Monday, April 6, 2009


My husband surprised me in the middle of last Friday afternoon with the announcement that he had invited 15 people over for the Saturday night Final Four basketball game.

I'd been gone all day on Friday and would probably be busy and gone from the house until 8 p.m. that night. The next day involved each of the three kids needing to be carted to and picked up from three different activities, and my older daughter needing to be carted to and from work later that day. In addition, not being an exceedingly neat family even on the best of days, given the "hec-tosity" of that day, the house was TER-ASHED. Not just trashed, it was TERRR-AAAASHED. But 15 people, plus two babies and two dogs, were coming over for a party on Saturday night.

So he makes this momentous announcement, gives me a kiss, and then heads out to meet the guys for a little Friday night socializing.

In my long and uneventful life, I have been called "unflappable." Had to look it up the first time it was applied to me, but it generally fits. I'm the even-keel, unexcitable sort. No one has ever saddled me with the label of "great personality" either. But I tell you today, I got "flapped" over this. To my credit, it was a very calm flap, but a deep, unequivocal flap nonetheless.

So unlike me was this feeling of upset, that it took a while to register. He had met me where I was attending a homeschool event to pick up his phone which he had accidentally left home that day. He took the phone, relayed his news, gave me a kiss, was on his way, and I returned to my business without missing a beat. I am very committed to my even-keel ways. I resist excitement of any sort.

Have you ever seen those little capsules they sell in the toy departments that kids put in water. Slowly the gelatin covering dissolves and the thing inside begins to grow bigger and bigger until over the course of hours (or days) it becomes this gargantuan thing, usually a dinosaur or some sort of ferocious animal -- never, actually, anything sweet and gentle, like a flower or a kitten.

Well, I think I swallowed one of those capsules.

As I went back to my hobnobbing with the other homeschool moms, I felt a little niggling pressure working its way inside. When I got home, I was depressed and concerned, but not overwrought. By the time I got my son to his baseball practice, that dinosaur capsule was full-grown and stampeding.

I called my husband to allay the rising panic. He needed to get home so we could start working! No answer. Called again...and again. I texted. And texted again, a little more forceful in my choice of words this time. In the end I announced that I was packing up the kids and taking them to our favorite indoor waterpark, 5 hours away, for the weekend. He was on his own for everything. That got a response.

When he did finally call, he was very consoling. Don't worry, he said. I'll take care of everything, he said. Then he wondered if I thought 24 pieces of chicken would be enough for 20 people. And should he buy some paper plates while he was at the store?

Well, I hate to drag you through the miry details, but we do deserve some accolades. Along with two baseball practices, dance classes and the ACT test... The Christmas lights came down, the garage was cleaned, the deck was swept and parts of it scrubbed, and the bushes got raked of stuff that should've been raked up two years ago. The hot tub got super-chlorinated. The house got picked up and organized, floors vacuumed and Swiffered, bathrooms cleaned, and counters that hadn't seen sunlight in months got decluttered. Our grimy upholstered kitchen chairs had their upholstery cleaned and the downstairs windows got washed. A couple broken screens were either fixed or taken down. In addition, we figured out what to serve (more than 24 pieces of chicken, thank you), bought the food and drinks, prepared the food and decorated in our team's colors. And last but not least, I even got myself showered and dressed before our guests arrived.

The party was a smashing success! Our team won, our guests had a great time, stayed late and went home happy.

But I am pooped. It's two days later now, and I'm still pooped. Will I ever recover? I just can't get un-tired. Hubby doesn't get that, and I'm sorry for him because I haven't been the best company in the past couple days. I all but booted him out of the house this morning in an urgent attempt to get a little time ALONE. Something in me needs to be replenished that only gets replenished with quiet and solitude, with people not trying to engage me in anything.

And in answer to that need I have four bouncy neighborhood girls spending the night to celebrate their Easter break. Maybe I'll join a convent.

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