What My Neighbors Must Think

Yesterday, it occurred to me that if I were my own neighbor, I’d probably think I’m crazy. It was a sobering thought.

Here’s the thing. I like to think that in most normal daily activities, things like laundry, dishes, meals, homework, and so forth, I’m pretty even-keeled. However, there are a few moments in my job as mother where I guess I become a little less so. Getting everyone out the door in the morning would top the list of highly-emotional moments. Which is why, if I were my own neighbor, I’d think I’m crazy.

Like many homes on many islands, ours is on pilings, or stilts. We park our cars under the house, in a garage-like area that is not fully enclosed. These pilings help to protect the house against potential water damage, and since we don’t have the bone-chilling winter temperatures of our hardy northern neighbors, there’s really less need for an enclosed garage. Many homes on the island, in fact, don’t have any kind of garage or covered parking at all.

Therein, however, lies my problem, because my get-the-kids-out-the-door-presentable-and-on-time routine is open for public display. And let’s just say, some days, it might earn me a nomination for the show Supernanny.

There are several factors that contribute to the drama.

One, I’m not a morning person and my kids go to school earlier than any other elementary kids I know. Don’t role your eyes; this is a valid point. I know people whose kids go to school a full 85 minutes later than mine do. I feel that this is an injustice of staggering proportions.

Two, because our island is small, many of the daily things that I do are not close by, meaning I want to leave the house prepared with all the items I need to accomplish my errands, since forgetting something (a list, an item to return, a library book) could easily mean another 30 or more miles of additional driving at a later date on non-interstate roads at decidedly non-Chicago speeds.

Three, I have three small kids that only move fast for chocolate, which, being a highly health-conscious family, we have strict rules about never consuming before sunrise.

Four, I have a minivan with well over 100,000 miles on it whose side doors stick like nobody’s business. Okay, this is relatively minor. Except when it’s not.

But the coup de grace is this.

I’m convinced the correct installation of this Car Seat of My Discontent requires a bachelor’s degree in a highly technical field. My husband has one. I do not.

Once a week or so, my husband will remove the car seat to take our youngest somewhere in his sporty little money pit that he drives, and, oftentimes, he doesn’t return it fully installed the way he found it. The nerve.

So enter me, in the middle of the night when all decent children and certain adults should still be sleeping, hurrying down the stairs with pictures of chocolate attached to my back and three kids close behind, thinking we can still be on time if I can have everyone in the van with their backpacks, coats and shoes in the next 48 seconds, and BAM! There’s the car seat, sitting smugly in my husband’s locked pretty-boy car.

Thus, the crazy mom routine commences. For some reason, I start saying all sorts of nonsensical things in a high-pitched, hysterical voice in an effort to not say anything… well, bad. ‘Cause if I turn into the late, disorganized parent who says bad words, well then, I couldn’t live with myself. So subconsciously, and now consciously, I’ve chosen to stick with late, disorganized, and crazy. At least I have standards.

 Wonder what the neighbors think.

4 Replies to “What My Neighbors Must Think”

  1. I have very similiar mornings, with the exception that while I am screaming nonsensical things in a vain attempt to get someone, anyone, to move a little faster, my garage door is wide open, and my voice carrying over the hills of our road. My little freak-show is on display for all of my fitness-y neighbors out for their morning runs, or quite frankly, anyone with a decent sense of hearing in their own homes.

    1. Well then, I wish you lived near me, because then you could share some of the spotlight. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only non-tranquil person on my island and therefore often take center stage in a play I didn’t audition for. Thanks for sharing my frustrations.

  2. Darn auto-complete! I meant similar, not similiar.

    1. It should be spelled that way anyway, in my opinion. It look better somehow.

Leave a Reply