Last week was a bit of a challenge for me as a single mom. MusicMan was out of town on business from Monday till Friday and I was the parent of two kids, ages 7 and 4.5.
Monday was such a brilliantly calm and obedient day that I made the mistake of assuming that I'd have the entire week come off the same way and I let my guard down.
Waking up an hour earlier than my body is used to to walk a dog that either has to run to the empty lot to empty his colon or wants to take 45 minutes to smell everything on the way tothat empty lot before he empties his bowels can be an adventure in and of itself. Preparing breakfast and lunch for 2 young children, getting their teeth brushed, getting dressed, getting socks and shoes on and hair combed is another adventure - especially when all of that takes place in 45 minutes while I'm still trying to wake up. Did I mention that I am not a particularly jolly morning person and that MusicMan usually takes care of the majority of these items on the agenda?
Wednesday evening, I really wanted to go to our Women's Group meeting at church but we had homework and projects and a mandatory trip to the grocery store (because there was nothing in the fridge/freezer/pantry because we were 2 weeks overdue on a shopping trip). I knew that the world was about to stop rotating on it's axis if we didn't pick up some chocolate syrup (yuck) to add to the plain milk for breakfast - according to Baby Sister. I was trying to catch up on some phone calls after returning from Kroger when I noticed some small black "spots" on Baby Sister's purple shirt.
"What is that on your shirt?" I asked.
"It's mud," she answered rather quickly.
"Where'd you get it from?" I pressed.
"Outside on the trampoline," she answered again.
"Ok. Go take it off and put it on the washer so I can spray it so it'll come clean and get yourself ready to get in the shower" I responded.
I felt confident that I was going to be able to help them get ready for bed (which involves showers and PJ's and teeth and a book) within the next 45 minutes and I'd be back in the office in time to make a few more phone calls - I might be able to pull this single mom thing off after all.
MusicMan phoned for his goodnight kiss about 9:15 and I was happy to report that the kids were already asleep and I'd even managed to go grocery shopping too. I was lamenting how physically tired I was and how my admiration of him was growing by the day on how he managed to keep all of this together while I traveled as much as I do.
"Did you remember to get some chocolate syrup?" he inquired.
"Sure did. Aren't you impressed that I remembered?" I joked.
"I miss you and I love you. You can do it. I know you'll be fine. You are more than half way there and nothing major has happened yet. You're doing fine. I'll talk to you in the morning" and he hung up.
I was walking down the stairs after having checked on the kids. They were out like a light and now I had to decide if I was going to squeeze in some work or just go to bed and rest. My body was exhausted and I was fighting the pollen and how chugged up my head was already. I opted for sleep.
I turned out all the lights as if it were a play that I knew word for word in my sleep, not looking at anything except the inside of my eye lids. I conducted the final check of the evening with the garage and back door lock and even switched the clothes from the washer to the dryer and started that. When I turned on the bedroom light - I just stood there in disbelief.
There, on the floor was this huge spot (like 12 inches in diameter) of some brown, yucky, slimy stuff.
"What the hell is that?" I spurted out loud. I turned to look around to see if someone would answer me, knowing full well that if Rascal were to be the one, I'd probably faint dead on the floor. He was standing right there vomiting on the floor and the stuff coming out his throat was the same consistency as the stuff I was looking at.
"Ok, you ate something that you weren't supposed to eat and now you are sick. Great @@." I remember asking him, "Have you been sick anywhere else in the house?" as I cleaned up the mess. I was thinking to myself, "this is not part of the agreement that I had with MusicMan. He cleans up after the dog, not me." That took about 20 minutes to get the slime cleaned up but the spot wouldn't come up. I'd see about that tomorrow. I still couldn't figure out what it was.
It was then that I decided to go take a quick check in the den to see if there were any other places that needed some attention. When I turned on the overhead light to the den, I stood there as my disbelief expedited into horror.
All over the couch, the love seat and 7 (count them....one, two, three, four, five, six, seven) spots on the floor were brown, streaking paths of something brown....trailing in design, puddles, and streaks. Behind the chair was another puddle of something thicker.....something.....
OMG....it was chocolate syrup.
God.....as I looked around the room and it all became connected in my head....the spots, the smell, the slime, the ....my head was swirling and I felt sick.
Someone had taken the chocolate syrup and squirted it on the furniture and floor and exterior covering of the Bose sound box. Sweet Jesus! The dog had tried to lick it all up and now was vomiting in various places in my house. I called for him and then looked over to the dining room to see him shitting all over the hardwood floor and whining because he couldn't help himself and didn't mean to do it.
