Dog for sale.

One the things I’m really working on is keeping my cool when life gets hectic around here. But sometimes I feel like I’m presented with situations that few first–world people with first–world problems should be expected to handle calmly. Case in point…

Brad is at a track meet, so I needed to pick up all of the kids after work (AFTER a run…or else I may not still be here). In spite of my best planning (i.e., having a 3lb bag of gummie bears in the van to appease the “I hate my car seat with all of my being” 18-month-old), Roo screamed the entire way home. As we pulled into the driveway with said screaming baby, the older three unbuckled and practically rolled from the moving vehicle, begging to play with the neighbors. I said that was fine, but only after they brought their belongings inside. 

Cue eye-rolling and whining.

I hauled the still screaming youngest into the house and plopped him in his highchair with a banana, which he threw at me, then pretzels…which he threw at me…then grapes…which he threw at me. During his tirade, I noticed that the dog had ripped off the towel diaper I’d placed on her this morning due to her “I’m an emotional mess” leaking, so–given that the rest of the house is pretty well blocked off–I ran downstairs to investigate.

Luckily–and I use that term lightly–I missed the dog poop plopped on four of our carpeted steps.

I ran back up, gave Roo a bottle in an attempt to calm him, then grabbed a garbage bag and picked up the poo. I ran outside with the bag and told the kids, who were happily playing on the playset, what had happened and not to come in until I’d cleaned up the mess. Of course, the dog followed me out and hopped through the still-open van door, devouring the gummie bears the boys had left on the backseat. 

I yelled–yes, yelled, loudly–at the boys to pick up the candy before Daphne ate it all and told Keaton–who had decided, using 11-year-old girl logic, that this would be a perfect time to talk back–to grab a garbage bag from the passenger seat (because, well, I’m a mom who drives a van) and pick up the dog poop from the yard I hadn’t gotten to yet.

I walked back inside, found Roo reasonably happy in his chair, and noticed that the floor was sticky, presumably from the Fun Dip the dog had grabbed earlier out of Keat’s room and drug all over the main floor.

Excellent. So, we’ll add that to the list…

I went downstairs, sprayed and cleaned the carpet, then inspected the wood floors, where I found more poo. I sprayed it, went back to grab a towel out of the laundry basket on the steps, and thought, “It still smells like crap.” Two more piles, hidden on the landing in the shadows.

Pick up, spray, scrub, curse, throw a load of dirty rags and towels in the washing machine.

As I’m coming back up with the bag ‘o turds, the kids–perfectly content outside until I told them they couldn’t come inside–stood by the back door, begging to be let in. I handed the 7-year-old the garbage bag, asked him to throw it away, and said they could come in as soon as I mopped the kitchen floor clean of Fun Dip remnants.

And….cue sobbing. (The neighbors across the street must think I’m an amazing mother.)

I leave the crying children with their noses pressed against the screen door (seriously) and grab my Wet Jet, which promptly runs out of the last bit of soap. For the love of…OK, grab a bowl and baby shampoo (because we have a Barbie-sized sink and therefore don’t keep dish soap in the house) and a rag, drop to my knees (“That’s what she said”–there, already covered it) and scrub the whole floor by hand, with Roo still watching me from his highchair.

I let the kids come in the front door, repeatedly ask them to please not walk into the kitchen, then ask Rusty if he’s actually lost his mind when he steps onto the wet floor not once but twice. In the meantime, Keaton has ahold of Daph’s collar to keep her from following me (because she’s seriously that dense) and/or digging in the garbage for Roo’s scraps (because, again, she’s that dense). I finally dry the floor with a towel, pull the baby from his perch, and get them settled in front of “Star Wars” while Keat goes to her room to figure out what exactly I took away and hid as a result of her talking back (mostly dog-slobbered on candy, but she doesn’t have to know that yet).

I cook six grilled cheese sandwiches, heat up leftover tuna spaghetti and macaroni with hot dogs, cut up a few apples, set J at the kitchen table, and let Keat eat downstairs while the boys eat in their room. Again, the dog, unable to control herself, barges through the upstairs gate and eats a sandwich, then, after being pulled down the steps, licks Joey’s bowl of macaroni. 

And…cue more sobbing. Miraculously, not me, though I’m sure if I’d had two seconds to stop and evaluate the situation, I would have. 

Everyone finished eating what Daph didn’t manage to steal. I put Roo to bed, and got the kids settled in our room with Netflix while Keat again disappeared to her room, hopefully to do homework. I cleaned dishes and took out the trash and grabbed a beer and told Hutton, “I’ll be in the bathtub for 15 minutes. Can you guys just lay here quietly and watch Curious George? Please?”

He promised me they could.

So, here I sit, trying to relax with the knowledge that we survived and the house is in one piece and so is the dog…and Brad will be home from his track meet with take-out burritos and another Bud Light Lime very, very soon.

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