Thursday, October 25, 2012


Some things that I have learned in the past few years;

-I'm happy I gave birth in the hospital.  I am.  Most of the time, birth is not a medical event, but sometimes it is, and mine were.  Period.  I've come to terms with that to the point where I'm actually GLAD it happened the way it did.  All three times.

-I'm a better parent to Matthew at eight than I was Matthew at two.  We "fit" better now.  It is okay to not like some stages (THIS is a revelation), and the future is always bright.  This helps me when I want to bite my daughter's face in frustration over some drama.

-Being flexible is pretty key.  Like last winter when I resigned from my job and we tried having one income.  And it totally didn't work.  So I'm job hunting, not just for a few dollars here and there, but for a full time job.
I don't regret leaving my previous job, or trying the SAHM gig for a year.  I'm simply being flexible.

-I have four kids and three pets, and nobody's dying.  Who knew I could pull that off?

-Rabbits can live way past their life expectancy.  And poop on the floor.  Panbeh is eight years old.  Rabbits usually live 3 to 4 years.  (!!!)

-If I can survive yesterday, I can survive anything.  Here's a rundown:

First crisis was at 7:45 a.m. when I woke up and realized we all slept in.  I had to get four kids fed, dressed, teeth brushed, lunches packed (x3), and out the door by 8:15.  Um.

We arrived late.

We got to preschool on time, since it starts after the elementary school.  However, I forgot a form I was supposed to fill out.

I took Amarys to Strong Start and she peed through her diaper and leaked all over her pants.

She screamed in the carseat and smacked me in the face when I tried to talk her down.

We picked Riley up and agreed to a playdate at Captain Kid's.  I dashed home to shower before said playdate, because my Happy Pits natural deodorant is clearly not designed for 18 hour protection.  Broke a plate.  Not in the shower.  Ran out of shampoo.  Used husband's shampoo, making me smell like a man.

Cleaned up rabbit diarrhea.

Cleaned up Amarys pee.

Go to throw crock pot ingredients into crock pot for dinner, and realize I forgot to thaw the meat.  You can put frozen meat in a crock pot but it takes longer to cook, which will put dinner at precisely 10 pm.  Gave up on dinner.  Resolved to solve that problem later.

Rushed to playdate.

Drove to school to pick up older boys, arrive early.  YES!  Score spot in drive thru driveway RIGHT by Matthew's classroom door.  Turn off van but turn on radio.

Get chastised by Matthew's teacher for not returning his interim report card, which I've never seen.  Matthew loses important shit like it's going out of style.

Realize I'm 2 days late turning in their photo order forms (can I just say how much I detest school photos?  The photos suck and they're fucking expensive).  Grrr.

Gather children, backpacks, snacks, permission slips, homework, ukelele, load in the van, go to leave and... clickclickclickclickclick.  Oh MY GOSH.  My van has broken down in the driveway of the school, with four hungry children in it.  We live 1.6 kilometers from our school and I have no stroller and there's no way Amarys is walking that far.  Besides, the van can't STAY HERE.

This happened in July when we went camping, remember?  So I figure, all I need is a jump.  I go ask at the office if anyone has jumper cables and the principal gets on the PA and announces my need for jumper cables to the whole. Damn. School.  I was so embarrassed.

Anyways, no one had jumper cables so I dug around in the trunk and realized I had some.  The first person to volunteer as my charged battery didn't know how to pop the hood on her Jeep (pardon?) and after several minutes of hunting and getting the custodian searching for it, we gave up on her and moved on to Matthew's teacher's car.  She's about 18 years old (kidding, but this is her second year of teaching so she's not much older that Matthew, ha ha) so of course she has this cute little car.  It didn't WORK!  We tried so many times and different variations and all we got was clickclickclickclickclick.  Foobar.

Eventually we gave up.  She offered to loan me her car to get my hungry kids home, but it doesn't have enough seat belts of course.  In the end I split them up, older and younger, older and younger, and drove them home in her car in two shifts.  I figured Matthew could 'watch' Riley for ten minutes while I did the round trip for the other two (I was wrong.  I came home to an angry Riley and Matthew with a bump on his head from Riley's Wii remote.  Provoked, of course), and Ayden could definitely watch the now sleeping Amarys in the van in the school driveway while I did the round trip with the other two.  Presto.

So I got them home but I still had 2 problems: (a) my vehicle was still broken.  In the driveway of the school.  And (b) I now had the teacher's car at my house.

My mother in law works about 10 minutes from our house so I called her and she offered to come by after work and drive me to the school so we could return the teacher's car.  Fortunately Matthew's teacher was planning on working til about 5 pm so the timing worked well.  Then my mother in law offered to use her BCAA membership to fix/tow my van.  HUGE blessing, and very gracious.

