Two Kids and a Dog Up My Butt

Prologue

Please forgive me if this post feels stale. I’ve been attempting to finish it for the last two weeks, but I can’t f’ing write with two children and a dog up my butt 24/7! I’ve tried writing while the girls are huddled in front of some glowing screen or running unsupervised around the neighborhood, but it’s rare that even five minutes go by without someone whining (Birdie and Smalls), tattling on her sister (Smalls), protesting some perceived injustice (Biggie) or asking for a snack (Biggie, Smalls, Birdie, me). Aaaaarrrgghhhh!!! OK, I feel a little better. Please read on.

***

end_school_zoneIt’s the last week of school (you already know how I feel about this time of year), Ad Man is out of town all week, and I am barely holding onto my sanity (well, my definition of sanity which allows for a lot of wiggle room). Biggie and Smalls have been at each others’ throats pretty much every waking hour of the last few days. This doesn’t bode well for the next two and a half months. I’m starting to keep a list of some of the stupid shit those two find to fight about. My favorite so far is when they argue about whether or not they’re arguing.

Ad Man has been pretty much MIA other than a daily morning text to make sure we’re all out of bed. There are business trips during which he will call home and Facetime with the girls so he can quiz them on spelling words or they can read books to him. This hasn’t been one of those trips. Either his schedule is back-to-back meetings followed by expense account dinners followed by expense account bar hopping or he’s (wisely) avoiding me.

One rare time he promptly responded to a text from me this week, was when I informed him that I’d received a call about the mysterious bug I recently found downstairs on some laundry. I’m completely paranoid of Lyme Disease and haven’t ever seen a tick other than in photos, so I saved the bug in a zip-lock bag and gave it to our Orkin guy William. He couldn’t positively identify the body, so he brought it back to the office to observe it under a microscope. As he was walking out the door, he said casually, “I hope it’s not a bed bug.” Cue the panic! Find the Xanax!

Because Ad Man travels so much, bed bugs have been a recurring nightmare of mine for quite some time. Seriously, I’d rather both girls come home from school with lice than have the house infested with bed bugs. According to my internet research, which we all know is 100% accurate, bed bugs are very expensive, and damn near impossible, to get rid of. Moreover, bed bug bites are apparently horribly itchy. We had fleas in our apartment in Los Angeles once and I was ready to amputate my own legs in order to stop the itching. Ad Man, of course, is impervious to all insect bites.

Bed_bugThat was last week and, since I hadn’t yet heard back from Orkin and none of us had any bug bites, I thankfully assumed it wasn’t a tick or a bed bug and that all was well. That was until Monday, the day Ad Man hightailed it out of town. When I picked up the phone, William’s first words to me were, “You’re not going to like this…” Now, I adore William. He keeps my house mostly free of giant, flying cockroaches and never comments on my mounds of unfolded laundry. However, I think Orkin should start giving their technicians lessons on gently delivering disturbing news.

Indeed, the bug I was so worried was a tick turned out to be far, far worse. Ad Man got my text and responded surprisingly quickly. He attempted to calm me as I became more unhinged and my voice got higher with every passing minute. He tried to convince me that maybe just that one bed bug stowed away from New York in his luggage. I said, “Do you really think I just happened to find the one lonely bed bug wandering around our house?!” Feeling not the slightest bit optimistic, I made an appointment for a bed bug inspection for later in the week.

Meanwhile, I had a deluge of end-of-school-year and beginning-of-summer activities to wade through, so completely losing my shit was not an option. Biggie and Smalls have decided to join swim team after years of turning up their noses at the idea. I’d been told by numerous friends how lucky I was that the girls weren’t interested and that the schedule of practices and meets was overwhelming, especially while the kids were still in school. Did I heed their warnings though? I did not. I stupidly asked the girls just one more time if they wanted to join the team knowing how much they love to swim and wanting them to have an athletic activity to drag them away from the television this summer.

So, the day of the girls’ first swim practice arrived and I’d spent all day trying to work, stocking the fridge with ingredients for easy meals to which I would later say, “Screw it!” and order pizza instead, and tracking down luau-themed plates and napkins for Smalls’s year-end party. (I refused to drive across town to the party store for “luau” and went with “generically festive” from Target. I’m sure that put me on an inadequate-PTA-parent list somewhere.)

The girls’ bus got home late, as usual, so I had approximately nine minutes to get them changed and out the door. Naturally, I couldn’t find the beach bag containing all the swimming accoutrements, i.e., goggles, swimsuits that actually fit the girls, spray sunscreen, etc. I texted Ad Man, “do u know where swim bag is?” As expected, he was not helpful. I tried again, “i can’t find goggles 4 the girls!” to which he responded, “check the swim bag.” I considered filing for divorce, but decided that I should stick it out for the humorous blog content alone.

rainy_chastain_poolDespite the fact that we live, literally, five minutes from the pool, it took us twelve minutes to get there through school, baseball, and swim team traffic and another ten minutes to find a freaking parking spot. I dragged the girls to the pool, signed them in for practice, tracked down their respective coaches and grabbed a far-off lounge chair where I could sweat in private when the first clap of thunder sounded.

The lifeguards whistled righteously and herded everyone out of the pool. The coaches declared practice cancelled. The mother of Biggie and Smalls gathered up her wet children and all of their wet belongings and returned home to drink alone. That’s pretty much how the rest of the week went as well.

***

Epilogue

I’m relieved to say the bed bug inspection turned up exactly nothing. I did, in fact, find the one and only bed bug wandering around our house in search of a friend. Ad Man was right. I hate when that happens.

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