack the filth that was my kitchen and bathrooms. As soon as I started scrubbing toilets, Jackson awoke from his lengthy nap of 10 minutes and started screaming. I gritted my teeth and determined that I was going to finish at least one task today, but after a minute or two, I felt bad and couldn't ignore him any longer. At this point, I was starting to despair: there was no way that I could ever make headway in the mess, let alone conquer it. So I did what any self-respecting despairing woman would do: I packed the kids up and went shopping.

My current good mood was not helped by the fact that I had only 2 short-sleeve shirts that fit (did I ever mention that pregnancy and nursing do really mean things to your body?). I could at least remedy not having shirts that fit. So off we went to the outlets. I told Jared and Camryn that if they were good I would take them to Target and let them buy Pokemon cards. Unfortunately, when I am nursing I have to try on about 10-15 shirts to find one that looks good on me. After 2 1/2 hours of somewhat patiently watching mom try on shirts, waiting while I nurse Jackson and then watching me try on still more shirts, the kids were getting antsy. So I upped my bribe--- er, um incentive-- for good behavior and told them that I would buy them the Pokemon cards. Amazingly, they lasted and we got back in the car to drive home.

By this time it was getting late, past 7:00. We started driving home and needed to get dinner. We were driving past Costco --I had some grape tomatoes in the car that I had bought a few days before that were bad. I could just run in and return them (yes, I know this sounds obsessive-compulsive, and it is, but do you know how irritating it is to have 2 pounds of greens in your fridge and no tomatoes?) and then get the kids pizza for dinner. I went in, ordered the pizza, returned the tomatoes, got the new tomatoes and a couple of other items and unbelievably, Jackson had not exploded yet, although he wasn't happy in the cart anymore, so I was holding him in one hand. I picked up our pizza, balanced it on the top of the cart and headed out to the car, pushing the cart with one hand and holding Jackson with the other. Halfway across the parking lot, the pizza started to slide. I reached for it, but it was too late: it tipped sideways, dumping the entire pizza into the passenger seat of the cart. Yes, just what I needed. But this was our dinner, so I scooped it back into the box as best I could.

By this time, Jackson was starting to get upset and then frantic. It was almost 8 pm. I threw the groceries and pizza into the car as quickly as I could and then sat in the front seat to nurse Jackson while dishing out half-smooshed pizza with the other hand. I checked my phone and it turns out that Dave had called me three times. I called him back and he said, "Karen, I'm home to watch the kids for you to go to book club? Aren't you going?" Yes, Dave had told me that he was going to try to be home earlier tonight and as luck would have it, the one night that he is home early is the night that I am nursing Jackson in the Costco parking lot at 8 pm. I did eventually get home and go to book club, just a tad late, even though I hadn't read the book this month.

Wednesday I was already beginning to lose my visions of trying to clean the house. I had promised Jared and Camryn that I would take them to Target and it only took us until 12:30 to get out the door. After exhausting myself with that effort, we spent the afternoon hanging out in Ranell's backyard on her waterslide. Thursday, I had a dentist appointment in the morning and in the afternoon-- you guessed it, we hung out on Ranell's waterslide.

So I guess cleaning my house is just a little bit like hiking Angel's Landing: Even if you start out with good intentions, it's never too late to turn back. =]

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