Friday, January 25, 2013


This week we had an electrician come out to fix some of our wiring. When we run too many things at once, we overload the circuit and the whole upstairs falls black. The smoke detector beeps. The dog trembles and hides at my feet, leaving me to trip and curse and jump up and down on the foot that didn't step on a Lego. I run downstairs, flip the breaker and reset the microwave and the oven and the clock radio. I almost always have dinner cooking, so I make a guess at how much time was left before our bread will be done baking and call it good enough.

I wish it were just our wiring being overloaded, but it's all of us too. This winter is getting to us. It's getting to me, especially, because I am what keeps everything running. I have help, of course, but I am the overseer. I am the bather and feeder and washer and schedule master. I'm always here holding down the fort. I usually do a pretty good job at what I do but this month has been rough.

Colin is into everything. All the time. Hardly a day goes by where he hasn't taken a bath in the dog's water bowl. He's learned not to do it when I'm watching. He knows to wait until I'm distracted. As soon as Oliver asks for my help, Colin makes a break for it. I don't usually find my mistake until it's too late and there are little wet hand prints all across the kitchen floor and the sliding glass door.

I can't eat anything in front of Colin without sharing.  When he discovers me hiding behind the half wall in the kitchen scarfing down my ham sandwich, he lurches at me groaning, "UNNGGHHHHHHH."

ALWAYS with that terrible noise. Always, "UNNNNGGGHHHHH."

Colin doesn't babble much. He's usually very quiet. So quiet, in fact, that Jared and I wonder if he hasn't been delayed in his speech because of his numerous ear infections.

But that noise? Oh that noise. It is terrible. That noise is like waking up at 3AM in sweat-drenched sheets. It's like the pins and needles in your foot when you've woken it from slumber. It's like getting a splinter in your eye.

I wish I could convey this horrible noise through type but I can't. Nothing could prepare you for a day full of that terrible noise. I'd rather wait 4 hours at the DMV. Match 6 laundry baskets full of slightly different but mostly similar socks. Steam and an entire house-worth of moldy wallpaper. Be on the receiving end of 3 simultaneous root canals.

That noise. Anything but that noise.

The only thing that makes that noise worse is that it's usually directed at me. I'm not fast enough with his food. I took away that steak knife he was chewing on. I don't have my boobs in his mouth. I shouldn't be putting him down for a nap. I shouldn't be paying attention to the phone. Why am I putting him into that car seat again? How come he has to wear that stupid hat when we leave the house. Most of all, how dare I eat anything in front of him without sharing.

If Colin and his terrible noise were my only problems, I think I could persevere. But that's not even it.

Oliver has been mastering the art of whining. We've been cracking down on his attitude and more time outs have been served than ever before.  We take away bedtime stories. We take away his favorite snacks. We take away TV. We take away toys that haven't been picked up.

I feel like I'm running a police state but he's starting learn to behave. He catches himself whining and he tries hard to stop it. He hasn't pushed Colin or yelled at Colin for maybe 10 days. He's been getting ready for bed without complaints for the last week.

All of this work is paying off but it is still completely tiring. I hate listening to him in time-out while he sobs that I don't love him, that he hates living here, that his entire life is ruined. He really says all of that. He is the most dramatic 3 year old ever in the existence of time, thanks to a few tricks he learned at preschool.

That's about the only thing I've been trying that has been working.

I signed up at the gym to escape the house and the kids. I went for my first meeting with my trainer and it was a disaster. Colin screamed the entire time I was gone. When I picked him up he was crying in the corner and hyperventilating, surrounded by other babies but not a single staff member to comfort him. The big kid childcare area was chaos. Oliver said he was pushed down multiple times by two different boys.  He said he had to wait to go potty so long his bladder "almost exploded." I was given a pager, but they didn't page me. Colin was so upset by the time I made it back there that it took me ten solid minutes to get him to calm down.

I can't accept that, so I'm canceling the membership.

I misjudged the days of the week and forgot to bring Oliver to preschool on Tuesday. On Thursday I remembered to bring him, but I forgot that it was his day to bring his teddy bear and he was pretty disappointed.

I tried to take the kids out to run errands, but Colin was crabby. Oliver threw a tantrum on the way out when I told him he had to put on his mittens. At that point I was already so angry that I yelled at him right there in Target. I told him to walk to the car without his mittens and let his hands freeze. It was bitterly cold, well below zero. I felt horrible dragging him through the cold to the car with his hands exposed and tears freezing onto his cheeks. I apologized to him in the car but I still felt like I hurt him.

Jared & I had tickets to a show last weekend but we didn't go because I was too angry at everything in my bathroom not going right. I bought a new towel rack to replace my old one, and I asked the man for a 24" long one so I could cover up my old holes. 24" was a standard size, so I picked the one I liked and started putting it up. After I had already put in the drywall anchor for one side, I looked more closely at the box. In huge print it read, "24 in. Towel Bar" but on the bottom of the box it read in tiny little letters, "Actual measurement 25 inches." Nothing about the bar was 2 feet long. Not the brackets. Not the length of the bar. Not the inside measurement of the bar. Nothing. Why do they call it a 24 inch towel bar!?

Parts to the light fixture I ordered were missing and the customer service rep was annoying. One of the new "never-change" light bulbs already burnt out. I accidentally messed up my fresh caulk lines and had to tear them out and re-do them. One of the new light switches I bought was defective so I had to return it. Home Depot screwed up my paint order so I had to repaint one wall several times.

None of those thing are really so bad and I probably wouldn't have minded but I'm just so tired that it was more than I could take. I couldn't imagine going out to dinner so I stayed home and worked to fix all of my problems. I still can't decide if that was a good idea or a bad idea.

Also, in general, because I've complained so much I might as well not stop here:

  • My car has flat tires and so I'm stuck at home.
  • My car doesn't like to start in the cold and so I'm stuck at home.
  • It is super super cold and so I'm stuck at home.
  • Colin hates going into his car seat and putting on his hat and mittens and so I'm stuck at home.
  • Colin and Oliver have been waking up in the middle of the night all week long.
  • The dog is terrified of the wind and has been under my feet all the time.
  • Oliver's preschool options for next year cost approximately $1mil.
  • I fell down the stairs because there was a Clifford sticker stuck on the bottom of my sock.
I really wish it were just our circuits that were overloaded. If I only I could get the electrician to fix me, too. I'd gladly pay the $200.

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