Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Life is a Country Song

Yesterday was the first day of Christmas Vacation 2010. The grandkids arrived bright and early in the morning. I was in eager anticipation of the day we would share.

Then it began.

I always get these bright ideas of what to do with the kids in order to keep them busy. On today's agenda was making Christmas ornaments. The grandkids love crafting, and so do I. One of the ornaments we were  going to make together required pictures. Of course we had to take some fresh ones.

Both B and Rach found the Santa hats that are normally atop the statues of lions just outside my front door. I believe everyone should participate in the season, and the welcoming lions look extra festive with their Santa hats perched over their frozen wavy manes. Between the hurricane force winds, and blizzards lately, I decided a few nights ago I needed to bring the hats indoors. Frankly, I was surprised the lions still sported the hats for this long. Usually, the neighborhood hoodlums like to steal the festive hats by now just for kicks. Maybe the blizzard last night swept the little buggars off to visit the land of Oz. I know I had my ruby slippers on when I clicked them together three times and chanted, "I think I can, I think I can." We can only hope.

Back to the hats and the grandkids. Once the kids spied the hats on the sideboard, BINGO, the photo shoot was on. It was a bit difficult for me to get good pictures of Brenden because he does not like to have his photo taken. He typically makes all kinds of weird faces as he skips, dances, whirls then hides his whole face under the hat. No skin off my teeth buddy. You will be the one to reap the rewards a little bit later in life. I did manage to get a few good snapshots. I tricked him into telling me a story, and I was able to capture some good angles.

Rachel was a bit easier. She took only a little prodding. After a few initial shy moments, she took to striking poses like as if she were auditioning to be the next model on Project Runway.

With the photo shoot behind us, I headed to the computer so I could order the prints online. This is where I believe we entered an alternate universe.

The next two hours were filled with a weird series of events. I managed to get the pictures downloaded from the camera card then onto the computer. I even was able to get them uploaded to my Picasa Web albums. I sent a few invites to friends and family to view the little cuties. I always include my daughter because she gets a bit nervous with me at the helm. Poor thing was stuck at work, and we were having all the fun. I had just pushed the send button, when things went black on the computer. Dun, dun, dun.
I tried everything to get my internet connection back. Nothing worked. I decided we needed to lock and  load ourselves into the car in order to get on down to Walmart. I was in a hurry to have our prints so we could proceed to the ornament making phase of today's activities. I was positively twitching with excitement.

I told Phyllie of my computer woes, asked her to check out the connection, but in the meantime we needed to get our pictures. 

After getting on the snow gear, the kids and I braved the icy roads. We arrived at our local Walmart in record time considering the snow plows had not yet gotten to our side of town. No worries.

I made a bee line to the photo-mart inside the store dragging the grandchildren in tow. I refused several requests to "get me this, or that." I was a woman on a mission. When I located the proper equipment terminal, I was even able to find the correct hole to put my stick into despite the bewildering array of options. One child sat on the stool with me, whilst another occupied himself by twirling like a dervish immediately behind us. Despite numerous attempts, he was unable to pin down the little old blue haired lady trying to scan her old family photos into her own prompter.

Yes, I am the grandma who only kinda has control of her brood. I think the intervening years between having my own children and taking care of the grandkids have not been kind to my multitasking prowess. I don't sweat the small stuff anymore. My rules for being out in public follow the KISS model. One, stay within eye shot. Two, don't steal anything, and I DO check pockets before leaving any store. Three, try not to get run over in the parking lot. I do not wish to incur my daughter's wrath if I happen to return a smushed child to her at the end of the day. It is a good day when the rules are followed.

Somehow I manage to figure out how to order the chosen photos we need for our project. The processing was a snap. Inside of ten minutes we were back on the road again.

When we got home, time sped up to mach ten.

Two days ago the kitchen sink backed up. It did not stop my maniacal cooking even though I am sick of washing dishes in the bathtub. I called the plumber first thing Monday the morning. Along with the clog which needed to be cleared, I knew we also needed another garbage disposal. When Phyllie and I went over the days itinerary, she willingly volunteered to do the errands while I stay with the grandchildren. While the children and I took photos, Phyllie took the packages to the post office, dropped another by UPS, bought the wine for the dish I was cooking for dinner, and went to Homo Depot to buy us another garbage disposal.

As the children and I walked in with our photo bounty, Phyllie arrived with the garbage disposal. I immediately noticed it was not like the one we had, but she also had all the extra piping needed to get this new one installed. Her face lit up like Tim the Toolman Taylor's did every time he discussed his motorized equipment.

"This thing will chew up a corn cob!!!!" she announced over the din of the children fighting about which movie they would watch first. I knew I should not have let her loose on Home Depot.

The dogs began barking from their kennels as if they were in danger of being left in purgatory for the rest of the day.

And before I could get my coat off, the doorbell rang.

