This year will be different!

Instead of yawning as usual through January, I promise myself that I will change up the seasons! I’m going to snap the ennui,[1] sling the old habits and aim for a goal. I’ll be an achiever, one of the people who reach the end of January more fit, healthier, and perfectly organized!

I’ll hit the ground running with a list of goals and resolutions that will fling me confidently into the coming year with a work-in-progress already in progress.

Dear Me,
In past years, I’ve stretched myself beyond the snapping point during the holidays, and then slacked back throughout January, and I’ve comforted myself with the thought that if one doesn’t feel bad about doing nothing, then it can’t be called depression, can it? T.

Reality Bite: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
[2] Just beware of life's splat factor.

[1] Boredom, the only word I recall from Mr. Jewkes' high school vocabulary class.
[2] American proverb – author unknown.


…lost in translation

I have begun the writing process! Research, compile, outline and then a very strong rewrite! The first three phases are complicated, but I will get it in order—when everything else in my life is in order!

Dear Me,
I will sort and chuck the paper chaos, so that when I die the children can chuck without sorting.

I am excavating all my ancient writings buried in the depths of every computer I’ve owned since the dawn of the techno age. Or I will as soon as I answer the age-old question of how to translate the hieroglyphics from ancient computer language into recognizable English. The process is taking more computer know-how than I know how.

Dear Me,
Only a few more visits from the geeks bearing gifts and soon all of the letters and e-mails that I have written over the years will be readable—a copious font of uselessness. But, on the bright side, I’ll be more tech-savvy, T

I now have a new plan for my life, a higher purpose. I will organize my journals, write a memoir and salvage my pride, all in the guise of writing a book! In addition, I can mark one item off my newly-revised Top Ten To-Do’s-Before-I-Drop-Dead list—#6 “Organize My Personal History.”

After I accomplish this, the next bold project is turning the vintage Apple Mac, Commodore, and PC Jr. into planters!

Reality Bite: Put that on next year’s TD before I DD List.

[1] Homer, sort of. My editor (teen daughter) advises me that a good writer should not underestimate their reader. “Duh, Mom.”


…enchanted plastic

I’m finally lounging alone, all by myself, in front of a roaring fire—an environmentally correct, natural gas fire, (not very warm, nor very roaring) and I’m munching popcorn with my feet up, wrapped in Gram’s afghan. I heave a deep sigh of relief at having bested another day, while I try not to choke on old maids.

My life is perfect except for a slight armpit prickling that interrupts my coziness. I reach up and delve beneath the double layer of shirts and deep in the sleeve next to my skin, I discover my daughter’s library card!

How did it get there? My last memory of it was when it performed the ordinary function, earlier that day at the library.

Although I’m surprised, I’m not amazed. It’s rather small to be so enchanted, but my daughter has been reading fantasy books, so it must be bewitched and I’m bewildered![1]

I have been aware of the magic of plastic cards for some time, but I’m surprised to find that library cards are included. Until now, I had thought that such transformations were only performed by credit cards.

It’s magic how credit cards work. They’re captivating, just flip them out and buy anything. You can get some pretty great things with a flip of the card and a signature.

To me,
The little one is impressed that we can pay with only a toss of a card. For him, credit is incredible! I too, am aghast at the statement at end of the month. It grows magically after I whip it out only once or twice. Poorer, T.

Reality Bite: Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain. A. Weasley

[1] A song title I am unaware of, but the editor insists that credit is due.


…credit casual

I’m casual with credit cards. My financial manager (husband) prefers that I use other people’s money all month, and then he only has to pay one bill and spend one day in gastric disturbance. But I use them so much that I become cavalier.

Credit cards don’t like to be taken for granted. In a vain effort to make me more appreciative, the cards disappear in a myriad of different ways. Their favorite method is evaporation. A credit card can just disappear while traveling from one store to another. Calling after it, like the concerned parent after a wayward child, the store tragically confirms that they do not have it. I then spend the day canceling it. Days later, it’s wonderful to be forgiven and have it reappear in the store’s cash register and hear a clerk’s reassuring, “Don’t stress out! We have your card.”
But it’s too late; the stress is out! The husband has been gone on business, unable to charge until a new card is Discovered.[1]

The husband complains about my card’s perfidy, but if he used his card as often as I use mine, his card would take a break! I know, because his card has done it to me before!

