An hour in the life

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What does a single mom do when she is presented with an hour in which both of her children are out of the house with Grandma? Well, if she is like me, she frantically puts the groceries away, mindful that precious minutes are slipping away. She bought herself a piece of crumb cake to eat, with some afternoon coffee before her cleansing diet begins tomorrow, and the idea of sitting down with cake and coffee on a Sunday afternoon is like pure heaven. Maybe she’ll even read one of the 12 magazines that has been piling up unread. Of course, putting food in the fridge means weeding out some of the unfortunate pieces of food that didn’t make it: that rock-hard piece of cheese and shriveled up piece of ham at the bottom of the cold cuts drawer and the very sad wilted spinach that never made it into the smoothies we planned to make, along with the kale that is turning yellow. There’s some old, almost-gone mayonnaise that needs to get tossed too, but now the garbage is overflowing. So, she’ll take out the garbage and replace the bag and grab the overflowing plastic bag that is hanging on the doorknob with recyclables and head out to take care of business. There is still plenty of time for that cake if she hurries. After coming back in from trash duty, she remembers the laundry. Luckily, there is a basket in which to empty the dry clothes so that the wet ones can go right in the dryer. She mentally gives herself extra bonus points for remembering to turn the dryer on and then wonders what the hell those bonus points will ever be good for. Points, points, points are all her children seem to respond to, but those chore charts are brutal. She never gets any rewards, just more work. She makes a mental note to try again, though, because it sure would be nice to have some cooperation around here. With the washing machine empty and begging for more clothes, she sprints up the stairs and into one of her sons’ room for his basket. It is super full and she feels her back protest as she lifts it up. Maybe she’ll eat cake with a heating pad on her back. She brings the basket downstairs and begins to load up the machine knowing that it isn’t all going to fit, but shoving it in anyway. What’s the worst that can happen? Oh Jesus, the last thing she needs is for that washing machine to break. Well, she figures, that is what the “super plus” setting is for, right? All the clothes basically fit and she turns it on. Runs up stairs with the full basket of clean clothes and puts it next to the other basket of clean clothes that needs folding. Glances at the pile of magazines that have been piling up for the last month and wonders why she ever thought that she would have time to read those. She feels the urge to pee and wonders if she can hold it because, you know, cake, and if the boys come home before she has had time to eat the cake, they will try to wheedle their way into having her share. But nature calls and when you have had twins, you don’t disregard the call of nature lest you wind up peeing your pants if you happen to sneeze. So, she takes the minute to use the bathroom which then leads to cleaning up the disarray from the morning’s rush out the door to church. And picking up the dirty clothes left from showers. Back into the laundry pile that seems suspiciously large since she literally JUST put the laundry into the washing machine. Are the dirty clothes breeding? A quick glance at the clock tells her that regardless of what the clothes are doing, she needs to sit down and eat that damn cake. So she pours a cup of coffee and says a prayer of gratitude for the person who invented Keurig. Sitting down at the table brings on some anxiety as there are bills and mail and leftover Halloween candy and the empty bags from the shopping trip and the computer; the computer that sits and looks at her and says, “you really should be writing your novel, you know”. She nods at it and takes a bite of the coffee cake. It IS heavenly. The coffee is hot. She is drinking hot coffee! This really doesn’t happen when you have kids. You may take a sip of hot coffee, or two, but the next time you remember your coffee it has gone cold. You’ll drink it anyway, of course, but hot coffee and cake, in relative silence save for the hard-working washing machine, is really where it is at. She sighs and gives in to the lure of the computer. She briefly wonders if she should take a few minutes to lay down and nap. She thinks about sweeping the floor. The cat meows. A car door slams. Time’s up.

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