From the Mundane to the Ridiculous: a Breathless Litany of Woes

From the Mundane to the Ridiculous: a Breathless Litany of Woes December 5, 2008

Caution: reading this might make you want to throw up.  Me?  I feel much better now.

Monday: no rest for the weary (why do Mondays come after Sundays?) . . . This is Sam’s (age 10) early day so we’re leaving the house at 7:25 . . . but there’s drama with the dog-sick, sick, sick-lots to clean up and no opening at the vet until noon. Mark stays home with said dog, worrying, then does doctor duty. Dog has lots of meds and must eat mouse_wheel_200x220specially prepared chicken and rice, requiring more effort than the family gets for dinner.  Budget meeting in the office at church: cut, cut, cut, think about institutional transition, celebrate signs of health, try to predict the future.  Fail.  Wade through piles of paper on desk, answer email, try to create a zen-like space around me by ignoring everyone else.  Head toward home.  If the dog gets chicken, the kids should probably have something sort of healthy.  Indeed, family gets homemade meal . . . made by 14-year-old with cell phone direction from his mother, who is late to the first Maryland Calvary small group meeting because the tire on the van went flat and her three plus graduate degrees did not enable her effective reading of the instruction manual, resulting in a 45 minute wait for a man, of all things, a cruel blow to the cause of women’s empowerment but, alas, clearly necessary . . . run to small group and lead discussion, come home for the first time since 8:15 that morning and crash.

Tuesday: up again! Leisurely drinking coffee this morning until Mark gets sick . . . bad stomach bug probably brought on by having to rescue me in the cold last night . . . change of plans as I now become the school bus again, making me 30 minutes late for my 8:30 appointment with a friend who always seems to get caught in my ridiculous schedule. Back at work the toy bins for the Penn Quarter toy collection are not ready and colleagues are sick and, oops! I forgot it was my turn to prepare devotion for staff meeting and plus I have to leave early for a lunch meeting, to which I take the Metro and encounter a huge escalator up . . . out of order. Huffing and puffing (and cursing) I sit down and order soup, (because it’s cold outside and I forgot my coat) which comes but it’s too spicy to eat. Lunch ends. Back to work until my dreaded return to Weight Watchers, where I have not darkened the door since June. I slink in, step on the scale, listen to words of hope and anticipation about the past being the past and it’s a new day (whatever) then try to keep a straight face while the leader pontificates about how exercise is FUN! Middle of the meeting . . . just remembered the family has no dinner. Can’t order pizza in a Weight Watchers meeting so I act like I am going to the restroom (it’s all the water I’ve been drinking!) then out into the hallway I cup my hand over the phone while I order two large pizzas . . . to pick up on my way home from Weight Watchers. This is the irony of my life. Go home, tell myself I can start my diet tomorrow and eat pizza. Crash.

Wednesday: yum! One packet of Quaker Oatmeal for breakfast as I pack my salad for lunch with carrots for snack, all the while feeling deeply sorry for myself. Husband feeling better and going to work. But I must leave early . . . run Sam to school on his early day, book it to spiritual direction where my counselor can only respond to my life with: “Can we pray?” “At least,” I think. Run to work, read, read, read for the sermon. Read some more. Look at the bulletin. Thank God Leah helped put it together this week. Looks good-let’s print it. Pastoral visit (dying is hard) and a few moments to savor my delicious salad with fat free dressing for lunch. Run to the grocery store for communion stuff and find diet coke on sale. Thanks be to God. Run back, set up Wednesday night worship in the chapel, reflect on texts, spend about an hour trying to rig up some kind of Advent wreath (involving raiding the nursery closet looking for playdough and other creative solutions). Interrupted by a telephone call from The Daily Show wondering if they can profile the church . . . just another day at work . . . . Dying of hunger . . . hmmmm, what to eat? Only coherent thought: “Probably shouldn’t eat a hamburger”-settle on minimal sandwich with a lot of lettuce. Deeply satisfying. Help lead small group worship at 6:30. Clean up. Call the kids and tell them I’m sure there is some kind of food in the fridge that could become dinner for them, then wish them luck.  Next, 7:30 dress rehearsal for the AIDS Day concert Friday. Make inspiring speech about the concert, meet everyone, wave across the room at husband, drive home, see kids who have a long litany of grievances against each other over which I must arbitrate, kick Hayden off Facebook so I can use the computer, answer email. Crash.

Happy Thursday! Up and out of the house to work. Read, study, read, pray, pray in desperation, pray some more, read, study, think about how I probably will never be able to write a sermon on the text for this week (every week at some point I am absolutely sure of this). Cut the AIDS Day concert program brutally-TOO LONG! Jump in the car and run over to Alexandria for a Baptist pastor’s meeting (token girl duty). Discuss with deep earnestness whether biblical languages should be required for seminary graduates (if I had to suffer they should, too). Eat provided lunch and lament my inability to stay on a diet no matter what I do. Leave early and run back to church for a meeting with someone discerning call to ministry. Listen thoughtfully and try to breathe, but not so peacefully that I fall asleep while trying to listen. Meltdown in the church office . . . turns out the program isn’t ready for the concert. Must write portions of the program RIGHT NOW, oh, and please get the text of the last two stewardship letters out ASAP. Write, write, write, edit . . . what was the sermon supposed to be about this week . . . ? Trying to get everything done to get home in time for the condo board meeting. Notice the cell phone ringing-home is calling . . . I hear Sam’s voice: “Mom, we have an emergency here. The dog ate all the fish food!” Assure distraught child that fish will live, as will dog. Jump in the car and sit in traffic jam for 1 ½ hours. Run by grocery store, buy frozen pizza (Are good mothers technically allowed to serve pizza twice in one week?  At least it wasn’t two nights in a row!), deposit at home, run to board meeting. Come home, hug my children who I miss so much this week, sit on the couch to edit AIDS Day concert program and try not to have hurt feelings about being told today that a sabbatical next summer is premature as I have not worked hard enough. Sleep. Blissful sleep.

Friday: good morning, day off! Out the door at 7:25 to deliver Sam. Run by friend’s house to borrow book for sermon. Sitting in the quiet to write . . . must get it all down before I can listen . . . and now, the sermon will come, please God, Amen.

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  • austinokie

    oh dear Amy….I’m afraid you wrote most (not all) of this from inside my mind, looking out on my world. the difference is that two children are now 26 & 24 and usually call regularly for $$ and I do know how to change a flat tire….but all the rest…heck, even down to the WW meetings….oh dear….

    I’m sure there is just something inspiring to say, but am not sure what…Oh I know…thank goodness for a pastoral resident who can get a bulletin done! :)

  • Amy Aitken

    Oh dear, not sure whether to laugh or cry. I want to cut and paste it and send it to everyone I know…too good. Thanks of sharing your week. Peace…