sure I am unhinged, but this is why you heart me, lololz.
My children, as most of you well know, are part of a constant campaign to make me appear to be The Most Unfit And Disorganized Of All The Mothers On The Planet (Ever). In keeping with this theme, Mathias did not wear shoes or a shirt to swim practice last night, and I guess his Nana –who had pick up at house/drop off at pool duties last night– found neither of them imperative to her eight-year-old grandson’s well-being.
And well, as much as I admire and love Roxie, there is this certain sadistic part of her that is distinctly mother-in-lawly, wherein –on the rare now and again– she finds my foibles fodder for the shoring up of her own faltering ego. For instance, right after my
car wreck glorious and heroic slaying o’ the tractor, she thought it would be GREAT, OMG, JUST OH SO GREAT! to plant a mess of azalea bushes outside my front windows at the new house and then biiiiiiiitch to the high heavens a month later when they were dying back a bit because I would not get up off of my crippled ass and go water them. I withstood this about twice, quietly, in order to keep the peace, before enough of the Vicodin wore off for me to grow sufficiently annoyed.
“ROXIE!” I yelled through the picture windows, where she passive-aggressively huffed and puffed, “IF I CAN’T WORK OUT THE HAVING OF SEX WITH YOUR SON JUST YET, I’M NOT REAL INCLINED TO WORK OUT THE MECHANICS OF HAULING MY ASS AROUND THOSE BUSHES TO GET THEM WATERRRRRRRED!”
Don’t fuck with me. But most importantly, don’t fuck with me just as the Goofenthals are wearing off, capiche?
Then there was the obligatory yelling at Maxim to ‘Oh my GOD, could you please CONTAIN YOUR FAMILY, because they TALK TO ME IN A FASHION that I’d never in a million years allow MY FAMILY TO ADDRESS YOU.’ All this while Memaw Ruby looked on, inwardly amused. (That woman quietly adores contention, because she can blow it up and tell a story like nobody’s business. She has me licked in that department four ways to Sunday.) I can count the times on one hand that I’ve actively yelled at Maxim in our nine years of marriage (I fully get a pass on that one time just after the wreck, because the pain was sudden and unbearable, oh shit was it ever); I know you find that massively hard to believe, but it’s altogether true.
So, Mathias: I arrived to pick him up from swim practice only to find that there were only swim trunks and an overlarge, overexpensive orange beach towel resplendent with dancing yellow suns to adorn his skinny, broad-shouldered, drowned-rat self. And me with an impending trip to Hell(Wal)Mart for dinner goods.
I don’t know why I lack the basic skills for meal planning that I once had: I used to be überhousewife, with the neatly-clipped and -organized coupon pocketbook, the two-week menu, the accompanying grocery list cleverly broken down into precise categories. This was before that I wised up and decided that stomping through mudpuddles and dancing wildly to numetal were altogether more satisfying than hotrollered hair and scissored bits of paper enticing me to BUY TWO AND SAVE SEVENTY-FIVE CENTS. Please, people, give me teh credicks! I made an earnest and genuine stab and the whole Donna Reed thing, carrying it off for a good long while before screaming, “OH SHIT, FUCK THIIIIIIS!” and leaving a trail of coupon leaflets in my wake.
So, I no longer possess that particular skillset, having made the conscious decision long ago to Fuck That Noise, because time was a-wastin’. This means I spend an inordinate, disorganized amount of samesaid time phoning the children so they can reconnoiter the pantry situation for mommy and help me make a brief list on the fly. Then I zoom to, through and from whichever market is directly in my trajectory at the time. Wal-Mart won last night because I also needed some shea butter (an essential part of my beauty regimen, if you at all give a crap about things like my feet looking satin-smooth and feeling baby-soft year ’round….AND I *KNOW* YOU DO) and some of those cotton rounds. And some shoelaces; newish puppy, remember? She has been re-assigned to another Primary Owner (from Piper to Scout, and we all saw it coming), re-monikered ‘Ellie’ (which everyone likes better) and is in her obnoxious clumsy, chewing-on-EVERYthing stage. To include, oh woe is me, the gorgeous Eames-style wool rug. I threatened her with various Puppy Tortures over that one.
Mathias lapped up our one-on-one time greedily, beating my eardrums with in-depth descriptions of various Bionicles and their stellar abilities, as well as flooding me with Big Important Questions like “Do you know how to stop time, mom?” I wanted to say, Well, of course I do, son, and it is this easy: Shout the word ‘fuck’ as loudly and gregariously as possible in the middle of a Baptist church during Sunday morning services, but I fortunately have a smidgen of impulse control to rein me in enough so as to render me somewhat passable in the respectable mothering department.
We navigated the store swiftly, safely and without incident; it was in the checkout line that it happened. As Mathias stood, stunning and orange-draped, next to me I leaned lightly on the buggy, one foot resting on its metal base and flicked my eyes around distractedly. Waiting in checkout lines just kills me, All Ye Muffinasses, because I can think of a thousand things I could be doing with my time but I don’t have them readily at my disposal. I hate –nearly more than anything else– missing an opportunity to multitask.
So I stood there, sweeping the store with my eyes and all of the sudden they snagged on something, my brain yelling, “Whoaaaa, back up!” A dude. A pretty hot dude, I thought, but he was still a good fifty yards off and weaving in and out of people. I casually checked him out in a slick fashion (eyes on him, eyes away, eyes on him, eyes away) as he neared me, and confirmed that yessir, though he was a titch shorter than I generally liked them, he was dark-haired, dark-skinned and fit. Pretty, though I was only catching part of his profile. Looked away again, he was getting closer and who wants to be obvious?
I felt him near enough to pull a good eyeful off of, so I casually looked around again and when my eyes caught sight of his companion, whom he was directing his attentions to, they locked on to her and my guts recoiled. The girl was my own Scout, and she was striding through Wal-Mart with her father. I quickly grinned at her, barely flicking my gaze over Biff, doing that dead-eye thing to him that he so despises. I goosed Scouty as she glided by, she and Mathias blew exaggerated kisses at one another and they were past us, heading toward the deli section.
Sweet Mother Of Christmas Pete, all you various and sundry readers, I checked out and mildly lusted my ex-husband. Even though I covered and recovered nicely, you cannot IN A MILLION AND TWO YEARS imagine the horror this evokes in me.