Greg’s been away for 4 days so far, and already my loving husband’s absence has shed a bright and glaring light on my patheticness.
Just you shush, Spellcheck. Patheticness is totally a word. And believe me, Spellcheck, when I tell you that you do not want to argue with me right now. I’m single parenting 5 kids. I didn’t have time to finish going potty this morning. And I’m seriously considering sending very expensive flowers to my old friend, The Shower, because I miss her and I really want her to be part of my life again. So you’ll understand that I’m not in the mood for your red, squiggly whining and your ongoing penchant for being right. It’s not endearing; it’s just irritating.
(I’m sorry the rest of you had to see that.)
Before Greg departed on his epic adventure into the wilds of Utah, I would’ve told you that I’m a self-sufficient woman. I’m strong. I’m capable. And I’m definitely not waiting around, damsel-in-distress style, for my man to take care of all the manly man chores. I mean, come on. I can wipe a runny nose, slice an apple, make a casserole, kick the oven closed, harness the dog, and remind my 5th grader that he will talk to me respectfully… all at the same time.
So it stands to reason that I also know how to operate our mailbox, our toilet and our telephone answering machine. Those are, after all, common conveniences of the modern world. No one I know in America doesn’t know how to use those. (Yes, yes. I know that was terrible sentence structure. I should correct the double negatives and make it read, “Everyone I know in America knows how to use those.” But I’m tired. Hang in there. I’m doing my best.)
You can see right where this post is headed, thanks to my heavy and obvious use of foreshadowing. (Middle school literature teachers, feel free to use this in your lesson planning.) Nevertheless, I persevere with all of the minutia, because that’s the way I roll.
One of my children is a freak of pooping nature. For obvious reasons, like the fact that I one day would like my children to visit me in my nursing home, I can’t reveal which child specifically. But, I will say that the sheer girth of this child’s end product astounds me. You think I’m exaggerating, but I respond, resoundingly, “Am not.”
It’s like the child is able to dislodge a baseball from a hole the size of a blackberry. An actual, fully spherical baseball. As in, if this child ever managed to swallow a baseball, I would not have to take an emergency trip to the hospital; we would be able to wait out its passing at home, and it would be entirely uneventful.
Post-poop, I have actually, more than once, made guests walk with me to the toilet to take a gander. (Just makes you itch for an invitation to my house, doesn’t it?) Because these masses are a Wonder of the World. And I’d feel terrible if someone missed a Wonder of the World just because I was being squeamish or, you know, socially appropriate.
And the only one more astonished than me by these perfect poos’ perpetually enormous circumference … is our toilet.
Our poor toilet.
If she was a person, I’d write her a letter of apology for forcing her, time and again, to binge beyond her capacity. Of course, she does find a way to protest. Like a toddler being offered pureed spinach, she clamps her jaws tight and refuses to participate in the madness. And then Greg regularly must convince her to take it in smaller bites. Greg is the Enforcer, and a Stick and the Plunger are his right-hand men.
Unfortunately for me, Greg’s away right now.
Let’s just say that the toilet and I had a classic clash of ideology last night.
Me: You are a toilet. This is your job. I will use this Plunger, and I am not kidding. Any of these children whose hineys you see every day will tell you that I mean business. Don’t make me do it.
Toilet: Prove it!
And then I did. And it was as awful as I imagined.
How hard is it to a) walk to the mailbox, b) open the box, and c) retrieve the mail?
I accomplished task “a!” Go, me!
Sadly, task “b” was a dismal failure. I can’t open the @#$% mailbox, ‘cause — guess what? — it needs a key.
Greg knows that the mailbox needs a key. You know why? Because Greg is not pathetic. Well, and, technically, because he has a mailbox key. Which he probably told me before he left. In fact, I’ll bet it was right around the same time that he noted where I could find said key. Which is only a vague memory because, seriously, why would I need to listen to a long explanation on how to open the mailbox? It’s just a mailbox. How hard can it be?
Our Answering Machine
The light on our answering machine has been blinking since Monday.
I insisted several years (note the word years) ago, during the tide of cultural change to cell phones, that we maintain a telephone landline. I didn’t want to rely on babysitters to have their own cell phones, and I wanted to be sure we owned a phone we could actually find in an emergency. (FYI, we can never find the landline phone, so that was a remarkable success.)
For years (did you see that?… years, I tell you…), we’ve kept the landline and the accompanying answering machine. For years, we’ve maintained a home phone number. For years, people have left us messages. For years (!), we’ve heard and responded to those messages.
On Monday, someone called our home number and left a message on the machine.
On Tuesday, someone called our home number and left a message on the machine.
On Wednesday, someone called our home number and left a message on the machine.
Today, someone will probably call our home number and leave a message on the machine.
I know neither who called nor the subject of the call. Because I have no earthly idea how to check our answering machine messages, and I have no choice but to now acknowledge that I apparently haven’t been able to do this FOR YEARS.
My children could be in trouble at school. I wouldn’t know.
My annual exam lab results could be back. I wouldn’t know.
Someone could have died. I would have no idea.
In conclusion, my husband’s wife is pathetic.
It’s not pretty. It’s just true.