Figuring out how to get people where they need to be, with the proper equipment and resources (read: food). I am awake very early as my brain ponders this issue because the next two days will be fraught with scheduled drama unless I can figure out the plan way in advance.
My mom and I are taking off for Cashiers, North Carolina to go visit the Southern Living Idea House. This is something we used to do years ago when Mom and Dad moved back home from Dallas, Texas and Mom left corporate design and once again focused on residential design. We would go to these houses and take pictures, confer about drapery choices, measure furniture and inquire about paint colors. We would gape … sometimes in awe of something amazing, and quite often in awe of the absurd. You wouldn’t believe some of the things people do and how much money it costs to be ridiculous … but that’s another story. There is always something to laugh about in these houses. I promise to give you a post on that trip later, but for now I have to figure out the chaos that will be left in my wake if I don’t figure it out.
Nothing is ever easy. Why would it be easy? I may not get paid to do what I do, but that doesn’t mean it is without its challenges. I think I’ve read somewhere what the annual salary of a SAHM (stay at home mom) which I like to specify with SAHSM (stay at home swim mom … an aside, doesn’t that seem like an oxymoron? Who stays at home, really? The days I get to actually stay at home are few and far between) would be if we were actually paid for everything we do. I seem to remember it being in the six-figure range, which we all know wouldn’t be quite enough because most of what we do, we do because it has to be done and the important people who decide such things would only calculate the salary based on the four main jobs of cooking, cleaning, driving and shopping for stuff. The minutiae would make us completely unaffordable.
For example, I have to figure out the schedule and when it is finished, will (literally) be a printed, timed and possibly color-coded piece of paper stuck to the fridge complete with Plan A, B and C.
I am not joking.
I have to plan for the contingencies of if I don’t get back by a certain time. It is Atlanta, after all. Who knows what will happen on the Perimeter at five in the afternoon. It could be as simple as a mattress or a couch in the middle of the road or as complicated as a gas leak that will halt and ensnare traffic for five hours.
Both of these things have happened, the first with appalling regularity. Welcome to the South, y’all!
My children and husband will be spread across the western half of the county with some at home, some at swim practice and some at the high school for open house (to which I am hoping to make it back for). Dinner for tomorrow will be made today so that Emma can simply heat it up. Thankfully, it is Thursday and thus our soup and sandwich day. (Yes, this was thought through when Mom and I decided what day would be best to go.) I sat down with both Emma and Husband on Monday and warned … err, reminded them of the upcoming day of when I will be gone frolicking through the mountains of North Carolina oblivious to any responsibilities I’ve left at home. It has been on the iCalendar for three weeks, but I’ve found a good face-to-face cannot be disregarded.
Husband: (holding up his hand to halt the words spilling forth from my mouth) “You will need to tell me this again because I can’t be expected to remember. There’s too many days until then.”
(Which is true, he had many pressing things between then and now, but the main reason I speak of it in advance is so that the second time I bring it up, something triggers in his brain and he is much more receptive. I’ve learned a thing or two over the last 22 years of marriage; laying the groundwork is essential in situations such as these.)
Emma: (after hearing me out and listening to me describe all contingencies) “Got it.”
Such a smart girl.
Husband, having to take a half-day of vacation so that I can go take pictures of a monstrosity of a house and dream about things I will never do in my own, will be responsible for picking up Abby from school, making sure she turns around in 20-25 minutes and gets back in the car ready for swim to pick up Mollie from school (who’s bag and gear should be in the car already). Their snack should be assembled and ready for consumption (again, this should be discussed prior to them leaving for school so the process is demystified for Dad). They need to be at the pool by 4:50. He can then come home, eat and be ready to be at the high school for open house by 6:45.
Plan A is that my mom (aka Nina) will pick Abby and Mollie up from swim at 7:00 because I will have already gone to the high school. (Two kids at the school requires two parents to walk the schedule and meet the teachers.) Emma will have fed and directed the cleaning of the younger kids and make sure they get to bed at 8:30.
Plan B is a just in case we don’t get back in time for me to get to the high school (remember the mattress and gas leak?). I will (hopefully) be able to pick up the swimmers from the pool, possibly being only 10-15 minutes late. Husband can pick two of Emma’s classes and two of Abby’s classes.
Plan C is worst case scenario. Emma picks up the swimmers, Dad goes to open house alternating the girls’ classes, and I take off and go to the Bahamas knowing all is well at home.
I think I like Plan C the best.