And so it begins….

Today was what some people might call a ‘truly terrific’ day.

It began with a thick-ish layer of snow. Not entirely unexpected, mind you. Weather forecasts had predicted as much. And it is the middle of November. ‘Conditions were perfect’, some* might say. But I had secretly held out hope that winter would just ‘skip’ Calgary this year. We’d come so close….and then.

It’s not that I don’t like snow. It’s that I don’t like having three children when it snows. Suddenly, it takes fifteen minutes longer to get everyone out the door thanks to all the winter gear and the scraping and shoveling of cars and sidewalks. Finding mittens, hats and snowboots in three different sizes at the start of the day and ending the day with all of the items accounted for, is a near-miracle. Today was the first day of snow and we nearly-lost two pairs of mittens.

I tried to be organized this year. I put the ‘older’ boys’ mittens and hats in one (clear, plastic) bucket. And the baby’s hats and mittens in another. It seemed like a foolproof system, and yet I found the professor squatting by the door with an impatient six year old beside him, frantically scouring…..the baby bucket for a hat and gloves that might fit our largest boy-child.

‘You’re looking at the baby stuff,’ I growled when I saw the disarray.

The Gort and I exchanged words this morning because he wanted to go play in the snow before he left for school. I didn’t think it was wise (you’d get wet, I argued) and he thought I was the meanest mom on the planet. ‘I’ll let you play outside after school’, I promised.

Soon after the professor drove our oldest to school, I started making coffee. We use a cone filter contraption instead of a coffee maker. Because it’s faster and easier to clean and I like to think the coffee tastes better. Unless you knock the cone filter contraption off its top-of-the-mug perch. In which case….you make an enormous mess that takes hours (minutes) to clean. Several minutes.

The upstairs of our abode resembled a sea of laundry – dirty and clean. Every single bedroom was a disaster, so I went to work. Underneath one pile of (clean, folded) laundry, I found a little suitcase. The suitcase the professor had used when he flew to New Orleans. A week and a half ago.

I placed the empty suitcase in front of the shower door, figuring he’d have no choice but to deal with it when he stepped out of the shower. Well, he dealt with it, alright. He pushed it against the bathroom wall…and went about the rest of his morning.

Many minutes later I saw the suitcase. ‘Raymond!’ I called from the top of the stairs. He ignored me, knowing all too well why I was calling for him. I went downstairs and found him in the kitchen….laughing.

‘You haven’t cleaned the stove,’ he rebutted. True, the stove had been dirty for about an hour. And the suitcase had been living in our hallway for nine days. It was a fair point. So, I cleaned the stove. And he put away the suitcase. (Or did he?)

I went back upstairs to clean the bathroom. There was a balled up (dirty!) diaper…lying in the toilet. ‘Henners!’ I yelled for my middle child. But as soon as I said his name, I knew I’d called the wrong boy-child. The culprit could only be……the baby, whose newfound ambition in life is to put anything and everything in the toilet.

Subsequently, an inordinate chunk of my day is now devoted to making sure the toilet lids are always down; that nothing throw-able is lying around in the bathroom; and the baby doesn’t get any ‘alone-time’ in the bathrooms. Last week I had to fish a bath toy out of the toilet. This week, a diaper.

When we arrived home from school today, the Gort begged me to let him go outside. Actually, he begged me to take him sledding. But the thought of taking three boys and a sled to a park, was decidedly unappealing. So I said ‘no’, again. But I did let them go outside. After I helped the Hen put on his snow pants. And his jacket. And his mittens. And his hat. And his socks. And his snowboots.

And then the baby stood by the door, crying. So I contorted his limbs into the arms and legs of a snowsuit. I stuffed his feet into snowboots. And we went outside to join his brothers.

‘Mom, I need to pee!’ the Hen yelled as soon as he saw me. It was more than I could bear, really: the thought of having to take off the hat, and the mittens, and the jacket, and the snow pants, and the snowboots after two minutes of being outside.

Luckily the Gort decided he’d had enough. So we all went inside for hot chocolate. And toast. And cereal. And cookies.

It was nearing the dinner hour and the Gort was trying to do his ‘best work’ in a little notebook. He was writing down the numbers 1-50. Consecutively. And the Hen, who was likely bored and in need of a playmate, was bothering him. ‘Here, you want a silly band,’ the Gort finally bartered, ‘but then you need to leave me alone, for like a couple of hours.’

The words ‘cabin fever’ spring to mind.

*credit to Flight of the Conchords

5 thoughts on “And so it begins….

  1. Ditto to above comment. That is my favorite Raymond episode ever – and we have recreated it in our house on more than one occasion. Ha.

  2. I don’t think I’ve ever watched a full episode of Raymond, but I *have* seen the suitcase part. That plus the episode of Mad About You where Jamie dramatically shows Paul how to put the toilet paper ON the roller pretty much sum it all up. And re. the weather and impending cabin fever, you guys really need to cultivate rich friends with a winter home somewhere warm and sunny.

  3. Try adding a little girl who doesn’t like her bulky wonter clothes and another 3 year old to replace the baby. Fun times!!

  4. Thanks L&R! I agree, Vicky, that ‘the suitcase’ and ‘the toilet paper roll’ sum up the marriage relationship! The Flight of the Conchords reference was for you. I’ll keep looking for that rich friend…


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