Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Feeding the Missionaries

We signed up to have the missionaries over for dinner.  I'm still not sure how I went from being the kid who loved having them over to being the mom and in charge of actually prepping the meal.  Weird.  Anyhow, they were scheduled to come over at 5 to eat.  I chose an easy, yummy recipe meal so I could both impress and have time to clean.

Eric had caught the organization bug on Saturday.  This is usually a good thing, as I am rubbish when it comes to organizing.  For years I've tried to be good at it with no luck.  It is what it is whether I like it or not.  I digress.  The bulk of it happened in the kitchen.  It's been nice for everything to have a proper place, even if I am still searching for everything that isn't in the place I put it when we unpacked the kitchen last year.  The big downside has been the extra crap on the counter, the stuff that was cleaned out of newly-organized drawers and now has no place to call home.  Batteries.  Outlet covers. Extra checkbooks.  Your basic junk drawer stuff.  We are now without junk drawer to store all these goodies.  For an organization failure such as myself it was like asking an eight year old to recite the periodic table.  It's possible that it's beyond my capabilities.  I end up putting things in piles, realize what I'm thinking of won't work, and rearrange the piles into new categories.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  Forever.  It's a vicious cycle.

Seven hours before dinnertime I set about cleaning up so there would be plenty of time to finish.  After trash was tossed and important papers were filed I was left with the odds and ends that had no place.  Oh, how I hate the odds and ends.  I turned on a movie for the kids to keep them out of my hair and out from under my feet.  I was going to rock it!

Five and a half hours before dinnertime and the movie was done. I had been constantly working and had only cleared away half the stuff.  That's how bad I am at deciding how to organize things on my own.  Really.  And there was a lot of stuff.  Cleaning out an entire kitchen and pantry will do that.

Four hours left and patience had run dry.  My kids came programmed to recognize the days when sabotage would be most effective.  They had correctly identified today as one of those days.  Punches had been thrown, unidentified objects had been placed in baby's mouth, and all three of them became suddenly incapable of being further than two inches away from me.  It made cleaning slow going, even though I'd moved on to the living room.  Rather than toss my children in the snow to chill out and stop screaming at one another, I fed them, put the baby to bed, and attempted to get the girls to nap.  The baby was the only one kind enough to sleep.

As I took a break to eat my own lunch, Ellie came out of her room to tell me I needed to see the amazing thing she could do.  What she calls amazing I call a potential ER trip.  It involves leaping off her window sill and over her lounging sister to then land on the bed next to her, narrowly missing rolling off the bed and into the dresser or putting her head through the drywall.  No good.  To avoid the inevitable skull fracture, I set them up with arts and crafts time.  Because glitter and scissors facilitate tidiness so well.

Three hours left and Ellie went to the bathroom.  She locked herself in.  Lucky for me we keep the little key on top of the door frame for just such an occasion.  Once I'd opened the door Maya screamed at me until I gave her the key.  Bad choice.  It served as her distraction when Ellie went back to her glitter glue and I went back to cleaning.  A couple minutes later and Ellie pulled me excitedly to the opposite side of the (still cluttered) counter.  She was so proud of the paper she had glitter glued...onto the cabinetry.  I was not.  But in my rush to strip the paper off the wood and wipe the glue I turned enough to see Maya.  She was an inch away from shoving the door key into an open outlet.  The glue had to wait.  Maya screamed at me more after I took away her new favorite toy.  I ushered the girls to the living room where they played with non-lethal toys while I cleaned and updated my Facebook status to reflect the swell day I was having:

  • It's really difficult to straighten up the house when one child is gluing paper to the cabinets and the other has found a long, thin metal object that would fit perfectly in the outlets. At least I can cage the baby.

Two and a half hours left and, in an effort keep them the heck away from me, I allowed the girls to pull out the telescope and a box of toys they hadn't seen for a while.  Because that is also such a clean and clutter-proof activity.  Before long I heard the unmistakable sounds of childhood joy and was forced to comment on my new status:

  • Jordan Green Anderson Matters are not helped along when you hear a crack from the new telescope one is playing with and two seconds later hear a distressed scream of, "Mom! You have to come see what I did to your bracelet!" At the rate things are going I'll be feeding the missionaries rice and peanut butter while they look at poop drawings on the wall. No, there is no poop on my walls...yet.
    8 hours ago · Like · 2

After the telescope thing and fishing my pearl bracelet out of the heating vent I sent the girls downstairs to wreak their own special brand of havoc where guests can't see it.  My relief was short lived.

Two hours until dinner guests and I started feeling ill.  There was nausea and some stomach cramping.  A trip to the bathroom was called for and I did my dirty business.  I felt much better.  For a minute or two.  The missionaries called to confirm dinner plans and I told them we would expect them.

One hour forty-five minutes to go and I ran back to the bathroom in a panic.  There was some real fear that my crack about poop on the wall had actually been a psychic vision.  At that point I abandoned all hope of getting the house looking like normal people live here.  I spent an extra half hour allowing the queasiness to subside.  Then I set about just raking all the little leftovers from the counter into a bag and wiping the counter down.

One hour until dinner and I realized that I had not started to actually prepare any food.  Brilliant.  Fifteen minutes later and I was still inexplicably wiping counters and scrubbing the stove top.  My brain must have left my body the last time I was in the bathroom.  It wouldn't have surprised me.  Oh, and Eric still wasn't home from work yet to wrangle the kids or give me the last ingredient that I needed for the meal.

Thirty minutes until dinner and I put on my superwoman cape and cooked like mad.  When the doorbell rang ten minutes early I fought to keep the string of expletives from falling out my mouth.  It was only the UPS man and we didn't invite him in.

Dinner time.  Turns out the missionaries couldn't find our house and were running a touch late.  I finished dinner two minutes before they arrived.  Success.  I could breathe again.  The missionaries shoveled the food in their mouths while we tried to coax children into eating.  My kids are adorable little time thieves.

Once we actually sat down and had conversation things returned to normal.  We just forgot to warn them that Ellie is an expert at sneaking out of her chair and under the table when no one's looking. She laughed herself silly when one of the Elders discovered her and jumped backwards.  I suppose that's to be expected when a little girl pops her head up in your crotch.  We will work on this behavior.  It's not a skill set we want to encourage.  Maybe I'll teach her organization instead.

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