Tag: chaos

Vlogtober Mini 3

Vlogtober Mini 3

So. Much. Chaos!

For tons of paper love, go straigtaway to Productive Luddite.

Vlogtober Mini 2

Vlogtober Mini 2

The kids have the day off of school, and it’s a Friday, which will have my internal calendar off by a day until at least next Wednesday (which is actually an improvement over last month, the bulk of which I spent thinking it was this month).

Applause Before 8 A.M.

Applause Before 8 A.M.

In order to tell you what I really want to tell you, I have to give you a little insight into what a Frat House Morning looks like on a school day.

In a nutshell, I get six kids to four different schools every school day, with a toddler in tow. While I only drive two of them to two different schools, I do make sure everyone is awake, fed, and presentable before they leave for the bus stop or the Frat Cab, whichever is their mode of transportation to school.

Every single school morning, at 7:30, I drive Jack to his elementary school, which is about six blocks from our house. I realize we could walk, but, if we did, I wouldn’t be back home in time to drive the next Frat Boy to his school, so we drive.

Every single morning, Jack gets out of the van, I watch him walk into the school, and I pull away to circumnavigate the other half of the rectangle of roads that will take me back home.

And every single morning, the same dad rides my bumper for three blocks until I make my left turn.

(OK, it isn’t every morning. That is to say, he isn’t necessarily riding my back bumper every morning, but he’s always tailing someone within my view way too closely. We’re all there at the same time driving the same cars in the same direction, every school morning, so he’s hard to miss.)

Bear in mind, every road within a 100-mile radius of my home is an Ice Rink of Death right now and has been for months. We all need to be careful, especially when there are kids approaching from every direction, on foot, trying to get to school.

This morning, I had to wait for oncoming traffic before I could make my left turn and escape the chaos that is The Morning Drop-Off. Bumper Boy (yes, he’s been so annoying for so long that he has earned a nickname) had been on me for his usual three blocks, following so closely that I couldn’t even see his headlights in my rear-view mirror. I had actually watched the front end of his SUV dip three times when he rode up so closely that he had to slam on his breaks to avoid hitting me (quickly followed by immediately riding right up my back bumper again. Can you say, “unteachable?”).

Then something amazing happened.

Something astonishing.

In the words of a mom who saw it and texted me afterwards, “That was beautiful!”

Right in the middle of the stand-still traffic, I put the Frat Cab into park and got out.

Bumber Boy and I were going to have a chat. I had had Enough.

I didn’t have far to walk as he was, as usual, right on my rear bumper. And none of the traffic was moving anyway. As I approached his window, he cracked it a bit.

Mustering all of the patience that a mother of seven could possibly contain, I calmly, firmly, as-nicely-as-can-be-done-through-gritted-teeth said,

“You’re following way too closely. You do it here, in front of a school, to everyoneevery morning. Stop. It.”

I turned around, walked back to The Frat Cab, continued to wait for the traffic to move so I could make my left turn, and finally made my exit.

Bumper Boy didn’t move until I was gone.

As I made that left turn, the kind woman who left a gap so I could go (a mom whose son goes to school with mine) put her window down and applauded.

The man in the car behind her did the same.

Before I got home, I had three texts from parents and two from teachers, all of whom were in that tangle of traffic with me, and all of whom have dealt with this man’s apparent lack of depth perception since August when the school year began.

I wonder what the morning drop-off will be like tomorrow.

 

The Weirdness That Is Marriage

The Weirdness That Is Marriage

Marriage is strange.

When I was a kid, I always watched my parents. My dad has always teased my mom nearly-mercilessly; not in a negative way, but out of love. And I watched it make my mom crazy. Due solely to it’s repeated occurrence to this very day, the phrase, “Oh, Michael,” coupled with a sigh, a head shake, and sometimes an eye roll for good measure, makes me feel like I’m eight years old again.

I swore I would never marry someone like my dad.

I love my dad, so incredibly much, but I didn’t want to choose to spend my life with someone who would incite so much sighing. Or head-shaking.

