So, say your husband is on a business trip to Alaska.
And you stay up until 2:00am cleaning and writing and making the parts for stuffed shells and doing laundry and showering and gathering stuff by the front door. And at 6:00am your alarm goes off, and you want to sleep but know that today is not the day, so you get up and make yourself some coffee and try to listen to your audio bible and put on a farm dress. You make breakfast and wake children and scurry around putting more stuff by the door. You put the baby in his chair and give the 10 year old some Organic Toasted O's to feed the baby while the 10 and 5 year old eat breakfast. You race around outside doing chores and looking really stupid because you are limping from the jammed toe you self-inflicted five days before. The dog steps on your toe. You run back in the house and wash up and put on your going-out clothes.
You get the kids and backpacks full of schoolwork and diaper bag and purse and cooler full of stuffed shell ingredients and a bag of empty pans and an exersaucer that you are returning to your friend and your cell phone and your bible and bible study book and notes for a meeting and cup of coffee and, oh yeah, the keys, all loaded into the van. And off you race to the big city for an 8:30 am meeting with your priest.
Get to church, settle big kids with schoolwork, have meeting while trying to keep baby from killing self with mirror on wall, electrical cords, rocks on floor. You're glad the priest has a flock of young children because you have to nurse the baby several times during the meeting just so you can hear yourself think.
Meeting ends, you load everyone in van again after bathroom visits, and head back out of the city, in the opposite direction from home. During the 45 minute drive to your friends' house (who once lived within biking distance but now are an hour and a half away) you stop at a feed store to see if they have any bales of alfalfa hay. They do, so you buy one since everyone in your area is out of them and you are trying to get your dairy goat to give you more than three sips of milk a day. You and the kids and all the aforementioned stuff are in the minivan, so you tie the bale on the roof.
You drive to your friends' house and are so happy to see them again... a playmate for everyone, even the baby and Mama. Everyone pairs off and rejoices in reconnecting. Lunch comes and your friends graciously feed you. Time for the baby to nap, and you're really happy since you think today would be a great day to take a nap with him (what with the four hours of sleep the night before). But the baby thinks today would be a great day not to nap. So you give up.
You get the five year old girls to wash their hands and have a special treat... helping you assemble stuffed shells! You are pleased with yourself that this arrangement works for everyone! ;-) As you finish up the project you realize that the clock you have been watching is actually slow, so you shift into overdrive and load everyone and all the stuff (minus the exersaucer) back into the van. The van looks like it has been ransacked. You drive off, heading back to the city to go to your bible study, where you are the provider of dinner tonight. The baby falls asleep instantly. You spend your last $2 on a Pepsi at a Taco Bell drive through.
Despite a later-than-anticipated start and rush hour, you arrive at your destination 25 minutes early. Not wanting to impose on the family who is hosting (since you are there 25 minutes before the 45 minutes early you were already planning to arrive so you could cook dinner) and since the baby and the 5 year old are asleep, you park on the street and try to nap a tiny bit. You don't succeed. Eventually the baby wakes up, screams, you nurse him.
At the appointed time you go into the house and start baking the stuffed shells. You have a very pleasant evening with friends, sharing dinner and having a nice discussion about the passage for the evening, with the special gift of having a good 20 minutes to talk without chasing the baby, who is getting better at being with the caregiver.
At the end, you try to quickly load everyone up to go home, but the 5 year old disappears into the bathroom, causing a long line at the door, and when is finally pried out, is shoeless and does not know where her shoes are. You try not to be exasperated because one of the verses that night was "Do not exasperate your children" and you figure you should model that. You decide she really won't need that pair of shoes this week, but your hostess finds them and you leave. The baby screams a lot.
It is now 9:00pm. You have been gone from home for 13+ hours. You have had a full day. You had 4 hours of sleep the night before. You have an hour drive through the dark Texas countryside. You have no money. But you have a gift card.
So, question #1:
Where do you think you are at 9:07pm?
Good answer! That's right! You are at Starbucks. In the interest of not driving into a wall, you use your gift card to purchase some caffeine.
It's in a nice part of town. The neighborhood where your friends who host the bible study live does not have yards manicured by chickens and dogs and gophers, like you do. The people who live there put their money into fresh paint and nice bushes, not fencing and feed. You are far from home.
As you load your crying baby back into the van for the fifth time that long day, you see four or five beautiful, nicely dressed young women come out of Starbucks. They look toward you and start to laugh.
Which brings us to question #2:
Why are these girls laughing at you?
Yes, that's right, very good. This IS why they are laughing at you:
And you laugh too, because it IS funny... the whole thing... hay on the van, crazy kids, all of it. It's funny, and fun, and just a bit exhausting.
The caffeine works. When you get home you are so wide awake from it you blog into the wee hours of the morning. :-)