I couldn't decide what to do first. I poked my nose out the door to tell the plumber to hold on because, "It's a bit dangerous at the moment. Hang on, will ya?" His face looked a more than a little bit apprehensive.

I scolded the children for fighting. I pulled out the oldest trick in the book, "If you can't decide which one to watch, I will take ALL of them away from you, and no one will watch ANYTHING. Got it?"

Silence. One blessed moment of silence.

Next, I headed into the bedroom to get the dogs out of their kennels. I shepherded them into the backyard. Knowing we had a visitor, the two stood vigil at the sliding glass door. Tito began his olympic style high jump moves, immediately impressing the plumber. "Boy that guy can jump, can't he?"

"Yes, now can we discuss the plumbing issue? Here is the new garbage disposal. Please check the drain and install this new one, Okay?"

"Hmmmm, well it is like this here. The one you bought doesn't match the one you already have. It's gonna take some changing the pipes down here."

I had a flashback to the conversation with the secretary of the plumbing company earlier that morning. "It's a flat $75 per hour."

"Phyllie, come over here and listen to this. Please explain what you were telling me to Phyllis."

She listens none too patiently. "So what's the problem? Get 'er dun!!!" Phyl can't figure out why the plumber was hesitating about installing her wood chipper.

"Okay. Here, let me draw you a picture explaining what I need to do."

We look at each other, shrug our shoulders, and simultaneously announce, "We don't need a picture. You are the professional. Just make it work."

Roger The Plumber goes to work dismantling the old plumbing job under the sink, all the while mumbling something softly to himself. I think I know what he was saying. Crazy bitches.

He doesn't know the half of it.

Just as he was lying prone under the sink, with various pieces of pipe scattered about, Rachel announces she is hungry. "I want some Raviolios, please."

"Me too," chimes in Brenden.

Of course. Right away. Thankfully, the plumber was gracious enough to leave his legs spread strategically enough apart so I could tip toe between them in order to get the necessary supplies out of the cupboard. I finally get the cans opened, microwaved, and placed on the table.

"Come and get it."

"Thanks grandma. Can I have some juice please? And can I have some milk please?"

Sure thing.

I  deftly fill the cups. I even naively think I get the spill proof lids on correctly. Then I discover otherwise. As I tip toe between the plumber's splayed out legs and awkwardly placed the cups down on the kitchen table, the contents of both immediately splash across the kitchen table.

"Holy shit. I give up. I give up." I am in full meltdown.

The grandkids faces are frozen in fear. Phyl, who was eating her own sandwich safely in the living room, comes to the rescue.

"Here, let me help. Stand back, I can do this."

I head off to get towels. She quickly rescues the laptop which was foolishly left on the table. In seconds flat she has the table cleared. The children are in shock.

The plumber announces sheepishly, "I need that other part, could I possibly retrieve it for him?"

"It's out in the garage. Give me a second, please."

I turned to head back into the garage to retrieve the box which had the missing part the plumber needed when the phone rings.

Just like a Ninja, I snapped up the ringing phone, saw it was my daughter, and grumpily answered it.

"Hey mom. I have a something I need to talk about."

"Well, in the last 15 minutes I ..." and I listed off the events. "You better make it quick."

"Okay. Sounds like you have your hands full. I will call you later."

Smart girl.

It was on my way back to the kitchen chaos when it hit me. I could hear Trace Adkins singing, "You're Gonna Miss This" country song playing in my head.


Though not all the lyrics were particularly applicable at that moment, the stanza about the plumber was dead on.

That was when I realized I was livin' large. It was that exact moment when time stood still. I mentally stopped the insanity, if only for a tiny second, and just took in the scene. I sighed in a deep breath then started laughing like I was insane idiot. After my stomach started to hurt, I calmly announced, "I gotta write this down. This is good stuff man, good stuff."

Once the bumper car ride of life stopped, there was a strange, even eerie calm which came over everyone. Even the house refused to make a noise.

The excess tidal wave of fluid was mopped. The children happily slathered Raviolios all over their faces, some even made it into their stomachs. The plumber plumbed. Phyllie finished her sandwich, and I got out the computer and began searching YouTube for Trace.

Brenden then offered the best comment of the day as he ate his lunch. He calmly uttered to no one in particular, "That's why we call her Crazy Grandma." 

"I am going to make myself some lunch. I have not eaten anything yet this morning, and I am a raving bitch. Sorry. Hey, can I get you a soda or something?"

Roger The Plumber pointed to his stomach and said, "Does it look like I have missed many meals? No thanks. You go on ahead and make yourself some lunch. I will just get this job done for you, Ma'am."

I warmed up a bowl of soup, found the song on YouTube, and got it going for inspiration. The children were swabbed for any remnants of spaghetti sauce before being shuttled off to watch their mutually agreed upon video. Phyllie took to her favorite easy chair for her afternoon nap. Snoring quickly ensued.

And I began this post.

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