Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Can I Call Do-Over?

No ranting now. No energy. This has been one of those days. I'm a New Yorker, yeah, but I'm a New Yorker who lives in southern Arizona, which means that at this time of year, the heat saps all energy out of me. Now add in 9 weeks of pregnancy, and you have even less energy than usual.

It was already well into the eighties at eight o'clock this morning; by ten it was in the 90s. The air conditioner had gone on at nine. I don't play. The ridiculous excuse of a cooling system for the rest of the house, the evaporative cooler, has been on continuously since late April. It probably won't be shut off again until November.

No, you never get used to summer in Arizona. I've been here over thirteen years, and I have yet to get used to it.

Like I said, one of those days. The mini-me, my daughter, stayed up until 3 am and wouldn't allow anyone else to sleep either, which plays a large part in the bitchiness of her mother later, especially when the same child was bright eyed and bushy tailed at 7 am, and had no interest in her mother's desire to actually sleep. So I dragged myself up and got her breakfast, and sat her down at the table, while Troy let the dogs back into the house, something I don't generally do until she's done with breakfast. She is the source of all bonus food the dogs receive, and they know it. So they have a tendency to hover around the table, willing her to drop something, which irritates me to no end. You can call them off, but you can't stop them from initiating the Jedi mind trick, not really.

Well, Troy was trying to get out the door to go take a test, and he's roaring through the house because his clothes are in the dryer and he can't make himself breakfast because the kitchen is a mess. Mind you, I had been doing dishes until one am, while he watched a horror movie. So yeah, I hadn't finished with the pots and pans yet. Sue me. The kitchen never seems to ever be fully done, because as soon as I finish the last pot, someone comes in with another dish. It never fails. On a good day, if I'm fast enough, I will get to see the kitchen totally clean, nothing in the sinks, for about an hour before food is once again demanded by some member of my household. I will be honest: dishes are not now, nor have ever been, high on my list of favorite jobs. I would rather vacuum or do laundry. I like to cook, but I don't like the cleanup. I have known one person in my entire life who actually liked doing the dishes. When she lived with me, we cooked constantly, because the more dirty dishes there were, the happier she was.

But I digress. While Troy is complaining about his clothes and the state of the kitchen, one of the Labrador sisters, Bandit, decided to suck down every drop of water in the dog bowl as fast as she could, which resulted, of course, in her tossing her cookies all over the living room. Thank all benevolent gods she was on tile. But because Troy was on his way out the door, that meant that cleaning the mess fell to me, the woman who has all day morning sickness. So I am attempting to clean it while also trying not to add to it, while at the same time I need to convince my four year old daughter that, while I appreciate the gesture, I would really rather she not help with the cleanup process.

Finally, he is out the door and the mess is cleaned up. The dogs are outdoors again to make sure that all the puking is done with. And I am already exhausted, and it is only ten thirty in the morning.

Now, there are those who will read this and say that I am man-bashing, but I assure you this is not the case. I love Troy. But I learned something when we separated once: housework was cut down by two thirds for the entire time he was gone. There was no one tracking dirt through the house. No one getting a new cup for every drink he took. I didn't have to cook three times a day. My daughter was perfectly happy with cereal for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch, as opposed to a four course meal. I swear, even the dogs shed less.

You might ask why it is I don't have Troy help me in the kitchen. Let me tell you why: he never gets the dishes clean, so I wind up having to redo them anyway. And he tosses clean and dirty into a big pile, which doubles the work, because now the clean stuff has to be redone anyway. He is also not allowed to do any laundry but his own, because he does not believe in separating whites from colors. Of course, nothing in this desert remains white for long anyway, but I prefer to give it at least a fighting chance!

My dad, two years ago, brought me a white comforter for my bed. I had a two year old and live in the desert. The comforter has not been white in nearly two years, no matter how often I bleach it. It's more of a grey-brown color now. It's clean, but it ain't white! I'm thinking about tossing it in the washer with some jewel-toned fabric dye. It sure couldn't hurt.

Anyway, the day has proceeded through several arguments with my daughter over what she would and would not do. I won, but it was exhausting. I was a latecomer to motherhood. I was 37 when she was born, and had despaired of ever having a child, since there were two miscarriages before her. It's very hard for me to discipline her. I also now finally understand what my parents meant when they would say "This hurts me more than it hurts you". It breaks my heart to make her cry. But I will be damned if my four year old is going to set the terms of her life in my house.

Normally, she is a good kid. More than that, she's a fantastic kid. Yes, I'm biased, I know, but she really is. When I was a kid, if a day went by that I didn't receive a spanking for something, I was either not at home, or I was sick. In comparison, her spankings average out to about once a week, generally for doing something that could get her hurt. But since learning that she is going to be a big sister, she seems to have lost her little mind, and it hasn't developed enough that she can afford to lose any of it yet. So I'd like to call do-over on this day, and see if we can't get it right the second time around!

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