Reality Bite: Tripping in Tahiti, I tell you!

[1] It’s all in the vainglorious name and don’t you forget it!


…credit connoisseur

I shouldn’t worry; as a financial whiz, the husband is a connoisseur of credit and has a plethora of magical cards, most of them with pretty pictures and some with funky holographic designs. Each card functions uniquely and at different levels of interest.[1]

Oh, the magic is not just in credit cards, there are debit cards that remove money automatically from checking. As someone who was once a bookkeeper in the distant past, I’m not even sure how that works. It’s magic!

To me,
Cards tire when they are overused and disappear or they go on strike. We try to use them and are refused. “Your card is declined,” is credit code for “Your card has reclined, on a beach chair in Bora, Bora. Stop using me so much and I’ll again grace you with my power when I return.” Watch and see, T.

When a card is gone I call diligently, every day for the balance, so that I’ll know if the card’s gone on vacation, charging on itself in Tahiti.

And suddenly, it’s back—after a week’s absence, without a note or even a postcard. Quite mysteriously, like the library card, it reappears in a pocket in my purse which I have searched three or four times.

Reality Bite: I am suitably chastened

[1] Don’t even risk an interest in interest!


…credit perception

Dear me,
While delving my inner depths, I’m unearthing all kinds of noxious gas. To release it might be healthy but the cracks and fissures are deep and one never knows what might split off and go flying. It’s not my fault. Just so you know. Whatever comes of this, it is truth, as I see it.

Still tormented T.

I’ve decided that rogue credit cards are also responsible for messing up your credit rating. If they have the ability to get out of your wallet, they must be able to get inside your credit bureau, and what a time they are having there!

On any vagarious whim, the credit card company dials the roulette wheel and calls your balance due and payable. They can increase your interest rate at random for no other reason than you hit the lottery and decided to pay off the running balance of another card. Go figure?

It seems that the credit card companies know more about me than my closest girlfriend and certainly more than I think is safe even for the husband to know. I'm just sure that this is related to the alien plan to invade the world, and Mexico’s plan to wreak our economy.

What I know for certain, is that it does go far to advance my insanity, if they only knew. Oops, now they do.

I’m going to pretend that credit card companies really are a service industry with my best interests at heart, and that ignorance is blissful and not necessarily a bad thing.

Reality Bite: The real worry starts when I begin to believe myself.



I’ve emerged into the light. Nearing the end of a book (writing or sometimes reading one) is like surfacing after a wicked and bitter winter to the pleasantness of spring.

I’m giddy with the potential of new life and I’m discovering a writing voice that echoes my capricious nature and follows every wisp and whimsy. The words just can’t keep up.

My new voice dodges life’s blows and rolls with the punches. The words are a little less bruised and banged up and are a lot less vindictive. I am discovering a new way to relate in a positive and uplifting manner.

To me:
The husband and the father disagree with me, but they do agree with each other that my writing voice echoes with confusion and mirrors my take on reality. T.

I don’t know what is coming next in life—or in this book—and that adds a sort of dodgy uncertainty that could be exciting. I’m playing a sports match and I duck and block the shots from nowhere that would K.O. my plans for each day. Heretofore these blows could have put me down for the count, but now, I’m up for it.

To me,
This book fulfills my narcissistic need to explain how beleaguered souls live in the real world. The husband thinks it may only serve the urge I have to rewind the video and relive the knock-out blow. But for whatever its purpose, the book achieves it.

My hope is that in the end, you will know as well as I do what it is that I’m doing. Hopeless, T.

Reality Bite: Duck at all warning whistles.

[1] Rife with fragrance, aromatic or malodorous.



To myself,
As I sort through the writing pile of life’s offal,
[1] I’ve discovered a profound truth. From rotting peels, stinky leaves, and other reeking decay, aromatic flowers emerge.  This grants me a cautious new hope for my writing.

