I was 2.5 hours late to work yesterday morning.
I took a kid to a doctor’s appointment in the morning. The appointment was a half-hour long and an hour round-trip from home, so part of my delay to work was planned.
Then, just as I was headed out of town for my 22-minute commute to work, my husband called. Whenever a conversation starts with “Where are you?” you know there’s a hovering shoe waiting to drop.
He had locked his keys in his van. Did I have mine? If so, could I bring them to him?
Considering the number of times my husband and other family members have bailed me out of similar situations… car out of gas, keys locked inside, child bleeding profusely from the head because his sister pushed him onto the sharp edge of the car door and needs to go to the hospital for stitches… you know, the usual… I really needed to return the favor graciously.
Unfortunately, I didn’t seem to have my keys to his van with me.
My purse is a black hole of debris. I couldn’t be certain I didn’t have the keys, but I hadn’t seen them for at least 3 weeks. In a fit of courage, I upended the purse on my passenger seat and dug through the refuse. Sure enough, no van keys.
I turned my car around and went home to find my keys, my white horse, and my cute little knight-in-shining-armor number.
After a half hour of hunting, I couldn’t find any of the above.
Instead, while running around the house, I sneezed. Which caused me to simultaneously bite my tongue and pee my pants and trip on a pile of laundry in my room.
Yes, it’s true. I’m that awesome.
After 45 minutes, I called my husband and asked him to rescue himself. He’s clearly better at it and more qualified than I am. He bought a rod (seriously, that’s what he called it) at Home Depot and jimmied himself out of his problem in less than two minutes. Sometimes, you just need a rod.
On my way to work for the second time, I drafted a list on a piece of paper that I unstuck from underneath a McDonald’s happy meal box on my passenger-side floor mat. Don’t worry — I only wrote when I was stopped at red lights. Since all the lights were red on the way to work, I had lots of time to work on my list.
I titled it “How to Not Lose My Poo.” Except I didn’t use the word poo.
On the list: 1) Clean out my purse. 2) Clean out my car. 3) Clean my room.
I started to feel better. I am Hannibal from the A-Team. I love it when a plan comes together. A well-ordered list is but the first step of a well-executed plan. I may not have learned much in my 37 years, but I’ve learned this: I can bitch at my family when we all get home at the end of a terrible, awful, no good, very bad day. Or I can do something productive, dare I say listy, to make it a terrible, awful, very good day.
List in hand, I moved on to execution. I had to figure out how to do three whole list items (items that had been on my mental list for months) while also feeding my family dinner, helping three kids with homework, breaking up fights, and reminding our twin 4-year-olds not to ride our 12-pound dog.
I called my father. I told him that I was about to lose my poo and asked if he could come over to spell me on kid-duties so I could work on a List.
My father is a former Marine. He understands the value of the List. He found his white horse and shining armor and he came over at dinner time.
I cleaned my purse. I cleaned my car. I found my van keys. In my car.
My loving husband found his shining armor and cleaned our room.
My kids did their homework with Papa. The 4-year-olds didn’t ride the dog. The children only put themselves into two or three dangerous situations. My dad cleaned my kitchen.
The laundry room is a much bigger mess than when we started the evening. I’m sure there’s some sort of a mathematical algorithm that shows that when one area of my house is cleaned another area necessarily becomes equally dirty. But I don’t care. Because we did it. We made it through another day. Maybe even in a healthier place than when we started.
It was a terrible, awful, very good day.