Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My House Has Me By the Balls

I'm pretty good at looking competant at a lot of things. Mothering, cooking, animal husbandry. (wifery?) But with the house, forget it, it all leaks out, I cannot hide the fakery, it all comes sloshing around the corners as I run to try and pose, and block the landslide. All day, I could spend all day trying to organize as my three little destroyers unhinge all I have done with a simple bathing suit thrown on the floor or a spill of macaroni or a broken tooth or some other wild act where some limb waits to be broken.

I am always in the middle of something, usually involving my hands and a great deal of worry about all the other things I'm NOT getting to while my hands are busy doing this one VERY dumb task. I need multiple heads to manage all the worry - in fact, good idea, I should look into that on Craigslist, my true husband. If I had more heads, I could feel bad in more minds than just one, and that would feel pretty good, at least the space would be useful. Set up some lawn chairs and serve up the worry in a more relaxed fashion.

I snarl at the kids to help and basically let them know how they have FAILED me by not jumping up to help at each squawk I make so that now, deep in the summer (although it only feels like a few weeks) I have shown them how Mommy Cancels Fun because there's so much boring work to be done. I make them vacuum and mow the lawn and pull back the pool cover and feed the chickens and make their bed and fold the couch blankets and stop watching tv. I say things like Don't watch teenage shows because they're badly written and I don't want you to think buying shoes and wearing lipstick is what's Really Important.

I guess the house is always secondary, looming around us, a squalid shimmering mass of Undone, Unaccomplished, a gnarled, pointy finger shivering at me You Lose. I am adrift in this file-less ocean, an unalphabetized mess, piled underneath broken toys and lost library books. Someday I WILL climb to the top of the heap. I will build the bonfire and enjoy the burning of the stuff, I will be able to see the other side of my garage. Which I think is still there.

I am SORRY, house, that I've been so busy making quesadillas. Trust me, may I never see another corndog. It's that I have to manage things from the heart on down, so the building of the kids is more important than the wiping of your walls or the brooming of your sidewalk. My house will never be the palace of virtue that my prim grandmother's house was - it was always silent in her house, and undisturbed white like the inside of a starched leather shoe.

Our house is lived in like my (other, more relaxed) Arkansas Gramma Yvonne's hairstyle. She was tan and had big boobs and in her kitchen all the lemon drops stuck together in the glass jar from humidity. So you could take the whole glob of them out and just suck on the giant dome of lemondrops.

It was a beautiful world, there. I have, yes, successfully achieved the glob of lemondrops. In every corner of my house. She is chuckling in approval up there, in Heaven, jiggling her foot and flicking her ashes absently down on us. Those lemondrops taste pretty dern good, don't they? She's saying, taking a long drag.

Now go find some playing cards. (She had them stashed in every drawer of her house.) Like leprechaun gold.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Shock, Terror Mixed with Hooray

Lilly learned how to jump off the diving board today. In her blue bathing suit that matches Emma, that she got for 9 dollars at Target. With Lilly, baby #3, I am always IN the pool when she does something great, and I have no camera built into my hands cause I'm swimming, so I keep saying I better remember this because there is going to be no picture.

This summer, where she went down the slide for the first time and it was so fast, the look on her face, shock, terror mixed with hooray in a split second. Her nice fat little legs getting her in and out of the pool, running off the board, spinning, jumping, not afraid of the wind or the cold air as sunset approached, so happy to be doing something new that it required no less then 300 tries in a row. Aiming for 3000.

I said to my mom, hey, I remember when things were so exciting I had to try them all, and weather couldn't stop me. Nothing mattered except trying that new thing, cause joy was in that new thing. I had a pang like, oh no, I'm past that point in my life. My mom pointed out that you just learn to pace yourself - Lilly can get out, jump in, get out, jump in and then at the end be exhausted and wrapped in a towel and loved the rest of the night. But the mom has to take the joy in small bits, because she has to get the towel, make the late night snack, brush the teeth, put away the clothes, find the pajamas. It's all there, all the little acts of maintaining joy. When you grow up you learn to stretch out all your joy of new experiences so you can make it to the end of the day. You sort of store it all up and savor it slowly. So it's the same - but different.

So I watched Lilly jump, right there, floating in her waves. I get to see all the joy, the whole pool, while she masters the diving board. She's building her own whole pool with these bold acts of bravery. My joy gets to be watching her as she does it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Coyote Ugly

A coyote was jumping our fence and getting in the yard, eating his way through all our animals. I thought it was a possum (cause I hadn't SEEN him in the yard, I do know the difference between rodent and wild dog).

Anyway, after losing two bunnies and two chickens, I did finally see the coyote. Started building the fence up in a really redneck, haphazard way. He still got over and tried to go shopping again in the chicken yard. One of our chickens started hiding in the hen house, which I thought was fear related, but turned out she was just brooding (ready to set on the nest and wait for babies). But alas, us with no rooster. So I called our neighbor behind us who had a rooster, and told her about the hen and mentioned the coyote and my neighbor went into hyper drive saying oh we are going to set this coyote straight.

I hadn't wanted to figure out how to hot wire our fence, it all seemed too hard, the fencing, the wire, the hot - even she said "oh we'll get your husband out here and he'll figure out how to wire it to our hot wire.." and I'm thinking, Barry? Outside with an electrified wire? It didn't look likely. In fact, that's why I was so tired even THINKING about it because I kept having to substitute "Julie" with "husband." Barry's not the out riding fences type. It was going to have to be me. And Nathan, 10year old superhelper.

But this neighbor, it's rare you find a woman that you hope you turn out to be. She's got to be 70 years old. And she just hops up on her fence and is telling me how to put the wire here, and attach this thing there, she is not afraid of ladders or hard work or getting it done. Nathan just stood there in awe as she handed over a pellet gun which looked like a giant shotgun, still new in a box. She's against guns, she said, but she's more against coyotes.

She made hard work look like some sort of town hall dance - happy, facing the crushing waves head on. That's the kind of person Shakespeare wrote plays about - these dastardly people that dammit, have this great attitude. I'm just hoping that some of that wears off on me and doesn't get zinged away with every singed coyotes that comes to meet our fence. We did do the fence, excellently.

And putting up that fence in the hot sun was a big big drag. Because I had to supply popsicles to small people and get sunblock on and entertain - my life did not stop so I could put up the fence. My life continued on hectically right alongside my crushing need to put up a coyote ugly fence. That is the draggish part that sucks out my happy ability to face life like an agile 70 year old. Maybe it's something to look forward to. From down here in the foxhole. Deep. How I get time to do even ONE thing like write this blog - let alone build and wire a fence without electrocuting myself while simultaneaously making spaghetti and watching kids in the pool.

It's been two days. So far all chickens accounted for.