From our diapered beginning, to our composted endings, we beings on the earth must coexist with smells, many of them of the reeking variety. Bad scents warn me to change the diaper, excavate the teen cave, stir the combustible compost, or eat out tonight.  It’s rare that scents ever warn of anything that requires serious attention.[2] Most of the offenses are fleeting moments of foul air, akin to the threat by the husband to clean the garage and if I withstand a mite longer, the awful stench abates, the scourge subsides and life can be even more pleasant because of it.

My lifelong goal is to convince my children that many worthwhile things in this life have at one time or another reeked: Math, piano and grammar lessons, braces, baths, sports practices of each and every kind and car insurance.  I dart about sprinkling verbal potpourri on this offensive's and endeavoring to defuse the pungent preconceptions. Many of these stinkers will be truly beneficial—later. I like to think that I manage to minimize the initial stink and disguise the nastiest stench.

Dear diary
Writing stinks. It’s so much harder than I ever envisioned. The husband wants to know, “Why then, do you do it? If it’s so bad and it’s so hard, and you are frustrated all the time. Why?” Pshaw, he will never understand. T.

I explain to the teen-age son that mowing the lawn and raking leaves are muscle builders ergo chick magnets.  And to the daughter, I suggest that braces are precursors to an appealing smile and a confident bite.[3] The youngest son believes that vaccinations are an appetizer to ice-cream and the husband is convinced that he is still married to an attractive twenty-something-or-other.

I'm a minimizer of muck and it’s been my experience that prolonged exposure to noxious smells cause our noses and our lives to adjust. While the offender may never become entirely innocuous, I seek to persuade the child that it’s worth sticking it out to reveal the hidden benefit—the veiled life lesson, or just to see if the disgusting odor lessens later on.

Reality Bite: Subtle manipulation is not always evil.

[1] Trust me it’s awful!

[2] Unless it’s the scent of gas – any variety – then exit the premise immediately!

[3] Quoting directly from the ortho literature—should you ever need to confidently bite anyone.


…foul or fair

To me,
But, when the scent is identified as intentionally foul, purposely pungent, then the debate is whether the odor should be ignored and allowed to leach away unaided or whether it will require considerable airing to excavate the stench. What say you? T.

I once entertained the idea that I didn’t know of anyone who was maliciously mean and that if I just jaunt through life, expecting the best of all the people that I meet, that people would rise to my own expectations and I’ll get along fine. I skipped through my days with this happy-go-lucky attitude and SPLAT! It seems I was wrong.

The TV says there are people who are just plain mean and today’s television program offered recommendations to cope with those mean people, including the solution of poisoning a perpetually purloined sack lunch with laxative, so that the evil transgressor would get sick.

Who Does This?  The attitude of the TV correspondent was that we must stand up to malevolence and let the mean person get their just desserts from your stolen dessert. I'm trying to wrap my head around this.

So if, despite your best efforts, something intervenes (like state law or good sense) and your premeditated consequence does not take place, you will, at the very least, have preserved your own dignity and truth to self?  Is That The Plan?

Mystified me,
Whatever happened to taking the moral high road, being civil and seeking resolution that might not maim or injure? Seems I’m the freak for even considering that. T.

I admit that in the past, cockeyed views have slanted my opinion, so to gain a more level outlook, I ran this problem by the neighborhood running group. It works like this:  I broach problems as they dash by and by the time they make it once round, these fleet thinkers usually have their opinion poned.[1] I caught up with them at the corner and they agreed that the idea of retribution was truly skewed, as I dropped dead--out of breath in my driveway.

In the weeks that followed, I was offered many firsthand and prescient[2] opportunities to reconsider and refine my slant on the original expect-the-best theory.[3]

Reality Bite: Beware the world and all its inhabitants!

[1] Expect it to be added to Webster’s any day now. It’s teen for honed and owned.
[2]Freaky, physic or psychotic?
[3] Isn’t God’s method of teaching perfect?



To me,
When one’s sphere of influence is miniscule, one’s tendency is to maximize it. Watch out, T

Just for your information, it's a felony in many cities to park in the street in front of a residential mailbox. The mailman told me this as he rolled his eyes, shook his head and shuddered in disgust at my effrontery as he stepped around my minivan to open the mailbox and shove in a weeks worth of flyers de'jour.

