I am feeling so uninspired and defeated tonight. I've just spent the last two hours sitting on my back-side, playing my chauffeur role and carting people to and fro.
I had a productive morning: I finally staked my overgrown tomato plants -- half of them at least -- which has been on my to do list for over a month. I was particularly happy about one of my staking solutions. The challenge in front of me was that I had roughly 15-20 plants to trim and stake, and I wanted to find a way to do this without shelling out $8 per tomato cage, which is what I've heard they generally go for. I don't have an extra $160 to spend on tomato cages, so I had to get creative. On most of them, I just used some rebar pieces we had laying around, tied with green gardening ribbon. But in my hunt around the yard for additional rebar, I spied the most delightful wrought iron gate, all unused in a corner, just waiting for a lovely purpose. Voila!
It's been a downhill slide since then.
Because while I was staking tomatoes, my kids were occupying themselves. That's good, right? Well, they occupied themselves by making ice cream. They found the instructions online, and away they went. (As a bonus, they also learned another great lesson about how the internet is a potential mine field: In their search for online ice cream-making instructions, the Google result right above the one they used was -- no lie -- How To Make Ice Cream In A Condom. On a positive note, it's nice that the world keeps surprising me.)
Anyway, while I was industriously staking tomatoes, they were spreading vanilla, milk, and sugar liberally across my kitchen. The sight of it brought me to my knees.
But there was no time to clean it up: I had to buzz through an estimate that was due to a client by 1:00, so right at lunch time, I had to prepare food for the natives and then hide upstairs with my computer. This time, they were banished to the outside.
I emerged from my computer screen, estimate complete, to discover the unholy mess they had made in our courtyard. Any time to clean it up? Nope! Gotta go pick up Puck.
From 2:30 on, I was in the car. Tack on a couple of errands, and I landed home at about 4:30, knowing that I had a sticky kitchen to un-stickify and a garden strewn far and wide with stuffed animals, dishes, blankets and general kid detritus. Tallulah, in her infinite wisdom, decided there wasn't enough on my plate, so she stuck a wad of gum in her sister's hair as they rode next to each other on the last row of the prison cell that is my minivan.
I am grumpy and irritated. My house is a complete disaster. My spouse is away until at least 8pm. I need to feed them and clean them. I need to de-gum one of them. I need to guide them through Clean Up Time or do it all myself in order to avoid the inevitable bitch-fest. I need to do everything without falling apart or screaming at my kids. I need to be Super Woman.
All I really want to do is go somewhere very, very quiet and listen to my own breathing. That might make me burst into tears, but at least I could get that out of the way and then listen to the quiet. I am again reminded of the Grinch, and his distaste for the noise, noise, NOISE, NOISE! I feel like that Grinch right now, like my heart (and this house) is two sizes two small. I feel like I'm going to open up a can of whoop-ass on the first person who says boo! in response to having to clean up.
I'm trying, Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd.
* * * (asterisks indicate the passage of time: 1 hour in this case.)
Well Diary, I discovered that a well-placed glass of wine is a beautiful thing. Well-placed is important, though. Too soon, and it wears off before you really need it, and you end up having another, and another, and weeping into the glass while your children eye you suspiciously. Too late, and it won't do you a damn bit of good. Its curative effects will arrive mere moments after you turn into Linda Blair at a young un's misdeed. But if you get the timing just right, somehow, someway, you will manage to shepherd the children through the clean-up process. They will bitch and moan, but the wine: the wine will keep you, the wine will guide you, the wine will show you the way.
My house is clean. (OK, just the common areas; the bedrooms are FEMA zones.) My children did indeed bitch and moan, but thanks to the wine, I stayed remarkably cheery throughout. My children are watching the Muppets Wizard of Oz. They still must be fed, but everything is quiet, and I'm on my second glass of wine.
Oh, well, I suppose it must be admitted that I did, earnestly, pray for the strength to get through the evening. I am the praying kind. I have faith that prayers are answered. Tonight, mine were, and I did what I thought, at 4:30, would be impossible: I was the shepherd that got us through. Sometimes, the answer to a prayer comes in the form of a bottle of wine.
Benjamin Franklin was right: Wine is the "constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy."
Actually, I think the full quote is far more beautiful than the pithy, oft-quoted abbreviated version:
We hear of the conversion of water into wine at the marriage in Cana as of a miracle. But this conversion is, through the goodness of God, made every day before our eyes. Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards; there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy. The miracle in question was only performed to hasten the operation, under circumstances of present necessity, which required it.found here, at Wikipedia
Ben. Dude. Tres insightful.
Oh my, Diary. It seems that wine makes me ramble a bit; at least, I think it's the wine and not the prayer.
In any case. Time to float down to the kitchen and rustle up some dinner. Thank you God, for answered prayers and for the fruit of the vine. And for wrought iron gates.
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