Since summer’s arrival just over a month ago, writing has alluded me like a $10,000,000 jackpot. Yes…spring has passed into a fond memory leaving me holding the reins to a teenage shuttle-you-wherever-you-want vehicle while standing in 113 degree heat. (don’t feel bad for me, I choose to live and sweat here. ) Okay, the kids actually NEED to be places, I get that. They are active and involved in life. So the story goes for another few years, at least. I’m sure when this phase of my life ends, tears will fall and so will my monthly bills.
At the close of business on May 26th, 2011, I turned into a mighty chariot (this image makes me feel better, so just go with it) and clocked in for work. It’s a job I secretly love, but don’t get paid for. It’s a job I show up for every day with little or no appreciation or acknowledgment. In the summer, my downtime is split up into tiny increments that discourage creative flow and hamper one’s ability to connect the dots, let alone to a muse.
An average summer day goes something like this: wake up, pour unhealthy amounts of coffee down throat, maybe eat/maybe not, try to work, drive Kid 1 to sports camp, try to work again, get an unexpected call to pick Kid 2 & a friend up, drive car, get a work call while in car, ask kids to talk quietly while on a phone call, almost drive into the back of a Mercedes because I have no business driving while trying to talk, one kid tells highly inappropriate joke to another and car breaks into hysterical fits of laughter, I hit mute on phone in an attempt to protect any professional image I might have left, finish call, get kids home, attempt to go back to work only to find Kid 4 on computer (doing online school so I can’t really complain), I go in search of my laptop which I find lacking any battery life what-so-ever, decide to have more coffee while charging laptop, Kids announce they are hungry and seem to lack the ability to make a sandwich, I roll my eyes, they decide eating is too difficult for now (since I’m not willing to do the manual labor) and opt for pretzels and cream cheese, I start to explain how that isn’t a meal but give up mid-sentence because I’m just repeating what they have already ignored before, laptop has 10% battery so I try to get back to work, 5 minutes later Kid 4 is leaving for sports camp (if he didn’t have his own car, this scenario would be even worse) and needs $20, I scour the house for $20 and come up with $4.32, Kid 4 is unimpressed but thanks me anyway, I try to get back to work to find Kid 3 has “borrowed” my laptop, well since Kid 4 is done with desktop–I’m in business, but NO wait–desktop is now frozen (due to glitch iTunes) and I’m unable to do anything, I sigh and consider more coffee but choose to stare out the window with my right eye twitching instead, then I think of writing and plan to set aside 1 hour later in the day, Kid 3 announces she needs make-up, conditioner, new jeans, and money for weight training class, my mind remembers buying make-up only days ago and I wonder if the Twilight Zone has taken over the supply-demand cycle in my house because it’s impossibly unbalanced to Walmart’s favor, I also wonder when Kid 3 signed up for weight training, as this is news to me, Kid 2 hears Kid 3 talking about “needs” and begins to write a long list for herself, dollar signs roll through my mind and I wonder if they have any concept of their expenses, I remember I haven’t really worked yet and walk towards my computer, forgetting all about Kid 2 & 3′s grocery “requests”, before I settle in Kid 1 calls to ask if a friend can come over, I say “sure” not realizing until 20 minutes later than he meant 3 friends, there are now 8 teenagers in my house (my own and other random friends), I contemplate getting a real job but decide against it due to possibility of house burning down while I’m gone, I look at the clock–it’s 11:37am. Kid 1 has finally decided to cook something. When he’s done, 10 of my dozen eggs are scrambled and mounded upon a paper plate. I shake my head and consider invoicing him for overuse of eggs. Instead I smile. He’s a teenage boy after all. I check the clock again. It’s 11:45am–time to pick up another kid from camp.
No work accomplished, no writing done, nary a chore has been touched. I long for a soundproof room and a laptop. Instead I steal a few moments to write a quick note about my characters, before running out the door. It’s hardly anything, but if it’s all I accomplish for the day…at least it’s something.
I step out into the hot mid-day sun again, and almost melt into a pile of goo before reaching the car. The day’s only half over, and all I can’t think about is what I “haven’t” accomplished. But then I remind myself of what I have. Amazing, well-adjusted kids are worth any cost. Even if my dreams are slowed down a bit, if they benefit–that’s all that really matters. I will get there. I will reach the top of Mt. Words. I will have my cake and eat it too.