I was parked in front of a friend’s house, where we were next door, helping her neighbor who is dealing with cancer. We were struggling to chop a week's layer of ice off her front drive-way and I’m guessing the mail carrier thought it was my driveway and that I had watched and waited four days until I was certain he was going to drive by and then at zero hour, I slipped my van out of its warm secure haven, and parked it in front of the mailbox to block his access.

I quelled the urge to retort, "I wasn't expecting a mail truck, as I haven't seen my own mail for four days." After all, that would have been petty and scurrilous.

Dear me!
The remark could have followed the mean theme for the week, yet I chose to shock the children more by quelling my tongue, rather than exchanging in a wit of words with the mailman—as he would lose, and a tail-tucked postal carrier is not a pretty sight.
Hugs, T

Instead, I let it go and chose to muse and mutter and use the ice-chopping opportunity to imagine the mail carrier underneath that sheet of ice. Then I imagined me, the postal provocateur standing in line with rapists and murders, in front of the judge answering a felony count of parking in front of a mailbox.

Reality bite: Mean people bite.



When left unchecked, my acerbic mind races unchecked and carries on the diatribe deep within. “Could that law be a little overkill?”

“Would the extra ten seconds and five feet of walking push that carrier irrevocably beyond his job description?”

“Walking should be part of said description, I should think ... along with sleet, hail, rain, and all else in the quote, chiseled on the mail carriers hall of fame building somewhere.”
“If you don't like walking, perhaps mail delivery should not be your career of choice?”

Perhaps it was not his career choice. It does pay well, and that fact in and of itself does tend to draw persons into jobs for which they are otherwise unsuited. And if one is particularly uncomfortable with that aspect of mail delivery—I am referring to walking—one would tend to wonder if one is worthy of the salary for such a highly skilled, though slightly mundane profession.

The musing becomes more spiteful as the ice remained unyielding. I wondered, “…who passes such an absurd law? It's right up there with the whale-hunting in Oklahoma. I can see how such indiscriminate placement of vehicles could be annoying, but everyone has annoyances. After all, it wasn't a lust for joy and happiness that put me outside chipping ice off someone else's drive.

It's work—a task that I have chosen.”

And then I summed it up self-righteously with “And it seems that postal workers are particularly disgruntled and vituperative, which just goes to reinforce the earlier ‘sphere of influence’ quote.”

To me,
My friend, who doesn't have to write things out to feel better commented, "That's the grumpy one, you should meet our other carrier. She's downright mean."

Reality Bite: Maybe it’s in the job description?


…pride goeth

To me,
My daughter’s friend, the debate fiend, coaches me in modifying this harangue and offers that generalizations never work. The remark that links all postal workers together in the mean category—as if the nature of the job makes meanness inherent—is against all the rules.
Gee whiz, T.

Then, wouldn’t you know, there would came a day—two days later—that I needed help from my mail carrier and when that day came, I could only hope that no one with a postal affiliation had forwarded my thoughts in the form of an internote to my postal worker, the identity of whom could have been discovered after a thirty-second address and zip code search.

That was the first thing the husband noted, “Are you not aware of the danger in castigating the service industry? You are asking for spit in your burger and to have your favorite skirt misplaced by the cleaners. “Have you lost your everluvin’ mind?”

For him that question was actually rhetorical, (which is also against all debate rules,) but he did raise a valid question. Should we grant a certain degree of civility to persons who share our planet purely due to the threat of retaliation?[1]

Anyway, back to the personal postal problem: That same week, the teenager daughter had been assisting the neighbor with collecting, sorting and forwarding their mail while they were on an extended vacation and during the ice storm, someone slid into their mailbox and shattered it.
One guess—Yup, it’s a federal offense to deliver mail to any address not expressly stated on the package or envelope without written notification or authorization by the addressee.

Delivery to the front door is verboten once the route has been designated a driving route and … you guessed it, that too is against policy.

I had nearly reached the end of my tether, having already overextended the tensile strength of every stretch of my imagination, when the postal worker released the final shot, “Besides that, I won’t do it because she’s mean.”