In the meantime I had to find a ride for Ayden to the church for drama practice, and figure out HOW to get Matthew to soccer photos on the other side of Langley at 5:45.

Phone church children's director.  No answer.  Email my friend Rebecca, who is also involved in the Christmas drama and lives somewhere where we're on her way to church.  No answer.

Email Matthew's coach.  We might not make it.  Van broke down.  Husband at work.  Boo hoo.  Slightly hoping he might offer to pick Matthew up and drive him.  No answer.

Church pastor phones back, hears my story, phones Rebecca for me (I didn't have her phone number: in my defense she's a NEW friend, you don't always exchange phone numbers RIGHT OFF THE BAT), arranges a ride, and Rebecca phones me for directions.  My directions suck and she gets lost but still manages to find us.

Brent's mom arrives, drives behind me (in teacher's car) back to the school to drop off the car and call BCAA for my van.  She shoos me home to watch the kids and try and fix kids' activities problems.

Rebecca arrives.

BCAA comes to the school, cleans off the corroded connection on my van battery, jumps it, starts it, and drives away.  Brent's mom drives my van back to my house, it's 5:15 and I have to leave NOW if I have any hope of getting to soccer photos on time.  I've removed ALL the carseats from the van in case it needs towing and mechanical fixing for who-knows-how-long and they are scattered all over the front lawn.

Load carseats.  Load younger kids.  Help Matthew locate all the various soccer uniform parts, why oh why oh why, tie his cleats, load him in van, leave at 5:35.  Brent's mom follows us in case of breakdown.  I still have no idea what the hell I'm going to feed people for dinner.

Arrive at photo place at 5:50, a minor miraculous tesseract event in and of itself, knowing we probably missed photos by nanoseconds.  One of the other dads from our team waves us over (I found a parking spot VERY CLOSE!  And my mother in law ran over to watch the younger kids so I could just hop out with Matthew!), says "Run in now, they are JUST about to go in!!!"

Matthew's doing the typical we-are-in-a-hurry-so-suddenly-I-have-no-idea-how-to-move-quickly thing.  I push him gently from behind, he runs one and a half steps, then slugs again.  Cement feet.  I dig my finger in the muscle between his shoulder blades and hiss RUN!  Not my best parenting moment, but we DID squeak in there JUST as his team was walking from the staging area into the photo room =p

The van was still running, to recharge the battery.

The kids were still starving.

We had no food.

See, the thing about being house poor is that we save money by cooking from scratch.  A lot.  However, this makes preparing food take a bajillion years.  My fastest recipe takes half an hour.  (Spaghetti).  Fortunately, we finally got paid for some overtime Brent did in JUNE (don't get me started on that animal jam.  Bloody employers) so we had some actual money in our actual bank account, and I phoned Brent on my way home from soccer photos and asked him to order pizza and pick it up on his way home from work.

Voila, dinner.

The best part about this whole shebang?  I didn't get anxious once.  I just rolled with it.  Two things helped immensely with that: (a) we actually had money in the bank, so if it was anything under $200, we could afford a crisis.  And (b) so many people helped us!  Matthew's teacher, the principal, Brent's mom, my friend Rebecca, the church pastor, BCAA (it's their job, but still!), Brent's mom, Brent's mom, Brent's mom!!

If you gotta have a crisis, at least surround yourself with amazing people, right?!

SO.  From this I learned that I have mellowed.  Pretty cool.  ♥


nancy Smith said...

I would have cried, and screamed, deleted after school events, fed them popcorn for dinner, kept the teachers car, plugged kids into TV, crawled into bed and pulled the blankets over my head. You are amazing!

Louise Chapman said...

OH man, the stress!!!!! Don't know what I would've done but man, so much stress!!
PS Do you ever get pizzas from costco? You know, the ones with 4 in a box? Those are our `go to' dinners when we suddenly realize it's dinner time and we have nothing made:)

Tonya said...

I cannot help with all the stress, but I can offer a piece of info about deodorant! I use plain old coconut oil for my deodorant. It works better than the natural stuff I was buying before. I had a friend say you could use apple cider vinegar (wipe a bit on) and then put the coconut oil on after. I'm thinking the acv might smell, but maybe not.

Glad you survived that day from he** and even handled it VERY well! I don't know anyone who wouldn't have lost it at some point!!!

lori said...

Whew! I thought the end of my day had taken an unfortunate turn simply because Z is puking every 15 minutes, buuuut, nope. That is quite the lineup.

I agree that cooking from scratch is a pain in the keyster a lot of the time, much as I believe in it. I am working on a small arsenal of instant-ish meals that I can feel semi-ok about. Oh sure, I feel like a slug when I pile that kind of stufff into a cart at the box store in town (Walmart, yes. Cringe.) But it's that or drive myself even nuttier than I already am by nature. And my kids aren't even at the point of doing 1/8 of the things yours are! I don't know how you do it, for reals now.