Fast-forward all these years, and here I am, married to a man named Michael whose greatest joy in life is to push my buttons as often and as thoroughly as possible.

Marriage is weird.

My dad accepted a great promotion at work when I was in junior high. He began traveling Europe for his job, with a crazy Dutchman named Frans who, with his public antics, made my dad seem meek.

I watched my mom’s eyes fill with tears every time we put my dad on a bus to O’Hare, and I watched those tears spill over when we picked him up again.

Suddenly, it was just the three of us – my mom, my brother, and myself – at home, for sometimes up to two weeks at a time. It was so *Quiet*. No one yelled, “Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate,” when mom asked if they wanted anything from the store. No one watched really old Westerns just to belly-laugh at the horrible stunts. I mistakenly thought, in my clueless middle-school mind, that these work trips would give my mom a break; who wouldn’t *want* a break from someone who prepped the kids to sing “The Old Grey Mare” as you came down the stairs on the morning of your birthday, every single year?

But, marriage is odd.

She wasn’t really whole when he was gone. I mean, if his traveling caused issues between them, they never wore those feelings out in the open where I could see them. But I know she was more herself when he was home.

Today, I find myself at the end of what has been an extremely busy month for my husband. January was extremely hockey-heavy.

I support him with all I have. I am incredibly grateful that he has a job he loves, and I adore the people with whom he works. (Seriously, if you want to meet the nicest guys on the planet, hang out with a hockey team for an evening.) I also struggle with envy when, once again, he’s off to some new place and I’m here with seven kids, struggling to carve out a sliver of time just to work, let alone feel like a human being.

Sometimes he’s been gone so much, and I’ve felt so overwhelmed, that it almost feels odd to have him home. I am desperately afraid of that feeling.

My grandparents divorced before I was born, for that very reason. My grandfather travelled a lot for work. Not long after I turned 30, I asked my grandmother what had happened, why they had gotten divorced.

“He was gone so much that it didn’t feel right when he was home anymore.”

That has stuck with me ever since.

When things get strange here, I think back to my parents. I never felt things get strange or distant between them, but they must have. Then I remember the times when my dad sat on the living room floor with his legs stretched under the coffee table that was littered with work while my mom puttered around in the kitchen, doing her own thing, or went off to ceramics class. It must’ve been in some of those times, when they were together but apart, that their marriage felt odd.

Like borrowing someone’s coat who is three sizes bigger than you are — it keeps you warm, and you’re grateful for it, and you love them for sharing it with you, but it still doesn’t feel quite right.

We’ve adjusted, thankfully. It sometimes takes us a few hours, but we’ve both learned that there are things we both need when we’ve been apart. As contrary as it may seem, I need to be left alone for a bit. I need to catch up on work without wrangling a toddler or answering to The Mom Chorus. Mike needs to take my place in those things because it reasserts his feelings as a Dad.

And then we need to do something ridiculously fun together.

We dance in the driveway.

We eat cupcakes.

We laugh at our kids.

And we push each other’s buttons, mercilessly. Out of love.

8 Things You May Not Know About Living With 7 Boys And A Man

8 Things You May Not Know About Living With 7 Boys And A Man

1. They take their socks off and leave them right where they removed them (usually the middle of the living room), or, worse yet, shove them in between the couch cushions.

2. They can make an entire room reek in less than two minutes of occupying said room. And you immediately hope the stench is coming from their de-socked extremities and not elsewhere.

3. They could each star in an episode of Hoarders based on the amounts of dishes in their bedrooms alone. I have, on more than one occasion, wandered from room to room filling a clothes basket with dirty dishes.

4. Regardless of whether they’re 42-years-old or 1, you can track their whereabouts by following the trail of Stuff they leave in their wake with very little forensics training.

5. They have no concept of clutter or filth whatsoever except for apparently feeling that there’s never enough of either one and they must always make more.

6. Prodigious towel use after showering still results in a wet boy upon exiting the bathroom (and a floor covered in wet towels).

7. Filling the refrigerator with food and drinks is an exercise in self-flagellation. It will be empty in an hour.

8. They will break your heart with their wit and their minds and their love.

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