Thursday, November 01, 2007

364 Days 'til Halloween

My sister just called to ask if I was hard-of-blogging. "Yes," I told her, "I am." I've been reading, Halloweening, cleaning my house more than usual, and screening my calls to make sure CPS doesn't catch me. I haven't been blogging, or doing laundry.

It seems that in a single day I can blog, or I can read, or I can celebrate a holiday. I can't do even two effectively, in addition to my other chores. Maybe I'll try again someday with something less taxing: Arbor Day and a Richard Nixon biography, maybe. For now, though, I've learned my lesson. It is one at a time: I can walk or chew gum. Yesterday, I couldn't seem to do either. I'm so glad Halloween is over.

I am always harried on Wednesday morning. I go to help in Jane's class, so in addition to getting all the kids ready and out the door by 8, I have to be ready, too. Ready enough to not embarrass her in front of her peers by having scary witch hair and wearing yoga pants.

No, wait. I'm ahead of myself.

Tuesday night for dinner we had a whole baked chicken. Normally we eat off the breasts and throw the rest away, with only some fleeting guilt over starving children in Africa. This time, as he's getting ready to put it in the trash, Jake says:
"Do you want to do something with this? Make stock or something?"
"No," I replied. "Just toss it."
"Do you want me to do it?" he offers.

Oh, no! Has he been up in the middle of the night watching the food network again? Jake can do the laundry, clean the floors and bathrooms, and do the dishes. He makes me tell him: "You're the best at finding things," as a sort of mantra to remind me that he has important, irreplaceable skills. But if he learns to make stock, what use will I be? The Martha in me is getting riled. Plus, I began to feel guilty as I mentally tabulate the number of unboiled carcasses, now buried in landfills, that were my stewardship. So the pot goes on. My alarm is set for 3am to check the stock. Then, Wednesday morning at 6:25 I'm up again to strain it and cool it and freeze it. Since I'm up, I make eierpfannkuchen (close enough) for the kids for breakfast, since I know there will be lots of candy later. So far, so good.

Then the kids get up. In addition to the regular stuff, there is stuff that needs to go to the Halloween parties at school, Jake is in some sort of hurry, too, and the kids won't eat the breakfast I made. So I get ticked and start threatening to shorten their trick-or-treating by five minutes for every bite they don't eat. Just like all the parenting books say to do. Ross and Jane are sure I bought them Halloween shirts last year, but I can't remember them, and they spend half an hour at it, but prove me wrong and locate said shirts. Sam's, too. Hair, teeth, backpacks, and oh! no! make some lunches, and then I hear Jake yell, "Everybody in the van!" I get Tommy's bottle and diaper bag, give up looking for Sam's backpack, and head out the door. Jake is just leaving. I jump in and drive out. It is 8 straight up. Nope, not enough time to drop Tommy off. I'll have to go to school first. I get to Guadalupe and Sossaman (3 miles from home)before I pull down the rear view mirror and get a gander at my posse. This is what I see:

"Where is Tommy?" I say, real high-pitched-like.
Jane replies with a blood-curdling scream that lasts for some time, perhaps through the U-turn. Ross and Sam start yelling, too.

I call Jake, he says Tommy was still in his high chair, eating the eggs, last he knew. Jake seems unperturbed. I race home, and find Tommy watching Little Einsteins, just finishing his breakfast. (At least somebody likes it).

So...back to school, where we all get out because Sam needs to be signed into his classroom because of some lame state law. Strap Tommy back in and drop him at Grandma's, then head back to school to Jane's class. As I enter, the teacher greets me with: "So, you got your baby out of the high chair ok?" How am I supposed to look like good-classroom-helper-mom, when my own kid rats me out? So I sit there sorting all Mrs. Huish's graded papers, and she's probably deciding whether she should report me to CPS.

Next, I pick up Tommy and head to Wal-Mart. While I was gone, Grandma Mareen taught him about five new words: throw, whee, and tree among them. (Grandma is a speech therapist). My eyes are still bugging me. I buy a year's worth of the painful, out-of-focus contacts anyway. They tell me I should try reading glasses. I'm only thirty-four. I DON'T NEED READING GLASSES. I read fine WITHOUT your crap contacts! (I order the reading glasses anyway, because I am a pushover, and because they are free when you buy a year's worth of crap contacts.)

