Shit storm

This is NOT how things work in my world!

 NOT how things work in my world!

It is 3:30 in the afternoon. I am late to pick up Eli from the bus stop and I am literally standing ankle deep in sewage in my bathroom. The toilet continues to vomit out shit like it’s a prop in some kind of horror film and my husband is too busy to come to the phone and tell me how the hell to turn off the water flow so I can stop the excrement from flooding the rest of my house.

Have you ever had one of those moments where you think, “Wow, this is just not how I expected my life to look?” I finally figure out that by pulling the small white handle thingy behind the toilet you can shut off the water flow. But this does nothing to lessen the reality that I am out of towels, covered in shit and watching the steady stream of sewage seep ever closer to my beautiful wood-planked bedroom floors. HELP!!!

I am thoroughly disgusted. Shit is just something that’s hard to move beyond. We talk about life being “shit,” of “shit” storms, crocks of “shit,” holy “shit,” “shit” for brains. It’s like we’re a nation obsessed with “shit.” People wear “shit-eating” grins, they get scared “shitless,” they pontificate about bears “shitting” in the woods. Our culture is full of “shit!” Maybe there’s a metaphor here for me to learn from, a symbolic rationale for why I am mired down in “shit” in the middle of the desert when it’s 113 degrees and there’s no sign of it ever cooling off again, EVER!

We watched this movie the other night on Netflix about a guy who was being tracked by a vicious killer and his dog. The guy was hiding in an out house and the only way to escape capture and death was to climb into the toilet and plunge himself into the sea of waste beneath the house. He immersed himself completely and was able to breathe using an empty toilet paper roll. “Do you think you could ever do that?” I’d asked my husband. “Of course,” He said, “If my life depended on it.”

“I’m not sure I could,” I had proffered. “Even to save my life.” I guess this is my punishment for not recognizing the value of life as compared to a minor bout of revulsion.

Oh well, they say shit happens for a reason. Let’s hope it’s a good one.

Union busting

Please help me! My kids have unionized and taken a strict “no camp” position which they insist is non-negotiable. I, on the other hand, come to the mediation table with an equally undebatable policy that not only demands full-time summer camp, but also promises a complete maternal break-down and subsequent walk-out if my demands are not met.

Bottom line; I do not have the time, capacity or stamina to entertain my children 24-7 for 3 months of summer activities. I have come to believe that there are some women (even perhaps a few men) for whom this would not only be possible, but, dare I say, even enjoyable. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. I’m not even good at entertaining myself for unstructured stretches of time extending beyond 15 minutes. The combination of me and children for days at a time at record temperatures is like a highly combustible mixture of picric acid and sodium hydroxide. Not something you want happening around the house.

My husband has sided with the children. “You can’t force them to go to summer camp,” he admonishes. “Besides, it’s expensive. And you know how it’ll be to fight every day and force them to go against their wills.”

“Yes,” I concede, “It’ll be hell on a daily basis. But, if I were to put it in Dante-esque terms, I’d have to say that the daily tiffs were more like the first circle, while staying at home with them from June through August plunges into the ninth.” My husband stared at me in bewilderment. He’s not a big Alighieri fan.

“They’ll play together,” he proffers with the simplicity Jack the Dullard. “Yeah,” I reply sarcastically, “Until one of them gets mad and hits the other with a croquet mallet. This is a horrible idea.”

“OK, we’ll hire someone,” he concedes, realizing that unless he’s ready to reenact a modern day version of Medea, he’d better start coming up with a Plan B. “We can use the money we would have spent on summer camp to hire sitters and then they can hang out, relax and swim everyday. It’ll be awesome.”

At this point, I am virtually speechless. I do manage to spit out a single intelligible phrase. “They will be bored in three days time.” Then he slams me with the argument I abhor most. “Well, I didn’t go to summer camp and I managed to entertain myself all summer long. They’re kids. They just want to play.” Then to add insult to injury he adds, “You know, summer camp is an option, not a god-given right. You act like every kid is entitled to go to summer camp.”

“No,” I harshly retort, “Every reasonably sane mother is entitled to send her children out of the house for at least six hours a day. I don’t want to end up a gelatinous puddle of tears every day by the time you get home from work. Trust me, this will not make anyone happy.”

To be honest, I am used to getting my way when it comes to family issues. I often rely heavily on the “I’m the mom, and what I say goes” philosophy of family dynamics. But somehow in this case, I’m not feeling up to waging that battle.

So, we’re going for it. The boys and I will be hanging out at the pool this summer. Feel free to stop by…anytime. We’ll just be here…doing nothing…all day…every day. Dear Lord, please help me find some sort of mental sanity, internal patience, and emotional serenity for what I am about to endure. And please take note that I am on the record saying this may be the single most cataclysmic parenting decision we have made to date.