Friday, April 17, 2009

Surprise Endings

End of the week today. I look forward to that, even now, when my days all bleed into a long blur of frenzy and frantic. I think the still version of my life would best be captured in one of those artsy photos of cars driving along a wet pavement where the photographer has allowed all the colors to streak across the photo. Except my picture would have manic cell phones vibrating across the page, with babies in unmatched clothing and coffee spilling in the background.

When I was young, Fridays heralded the long-awaited weekend. Back then weekends meant showering was optional and cereal for three meals-a-day was perfectly acceptable. Now, though, that's not the case. I've learned the hard way that it's socially unacceptable to show up to your child's morning soccer game with an untidy 'do' and the crumpled jeans you never picked up from your bedroom floor last week. When you are a mom you're supposed to show up all fresh and pretty to these things, with a brightly colored shirt and pony tail and fresh-brewed coffee in a neat thermocup. (Not knowing this in my early career, I drew literal snorts with my repurposed pickle jar.)

Weekends are also a time when, in my earlier life, I was able to plan fun things to do. Even if I didn't plan I could still do fun things. I'd go see a movie, shop, go out with friends. It was a carefree time. Now, I try to cram relaxation into that three minute period between when I grog myself from bed to bath and one of the kids realizes I'm awake and starts after me. If I'm lucky, the cat doesn't start immediately railing to be left out, otherwise, the three minutes is abbreviated further. Planning fun things is out of the question. It requires way too much scheduling, calendar synchronization, and usually, the dismay of one or more parties who do not want to do whatever the fun thing is. Spontaneous fun is so absurd I don't even think about it.

This weekend I have three soccer games, a school display board to prepare, a late-night benefit (for which I still don't have babysitting), a child's birthday party, two property showings and whatever I haven't thought of yet. This doesn't include whatever the kids will come up with, whatever my husband has forgotten to tell me, whatever drama my mother will invent, and the inevitable weather-related hitch in all of the pre-scheduled plans. Oh. And I have to do laundry and grocery shop.

So while I'm Pavlovicly pre-disposed to being excited about the weekend, I'm also nervously running all the things I have to do, and all the different mom-ish outfits that go with what I have to do. I'm doing this while I'm sneaking some time to blog at work, where I've managed to buy myself some extra time by having two different people break up the after-school care of my children. This means that, throughout the day, I've been layering everything I do with a nice thin coating of guilt, because, really, why shouldn't I be handling the after-school schedule? Technically, I have work to do but my brain hurts so I'm blowing that off.

Blowing off my work when I get so little time to do so makes me feel guilty.

So this whole end-of-week thing is good, but really, it's stressing me out. In the midst of all this, my husband turned to me and asked, "What time is that showing this evening?" to which I replied, wild-eyed and hysterical, "Why are you always in a panic about the schedule? I'm not panicking so why are you?" I believe a little spittle came out. The fusion of contempt and worry on his face made for a comical respite. I didn't tell him that, of course, because the contempt part might have bitten me, but it was funny. I can only imagine that my face was equally, if not moreso, fun to look at.

Two minutes later, the phone rang and the agent was cancelling the evening's showing. I was so wrapped up in my scheduling matrix that I was actually ticked that I had to revise it, even though it was a good thing. What's more, it hurried the onset of my 'weekend' since I didn't have to work as late. And that made me feel even more edgy. Friday a respite? Hah! It's a roller-coaster at the very top of the loop. It's not the sweet relief - it's the whistle on the train coming right at you! I spit on Friday. End of week. I can't wait until Monday.

So there you have it, friends. I'm nuts. Surprise!

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