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Suburban Island

Duck and Cover
Sunday, Oct. 17, 2004, 10:47 p.m.

QUESTION: Seen any good ceilings lately?

WHAT I LEARNED: Butterflies can melt.

My butterfly melted. I am sad. It was a huge gem gel butterfly and I had it on my front window with some gem gel fall leaves. Always the artistÖ

This morning when I opened the shade the butterfly was melting eerily down the windowpane along with one disfigured green gooey leaf. The other leaves stuck to different panes survived in all their gel gem glory for some reason that I donít get. We scraped the butterfly off the window, bemoaning the departure of our $12 flight of fancy. We are moving our creative fall fantasy to the window thatís in the shade. Live and learn.

Yesterday was not a great day for me. I was irritable. I was tired. I was thwarted by those around me who insisted on doing and saying things that were on my donít-bug-mom-by-doing-this top-10-annoyances chart for this weekend. Family members that bugged me, included my husband who decided on straightening up my sonís room by throwing all my sonís clothes, which my kid had festively garlanding his furniture and floor with over the week, into a big trash bag. Now thatís cleaning.

Of course, that created teenage trauma. While my son was despairing over the addition of the plastic bag centerpiece to his room, my husband wanted to know when I was going to finish up the family room straightening-up project, which has taken on a life of its own and eats up hours of my time each weekend. This is because the family room is the dumping ground for everything people take from other places of the house during their own straightening projects but donít know want to do with Ė ah,, they say, I know, Iíll just put it down in the family room. Project done. Soon boxes, buckets, piles, stacks, and containers appear where a little corner of order had reigned (thanks to my cleaning efforts) for a golden moment in the family room ecosphere. To my husband, I say - The family room clean-up project isnít going to be done soon, dear, so donít hold your breath.

Canít mom just get a break? It is the weekend and she only gets one weekend each week and sheíd like to enjoy them a wee bit more than this.

Another chart-topper was my son, who wanted to got to a movie with his pals that I thought they probably should not go see (read Ė R-rated), requested that I get directions for the other mom who was going to drive them to the theater, and as your might guess, expected that I kick in later by driving Ĺ hour down the road to pick them up at 11:00 at night. My daughter was also top of the charts for telling my son, who was interrupting her while giving directions to the driving-over-to-the-theater mom, to shut up, which is not a go in our house.

It all made me feel inordinately gloomy. I laid down on the sofa in the family room and meditated on my annoyances and looked at the ceiling. I know I was annoyed more than I needed to be. I know I was more annoying than I realized and was warranted by the events of the day. Still, I just wanted to bust out crying about the eternal state of disorder in the family room, and the shut up, and having to drive to the movies and not even get to see a movie. Looking at the ceiling felt refreshing by comparison.

Well, later on that night I felt a little better. The ceiling ceased to appeal to me. I picked up the family room a little and pick up the kids later that night. Sometimes I say itís hard being a mom but I have to remember as well that sometimes it not that easy to be a teenager, or a husband, or a woman without a map who needs to know how to get to the mall.

Duck and Cover photo from columbiadotedu

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