Christmas week--and I somehow expected a more relaxed schedule. The daycare baby isn't coming this week. No school. But my husband ran off to work earlier than usual, but not before pointing out that the carpet in the bathroom (yes, I said "carpet"--the people who owned this house before us were idiots) was soaked. The toilet overflowed. I used every available towel to soak up the wetness. The toilet looked fine, but I made a mental note to bring up the plunger later to make sure. There was no time to shower, so I didn't. I just pulled on sweat pants and a t-shirt and figured no one would see me but kids.
Of course, I had agreed to watch my nephew (age 6) and neice (age 9) for 36 hours and my brother-in-law was the first to view me in all my unshowered glory when they arrived at 9:40 a.m.
The loud morning flew by and suddenly it was lunch-time for six kids. All was calm, all was bright. Well, not really. It was foggy all day. After Babygirl took a nap in my arms, I thought that I could figure out a craft project for the kids to do so they could stop wandering the house, shouting and banging doors.
The phone rang. Could I please proofread the church newsletter? Certainly. The phone rang. Could Al come over within an hour and fix the leaking kitchen sprayer hose? Certainly.
Then I looked around. My house looked like there had been an explosion in a Goodwill store. Kids' stuff was strewn about like breadcrumbs leading back to home. Kitchen rags sat in wet lumps all over the crumb-y floor. (Babygirle takes them and abandons them all day.) The toy box seemed to have erupted. Dirty dishes filled half the sink.
I sprang into action, holding Babygirl on my left hip. I emptied the dishwasher, filled the dishwasher, swept the floor, put things away, washed the kitchen table, gathered all the dishrags--basically worked up a good sweat. Unfortunately, I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror and marched upstairs to turn on a curling iron. How optimistic I was that straightening my bangs would make some difference!
Then Paige, the newsletter editor arrived, with her one-year old baby in tow. I welcomed her in and then proceeded to mop while she stood in my kitchen. Just moments before I had washed the cabinet doors. I never notice the spots until I imagine someone else looking.
Paige and I sat with our babies, visiting--me acutely aware of my wild hair and sweaty face--until the doorbell rang.
Here is Al, coming to fix my sink--he wears a Santa hat and brings two of his kids, also wearing Santa hats.
While Al's on his back under my sink, we visit, until suddenly, my neice comes running down the stairs, stricken look on her face. "Aunt Mel, I used the bathroom upstairs and. . . " I shriek, "AND YOU FLUSHED THE TOILET! OH!! NO!!" I race upstairs to see water gushing over the rim of the toilet, soaking the carpet again. All the towels I used earlier are in the washing machine. I shout to the kids watching, "GO IN THE OTHER BATHROOM! GRAB TOWELS!" They run off and I twist off the water at the source.
The kids bring towels and I begin the soaking-up-the-water dance that I perfected earlier. I spread out a towel and then stomp on it with my slippered feet. Babygirl soon joins the fun, stomping, too.
Fortunately, I haven't put away clean laundry in a day or two, so I find a good supply of towels in the adjoining bedroom.
I return downstairs to find Al finishing up the plumbing job. I am so grateful that I can now run my kitchen faucet full-speed without flooding the floor.
Al leaves. I spend time doing laundry, putting away clothes, taking huge baskets of dirty clothes downstairs. I order Dominos Pizza for dinner. A neighbor rings the bell and gives me a large package that was mistakenly delivered next door. Babygirl watches in amazement as I pull a play vacuum from the box--for her! A gift from a friend in Georgia! The kids eat pizza. I order a television and Nintendo break for the kids, so they begin a game of hide-and-seek. Then, I hear the Big Crash.
That crash was the shattering of a full-length mirror that my mother abandoned behind the door in the storage room. No one is hurt, but I have a big mess to clean up.
This is why I wonder--does this mean I have seven more years of bad luck? Will my toilet continue to flood twice a day? Will the toy box keep exploding? Will the children pee on the toilet seat every single day?
I'm almost too tired to find out.