In the children’s book by Judith Viorst, Alexander had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. My day wasn’t quite that terrible or horrible or very bad; it was just no-good.
It went something like this:
I roll out of bed and realize I have only a half-hour to wake up my boys, get ready for work, feed boys (and dog), sign homework, pack lunches, find missing soccer socks, take one boy’s temperature, send sick boy to rest on the couch, cover him with a blanket and fill him with medicine, find a bandaid for a boo-boo, drive to school, say “I love yous”, drive back home to finish getting ready, walk to my job, get stuck talking to a Chatty Cathy on the way in the building, and arrive to my office 30 minutes late. I take a deep breath.
Boss says, “We have a lot to do today,” which translates into: “Why are you late? We have way too much to do for you to walk in 30 minutes late and now I’m irritated and need you to know that I’m getting uptight about preparing for our upcoming events.” I smile and tell her it will all be okay, we’ll get it done after I tend to my first task. Coffee. I walk by BossBoss as I’m carrying my coffee pot to fill with water. She ALWAYS sees me making coffee and is convinced I have a serious problem. Thankfully, she laughs as she sees what I’m doing.
After I brew my pot of coffee, Boss says “make sure this gets finished”; I drink a cup of coffee. BossBoss stops by the office and says she needs something in an hour. Lady who is not my boss but works for BossBoss says, “That project we thought was finished is actually not finished.” This is bad news because I hadn’t planned on working any more on that project. Boss overhears our conversation and says, “Sorry, but this other thing is a priority and you need to get this finished now.” I drink more coffee, check e-mail, drink more coffee, start shaking because I had a Pop-tart for breakfast… and too much coffee. I put out minor fires, get to the projects everyone needs, try making copies, “try” being the key word here, as the copier cuts off my paper, blurs my text and leaves lines in the middle of my documents. I sigh. Loudly.
I go back to my desk. Boss asks how the priority project is coming along. I tell her it’s fine but what I really want to do is bang my head against the wall at this point because I’m being pulled like Stretch Armstrong in all directions. I check my e-mail and see that my name was not drawn for the Colts tickets. I pretend I’m happy for the winners. Thankfully there’s food in the workroom so I don’t have to skip lunch like I so often do. Today it’s chips and delicious homemade salsa and vegan cupcakes that, to my surprise, are fabulous.
I go back to my office where the stress level is causing the barometer to rise. I notice I missed a call on my cell phone. It’s my sickly son. I call him back and when I ask if his brothers are home, he tells me that they aren’t allowed to walk home without him. Uh oh. It’s an hour after I should have picked them up. I call the school. They’re in After-Care. I drop what I’m doing and run home, a few blocks away, to get my car and pick them up. I take them home, check on the sick son, and head back to work to finish at least a couple projects. I notice I miss another call on my cell phone. I listen to the voicemail. My fourth son is waiting at school now, since his soccer game is over. Soccer game?! Yes, I was supposed to go to his soccer game! I gather my things, tell my boss I have to leave and hope that staying the extra two hours will appease her at least for now. I run and jump into my car now in the work parking lot. While driving out of the lot, I cut a corner too sharply and drive onto a two-foot high cement curb/wallish thingy. The sound is horrible. I open my door and check for damage. I can’t see any, and I’m late, so I pull away, scraping the bottom of my poor, old Suburban, just praying that I don’t leave the transmission or any other -mission laying in the street.
I pull up to the school to face my sad-looking son. He plays the emotionally-damaged-by-my-ADD-mom’s-craziness part so well. He tells me he scored a goal. I feel even worse. I ask questions. He becomes animated as he recreates the play for me. He forgives me. I buy him Taco Bell. They forget to give him Fire sauce. They always forget, he says. I turn around and get the damn Fire sauce. We go home. Another son has a fever now. I call my children’s father and ask him to get them drugs. He calls in an antibiotic for both sick boys. I drive to CVS. They don’t have the prescription filled. I wait.
When I get home, I step over the clean laundry that has yet to be folded and feel something wet underfoot. The dog has peed on the white uniform shirts. I hate him. I think about bad things. Bad things I could do to the dog. My cell phone rings. It’s my sick son from the couch. He needs water. I get him the water and his medicine. I give my other son his medicine and send everyone to bed.
I try to go to sleep early. I can’t do it. Too much on my mind. From sunrise to sunset, I’ve been on edge. I call a friend. No one answers. I call another friend. No answer there either. I would call another but I can’t take any more rejection. I realize I am lonely. Not just alone, but really lonely. And overwhelmed. Since my husband left, there are days when I feel like I’m drowning under the pressure of parenting, housekeeping, work, and all the other details of life. I feel tears coming on and I really don’t feel like crying. I just want to stay irritated. Angry. Discontented. So I distract myself. I write on my blog about my no-good day. It helps.