Captain Schenanigans started his new job this week, and we are SO proud of him!! Working for Bose, he will need to travel more, but actually work from home all the days he’s not traveling. Yay for a home office! We get to eat dinner earlier, there is someone else home if I can’t meet the school bus, and Grover dog won’t be so lonely all day long. Everybody wins!
Except for that little traveling part. I am very well aware that millions of families have one parent gone while the other holds down the fort. Just look at military families! They make it look easy. But we are brand new to this lifestyle, it’s just our first week, and there are bound to be some blunders and adjustments (dare I say resentment) as we learn these new ropes.
For starters, after his initial day long orientation in Boston, my husband was flown down to Miami Beach IN JANUARY NO LESS! But I’m not jealous. It was the annual employee bonding week, since everyone telecommutes, and he was hired just in time to meet all the guys he would be working with. Perfect God timing actually, and he really enjoyed meeting them, but that didn’t make it any less cold and gray and Baltimore.
The week started off on Sunday ,when Manchild sobbed his little heart out at Dad’s leaving. That was unexpected. Captain Schenanigans has travled for a night or two in the past, no problem. And twice a week I put the kids to bed alone. But I guess a week sounds awfully long when you are six, so there were big fat tears.
Monday was a snow day. The kids were thrilled, my work plans were shot, and the chickens all blamed me for the weather. I am their almighty, thus I must be screamed all over any and all displeasure (sorta like parenting). Especially now, with the dreaded snow about.
Our house quickly became a soggy, scattered mess of snow pants, boots, and lost gloves, spilling out of the foyer and threatening to bury us all avalanche style. It was overwhelming, as each kid had a friend over, and they were in and out all day long. So. Much. Snow.
Tuesday I managed to get to work at noon, only after a morning of an embarrassing amount of yelling and nagging to get kids dressed and fed, running for the bus, and second guessing if screaming at your kids maybe undoes the Jesus lesson you just read them over breakfast? Sigh. I managed to squeeze in a quick workout before hitting the office. But bedtime was more of the same sass, drama, and fighting. How do people do this for months on end?!?
Wednesday morning the woman who sometimes cleans my house (I know my weaknesses) texted me that she had an opening and was coming over. Yay, and oh crap! It usually takes about an hour to get all the stuff put away for her to clean, I had 15 minutes. I did it in 30, cutting a few corners. The house looked fantastic upon arriving home that day, however anything that was trash or clutter the thrown into a garbage bag and stuck in the garage. Including, we learned, Girlchild’s week long assignment for school that suddenly went missing. The missing assignment wasn’t missed until after dinner, at which point I needed to run into the city to pick something up, and Girlchild was left home alone to sort through trash bags to find the game board I had told her to put away no less than 4 times that week.
On my way back to the house with Manchild, we get a call from our neighbor. I can hear a sobbing Girlchild in the background, and my heart drops. What had happened? It was her first time being left alone at night, but she was pretty confidant when I left home. Turns out Captain had unplugged the landline phone last week, which was Girlchild’s only way to reach me, and she had no idea I was going to be gone longer then the usual 15 minutes. She thought I was never returning, had taken her brother and was on the lam. Because that’s a natural conclusion when you’re eight.
After assuring Girlchild that I was almost home, picking her up at the neighbors house, and feeling awful about the whole situation, we then stayed up an hour and a half past bedtime doing homework and re-creating her board game question cards. Not finishing, I agreed to get up early and help her in the morning. That, my friends, is sacrifice. I hate getting up early. Half our morning problems all week had been that I’d let us all sleep in a half hour late, thinking it would make things better. It didn’t.
Thursday morning I woke Girlchild up an hour early, and sit bleary eyed with her in the kitchen, trying for the hundredth time to come up with 20 questions about the Wizard of Oz to put on these game cards for her classmates. I am now a full on Wizard of Oz hater! But we pulled it off. She finished it all in the nick of time, but we STILL had to run for the bus. Praise God her project was done!
Feeling victorious, I take a ton of leftover dinner scraps and lunchbox rejects out to bestow upon our grumpy hens. They begin to feast like queens. Until I turned my back, and Grover dog pushed open the gate and began eating all the chicken’s warm breakfast, while they stood in silent fear. I had recently stitched up (AGAIN) the last hen that squawked at Grover. No one made a sound today. Which is why he got every last morsel, then spent the rest of the day crop dusting whomever was closest to him with the most noxious gas the would has ever known. Kibble. He needs to stick to kibble.
That afternoon the clouds were merciless. The whole world looked like it was made in sad shades of gray, and every few hours Captain Schenanigans would text me picture of himself under sunny skies. Captain in front of palm trees. Captain on a boat with happy people. Captain in a pair of brand new sunglass headphones that his boss gave them all. They are bluetooth, and connect to his phone. Not even on the market yet, but that didn’t stop Captain from chatting with me on his sunglasses last night as I lay shivering on the couch and smelling dog fumes. There may be a hint of self pity here, but remember this is my first week. I’m not gonna pull of perfection in my moods or actions, BUT I’m working on it!!! Oh, and did I tell you how much my eyes bugged out when Girlchild trotted off the bus that afternoon and declared that she’d forgotten to take her project to school that day and she’d just take in tomorrow. Deep breath…
Last night it snowed again. The dog log rolled around the backyard, getting in touch with his inner husky. The kids were thrilled, and I work up every few hours all night long to check the school closings. Baltimore County, 2 hour delay. Finally, it posted about 5am. Got up to feed the dog and cat, drain them, and make Girlchild a lunch I’m sure she will hate. Then went back to bed until I felt children laying on top of me at 7:30am, earliest they had risen all darn week, asking if school was closed. Why can they get up on time any other day of the week? Can I get an amen anyone?!
So now it’s Friday morning, my husband should be walking in the door in 15 minutes, the day is warming up, though not turning the least bit sunny. I am happy for this moment of quiet to write, surrounded by lit candles and cold coffee. Am I proud of how we did this week? Not particularly. Actually, not at all. But it was a beginning, and those are always hard. This new job is a change we really do want. I just need to learn to change with it, and up my patience and “waking up” skills. We’ll get there. But for now, a little self grace never hurt nobody, and perhaps one day I, too, shall make single parenting look easy. Or, maybe not. Whatever.