Tuesday morning crap-tastrophe.

You guys.

(insert big heaving sigh)

It was one of those mornings.

The alarm went off at 5:40…because, you know, MIDDLE SCHOOL, and the bus comes at 6:47am so my son inexplicably needs over an hour to get ready. 30 minutes of which is spent playing on his iPod but WHATEVER.

I woke him and tried to catch another 30 minutes or so of sleep. But the dogs. The mother effing dogs just seemed to think it was an hour later than it was and it was time to get up! Have our breakfast! Go outside and take care of business! And if not, we are going to bark and whine and clickety-clack around with our too long nails and jump on the bed and smoosh you.

So far, this is a pretty regular morning. A few minutes after 6, having not really slept another wink at all, I dragged myself out of bed. I chastised myself for staying up too late, AGAIN. (But, The Blacklist!)

Once I washed my face, things felt a little brighter. I even hit a mild high point when I jumped on my Kindle and saw that the newly released Heroes of Olympus book was freshly auto-delivered and ready for me to read. Like a little miracle plunked into my regular life. Thanks, technology!

And then, Emma.

I love this girl. Love her to bits and pieces. She is sweet and kind and funny and kooky and creative and totally rad in the most unique of ways.

I have no idea where she gets it from.

I have no idea where she gets it from.

She is also a girl of extremes–from delighted giggles to full-blown tears of devastation in .2 seconds. She is easily distracted because that adorable little head of hers is so full of ideas. Emma CREATES.

Today, unfortunately, she CREATED a giant mess in the bathroom. A mess of poop, in case the title didn’t clue you in.

My daughter–my cute little 8-year-old daughter with a singing voice like an angel–poops like a grown-ass man. She has come to consider the toilet as a reading chair. I do not understand this. The toilet is not a comfortable place to rest, in my opinion. Why she would want to sit on it for a half hour (Really. A half hour. This is no joke.) instead of just going in, taking care of business, and then plopping down on the far-more-comfortable couch to read a book is beyond me.

But there it is. She will go in there, shut the door, stink the bathroom to high heaven, and then let it fester while she giggles away at Calvin and Hobbes.

And don’t even get me started on the amount of toilet paper she uses. Since an unfortunate and extremely embarrassing incident at a friends’ house in which a 5 year old Emma clogged their toilet and I stood by, mortified, while my friend had to plunge and plunge, I have given my daughter no less than four and possibly as many as ten active instruction lessons in wiping efficiently and effectively. These lessons are clearly not taking. My husband has accused the females in the house of eating the toilet paper because we go through it so fast, so I have since resorted to taking toilet photographs of the amount she uses to prove my case. (“See? It’s NOT ME using up all the toilet paper!”)

We have talked to her–a girl who walks around turning off lights and attempting to recycle items of questionable recyclability because, save the earth!–about the environmental implications of wasting so much paper. To no avail.

What am I doing wrong? I am obviously failing as a parent if my 8 year old is still having bathroom issues.

This morning there was such a closed-door, half-a-roll-of-toilet-paper, stink-up situation.

But it was far worse than I imagined when I banged on the door and demanded she GET OUT NOW because other people had to get ready and Daddy was going to be late for work and Mommy needed to brush her teeth and she was going to be late for before-school and generally the world was going to end if she didn’t GET OUT OF THE BATHROOM NOW.

I got a response of muffled words and some shuffling sounds through the door. We have had some talks about privacy lately (what with Cooper on the cusp of 13) and agreed that when the bathroom door was closed we would respect the privacy of the person inside and not just barge in.

Today, I broke that promise.

In my defense, I did give her a warning, a pre-barging shout of “I’m coming in now!”

Turns out, I was the one who probably needed to be warned.

The horror, you guys. The crap-covered horror.

I’m sure someday my daughter will thank me (in therapy bills) for putting this story on the Internet.

But the poop. The poop was everywhere.

On the toilet seat. On the floor. Ground into the bathroom rug. On my daughter’s feet–in between her toes, actually–and on the back of her legs. Inexplicably, IMPOSSIBLY, on the edge of the bathtub. (How had it gotten there? Did she throw it? Did she sit on the edge of the tub at some point? Really, HOW DID IT GET ON THE TUB???)

“What the everloving hell happened in here?”

Yep. That’s what I yelled in that moment of shining parental awesomeness.

Emma responded with a deer-in-the-headlights look, her motionless right hand held out clutching a wad of half-used toilet paper the size of a large grapefruit.

I flushed the paper-filled toilet urgently, coiled to spring for the plunger if things went badly. Luckily, it all went down.

I may have neglected to mention that while I was doing that, an epic rant was spewing from my mouth with a definite overuse of the word “seriously” in varied tones and usages.

“I seriously would have had more babies if I wanted to clean up poop again!”

“This much paper? Seriously?”

“Emma, seriously, you are 8 years old. What is going on here?”

“Seriously? Between your TOES?”

“Get in the shower, seriously. Like, right now.”

Forty minutes later, I drove Emma to her not-really-so-before-school-anymore program. Where she would have about 10 minutes to eat whatever passed as breakfast that morning before school actually started. I had apologized to her for my bad parenting behavior but, in true Emma form, she had all but forgotten about PoopGate already.

Since I hadn’t yet forgotten, I treated myself to a de-stressing Starbucks visit (grande bold with cream and a bacon egg and cheese sandwich) and started working almost an hour later than usual.

I’ll try again with the reasonable-amount-of-toilet-paper, wipe-your-butt-more-efficiently lessons another day.

Sometimes, you just have to clean up and hope tomorrow will be less shitty. (See what I did there?)

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In which I make a complete ass of myself. And learn some stuff. (As usual.)