To me,
Turns out the neighbor shares my general opinion of the postal industry and has had the nerve to make her views known to the postal supervisor. Oops, T

Reality bite: …which affirms once and for all the length and breadth of the husband’s brilliance.

[1] This is the enlightenment I gain when I spend my time magazine articles from “Applied Ethics,” reading fortuitously placed at my doctor’s office—just a guess that doctors don’t read the magazines from their own waiting rooms.



Today on TV, the focus is again on mean people taking the form of rude sales clerks. It recommends a form of turning the other cheek—by walking away without purchasing anything.

Turns out sales clerks are sick of being unappreciated and tired of customers treating them like automatons and have started acting like machines and the customer is tired of not being granted due consideration and so in turn, treat sales clerks as if they are robots who should work faster and harder and more efficiently.

It’s another form of a never-ending pride cycle working around and around, overtime!

There was no mention on the program of humanizing these individuals, by making an effort on both sides to be less rushed, less curt and make more courteous contact.

Once again, T.V. over estimates the viewer’s mental capacity as they identify the problem, yet fail to offer me any solution.

To me:
In light of a weeks worth of disconnected input on the subject of mean, I’m rethinking my expectation theory that everyone comes up to my own expectations. Hmmm, T.


..nice v. mean

I'm imagining what might have happened if I had apologized to the postal worker with the "rules" of apology: first, said I was sorry, then second, admitted my bad at parking in front of the box.  Third, I could have reaffirmed the problem from his perspective and fourth, promised never to do it again.

Would I have to slink away demoralized, or could I have emerged victorious in having the upper hand?

I thought I would test my theory. I hate visiting the doctor as medical receptionists are idiots who require unnecessary redundant paperwork and then the scheduler is an idiot for whom I have to wait an additional thirty minutes, the nurse is an idiot who can’t understand simple English and doctors are  idiots (medical automatons) who throw pills at problems.

However, I was willing to put nicety to the test and off I went to my di-annual (once a decade) doctor visit to put it to the test.

After complimenting the intake clerk on her earrings, I had such a delightfully lengthy conversation with the scheduling receptionist that I was late for the doctor who was waiting for me in the room. The doctor was so amiable that she convinced me I really did need that eight-year over-due physical and I went right out to my new-found friend, the scheduling secretary and scheduled it!

Throughout the rest of the day, I ran a 3:1 ratio of nice to mean and was feeling heartened in spite of the dental receptionist who ignored me—a potential customer while I stood there in front of her at her desk and waited for her to acknowledge my presence, waiting and waiting twelve minutes and when she finally deigned to notice me, it was with disdain that I didn’t have ready answers to all the insurance questions that she asked and it was obvious that she didn’t feel it was her job to take the time to research this in between solitaire games. Whew!

But in retrospect, I should have admired her earrings and initiated conversation by asking how many solitaire games she’d won in the last half hour.

Conversely, a fast-food employee thanked me for coming and said that he “appreciated my business.”

A video rental clerk forgave my late return with a smile and a “that has happened to me and I work here,” response.

And three boy-scouting volunteers strolled with me patiently through the convoluted paperwork procedures, again and again and again.

All of these experiences combine to make me revise my opinions of mean people and realize that there are a whole lot of put-upon people who are sick and tired of it and my personal expectations need to be placed even higher.

If I would only expect the best… OF ME, they would respond accordingly. Up until now, I have made no effort to see the situation from the other side’s perspective, I have merely redirected my anger into vindictive pride.

To me,
I have been writing with pride in my heart, and that doesn’t make for a healthy soul. I must write to gain resolution, not to increase my anger nor harbor bitterness. Tear it all up and start over, T

Reality Bite: Flashes of inspiration aren’t accidental, but are God's carefully coordinated response to correspond with my current level of learning.



To me
I write essays as therapy and expect my hot air to fill the distasteful bubble and lift the offensive odor away and out of my thoughts.
When I use humor maliciously, ill-will lingers and I’ve succeeded in only deflating myself to the level of the offender. Pew, T

So, I’ve perfected the technique of making something noxious become palatable, and each time I’m successful, I take the opportunity to point out that in most cases, the only change that occurred was in my perspective and attitude.

