Friday, September 08, 2006

a series of short, sharp shocks

So, the children went back to school on Thursday (first grade for Iris, second year of part-time preschool for Lola). What a weird first day of school, the first Thursday after Labor Day.

No more lounging about in our underwear until afternoon, which is exactly what Miss Iris had been doing since she got out of circus camp. No more spending the entire day in pajamas and refusing to do anything involving putting on clothes, which has been the gambit of Miss Lola. And no more limited driving and instead reading of novels and spending time with kittens (the Drunken Housewife). Instead, it's back to a life of discipline.

The schedule of the children is now a thing of steel, a thing of many parts. I must remain focused and attentive. Up at the frigging crack of dawn; Iris forced into uniform and hair brushed. Breakfast fed to the Iris. Lunch packed for the Iris. The Iris packed off to school, driven (1 hr round-trip) by either me or the husband (our carpool from last year is sadly missed, and on my Things To Do List "Create A Carpool" is key).

Meanwhile, Lola's up and needing chocolate milk, breakfast, and attention. Pack Lola's stuff for school. Take Lola to school (one morning a week: speech therapy first; another morning, gymnastics first). This involves walking in a third of a mile into the forest, where her school is. I can do the walk very briskly myself, but with Lola, it means a thousand and one stops. So long as it isn't raining, this is one of the high points of the day, relaxing with Lola outdoors.

Drive from Lola's school to Iris's school. Kill time (I usually read in the car). Get Iris. Drive back to Lola's school. Frogmarch sulking Iris into the canyon to meet Lola (Iris always argues that we shouldn't get Lola; someone is bound to feel sorry for her and take her home with them). Chat with other parents. Walk children (often squabbling already) back out. Home again. Once a week, Iris has swimming, and once a week, soccer (yes, I am a Drunken Soccer Mom).

By then, I'm exhausted, and I haven't had any real time to myself or time to accomplish anything much. The children are likewise tired, hungry, and crabby, ready to insist on their glasses of chocolate milk and their early dinner, before they get a new, huge wave of energy when their beloved father drags in.

Today was the worst. I had scheduled the stupid cat for a morning vet appointment, betting that if I were organized and hard-driving, I'd be able to pack Lola's lunch for preschool, take the cat to the vet with Lola, drive home and drop the cat off (as Lola observed, "We have a rule at my school: no real animals allowed!"), then get to preschool roughly on time. I nagged Lola to get her dressed, and I managed to (in a rare feat of parenting prowess) cheer her up from her crying over being hustled into clothes and down the stairs while putting on her shoes quickly. I rammed the cat into his carrier, and we stepped out... to discover that my car was missing. I looked around for it, assuming the husband had moved it, but then I noticed his car (which, for a series of reasons best left for another day, I can't drive). "Motherfucker!" I exclaimed. The cat yowled. Lola danced about. The husband had taken my car. I called the vet, feeling loserish, and rescheduled the vet appointment for 6:00 pm, meaning I'd have to drive in heavy traffic and take both children along.

The husband came home with my car and was instantly cranky, complaining of being late for a work phone call. Then he had an emergency and had to tear out crabbily. He'd already gotten a traffic ticket (while out with my car!). A series of cranky events continued to unfold. I got a phone call from someone nagging me about my job for the parent co-operative preschool. Frowstomatic the God bit Lola.

In the evening, Vet #2 also advocated for shelling out over a thousand dollars to have all the cat's teeth pulled. Meanwhile, Anton has taken the position that since the cat is likely to get run over anyway, there's no way we're spending that kind of money on any cat-related purpose, and we'll have the teeth pulled over his dead body. (Sidenote: this particular cat does not go anywhere near the road or traffic of any sort; he rarely joins us in the backyard and never attempts to sneak out the front door).

I'm telling you, this is not the life I signed up for. I've been to Borneo, for chrissakes. I'm supposed to be having adventures, as well as leading a life of the mind. At least during the summer vacation, Iris, Lola and I seemed poised at the brink of all sorts of miraculous fun.


Anonymous said...

I can dig it!

Freewheel said...

I feel your pain, but at the same time this post is hilarious.

p.s. - reading your blog is much better than watching an ABC docu-drama that makes Bush out to be a hero.