I woke up yesterday, the first day back to school after one of those seemingly ubiquitous 4-day weekends. It was later than usual, courtesy of the boys’ (and my) increasingly later bedtimes. The kitchen counter was strewn with the previous night’s dishes that hadn’t made it into the dishwasher.
Upon closer inspection – with 20 minutes before the boys needed to walk to school – I realized that, aside from sandwiches and apples, I didn’t really have anything to put in their lunchboxes. Even now, a mere day later, I’m not sure what else I sent to comprise the Gort’s requisite ‘five items‘ lunch. Meaning, he must have 5 things in his lunch. A demand that inevitably causes the professor and I to grumble about ‘when we were kids……’
Because I’m pretty sure I had a sandwich, an apple and maybe a cookie every day from age 12-17.
With just 2 minutes to spare before the 8:15 bell would ring, I managed to get the boys out the door. With the Hen casually mentioning that he couldn’t find his rain jacket anywhere; the same jacket he’d lost (and I’d found) in April. Having something of an OCD-compulsion to keep things together, I kind of lose my mind when the boys lose their stuff.
A few minutes after they’d left, my phone made a noise. The ‘you have an event on your calendar’ noise. Except I couldn’t recall having any events on my calendar. Having spent an inordinate amount of time in front of the computer over the weekend, in a [fruitless] attempt to finish up a research project, I’d looked at my calendar a time or 5.
‘Volunteer in the Hen’s class’ my phone
surprised reminded me, ‘at 8:30am‘.
I was wearing a pair of unfortunate grey yoga-ish pants, looking like I had neither showered nor slept in days. I had not ingested anything edible, nor had I had coffee. And it was 8:20. I thought about not showing up. Maybe the teacher had forgotten I was coming, maybe she didn’t have anything for me to do, I ruminated.
‘Ugh, it will only be an hour,’ I convinced my weary, hungry self.
Thus, having guilted myself into showing up, I remembered my ‘rules’ around dressing when trying to look well-rested. I donned a striped t-shirt; pairing it with a some ill-fitting jeans, a bright orange cardigan and a necklace.
Because no one looks at your face when your sweater is a shade shy of neon.
I ingested 6 almonds, swallowed some coffee and walked into the Grade 1 classroom (having done a quick search for the Hen’s missing jacket in the lost and found.) ‘Oh, good!’ the teacher exclaimed when she saw me, clearly expecting me. ‘Do you have anything for me to do?’ I asked. ‘Yes!’ she sighed, as if to say ‘I have so much for you to do, you won’t possibly get it all done even if you stay the whole day.’
And for the next three hours, I cut tissue paper into little squares, and assisted a dozen six year olds with glueing said squares onto cardboard tubes (rainmakers, for next week’s assembly).
With stiff, scaly fingers and glue-covered jeans, I returned to my domicile just before noon, with a cranky six year old joining me for lunch . ‘Let’s go to the bakery,’ I tried to cheer him, and my stomach, up. We drove to the bakery, picked up some cinnamon rolls, and made it back to school before the end-of-lunch bell rang.
Having volunteered and ingested a cinnamon roll, I sat down at my computer to [try and] finish the aforementioned research project. I worked for a while, until I became overwhelmed from trying to turn others’ ramblings into something coherent. I was still hungry, but I didn’t want to ‘waste’ precious time making food before the older boys came home, so I ate a spoonful of coconut gelato. And another spoonful. And five more after that.
The Gort and the Hen returned from school just before 3. I remembered about the Hen’s missing jacket and, on a hunch, checked his closet. There, stuffed into the bottom of a bucket, underneath piles of ‘put away’ clothes and blankets, I found the missing coat.
There may have been a tiny rant about boys who stuff their belongings in their closet while pretending they cleaned up their room.
A short while later, the Gort was rummaging through the fridge, looking for a snack. In his haste, he pulled out a shelf instead of a drawer and out tumbled a colander of freshly cooked chickpeas. All over the floor.
There may have been a tiny rant about that, too.
A short while after that, having spent the better part of 4 hours trying to finish my incoherent research project (aka unearthing a missing coat, cleaning up chickpeas and explaining to the professor how to make a barbeque chicken pizza), it was time for what we like to call ‘Terrible Tuesday’s double portion of soccer. A U10 practice for the Gort and a U8 game coached by the professor for the Hen.
As they were leaving, a ‘quiet’ Percy-only hour within my sticky-fingered grasp, I asked the innocuous question: ‘we’re not supposed to bring snack tonight, are we?’
Because the professor gets all the team-related emails.
‘I don’t think so,’ he guessed, ‘but I suppose I should check’, and scanned his gmail inbox.
Sure enough: ‘May 20: Henno Johnson’. Our Henno Johnson.
Just like that, my one-child, get-it-done hour, turned into a mad dash to Safeway followed by sitting in my minivan on the side of the street, cutting oranges and bananas on my lap, before racing to the field for the scheduled snack time. As I stepped from the curb over the single steel-wire fence, with a big bowl of fruit in my hand, my foot caught on the wire and twisted in an unfortunate manner.
There may have been a tiny rant about that, too.
Just after 9pm, a whopping 8 hours after I first began, I submitted my research notes; having emptied an entire pint of coconut gelato.
Wednesday would have to be better.