Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Get Your Act Together...

I got a book from our local library this morning- upon recommendation from my friend Bonnie- entitled "Get Your Act Together," by Pam Young and Peggy Jones. As I sat in the dental office, waiting to have my teeth drilled and my jaw contorted into positions it was not ever designed to be in, I flipped open the pages and found this rather clever piece of poetry, which I thought I'd share to begin tonight's post:

Ordell Daily was an organized soul.
No one could match her skill.
The crack of dawn was her rising time,
Her day was a routine drill.
Showered and dressed in less than ten,
Breakfast in just under three.
Dishes cleared, the dusting done,
She knew she wouldn't be free
'til the table was set for dinner
And the bathrooms were sanitized,
And the plants in her terrarium
Were properly fertilized.
And the pile of ironing nagging her,
Just a blouse and her hunsband's shirt,
Were pressed to their perfection
And put away so they wouldn't hurt
The streamlined look in her laundry room,
A sight not seen by most;
With its white and shiny counters
And appliances she could boast
Were cleaned on the inside,
Polished on the out
Twice a day with the right amount
of elbow grease and Lemon Pledge.
She'd even polish the window ledge,
Then back upstairs to make the bed,
Brush her teeth while her prayers were said,
Vacuum carpets, check the clock
Exactly time to wake the flock.
"Get up, kids, it's time to rise."
Back downstairs to bake some pies.
At eight when the kids got on the bus,
Her day had just begun
She didn't waste a moment,
But worked straight through to one,
At one she ate an apple
While she wrote a menu plan,
Answered several letters
Then off to the store she ran
She never had to look for things
They were always in their place
Her hair was always perfect,
She had makeup on her face
She never missed appointmentsAnd she'd always get there early
Tardy wasn't ever part
Of her vocabulary
That's why its' so ironic
That when her name was in the news
A synonym for tardy
Was the word the writer used.
The column in the paper said,
"Ordell was thirty-four."
She left behind a tidy home
From the ceiling to the floor
Ordell never played in life,
She worked to her demise.
The writer named the funeral home
Where the "LATE" Ordell now lies.

I already love the book- it's for people like me- right brained- capable of throwing a terrific party for the world, at the drop of a hat, but can't keep a schedule to save their lives.

I have wanted badly, in my life, to be one of those "Ordell" people, as referenced above. I know a few like that. I used to think the key to happiness was to have a spotless home, spotless kids, and precise order to my world. But the truth is- folks like that really aren't that much fun to be around- they are much too distracted by their need for perfection to be all that present-a little nutty really (if I may pass that judgement). After a decade of imperfect parenting, housekeeping, and living, I have come to realize that balance is the key- somewhere between the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-wrinkled-pants girl and the anal-retentive nutjob is the answer.

Today a woman, whom I've never met in my life, drove up to the house, walked onto my front steps and asked me if I would be interested in selling her my home (I tell you no lies). She said that she and her husband had lived in a "McCann Cottage" (the style of architecture of our abode) a long time ago and that they were looking to relocate back to the Burgh and find one again. They are rare- only about nine in our town of many historic homes, of all different styles. With a smile, and a fine feeling of contentment, I exclaimed that "no, I was not interested in selling but that I would gladly let her take a peek inside if she was curious as to what we'd done with the place." Thrilled beyond words, this stranger followed me throughout my home, taking pictures, as I marveled to myself, laughing out loud even, that I was allowing this person to behold the chaos of every square inch of my existence- dirty laundry scattered about, crusty bread pans on the counter, a half-eaten pineapple splayed open on the cutting board (from two days ago), toilets unflushed, lights burned-out, beds unmade...your general housekeeping nightmare. And you know what, I didn't care. My heart didn't palpitate, my pores didn't break out in a cold sweat, I didn't start making excuses for the mess- I proudly took her on the tour of the place and just let it be.

I am a mother of four children. Today I woke up, unloaded the dishwasher, took my four children to a strip mall twenty minutes from my house to drop two of my children off at sewing camp, drove twenty minutes back home, answered three emails, took four phone calls, loaded the dishwasher, took a shower, told Benjamin fifty times how many minutes he had until his playdate, drove him seventeen minutes to Mikey's house, stayed with him twenty minutes while he sobbed that he didn't want me to leave, printed directions to my dental office, narrowly escaped to my van which I promptly drove to a gas station where I pumped a mere $30.00 worth of gas so I could drive forty-five minutes in stop and go traffic to sit in a chair and have three of my teeth drilled and filled, drove another forty-five minutes, shopped for some back-to-school clothes for three of my children, bought a shirt for my husband to wear on our vacation, drove fifteen more minutes home, after talking to Benjamin on the phone and arranging for him to stay at his playdate longer (because he was begging to), picked up my twenty-three pound son and held him while I walked a woman I didn't know through my home and admired the pajamas that my children had sewn at camp this morning- all at the same time. Where in all of these hours might one find the time to create the Better Homes & Gardens look that may put me in that more perfect light? Nowhere. And its not important. And one day, when my kids have gone away (to college, to the Peace Corps, to outer space), I will have all the time in the world to tend to my landscaping and sweep up the dustbunnies from the corners of my bungalow. But for now- I'm a mom. And that's going to have to do until I can figure something else out.


T~ said...

Great Post! Loved it~

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Forty-three year-old, mother and staunch advocate of four young children, passionate warrior of truth and self, finding the soul in each day, sharing my struggles and triumphs as I live them. Mostly I do this for me, so my thoughts don't race as much at night as they used to. But I also give this to those of you who need to know, in any or every way, that you are not alone.

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