Thursday, September 9, 2010

Real Housewives of Minnesota

Wake up at 5:30.

Try to remember what day it is and what pressing matters demand your attention within the next ten minutes.

Get the sixty-pound puppy off your stomach.

Find sweat pants.

Peel off any stray children who wandered into the marital bed.

Go downstairs and make a gourmet breakfast: pop-tarts and hot cocoa.

Take the compost outside, and hope at least some of the bugs go with it.

Sweep, empty dishwasher, vacuum dog hair, check email.

Eat oatmeal while the teenager mumbles some dissenting opinion or another to anything you say.

Get up middle child and wait patiently while the various threads of hysteria are worked out.

Make another gourmet breakfast: bread and butter.

Walk to bus with sixty-pound puppy and then chase said puppy when he breaks free from leash to chase squirrels.

Understand that despite the offer from the gang-banger big brother of the other child at the bus stop, you will not allow your daughter to 'hitch a lift' with him should the bus be late or absent. Pretend otherwise, as this is Minnesota. Repression, denial and lies are part of the cultural landscape.

Return home to witness youngest child's desperate search for school uniform (jeans, white t-shirt, black hoodie). Because these items are stripped off and discarded, one by one and over time, this is a fun way to rummage through the entire house.

Three mile run with the dogs. Well, run (or be dragged by) one and pull the fearful Satan's Familiar, who is working with his boss (that would be Satan) to insure the Matron's eternal fate after welcoming the sixty-pound puppy into the house.

Drive to work, wondering why it is socially unacceptable to have a cocktail for breakfast.

Discuss compulsory heterosexuality with students in Gender and Women Studies class; note that one young man keeps saying "babe" when referring to women. Be glad he's in the class.

Office hours. Pray nobody shows up.

Two hours of this: Scarlett. Teachers need new theater schedule; stage manager for second show requires schedule for first show; major audition for lead role in Disney film requires contact with not one, but two, agents; family calendar must be updated to include her 24/7 schedule through November; schedule voice lesson; call for auditions for The Little Match Girl (guess who wants to BE the little match girl?); register for Children's Theater Pre-Professional acting troupe after successful audition and wonder about the 'pre' in professional; check with director of next show to see if child is allowed to cut hair half an inch; investigate possible venues for dance lessons now deemed a necessity for someone whose life goal is to live onstage.

Grade papers. Note that 'our' means 'are' for many and forgive the students who believe that sexism and racism are highlights of the 1960s and has nothing to do with them.

Nod attentively at meetings with administrators.

Pick up the youngest from school; use baby wipes in van to clean chocolate off front of shirt and remind self to find a comb instead of using fingers -- all day.

Spend thirty minutes on a four minute rush hour drive.

Question teenager about the viability of spending six hours on the computer playing war games. Remind said teen about homework, dog-training and chores and pretend you're not ready to rip out his hair when he revolts.

Ban everyone from computers and television.

Vacuum dog hair (did she mention the sixty-pound puppy), check email and clean three bathrooms.

Empty lunch boxes, walk dogs again and start dinner. Debate the possibility that all five family members will be agreeable to the same meal. Note how quickly bugs form around the compost by the sink (a lovely empty ice cream bucket).

Start family on food while rounding up Scarlett for rehearsal.

Drive once again through (the end this time) of rush hour traffic and consider listening to NPR a moment of relaxation.

Work on online classes while waiting two hours for rehearsal to end.

Drive home against a backdrop of "why can't we stop at Dairy Queen?"

Chase youngest around for bedtime rally, make school lunches, vacuum dog hair, sweep kitchen, do laundry, check email, whip up bedtime snacks, check family calendar, and reconsider the cocktail.


Put youngest to bed (mostly involves tickling), spend hour attending to middle-child's hysteria (which changes every hour or so), spend more time tending to oldest's needs and interests, offer Advil PM to children who can't sleep, let the dogs out, put away laundry.

Watch Mad Men.

Field queries from husband about adapting a Mad Man model for one's own contemporary marriage.

Close shades and turn on night lights.

Clean up dog vomit (did she mention the sixty-pound puppy?) and put Merrick back to bed after he hears the dreaded rain.

Wonder why nobody makes a hit TV series out of this. She could totally squeeze into a cool designer dress and spend hours trying to manipulate people.




Anonymous said...

I'm trying to decide if your life would be easier or harder if you were a single parent...

Anonymous said...

If you wanted me to have a tubal ligation, why didn't you just say so? You deserve more than just one cocktail, that's for sure!

Jen on the Edge said...

Even though I'm a mother of only two and have days like yours (minus the dogs), I'm still exhausted reading this. The fact that you found time to run is inspiring.

trash said...

You get to clean up the dog vomit before bedtime? Man I wish I lived in your house!
In the last three weeks I have been woken btn 2&3 every other night for vomit clean-up and urgent desire for a wee. The dog obviously, not me.

Jennifer said...

Thank you for this. I am typing this comment with one hand, holding a (finally!) sleeping baby in the other arm, after just having sent my older two children outside to play before I throttle someone. I am supposed to be preparing for a meeting this evening and getting the minutes from the last meeting typed up, but I checked in here because who can type minutes with one hand?

It's nice to know other moms (and dads too) feel like this about their lives. Rinse and repeat. I know that it changes eventually, and I wouldn't trade it for anything, but holy smokes, some days....

Minnesota Matron said...

I think we're all running at full speed, friends! Sometimes it helps to document it (and not clean up dog vomit at 3 a.m.).

Jil said...

"Pretend otherwise, as this is Minnesota. Repression, denial and lies are part of the cultural landscape." As a person who lives in your same metro area, I would love to say exactly what I think one of these days. Oh, to be some other nationality besides Norwegian!

Fairlie - said...

I would so watch that TV series!

Michele R said...

Can they unload the dishwasher when they get home from school? Put them on a non-marital bathroom cleaning schedule on Sat a.m.s? Wait, mine do that but I'm still going bonkers.

Daisy said...

I hear you. Actual conversation in our home one evening:
"You're drinking already?"
"It's five o'clock somewhere!"
"It's six thirty."
"Works for me!"

Deb said...

Wonderful! Definitely glad the children have grown. Now, if they'd only hurry up and graduate from college and MOVE OUT!

Anonymous said...

Sounds so familiar, down to the bug-infested ice cream compost bucket.

Anonymous said...

So glad I'm not the only idiot getting up at 5:30am! I often think how pleasant my morning could be if I had that am cocktail!

Anonymous said...

Dang. There is NO time in that Minnesota schedule to shop or go need to move to New Jersey, honey!
A Little Match Girl! I am holding my breath...

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Why it is socially unacceptable to have a cocktail for breakfast? I've been pondering this myself lately.
Also, I am currently convinced that a dog is a bad idea for my family (meaning, ME) and my kids want your idea of a gourmet breakfast. I'm the meanie who buys Fiber One breakfast bars.

Anonymous said...

Bless you, Matron, for your comments on the compost bugs. Even though I PROMISED my family that they would never-have-to-empty-the-compost, they still, one and all, comment on any negatives they see there. Like bugs. Or smells. jenny