Sometimes, my life feels like a house of cards

Sometimes I feel as if my life is a house of cards, and I’m Marcia Brady, ready to place a card on top but my charm bracelet is going to knock the thing to bits.

(Remember that episode? Dated Reference Alert: As I was looking for a photo or video, neither of which I was able to locate, I learned that this 1970 episode was about boys versus girls to win the bundle of trading stamps the family had been saving so that the winners could take ’em to the soon-to-close redemption center and get a Big Prize. Raise your hand if you remember trading stamps. Anyone? No??? Come on, you over there, in the corner – aren’t you old enough to remember this? When I was but a wee lass, We used to get S&H Green Stamps at the Weis Market and we licked & stuck ’em into books for years. Kids, this was back in the olden days, when your grandparents paid for groceries with cash or maybe a check, but never ever a CHARGE CARD, and the clerks rang the prices in by hand, for there were no scanners, and placed the items into paper bags (for plastic was not an option). The clerk dialed the stamps out of a machine

S&H Green Stamp Machine
S&H Green Stamp Machine

(many thanks to these fine folks at Flickr for this photo) and who here remembers the SOUND that it made? The number of stamps you received were a function of how much your grocery bill was. Then you would look through a catalog and daydream about all the merchandise you could earn, once you filled enough books. Card tables? Blenders? Food storage containers? All kinds of good stuff. Or, in the Brady Bunch’s case, the coveted items were a Color TV (boys) and a Sewing Machine (girls). They still have trading stamps in Freeport, Bahamas, by the way.)

(Check out the LOCK on the machine. Do you think Green Stamp Theft was a big problem back in the 1970s? could the clerks not be trusted to gain access to the machine? Did a store manager have to be in charge?)

Where was I? Oh, I remember – how my life is like a house of cards. So anyway, Marcia’s stupid dangling charm threatened their house of cards. This is what occurred to me tonight as I was picking up children from various locations in a certain order, then dropping one off here and bringing two home so that a friend could grab them as she took one of her kids to riding lessons, so that when the aforementioned dropped-off kid returned home with his dad, he could have dinner (which is spaghetti which is boiling right now), while dad and I go back to within one mile of where he and the son just came from, in order to celebrate a friend’s birthday at a restaurant, after which we will return to the friend’s home, the one who currently has the two other kids, to pick them up, except she has said she would really like for us to stay for a drink because, you know, it’s been a while, and heck, she will have just hauled around and fed two of my kids — one of whom is only like 80% potty-trained — for three hours, so how can we say no to that?

And did I mention, we are leaving for vacation week in exactly THIRTY-FIVE HOURS? Seriously. A day and a half, people.

GAAAAAH!

Where’s the boy? I thought you had him.

I ran out to do some pre-vacation shopping tonight… I’m all butt-tired, but our countdown to departure has shifted from days into hours, and TICK TICK TICK goes the clock. Oldest son was with me; youngest son was with daddy, out for a walk in the neighborhood, and last I had heard, middle son was over at the neighbors’ house, hanging out with his pal.

I got home, all leg-weary from making multiple stops in search of those dang Fla-vor-Ice freeze pops that are a Beach Week tradition for the kids (never did find the ones I wanted), and hauled the loot inside. It was… quiet. Curt was settling in with a beer and some crackers to read the newspaper. Oldest son was fussing with his laptop, trying to install a webcam. I assumed the other two boys were tucked into bed, dreaming dreams of hot sandy beaches and freeze pops. (I really have to find them before we head south!!)

By now it’s 10:20 p.m. I was surprised to hear the squeaky hinges of our door. In walks middle son, apparently just getting home from the neighbors’ house. I was all, wow, I thought you were in bed, are you just getting home? He said, yeah.

Then Curt says: “Did you bring your little brother home?”

“No,” replied middle son.

“Wow – you mean he’s still over at their house?”

“Uh, yeah,” the boy replied.

I looked up from my computer and repeated the wee one’s name, thinking Curt meant the oldest son instead of the youngest. We are always mixing up their names. (I understand that never gets better. You would think by now we would be able to tell them apart.)

“Right, the little one,” he replied.

Then middle son snarfed his glass of milk and I knew they were totally messing with me.

Not a nice trick to play on a leg-weary, brain-fried, exhausted mommy on a weeknight!

Now if you will excuse me, I’m going to go verify that I have three boys under this roof, tuck them in, kiss them goodnight, and collapse in my own bed.

Frantic

I’m trying really hard to concentrate on matters at hand during these last three days before we leave for a week of vacation… but I’m so distracted.

I’m at work thinking about when I’m going to run the last load of laundry, notes I need to leave about the pets, calls I need to make, gotta remember to put the newspaper and mail on hold and renew the library books so we can bring them with us, remember to pack medicines and boogie boards and swim diapers, take along the address for the beach house (because wouldn’t it suck if after all that, we couldn’t find it?), and how in the WORLD am I going to get all of that done between three days of work and a social event on Thursday night?

Only three frantic days between me and RELAXING.

Help me through this.