After having a momentary meltdown - and I promise it was momentary because I had to move quick for damage control, I proceeded to clean up all the various spots of runny fecal matter, canine vomit and chocolate syrup. I kept thinking about how UN fair this was in light of my recent confidence that this would be an uneventful week with the kids and the house. I thought about what the hell was I going to do with 20 people coming to my house on Saturday morning for Muffins, Mimosas and Makeovers for BeautiControl and what was I going to do about the furniture and the spots/places all on the carpet. Oh, and it was in the bedroom too!
I cleaned up as best I could without vomiting myself. I went to bed at 12:10 am. The dog woke me about every 90 minutes to go outside and help his body rid itself of that chocolate syrup. He drank an entire gallon of water from 2 am till 6 am. My worried turned to him dying and what would I do about that?
Big Sister started her day on Thursday with two spankings. One for lying about what the spots were on her shirt and the second for squirting the chocolate syrup on the furniture and floor and placing Rascal at risk of death by chocolate. Big Brother, in his socially awkward shortcomings was laughing hysterically the entire time. He was understandably nervous and upset over his sister getting the spanking. I had to stop so I wouldn't hurt her. I was so mad. She could have had death by chocolate.
I phoned the carpet service at 10 am after I returned from taking them to school and when they opened their phone lines.
"Lord, please let them be able to help me. Please let these spots come out. Please help me get past this so it doesn't ruin my day. Please let me be done so that I can go conduct the meetings that I'm supposed to do today and meet with the people that I'm supposed to meet with. Please let MusicMan come home soon and please help me to keep ahold of my sanity. Please don't let me cry when they answer the phone.....please....please....."
"Hello, this is Chad. Can I help you?" the voice was firm and professional.
"Chad, this is Dora XXX, you've done some jobs for me before and I have a bit of an emergency that I need help with. My daughter squirted chocolate syrup on my beige carpet and plaid furniture last night, then my dog tried to help by licking it up but proceeded to get sick an all ways in other spots and I have 20 people coming to my house in 48 hours for a party...." I could tell my voice was about to crack.
"Oooohhhh" was all he said.
I just sat there in silence
awaiting the verdict Praying.
"Give me your number and I'll call you right back" he said. All I could do was give him the number. He wasn't going to call me back, was he? I sat in my office and just cried.
Within 5 minutes he called me back to say that he'd have to come within 45 minutes or he wouldn't be able to do that job until after he got off work that night but that he was afraid to leave the syrup/vomit/crap on the floor for any longer. I told him to come on.....realizing that I was so caught off guard and not sure how I was going to be in 3 places at one time but having to do a quick prioritizing of necessities.
"You probably don't see it now but in a few days, you're going to laugh your ass off about all of this and we'll be happy to say that we helped you out real quick. We'll be there in a few minutes. Just stay calm" he tried to reassure me.
I can't tell you how relieved I was to see the main spot come right up with the suction cleaner. Had that not come up, I would have canned the entire job and just had the carpet and furniture removed to the trash. Since it did come up, I instructed them to go ahead and clean it all. The stressed seemed to lift a bit but within the next 5 minutes it literally settled right back on top of me....right into my chest.
I couldn't breathe. I had a full blown.........I need the nebulizer and medicine to work right now or you're gonna have to call an ambulance for me....asthma attack. It was the chemicals in the cleaner and the scotch guard.
Over the next 2 hours, my neighbor saved my life and my house. I was able to get to my inhaler and call her. She helped me get the nebulizer going and then took care of everything else. She managed to see about having my furniture cleaned, the carpet cleaned in the den and in the bedroom, watch the dog and keep taking him out for poops and keeping his water bowl full. I left the house. Once I got to where I could breathe and calmed down, I went to go pick up copies for my meeting, have the baby sitter pick up Little Sister from her preschool and bring her home, and began my meeting....almost on time. Whew!
No where during all of this time was I ever even thinking about laughing.....
I never laughed. Not until this morning, when I was recounting the story to a colleague....and all of a sudden we both just exploded into laughter and I couldn't stop. My eyes were watering and my gut hurt.
Each of those things on their own might have been tolerable but all of them together without the backup of MusicMan was just too much. I guess it's true that one does need to get a bit of space between them and the event before they can see the humor.
It still wasn't funny when it was happening but today I'm far enough out.