Wednesday, October 20, 2004

It's raining. This phenomenon is as exciting around here as a blizzard in New York City. The otherwise trickling creek beds are teaming with muddy whitewater after only 1 day. The soccer fields are marsh-like, all practices cancelled. Roads are slippery. Mud is sliding. The sky is spectacularly heavy with clouds in multiple tones of grey and purple. The ocean is silver. Simply spectacular.

Friday, October 15, 2004


I can't keep up with it. It's out of control, I tell you. Football, soccer, homecoming dances, packing, unpacking, signing papers, money in, money out, deadlines, audits, more deadlines, more audits. I used to imagine myself as a gerbil in a wheel. But now, that wheel is spinning way too fast for a gerbil to survive. I'd say I'm a 33 lp spinning at 78 rpm. (if that doesn't put me in the dark kids would have no idea what that means -- in fact, some of you probably don't know either!!)

We have this schedule that really leaves no room for error. We can not deviate. Never. As a result of this (of course), nothing seems to go according to plan. Take yesterday for example. My parents are in town and are trying to help out. If you ever tried to jump onto a spinning thing once its in motion you know you are taking your life into your hands. They are very brave that way -- it's that hardy New York stock they come from. (either that or all those years on the subway causes brain damage...we'll assume it's the former...)

So my hardy New York parents arrive like the Calvary, and my dad offers to take my son to school, leaving me and my mother to get my daughter to school. She's 10, and we figure with an extra 30 minutes and 2 adults to one child, this should be a piece of cake. Well, hello, when is anything ever a piece of cake around here? What were we thinking? For one fleeting moment, all was peaceful. There was serenity, a second cup of coffee, 10 whole minutes of down time. Suddenly a scream from the living room. My daughter discovered a maverick banana had escaped yesterday's lunch and hid at the bottom of her back pack. 35lbs of text book pressure later, the banana remains could be found in every crevice of every book, paper, writing utensil -- in fact, we discovered that one banana could really cover an awful lot of real estate in a relatively short amount of time....

The banana discovery would suck under any circumstance, but today we had about 5 more minutes before we needed to be in the car en route, or this child would be LATE for school. Last week she had discovered that by a complete miracle of God, she had PERFECT ATTENDANCE year to date. Never having achieved this in her life, she also discovered she really liked this unblemished record and wanted to continue on this path. If she could remain perfect in attendance and GPA (which at this moment she was) she would earn a coveted locker (which by the way, if she had in the first place, she wouldn't have to carry 35 lbs of backpack everywhere her 70 lb self goes in the freaking middle school from hell -- but that is a blog for another day...). SO -- we (my mom and I) begin the frantic work of scrubbing down the backpack and it's contents while my daughter frets the pending loss of her perfect attendance record.

Can I just tell you that the sum of the contents of an average banana, when squished from it's peel with the force of 35 lbs of text book is way greater than the sum of the contents when contained inside the peel, as God intended. Trust me on this one, folks. Don't try this at home.

Okay, now the backpack is clean. We have assessed the damage and I am calculating about $120 for the text book that I have signed on 5 dotted lines my promise to replace should it get destroyed. I cannot dwell on this thought because now I have lost my "cushion" of time, and we have 10 minutes to go the 20 minute distance to the school -- and I am clear that this 10 minutes represents the amount of time it will take to preserve the beloved "perfect attendance" record so important to the 10 year old. (Let me digress once again to say that my older child, although a bit of a neat freak, never ever cared about perfect attendance. He'd rather go surfing.)

We get in the car and begin our treacherous journey. I am praying out loud the entire drive --" LORD, grant us clear roads and forgive me the sins I am about to commit." My mother has double buckled and is crossing herself. I believe she mopped sweat from her brow. My daughter is rocking back and forth and praying, "PLEEEZE God, Please...". I am like a full back, darting and maneuvering. Slow people find their way in front of me -- I curse them and give them the evil eye. They see my intensity and get out of my way. I imagine a hip song in my head -- "Banana in a Backpack" -- I am the road warrior. I am Mom.

We arrive at the back entrance to the school and I slam to a halt. I jump out of the car and help my daughter with her heavy load (a little lighter today due to the destruction of one entire text book). She is secured and ready. I am face to face with her -- I say with intensity, "RUN". My hot breath is on her face, I am like Laura Dern in Jurassic Park. She knows the looming danger. She gets it. She hits the trail like a cheetah. I watch her long enough to know that she has made it ON TIME. Mission accomplished against all odds.

My mother is in the car shaking her head in bewilderment. "What just happened?" she asks. "Another golden morning in paradise!" I reply, still puffed up by our success. I drive home, relaxed, post adrenal euphoria seeping through my veins. Now it's my turn to get ready and get to work on time. Will I make it? I don't know. At this moment I don't care. I'd rather go surfing....