Recently, I heard an interview with a writer in Nebraska, who compared this winter’s polar vortex conditions to the ninth circle of hell mentioned in Dante’s “Inferno”. That reference brought to mind a quote by writer Oscar Wilde, who said, “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” Lately I’ve realized that this is not the case, at least in my life. Lately, I’ve been feeling like a character in a book by children’s’ author Laura Numeroff, who wrote, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”
While a cookie would be appreciated, most mornings, I simply want to quietly drink some coffee and start my workday. But before I can do that, I must load lunchboxes and issue reminders…Is your homework in your backpack? How about library books? Is your hair brushed? How about your teeth? Heated discussions ensue about the need for boots, hats, gloves, and/or snow pants. The discussion is tabled while we try to determine why the kitchen trash smells like something dead. Once the trash is removed and the demon-odor has been exorcised, its time to rush out the door, only to have kids returns for a forgotten hairbrush and backpack. The delay means we arrive at the bus stop just in time to hear the school bus turn the corner at the end of the street.Luckily, the speed walk home provides that elusive opportunity for exercise, and the spontaneous trip to school breaks up my routine, because no one wants to get stuck in a rut. Returning home from the trip to school, I find my dog waiting anxiously by the door. CSI-like investigative skills lead me to locate her puke-covered bed. An anxious dog circles while the puke-bed is removed and a clean substitute is located. I decontaminate the area, then return to puke-free workspace with a hot cup of coffee to officially start the day by sorting notes and papers and answering emails.
In the midst of sorting notes and papers, I sort through roughly a ream of schoolwork and announcements generated over the last few school days. Among those papers I find the latest fundraiser propaganda, and am presented with a moral dilemma. How will my child possibly survive without the latest colorful plastic tchotchke she could earn as a result of my phone and email campaigns to hawk these latest wares to unsuspecting friends and family members? Decisions of this moral magnitude definitely require more caffeine, so I pour more coffee and resolve to leave the decision for later in the day.
While checking the calendar to review meeting dates and times, I realize that I’ve nearly forgotten two out-of-town birthdays, which require cards and gifts to be mailed, so I add that to a list of errands that need to be accomplished. Writing the list reminds me of the gifts also required for the upcoming birthday parties my kids will be attending. Thinking of the parties remind me that my family will expect to eat dinner tonight, which will, in turn, remind me that I don’t have a clue as to what to make. A trip to the kitchen reminds me that the breakfast dishes haven’t yet been added to the dishwasher. When the dishes have been done, I remember that I haven’t decided what to thaw for dinner. A quick visit to the freezer reminds me that a trip to the grocery store is required, and another errand is added to the list.
When my husband emerges from the solitude of his home office to tell me how productive his morning has been, I glance at the clock and realize that the morning is now over, and my workday hasn’t even begun. So while I reheat my coffee for a third time, I finally grab that elusive cookie to go with it.