Go home and start on my Dinner in a Pumpkin. (I used only 3/4 lb. beef and added 2 diced carrots and 2 stalks diced celery, cooked until soft with the onions and mushrooms. Next time I'll add some sausage to it, I think.) I'm a slow cook, but the time consumed feels cathartic, like the Mormon equivalent of saying Hail Marys. It is penance for my earlier crime. I might have left Tommy home this morning, but look at us now! He's taking a long nap, and I am slaving over what is basically from-scratch Hamburger Helper which I will soon bake in a gourd! "You see," I purr contentedly to myself, "you are a great mother. You have a freezer full of homemade chicken stock. Leaving Tommy at home was probably Jake's fault somehow. Either he helped too much or too little. You just haven't decided which one yet." Rationalizing and shifting blame onto others always makes me feel much better. This is a difficult case because I was the last one out of the house and I was the one who was driving the car. It might be my fault.

About 1.5 hours into the cooking process, I realize my kids probably won't eat any of this, worked up as they are over all the candy-getting. So I call Melanie and invite her brood over for dinner, because, why have just four kids who won't eat your food, when you can have eight?

Sure enough, the big kids ate approximately 50% less than the babies. The 3 babies totally dug it, as did Melanie. She even liked that the pumpkin was still slightly undercooked, and pronounced it delicious. Thank you, Melanie. Still, wouldn't Wacky Wednesday at Sonic have been a great idea?

Finally, we went trick-or treating. It wasn't so hot we had to worry that Tommy would pass out in his chicken suit this time. We had a fabulous time, and I started snacking on a few Butterfingers and Almond Joys along the way. By about 7:45, I had a little headache from all the sugar. By 8:30, my vision was blurring (headache or bad contact lenses, you decide), and I was done with Halloween. "Sam," I said, "take off your parrot before you go to bed. It'll poke you in the neck."

See? A good mother, even in my pain. (Although, making sure he brushed his teeth would have been even better.)

That's the last thing I remember before I passed out on my pillow. I remember I dreamed that my book club took a trip to England, where one girl, with the initials A.D., began a tawdry affair with a member of the IRA.

Happy Halloween!


Molly said...

Oh my heck that was one of the best things I have ever read! You should write a book of all your funny stories, I'm sure it would be a best seller! I am still the way!

CASSIE said...


melanie said...

The al dente gourd was the highlight of my halloween! Awesome post.

Lizzie said...

So funny. That's all I can say. The costumes were cute. So what did you dress up as Kelly??

Lizzie said...
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Jenni said...

Kelly, you are hilarious!!! You really should start writing a book. Glad your Halloween (ALL OF IT) was so eventful! My faavorite part is when you find a child missing from his carseat...I'm just waiting for the day I do this.

Kate McEuen said...

You have to stop with these stories... I always get on the computer for my own blogging but get sucked into these helarious stories. Okay, back to me...
(Very funny though and always well worth my time!)

PMClan said...

Kelly, kept the blogging going! It's so fun to read! I told pete a while ago that I never knew you we're so funny! Kids look so cute in their outfits! I love holidays but i'm so glad it's over.

Jake Beeson said...
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Jolene said...

Kelly - I loved your story about leaving Tommy home. I am sorry to say that I have done the same thing - and I once left Devon at the church, in the nursery. Just came home without him, somehow I got Courtney but not him. Anyway, I hope you don't mind that I linked your funny story to my blog.

Pokejane said...

mom I need some help because you tagged me. pleeeeeeeees????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Hailey said...

Mmmm, German pancakes... I want some pumpkin stew, too. Sounds like an awesome day. I worry every single day that I have left one of my babies at home. I certainly always leave my brain there.

Laura Gunn Studio said...

Seriously, this is the funniest thing ever written. I wish I'd thought of checking your blog when we were having trouble downloading The Office.

Gini said...
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Gini said...

I'm so glad you left him at home and not in the car. You wouldn't do well in jail.. altho you would have lots of time to write!!