Wednesday, January 24, 2007

excuses, excuses

Scene from the Bayeux Tapestry

There’s a great moment in the Song of Roland (quick, run away while you still can -- she’s starting to quote French medieval epic poetry!) where in the midst of a prolonged, losing battle with the Saracens, Roland notices that his comrade Oliver is fighting with the stump of a broken lance. “Why haven’t you drawn your sword?” Roland asks him incredulously. Out of breath and still swinging away, Oliver replies in sentence fragments: “Haven’t had time to pull it out. Been too busy fighting.”

I bring this up not because I have been battling Saracens in my hauberk lately, but because I can sympathize a bit with Oliver’s frenzied reply. Here’s my version:

Haven’t had time to write. Been too busy……

making tuna noodle casserole
visiting 2 different orthodontists
sending McKay off to cub scouts
getting a phone call 5 minutes later that he has fallen en route and gashed his knee
comforting injured McKay
bringing him home and patching up his knee
re-delivering him to cub scouts
scooping crumbs, pieces of lint, and unidentifiable choking-hazard-sized objects from Nora’s mouth
musing on the cruel overlap between the oral fixation phase and the “spend the day crawling around within 4 inches of the floor” phase
debating with a 5 year old (oh, the futility!) on the fact that writing “Sim Panda” on a disc and putting it into the computer’s disc drive will not actually create a new game called Sim Panda for him to play (you have no idea how long this debate has lasted)
reading Charlotte’s Web to Gabie in hopes of distracting him
feeling all soft and mushy about my terrific, radiant, and humble little Gabie
preparing for yesterday’s class lecture
reading Hamlet for the 24th time (still good!)
washing laundry
cutting 3 weeks' worth of coupons
helping McKay with his math, history and cursive practice
smiling when my sweet McKay tells me (as he does every day) "thanks Mom for all the things you do for us"
helping Ethan with a report on Spain
taking pride in the fact that Ethan loves King Juan Carlos as much as I do
reading only my favorite blogs
neglecting to make comments on said blogs
discovering that I did not win Michelle’s writing contest
feeling bad for about 5 minutes (I’ll be honest)
re-reading my entry and noting that I tend to get all carried away and overly-dramatic in my writing
deciding that I like getting carried away and will keep doing it as long as necessary
sorting through our many, many toys -- a toy collection so huge that we could carpet the entire house with them. Oh wait, that’s exactly what happens.
giving 30% of the toys to the thrift store
putting 60% of the toys in a storage room with a lock on the door
organizing 10% of the toys in containers on the shelves in our family room
delivering lecture #26 to my kids (“when you finish playing with something, put it away")
having little faith that somehow this time lecture #26 will sink in
nursing Nora
changing her, holding her, putting her down for naps and waking her up again (grrrr) to run various mandatory errands
making Nora giggle and smile, sometimes just by looking at her – she is such a happy baby!
feeling absolutely overwhelmed with love for this beautiful creature
shopping for a new quilt for our bed (which sadly represents the concession that I will not be finishing -- any time soon -- the quilt I started a year ago)
agonizing over the various quilts available on-line and in every retail store in the valley
choosing a quilt at Bed Bath and Beyond
walking to the checkout stand
pivoting around and walking back to the quilt aisle
choosing a different quilt
buying the quilt and driving away
returning to Bed Bath and Beyond 10 minutes later to un-buy the quilt and exchange it for a different one
berating myself for my notoriously poor decision-making skills but enjoying the new quilt anyway
sitting next to McKay while he practices the piano
sitting next to Ethan while he practices the piano
marveling at how two children – both from the same womb – could have such different personalities
delivering roses to a sick friend who I’m convinced is addicted to pain medication
wondering what to do about it (still wondering…)
thinking that my book group will be meeting on the last Wednesday of the month and I’d better get around to buying/reading the book
finding out that my book group meets on the fourth Wednesday of the month, which is not the same thing
remembering that I only have a few hours today in which to read The Book Thief (550 pages!) so I’d better get busy or I’ll be making all kinds of excuses tonight -- excuses like “Haven’t had time to read. Been too busy typing.”


Anonymous said...

Continuing with the honesty - do you wish you had those 5 minutes back?

Speaking for myself, I wish I had a hauberk. Even a decent jerkin would be pretty cool.

"Sim Panda" sounds awesome. Can I get a copy?

Anonymous said...

I had a comment.

Then IE crashed. Stupid work computers with stupid Internet Explorer.

And now I don't have time to remember what my comment was. But it must have been worthwhile.

Anonymous said...

I am overly impressed with all that you have accomplished ... seriously. I think you must have more time in your day than I do. Where did you find it?

This season in our lives when we have young kids can at times seem so overwhelming, daunting and monotonous. I am sure a myriad of us could have written this post ... well we might not have been as clever and witty ... and we probably wouldn't know as much about art as you do ... and I know I would have been in Bed Bath and Beyond much longer than you were analyzing what quilt would be the best ... and I probably would have given up on the book club reading. But my point is, I know you are making the biggest difference in the lives of your precious children. You are their hero! Hang in there ... and keep typing, too :) !!

allysha said...

good grief! I'm tired just reading. Those are worthwhile things to be doing. So good for you.

Mom said...

Aaah, Julie, how well I remember those days when you and your brothers and sisters were small and my mother used to say,"Enjoy them while they're small. They'll be grown and gone before you know it." And she was right. I wish I had written down all the wonderful, cute, provocative (yes, I had to look it up) things you all said. But...I was too busy or at least thought I was and we didn't have blogs or even computers. I'm amazed at all you get done and I know exactly where you got the "hate to make a decision" gene. It came along with the "clutz" gene and the "can't get a big project finished" gene.
At least you didn't have to put rinse, wash, dry and fold cloth diapers on your list.
Carry on. And don't stop writing or loving my wonderful grandchildren.

Anonymous said...

A daunting list! Gabe is so smart to even imagine Sim Panda! Don't know how old McKay is but I wrote today on an easier way to do long division if that is any help.

Heth said...

And you managed to squeeze exercise in there too. Way to go!

Just make sure you keep popping in to give us our Julie fix here and there.

Anonymous said...

Writing "Sim Panda" on a disc... Oh that is SO sad! Now I want to make a Panda game for Gabe.

Anonymous said...

So sorry--if it makes you feel better I'm planning on hosting another one in February since it seemed to be successful. Probably (and this is originality a la carte!) on some theme about love.

Your Mom is sweet, with her comment. My Mom's a lurker :)

Anonymous said...

My kids thank you for taking that 30% to the Thrift Store. Shopping at the Thrift Store has become their new favorite thing to do...All stuffed toys smaller than a notebook are a dime. Such a deal!
How nice that the clutter on the floor comes so inexpensively. LOL!
Hang in there, Julie. Some day our kids will realize how much we love them and how much we've cared for them, and they'll do the same for our grandkids.
And along the way, you and I are becoming more refined because of the fires we go through each day.

Anonymous said...

I was planning on slacking off this afternoon and punking around on the computer, but I've a sudden urge to leap up and...I don't stuff! ~lol~

Ann Kroeker said...

Kids, quick! Let's try to beat Irritable Mother and her kids to the thrift store!

Ann Kroeker said...

Note to self: secure a copy of the Song of Roland so I, too, can quote French medieval epic poetry on my blog.

Erika said...

The only thing I know about the Song of Roland is that Stephen King's Gunslinger series is loosely based on it. ha ha Sometimes, actually, all the time, I know I have more time since I work out of the house.