I over-schedule. I want to do everything and be everything when I grow up. I want to grow my own food and bake bread and make my home a haven of educational bliss, moral perfection and impeccable scrabble playing. I want to have it all. So I plan and I scheme and carefully stagger all kinds of activities and then spend my life flying from one thing to the next until the kids beg for mercy in the form of flopping like a dead fish on the floor of the grocery store and alternately laughing and bawling for CANDY FWEEZE!!!!
Every once in a while the elements of my life combine in just the right way to create a perfect storm of domestic insanity. The latest in this series of “WHAT THE SUGAR IS MY PROBLEM?” moments came last Thursday and nobody’s heard a lot from me since.
Thursday is bread making day. I do not plant the wheat but I do buy it in impossibly large white buckets, let it sit in my garage for years, finally learn how to use my wheat grinder, grind it, and make my own bread. It saves money. It tastes scrumptious thanks to Sarah’s recipe. It makes me feel cool when I say, “I make my own bread,” because bread preference comes up so often in conversation.
At this point I make 4 loaves of bread each week, giving one away so that “I make my own bread” can come up in casual conversation and keep the other three so “PEANUT BUTTER SAMMMMMMITCH FWEEZE!!!” will be able to get the response it so richly deserves. All day Thursday, I’m working on the bread.
Well, a woman from church was ordering a bunch of peaches direct from a grower and asked if anyone wanted to buy some at a discount. Eve convinced me that canning peaches would be the Best Thing Ever so I put in my order and we waited. TA-DA! The peaches arrived on Wednesday, with about one day of life left on them before they would need to be canned immediately.
“No problem,” I thought, “I’ll be home all day making bread anyway. I can throw some peaches in that canner thingy while the bread’s rising. It will be perfect. I even have a book that will teach me how. Oh, and I’m also hosting a Mary Kay extravaganza for Stephanie that night so I can work on the hors d’oeuvres and desserts while the peaches are boiling.”
The book was obviously written for someone who is literate and likes to read for hours and hours in ecstatic anticipation while they watch their glorious fruit ripen, not someone who wants a quick how-to she can read while stirring the cheesecake batter as the bread kneads in the Kitchen-Aid. I tried to skim-read and pump Stephanie and Heather for information as I scraped the skin off the peaches and tried to remember what dad-gum-awful peach chores I did with my mom when I was a kid and she asked me to “do this please” and “do that please” as she created blue ribbon peaches fit for the fair.
My peaches would not win any prizes at the fair. They are brownish and sort of hairy and Laylee has sworn never to eat them. I made the last batch into peach “sauce” by taking out my aggression and smashing any peaches that were left in my kitchen to a pulp and throwing them in jars. It’s actually quite lovely.
The bread which I decided to take a risk on and make 100% whole wheat looked good but tasted nasty. The cheesecake took a tumble. The goat cheese frittata triangles were cold by the time we ate them and my stove looks like I covered it with corn syrup and then fire-blasted it with a blowtorch. My makeup, however, looked ultimate and I got a big enough discount to feel justified buying $50 worth of skin care products I probably didn’t need but would certainly enjoy.
I continued to can peaches all day the next day with Eve, went to a couple of doctor’s appointments, cleared junk out of several rooms in my house for the neighborhood garage sale I’d organized for the next day and hopped back and forth on my feet trying to rest them one at a time. Our 5 kids ran crazy like a pack of ravenous attention-starved wolves. My floors became so sticky I couldn’t hop on them anymore.
At about 9pm on Friday night we had finished all the peaches but I hadn’t hung a single sign or priced a single piece of cheap junk for the garage sale the following morning. I had no change to hand to prospective buyers who planned to hand me a $50 bill in exchange for my used toothbrush and $49.87 in change. I had not an ounce of brainpower or bodily energy left so I called off the garage sale.
My neighbor had recently told me she was worried about me. Every time she talks to me I have a new project in the works, a new hobby or responsibility. Every time she looks out her window I’m either leaving, running in the door or stopping home for 30 seconds to change clothes or pick something up on my way to the next thing. She said something that really struck me, “If your life is crammed full of so many things, you won’t have time to enjoy any of them, even if they’re all things you really love doing.”
In the end, I’d rather eat WonderBread and peaches from Costco if I’m gonna drive myself nuts in my need to say, “I MAKE MY OWN DANG STINKIN’ WHEAT BREAD!!!”
She was right. So I stayed home all day Saturday with no garage sale, slept in late, had some special time with Dan and the kids, didn’t work, didn’t clean, hired a babysitter and went on a date. It was fabulous and I felt so renewed. We had friends over for dinner Sunday and then Monday morning I headed down to Boise with the kids to “help” my friend who’s just given birth to twin boys. She already has a 2 and a 4-year-old boy. I love being with her and her totally sweet kids. I just hope I can be more help than trouble.
I thought there was a lot of truth in Jessica’s post the other day, when she talked about how sometimes things run more smoothly without all the help, regardless of how helpful you think it is.
I’m here for a week and I’m helping around the house while taking a mini-vacation and bringing baby hunger to all new levels. Dan is holding down the fort in Washington, working a bazillion hours from home and at the office. Hopefully I’ll be fresher and more Daring when I get back, with an all new minty taste.
Do you need anything from Wal Mart? They have plenty of those here… and cheap produce… and babies.