To me,
Verbal potpourri works well on my faults. I sprinkle it atop all my quirks and inadequacies, and have convinced myself that I have discovered writing’s real purpose—to use humor and laugh at myself and minimize mean, angry, bitter and vindictive. Might be too late, T.

So after this lengthy exercise, I should be able to convince myself to slog through the waist-high muck and shovel the piles of sulfurous words aside.

And on a side note, I can stick with my goal and keep writing this book.

Reality Bite: The adventurer who braves the stench and plods through the repulsive pile just might find the pony.[1] .

[1] Is the metaphor too obscure?


…rabid miscues

While we’re on the subject of imperception, I’d like to state that I’m not really what you think I am, but I’d like to be what I think you think I am. (See, everyone is better off when I don’t think.)

To me,
Socializing is a contest of who can create the greatest misconception of their life. My house is clean, the children spotless and the food magnificent. I now invite total strangers to observe the fairy tale me. If one of them becomes a friend, will they be disappointed to discover the real me? Or will they be relieved?
I guess it depends on how much stock they put in their own delusions. Seeking a true friend, T.

I hate standing tippy-toed at the top of somebody else’s pedestal, because I am the dunce of the dance, and putting me anywhere near the top of anything will guarantee a terrific tumble.

I look around and it seems as if everyone else is dancing effortlessly, on beat and with practiced precision. But later when I collapse in the wings gasping a frantic breather in between scenes, I hear the murmurings of the other performers, and I realize that they too are trying to dance up to another’s expectation.

During any of my life productions, the sidelines are the safest spot to be. Just sit back and enjoy the show because any intervention would just compound the chaos behind the scenes. The husband can’t help and the family can’t mitigate the damage because most of my life is an inadvertent calamity that is certainly not intended to impress anyone.

If I worry less often about what people think, I might realize how often they don’t[1] … or is it how seldom they do?

The degree of difficulty chosen for life’s performance is directly related to the risk of injury and the amount of medication that will be needed to assure an auspicious outcome.

[1] Am I dangling again? Or is it just the participle?


…computer controlled chaos


What excitement a new calendar brings! It’s like eating a pickle. Just thinking about it starts a twinkle at my toes that trickles up my spine, and flutters past the fingertips, escaping through my scalp. At the office products store, I stand here tempted. The shrink-wrapped computer package held reverently in my hands winks to me its infinite potential and a glimmer of hope shines through.

This new calendar is a CCC (a computerized calendar creator) and I feel like my tech buds just may burst! The new year approaches and this newest technology promises that I can “index the insanity,” “direct the deeds” and “catalog the chaos.” An on-line calendar may be just the answer to my organizational conundrum.

The program loads itself without incident, which is in and of itself propitious. My part in the process is minimal and eagerly I click to check the overall calendar for today. I take note of the three activities that pop to the screen, all three have the potential to be conflicts—but they are all carefully confined within their own half-hour time-lines. There are no overlaps or encroachments. Handled carefully with precision, the afternoon’s planned events appear to be achievable.

Then the piano teacher calls. I sense a possible souring of the recipe, but when I access the file and input the changes, the overview assures me that this is a mere touch of soda sprinkled into the vast vat of vinegar.

Next, the carpool leader telephones with a change. Could I please drive? Each of the two half-hour time spaces that this commitment fills are blank, but I sense the increased fizz as I begin my day. I begin by packing everyone a lunch, roust the youngest from bed early, drop him at a neighbor’s to catch the bus, pick up the other six kids, drive them to school, and then zip to my next obligation. Success! This computer calendar is a most effective stabilizer.

Over the years as a professional family activity planner, I’ve had many opportunities to evaluate my failures and I think I’ve identified the bomb that blasts my day to bits.

The volatile variable is the rebellion of inanimate objects around me. Usually it is the keys, but today it is the unruly purse that opted to stay home. I drive home to retrieve the persnickety pocketbook and enroute I notice that the eldest son has surrounded himself with belongings that seem to possess this same trait. Some of his seditious school stuff has escaped onto the depths of the car floor and I debate lassoing it and dragging it back his way, but I resist.

It's a mommy moment: One must always be prepared to enforce consequences! Whatever would he do if this trait should follow him into adulthood?

