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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Stress induced shortage

I eventually sequence everyone into their car seats and safety belts. I have the distinct feeling that I am in marathon mode and remind myself to breathe. Some twit has fiddled with the rear view mirror, so I adjust it and then glare at my children, as I try to assess guilt. They sit in a line behind the driver seat, a picture of innocence, but I know the truth. I resolve to be miffed later and turn the key in the ignition. We ignite and erupt in screams, me from surprise, they from some unknown cause. There are words amongst the screams but I am unable to decipher them. Arms appear to flail but on closer inspection appear to be pointing. I check the direction.

That darned cat! I’ve a good mind to run him over, but I suspect that kind of negative reinforcement might be permanent. I hop out of the car to chase the cat. I fail to catch him, as I knew I would, because everything in my life is completely predictable. I already know that I am not a cat catcher.

I plop back into the car and start again. I try not to think how many ‘starts’ and ‘agains’ remain lurking. I reverse gently out of the garage and notice immediately that some nitwit has been twiddling with the rear view mirror. I correct it and stab a mosquito on the windscreen with my finger. The tip of my finger now has a dismembered insect and a spot of blood on it. I suspect that the blood was originally mine. I feel considerably better in view of my one woman campaign to defy West Nile Fever. I hold the steering wheel, but keep one contaminated finger rigid, as I have nothing to wipe it on. I pull into the road. I decide to be grumpy later.

Wednesdays have always been tough for us. It’s a short day at school but that provides us with the opportunity for a double dose of therapy, double time. Both boys have an hour of occupational therapy, followed by an hour of speech therapy. It’s hard work for them, but the transitions that accompany these sessions, in and out of the car, drive everyone to distraction.

I drive along the freeway at 73 mph in the commuter lane, at the same exact speed as everyone else. My nose starts to itch, and pins and needles prick at the memory of jaw surgery. I have the distinct impression that I have a runny nose. I check. As usual, this is a figment of the bad wiring of nerves. As punishment for believing the nerves, I now have mangled mosquito parts and foreign blood on my nose. I refuse to check the vanity mirror for fear of causing a fatal car accident. I plead for improvement of nerves, nerve endings and nervousness.

I settle back into the drivers seat, physically if not mentally. Some vandal has averted my view by tilting the rear view mirror, again! How did that happen? Did I bash it myself during the mosquito debacle? I feel a little weary, but decide to be cross later.

Even though everyone used the bathroom before we left home, on arrival at therapy, there is a mass demand for toilet privileges. We sequence. Whilst in the bathroom I remember to remove the dead body and blood from my nose before we meet any adult people.

The boys enter the denizens of the deep, leaving me and my daughter to struggle with the first leg of her homework, in the waiting room. We lay out several tonnes of supplies and begin the first of 6 worksheets. The first one is on the subject of revising time and distance, which I find vaguely disconcerting for some unfathomable reason.

All too soon the boys are jettisoned from therapy back into the waiting room. After a brief discussion, conducted over and above the noise of the boys, we leave. They run around the parking lot like demented chickens as I failed to grab the appropriate number of hands upon departure. I round up the herd and their loud protests regarding the outrageous schedule. I am inclined to agree with them, but pay no heed.

Soon we are all back in the car and heading off to our next destination. Once again, I find that some hooligan has hit the rear view mirror. I feel a little tired, but decide take my anger out on something benign, later.

At speech therapy, a place that we have visited for the last four consecutive years, everyone needs the bathroom but is unable to locate it’s whereabouts, even though we have visited the bathroom at least twice a week for those same last four consecutive years. I try and recall if I have replaced the emergency set of clothing in the car in case of accidents. I suspect that I have accidentally forgotten to replace them after the accident yesterday.

I whisk them all into the women’s bathroom and hope that there is no-one else in there that might cause a distraction. I am unconcerned about other women’s privacy issues as my sons peek under the stall wall to chat. I am concerned that every minute we waste in the bathroom, remains a billable minute as far as the waiting therapists are concerned.

I deliver the boys, breathlessly to their respective speech therapist and start the second worksheet of homework with my daughter. The first question is ‘define the following words – inference.’ I gulp as she pulls a face. She may not know the definition, aged 9, but she knows and recognizes them without effort. We plod onwards and upwards.

The pathologists brief us briefly, over the din of my wailing children. “Time to go home now,” I sing at a pitch and tone guaranteed to penetrate. The wailing increases in volume. The inference is clear – get in the car and home, your most desired objective, will be achieved. One collapses on the floor and the other one hares off into the distant yonder. Once again, I have forgotten to take a firm grip on two hands before making an announcement, with guaranteed results.

Eventually we drive home, arrive home and finish up our day.

Dawn breaks.

In the morning, after everyone has gone to school, I skip out into the garage to begin my daily errands. I take my position behind the steering wheel. Some moron has moved the mirror, again!

I am so full of energy that I cannot imagine who in their right mind would be so disposed to keep torturing me like this? Some blithering idiot? It must have been spouse, probably yesterday. Did he borrow the car? I think hard. Blank. No, he definitely didn’t. It is closely aligned for the sight line of a very small driver. That driver must be about three foot tall. I can think of lots of three foot people who might be responsible. I sit up straight, a ram rod in my own car and move the rear view mirror slowly up and down. I let my body slither down in the seat.

I have no other choice than to accept the truth, that it is me! I am the grumpy tired moron that gradually sinks, withers and shrinks during the average 24 hour day. I decide not to blither idiotically any longer than is strictly necessary.

There's a new post up on my "Other Life."


Anonymous said...

You have a right to be stressed. Dealing with what you have to is enough to stress Mother Teresa.

Crystal xx

Anonymous said...

Meant to say, I love the picture.

Anne said...

I have often noticed I'm a lot shorter going home from work than going to; always have to check the mirror.

Anonymous said...

Just make sure you keep your car keys well hidden, so your little wannabe drivers don't mess up anything more than the mirror!

I was totally paranoid about never leaving the keys in the car, or anywhere in plain sight, when my kids were little.

Thankfully, the worst thing my kids ever did car-wise was get into a Cheetos food fight in a rental car, and the guy at the rental company was nice enough not to charge me extra for the cleanup. It was a long time before I bought any more Cheetos!

Bonnie said...

I notice I seem to shrink throughout the day too. Good job hearding the chickens.

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