1/2/11

Don’t you see, don’t you see – that the charade is over?

Today was going to be the big day, the one when I told you about my wonderful new idea for a project for my writing this year and direct you to a new address where you could find this new thing already in progress, but then I got up this morning and decided instead that it would be a good day to try boiling an egg in the microwave. Epic fail, as my eleven year old is so fond of saying these days. The egg exploded inside the Pyrex filled with water, knocking said Pyrex over and busting the microwave door open all while blowing a fuse. This led to a big, wet, stinky mess! My husband and I mainly laughed about it but I did feel rather stupid. After we got the mess cleaned up, which involved moving the cabinet the microwave sits on and scrubbing the egg juice out of the corner behind it, we reset the fuse so we could see if the microwave was still working. It seemed it was, until you opened the door and it continued making the noise and turning the glass plate just as if it were still cooking. It was rather scary to think about letting radioactive waves freely escape into the air of our home, so we unplugged it and called to see if John’s parents had a spare.

After all that, I took a shower and when I got out everyone was hungry for lunch so we had to warm up leftovers the old fashioned way. I really thought we were handling this all in good humor, but every now and then a temper would flare and all along I was thinking, “When am I ever going to get time to sit down and put this post out there? It is New Year’s after all and this is my new thing and I have to tell people and get started.” When I finally whined about it to my husband he told me to leave and go write. It was a nice thing for him to do, and I stalled a little because I felt guilty for leaving him with the kids and of course Benji woke up right before I left.

I was gone for about two hours and when I got home John had taken our bed apart. We’ve had problems with this bed for a few months now, but today was the day we discovered two out of the three slats were broken in two, so if we wanted a place to sleep tonight, we needed to go to Lowe’s. By now it was dinner time so we packed up the kids, bought the planks and dined in at Fuddrucker’s. Thirty dollars three burgers and two (only half –eaten?!) hot dogs later, we headed home, only to find that the worker who cut the wood made it one inch too long. Then John’s tummy started acting up and he got really tired, so we decided to put the boxsprings and mattress on the floor and wait until tomorrow to re-cut the wood.

“Fine.  Fine. This is all fine,” I tried to tell myself. It’s been a long week for all of us since there’s been no school, or work, or routine and the weather’s been either too wet or too cold to do anything fun. It sometimes feels like the only things we can all do together cost too much money, like eating out and going to movies. Surely I could let my husband go to bed early if he felt like he needed to, surely I could bring the dog in, get the kids in bed, finish up the dishes and laundry so he would be able to get up early for work in the morning without being overly tired.

Except that I couldn’t . Not without two major blow-ups on my part, where I banged things against the wall and huffed and puffed about how unfair it is for my children to expect me to be in two places at once. And one of those things I banged ended up being a framed, glass poem on my daughter’s nightstand which shattered by the third bang – one more bang than I originally intended, I tend to like multiples of two because they seem more rhythmic – but I don’t know, the satisfaction of two bangs just wasn’t enough for me that time.  So crash went the glass, followed by a prompt apology to my daughter and some very deep breaths that exhaled in tears. “I am so out of control,” I thought, just as my three year old came in to beg me to come and sleep with him and when I yelled at him to get out he returned to his room hollering that I was breaking his heart. He literally said that. I don’t know where he heard it and why exactly then was the first time he decided to unleash it but I guess he’s going to turn out to be a touchy, feely, kind-of -a- guy. Oh yeah, that felt really good to hear. Of course, my eight year old daughter was laughing and it did make me smile a little too. So much stinking emotion in such a short space of time!!

You can imagine John was not sleeping peacefully at this point, especially not when I opened the door to our room and stood in the hallway telling him I just couldn’t do all of this! He got up and told the older one to wait for me to deal with the younger one. Then he told the boy I would stay for one minute and he better not get up again or Daddy would come in and spank him.  And I calmed myself down enough to sit with him and hug him and ask if his heart was feeling better.  Yes, it was. He gave me lots of hugs and settled down so I went and lay down with my daughter again. ( I owed it to her because I forgot last night – we have this deal about Friday nights I keep hoping she’ll grow out of, but hey at least it’s only once a week).