Reality Bite: When one takes a bubbling mixture and compresses it into a small space, the potential explosion could prove disastrous.



computerized chaos... continued

I make it back to class for the final twenty minutes, and then scarf lunch while I drive to the shelter and hold babies for three joyful hours, drive back and pick up the six car-poolers from school, drop everyone at home, and check the CCC (computerized chaos compartmentalizer) which is beeping an alarm. The screen screamed that I'd forgotten the piano lessons.

With no time to spare, I drop off the eldest son five minutes late, pick up the youngest from school ten minutes late, drop off the youngest at piano fifteen minutes late, rip to the school to pick up the daughter from drivers ed. twenty minutes late, drop her off at piano and pick up the youngest twenty-five minutes late, dash to the library to pick up reference material, get stuck in traffic and pick up the daughter thirty minutes late.

I make it home only long enough to dash in and glare vicious darts at the craven crisis creator. Lacking the time to access it completely, I dredge up an image of the calendar screen in my mind, and mentally scratch through appointments, canceling the sports practices, and then I drive and drop the daughter off twenty minutes early to her vocal music class so I can be on time to the training class for the eldest son’s newest endeavor, (doing a good turn daily).

I return home hours later, but I’m barred from checking the calendar, because the computer is engaged by frantic homework essayists. I don my split personality and race between two different subjects on two different floors of the house, one typing on the cutting edge computer and the other downstairs on the antique—a year-old version. I dash back and forth, up and down and edit the daughter’s persuasive essay on attitude while I examine the son’s view on the historical implications of the oil industry.

Reality Bite: Chem 101: What happens one shakes a compressed volatile mixture?


...final hour

My cretinous computer calendar beeps at midnight. “Congratulations, A New Day Dawns in Scheduled Bliss.”

The children have abandoned me, retired to bed and left me to the whim of their homework specters. I nod off on the desktop, but I am rousted out bright and early at 4:45 by the CCC’s infernal beeping that flashes “Welcome to a Structured Morning.”

I stumble to the bathroom and try to wash off the woodgrain texture imbedded in my face while I perform the early-morning revile, begin breakfast and review the final draft of the essays, only to be told by the daughter (usually up and dressed by 5:00) that she is going back to bed until 6:30. Yeah! I can fix lunches in relative peace!

Beep! “A Happy and Organized Morning to You.” It’s now 7:00 a.m. the screen-filled message interrupts and impedes the eldest daughter as she coaxes the computer to finish editing, emailing and printing the not-grounded-in-any-reality-I-know-of attitude essay. Her school bus cruises past just as she coerces the computer to print.

The elder son has cajoled the ancient computer to edit his own rough draft and print it after a knock -down-drag-out, winner-take-all clash, but if I take the daughter to school, that means the elder son must wake the younger son and the two of them must be dressed, fed and ready when I return. That’s really pushing the envelope, but I haven’t had to ask for a miracle yet this day. And I’m due.

I feel the pressure increase as I wait in a traffic jam, and listen to a news report about some nuts idea of a new bridge that will add even more cars to the sandwiched morning mess on this street. We'll never make it in time and I abandon plan one, and by the seat-of-my-pants improvise plan two.

The daughter calls home and explains the newly revised plan to her brothers. I successfully wing it without the input of any cursed computer curmudgeon, and I wonder if the captious calamity creator could have pulled this one out of its hat?

The revised plan requires sacrifice and involves the eldest forfeiting his seat in the school carpool to oversee the youngest and that means that Mom will have to make a special trip to drive the eldest to school, and the youngest will be forced to accompany us, so strip him from the tub, dry him off and cram a toasted pastry into his hand; I'll pick you up in the driveway and we're off!

That's Life, frantic and fruitful. I'm home now, alone and heaving a sigh. Sitting in front of the computer typing and trying to find any excuse to ignore the intrusive blinking interruption insisting that, “This is the Moment, This is the Day.” And I remember that I really should be sewing the capes for the Jeykle and Hyde production.

I could always go upstairs and add another layer of mud to the never-ending art project previously known as the son’s bedroom... let me enter it into the computer and see what it thinks.

Reality Bite: Moms, not computers know best how to harness chaos.