Five-thirty, Tuesday evening. I’ve survived rush hour and pulled the car into the garage. Grabbing my tote bag and purse, I walk through the door into the house. I manage to kick one shoe off and my jacket has barely left one shoulder. The purse has yet to hit the floor.
“Hi Mommy! What’s for dinner? I’m starving!” The voice of my darling daughter asks me the last question I want to be asked after ten hours, sitting on my *ss at a desk.
A quick assessment of the home situation and it’s clear that both televisions are on. Two teenagers are lounging in the living room. One husband is lounging in the family room. And no preparations for dinner have begun.
(Okay, technically…. they were not just lounging. Well… they were lounging, but they were also folding laundry. In front of the televisions. You know how that goes. So, in all fairness, they weren’t just lounging. But I wasn’t feeling fair at the time.)
The “what’s for dinner” question rang in my ears. The little voice in my head was saying, “Are ya kiddin’ me? Three people at home and not a one of them could have at least gotten something started?”
The voice I allowed to leave my mouth said, “I guess we could have grilled ham and cheese sandwiches.” “Again.”
Spying the loaf of Texas Toast style bread on the counter, Kacey’s eyebrows shot up and she asked, “Can we have French Toast?”
“Sure. That sounds good,” I replied. “Why don’t you get the pan out, and the eggs and stuff, and a bowl to mix it in…”
“Orrrrr,” she teased, “YOU could get the stuff out because I’ve been working SO hard folding all those socks.”
“ORRRR,” I shot back, “YOU could do it because I’ve been at WORK for ten hours and just walked in the door and would like to take three seconds for a potty break.” “And everyone KNOWS how much I love coming home from work and heading straight to the kitchen to cook after a long day!”
“Okay, okay,” she laughed. I’ll get the stuff out.”
SO… I head for my bathroom… (Side note: I ALWAYS need a potty break when I come home from work. And everyone in my family is well aware of this fact.) So I head for my bathroom, and my darling husband decides to be cute and block my path, spreading his arms across the hallway so I can’t get through and insists on teasing. “Where ya headed? Did you have to use the bathroom?”
“YES,” I asserted, trying to worm my way around him and make it clear I was not going to play along today. He wasn’t getting it.
“WHY? Why are you in such a hurry? Is it because you won’t use the rest room at work?”
Ducking under his arm, and slipping into my bathroom, I shot back, “Not if I can help it!” “The four o’clock pooper prevents me from using the ladies room in the later hours of the day.”
Five minutes later, feeling a bit relieved (ha-ha-ha) I head for the kitchen where it’s clear that Kacey has a full grasp of my not-so-playful mood. All of the necessary items have been arranged on the counter and stove for the French Toast preparations. I crack some eggs, and open a drawer to grab a fork with which to stir them up and find… NO forks. With a sigh, I slide over to the dishwasher, and pulling it open, find it bursting at the seams with clean dishes and silverware. Since none of us were around Monday evening, I knew this was the load of dishes that had been run Sunday night. This time, the sarcasm wasn’t contained to only the voice inside my head.
“Are ya kiddin’ me,” I asked of no one in particular? Jake had been home during the day on Monday. He worked Monday night but was home again all day Tuesday and I was exasperated. “Do you mean to tell me that in the past 48 hours, not a single person in this house could put the clean dishes away? Kacey, please unload the dishwasher for me.”
“Can I do half and Jake do the other half,” she asked?
“Fine. I don’t care. Just get it done.”
So Kacey unloaded the top rack, which was quite full of cups, glasses and bowls. The bottom rack only had a few very large bowls and a couple plates. The silverware basket was full.
“Jake,” she called over to him, “you get the rest.”
Coming over and spying all that clean silverware, he turned to Kacey and sneered, “YOU do the silverware. I’m not doing the bottom rack AND all that stuff!”
And then the bickering began… With all the resolve I could muster, I bit my tongue and tried to ignore them.
“I’m not doing it, YOU do it! There’s hardly anything on the bottom rack anyway!”
“YOU do it! I folded way more laundry than you!”
“JAY-AKE! Just do it!”
“NO! Do you know how often I unload the WHOLE dishwasher all by myself???”
The thread of patience I’d been hanging on to snapped.
“Jake! Just do it!”
“MOM,” he began to argue, “she hardly did anything!”
“For god’s sake,” I shot back. “Just go. I’ll do it myself. It’s not like I just walked in the door, or worked all day long or am trying to cook dinner or anything…”
In a huff, Jake sulked off to the family room. I finished unloading the dishwasher then returned to the stove to fry the french toast. Watching the first pieces sizzle in the pan, I crossed my arms over my chest. Lips pursed, I sat there stewing. I soon became aware of Mark cautiously approaching from behind.
“Why is Jake mad,” he asked?
“Why are you pouting?”
“Oh, maybe because I’m trying to cook dinner and he can’t even unload HALF of the dishwasher. So I can cook dinner! When I just got home! And I have to cook dinner because no one else did!”
(Are you getting the idea I was a little unhappy about having to cook dinner? Especially when the kids have recently proven they are very capable?)
“You’re both being kind of petty, don’t you think,” he suggested?
“Yeah. That’s helpful.”
Oh good. At least the inside-my-head voice was back.
“I dunno,” I shrugged, pouting.
He knew better than to push. When I’m in the mood to pout, just ride it out. And let me just tell you, when I start pouting, look out! Let the martyrdom begin!
“Come and eat before this starts getting cold,” I told Mark.
“Hey, why don’t I finish cooking and you can sit down and eat,” he suggested.
“Nope,” I said. “Kacey, come and eat.”
“Want me to finish cooking so you can eat,” she asked?
Oh, I was layin’ it on thick! Defeated, the two of them took their plates to the table.
“JAKE,” I yelled down the stairs.
“What,” he asked flatly?
“Are you eating or what?”
“Nope,” he replied in that same flat voice. (Like mother, like son.)
When I finally joined Mark and Kacey at the table, Mark tried again to smooth things over.
Without looking up, I mumbled, “Nothing.” (Stock pouty answer. Ain’t nothin’ or nobody getting through the wall of poutiness.)
“Are you really going to let this stupid little incident ruin your whole night?”
“Maybe.” “I dunno.”
“Can’t you let it go?”
“Sure thing, Dr. Phil.” “Yeah, I guess.”
My words agreed with him. My body language did not. Defeated, he let it go and later, I went to the gym and took out my frustrations on the treadmill. (I forgot to warm up and cool down so my muscles could get a good stretch. Anyone wanna give me a calf massage?)
Early, early this morning, as I was putting on my face and hair for work today, (and feeling in a much more pleasant mood, I might add,) I heard the most pitiful howling coming from the living room. Clearly, my Holly-cat was experiencing some discomfort or frustration. Maybe her buddy, Tigger had neglected to replace the roll of toilet paper in the litter box? I don’t know. The howling continued and I was afraid she was going to wake the kids. I tiptoed into the living room and as soon as she heard me coming, the howling stopped. I knelt down beside her, asking, “Whatsa matter, baby? Does your tummy hurt?”
I reached out to pet her, but she shot me a glare and with a snippy little “Meowr!” she shot off to her hiding place behind the chair.
“Geeze,” I thought. “Someone is feeling a little surly today!”
She reminds me of someone… but I can’t quite put my finger on it.
p.s. Dinner was in the crock pot as of 6:00 a.m. this morning and I’ll be calling home later with any chores I want the kids to complete before I get home.