It’s nice to have a kid old enough to talk to about your emotions and she graciously forgave me for the broken frame that I told her we would try and fix tomorrow.  Then I cried some more.

When I went to Borders earlier, I managed three or four paragraphs about my project and my tendency to never finish projects, loosely pulled together with a quote that was supposed to help explain why I had chosen what I had. But after all the drama and all the broken things today, I knew I could not sit down and edit that into anything decent.

Initially, I thought about doing nothing, except running away for a couple of weeks to the Carribean. Then I loaded the dishwasher and went downstairs to tuck in my oldest child and put up the animals for the night. When I got back upstairs I decided to turn on the dishwasher, remembering how I’d told John the other day that the sound of the dishwasher, in a quiet house, along with the smell of the soap and the feel of the steam, was just about the most relaxing feeling I knew. And that’s when I saw it.

Me sitting on the floor in the kitchen with my laptop and my re-warmed mug of orange spiced tea (war med the old fashioned way, on the stove top), admitting failure and defeat and the end of a long, long day. Me being honest with you about my crappy new years and hoping you would understand where I was coming from. Why do we put these expectations on certain days? How can I allow myself to think that a bad first day of 2011 means an entire bad year? Nothing could be crazier.

So here it is: with no real explanation and no exciting link for you to check out, though I do hope to work on that later next week. In 2011, I am going to attempt to write 52 poems. One poem a week, for an entire year. I do not currently think I am very good at poetry, but I hope to get better. And I hope for my readers to be involved. I’m asking them for topics on Monday and posting the finished product on Friday.

Guess what that sound is? Footsteps of a little one who’s still awake, and time for me to log off.  It’s going to be a messy undertaking trying to be a Mom and a wife and a poet. I am so unorganized and not good at running my house in such a way that I have structured free time to be creative. Here’s to old lang what’s-his-name – cheers! (Good Lord, I hope tomorrow is brighter.)

5 comments:

Lanier said...

Janna, I am so excited about your project!! And proud of you, too, for putting it out there...that's one of my biggest obstacles: I'm never brave enough to tell people what I'm scribbling on on the other side of the computer screen. You inspire me. :)
Can't wait to see what beauty comes of this. Blessings on your endeavor!!

Susan Tucker said...

I love your project, Janna, and I am so excited to read what comes out of you this year! Something to look forward to for sure.

kedw said...

and I hope the next day was better!! But how normal you really are:)
I am really excited about your new project. really really really!!! I love poetry but I totally suck at it.
I would love to see you talk about your lost babies at least once. Or the crazy ones that you have now. or about a mom that you admire. about your dreams. what you thought your life would be like. what about letters to your kids and what you want for them.
I guess I have a theme here, kids and family. I guess that is all that is on my mind recently:) maybe you too?

Janna Barber said...

Lanier,

And you inspire me to raise the bar for when it comes to creating beautiful things, be it dinner, decorating or darning socks! Thanks for the encouragement.

Susan,

I haven't forgotten about that other project, whenever you're ready. Thanks for the comment

Kris,

The next day was much better. Today has been up and down though, I blame hormones. I look forward to covering all those topics in some form - they're kinda in my wheelhouse. Thanks for chiming in!

S.D. Smith said...

Knowing how life as a parent effects the desire to create something and the ability to do so, I sympathize. Seeing my wife also face the unique struggles which Moms go through is instructive as well. I'm always encouraging her toward her creative endeavors, but it's always kind of like, "Yeah, I'd love to...but it's hard to find time/energy!" (By the way, she says this with grace and humility.)

I guess I just wish you the very best in your work, work of every kind. I wish you joy in the amazing art that is mothering, the endless creative energy it takes to be the kind of mom I have no doubt you are, as well as a wife for John.

I'm looking forward to your poems. I love poems and make a lot of bad ones myself.