It is rather fitting that this is the first post on the new blog, since I am writing about an utterly humbling experience I had the other day. A serious “DUH” incident in which I made a complete ass out of myself and came off looking like a total moron.

So fitting that I should be terrified of coming forward and saying “I am Steph Nash, not some persona I have created, just me, and that’s enough!” and the first story I tell as Just Steph Nash is one that ensures I am not too big for my britches.

Life is good that way. It keeps me in check. (Said without any sarcasm, for realz.)

(‘God, Steph, stop rambling and spill the damned story!’ you say.)

OK, OK.

So I had signed my son up for a sports conditioning class at the Y and it started at 5pm. That is a challenge for me for sure, and I was going to meet that challenge through a carefully coordinated plan of attack. BOOM. Here it is:

  • Leave work promptly at 4:30 (early, but doable).
  • Race to pick up the kids at after-school care (they were under strict instructions: at 4:30, Coop was to go change into his workout stuff, and Emma–my slowpoke–was to come RUNNING as soon as they were called down for dismissal)
  • Try to get in and out of the school in 5 minutes or less (a major accomplishment)
  • Jet to the YMCA and hustle him in, likely at the stroke of 5:02.

At 4:31, I was KILLING IT, you guys. I had packed all my crap, closed down my computer, flew down the stairs and was in the parking lot approaching my car. My beautiful, new 4 month old car that has made driving so much more delightful than I remembered it could be. I remember thinking to myself, “You GOT this, Super Mom! NAILED it!”

(insert lolz from those of you who know that pride goeth before the dumbassery)

I hopped in the seat, turned the ignition and turned to start backing. Woops, guess I turned the ignition too fast because I didn’t QUITE get the car started. Silly me.

So I turned the ignition again, carefully and with meaning this time, and nothing happened.

Hmmmmm, strange.

Let me try that again!

Nothin.

4:33.

DO NOT PANIC.

I stopped, I looked around my car. Nothing unusual. I hadn’t left the headlights on (my fancy new grown-up car has lights that shut off AUTOMATICALLY…wow, technology!) or the interior light, so it didn’t seem like it could be a drained battery.

I had a thought that maybe the keyless ignition wasn’t working, so I dutifully pulled out the key and tried to turn the ignition with that.

You guessed it, nothing.

I took a breath and came to terms with the fact that Cooper was not getting to the Y today. Shit! I exhaled and let it go.

I tried to call the husband, who always has a way of talking me down from the ledge and helping me see if I am missing something. Voicemail.

OK, I’m a big girl. I can call AAA without consulting him and then go in and sit in my office until they get here.

AAA told me they might not be able to get someone out there til 7:40. SERIOUSLY? I’d given up on the Y, but I had to pick the kids up by 6pm at the latest, so that was just too long to wait.

I felt the panic rise up. Drew was in Hartford, so he couldn’t get to the kids on time.

I thought it was the battery, and I noticed my boss was parked right next to me. I texted her to see if she could give me a jump. Five minutes later, she was in the parking lot with me, along with the building security guard who had jumper cables. We hooked them up. She started her car. I tried to start mine.

And nothing happened.

My boss was freezing out in the parking lot with me in her light coat. The security guard was looking on with mild interest as we tried to figure out why my new car wouldn’t start.

We tried several times. Nothing.

And now, I am seriously panicking.

Well, just me panicking, really. Everyone else was just freezing their asses off while I tried to figure out what to do.

Well, just me panicking, really. Everyone else was just freezing their asses off while I tried to figure out what to do.

How will I get my kids? Who can I call that could pick them up? Jesusgod, am I really going to have to wait here til 7:40? What about my dinner in the crockpot: is it going to burn? Can food in crockpots actually burn? Why isn’t my NEW EFFING CAR STARTING?!?! The dog has to go out–I don’t want to clean up pee and poop when I get home. Will Drew skip his workout to come get me instead? WHO WILL GET THE KIDS? The school is going to judge me for being THAT MOM AGAIN!!!! OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!!!!!

I looked up from my panic and saw my boss on her phone. It took me a second to realize that she was arranging to catch a ride home with a co-worker. She told me I could use her car to go pick up the kids and go home and then she’d have her husband drive her into work in the morning. My boss was going to lend me her car. I was so grateful for her kindness in the moment, and in general to have such a great boss.

So, resolved to all the inconveniences of having a broken car (including what I was sure would be a hefty mechanic’s bill) I shut the hood down and grabbed my purse. I closed the car door and the car beeped at me.

What the hell?

I opened the door and didn’t see anything strange. The trunk, all the doors, and the hood were all shut. I closed the door. The car beeped again.

My boss looked at me, probably with the same confused look I had on my own face.

“Is it in gear maybe?” she asked.

The car was in reverse.

THE CAR WAS IN REVERSE.

THE CAR.

WAS IN.

REVERSE.

THE WHOLE EFFING TIME.

I put it in park.

It started right up.

And I died of shame.

shame-600x320I mean, we laughed in the moment but I really wanted to die.

She had just frozen herself for like 30 minutes helping me, offered me her car and inconvenienced herself, all because I was an utter moron.

And I went and got the kids who dutifully hurried out, Cooper fully dressed and ready to be sports-conditioned in his lacrosse shorts and sweat wicking shirt.

When I told him what happened, he just hugged me and said, “It’s ok, Mom. I’m sorry you had a bad afternoon.”

And my heart melted and I loved my life and my kids and my husband (who had reassured me on the phone while I drove from the office to pick up the kids that it was an honest mistake anyone could have made) more than anything.

Because even at my most idiotic and hare-brained, I am loved. I am enough, even when I screw everything up because I am in such a rush to get everything done IN JUST THE PERFECT WAY THAT I HAVE PLANNED.

Lesson learned. Again.