Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Woke Up, Got out of Bed, Dragged a Comb Across my Head

By Cornelia

I couldn't think of anything even barely approaching wit or profundity this morning, and as it's getting on in time here without inspiration, I thought I'd share a typical day's schedule of life here at the Chateau Ultra-Trashy.

4:17 a.m. Lila, who fell asleep in my bed the night before, wakes up and starts laughing in the dark for no discernible reason, then begins to tickle my feet with her feet.

This lasts about ten minutes.

5:03 a.m. Waking up from a sound sleep, I realize Lila is no longer in bed with me when I hear the magnetic locks on the kitchen cabinet being popped, one by one.

I have no idea how she does this. When I lose the magnet lock, I have to get out a screwdriver and take the doors off by removing the hinges.

5:04 a.m. I race into the kitchen to find Lila wearing an inside-out fleece, one of my gold cowboy boots, and a striped tube sock.

The Nutella jar is on the counter, half-empty, and she has also
mashed up a box of cereal and a one-pint container each of sour cream and vanilla yogurt in a large mixing bowl, a mixture which she is now eating with a large barbecue fork. I notice a big blob of Nutella on the toe of my cowboy boot.

6:07 a.m. I have just gotten Lila and self back to sleep when the phone rings. It is Intrepid Spouse from San Diego, wondering where his other striped tube sock is, since it isn't in his suitcase and he knows he packed it.

I am silent for about 30 seconds, then say, "And what could you possibly need a striped tubesock for, at 6:07 a.m.?"

"Oh, sorry, did I wake you?"

6:09 a.m. While I have been momentarily distracted on the phone, Lila has woken up again and managed to dump an entire bottle of conditioner on her hair. She walks into the kitchen totally starko.

The tubesock is gone, but my cowboy boot is now on her OTHER foot. She smiles at me.

6:15 a.m. After finding the pliers we use to turn on the bathtub taps (ever since Lila took the actual tap handles outside and slipped them through a rent in the fabric of the space-time continuum while I.S. was replacing the washers some months ago)...

... I turn on the shower to get the conditioner off Lila's head.

6:16 a.m. I sneak away with my cowboy boot to hide it on an upper shelf in the linen closet.

Meanwhile, Lila sneaks out of the shower and finds twelve new rolls of toilet paper under the bathroom sink, which she proceeds to unroll back in the shower.

I briefly wonder how she managed to do this in the time it took me to walk three feet from the bathroom door to the linen-closet door. Presume she found another rent in the fabric of the space-time continuum.

6:17 a.m. I wrap Lila in a big bathrobe, mush the water out of the toilet paper, go to the kitchen for a garbage bag, and scoop all the wads of sopping paper into it. Lila uses this interlude to re-pop kitchen cabinets and finish Nutella.

6:19 a.m. I hose off Nutella and drag Lila back to bed with me, then pull small bureau in front of bedroom door so I will hear her if she sneaks out again. Figure I can sleep for approximately two hours before I have to even think about getting up to take her to school. She is looking drowsy. Good.

6:32 a.m. Wake up from sound sleep to hear Lila whooping it up ouside on her monkey swing. Look out bedroom window. She is wearing bathrobe and my cowboy boot, again.

I know this means I will get another "anonymous" note from the woman in the house below us, berating me for not controlling my children, because she and her husband must be allowed to sleep until 8 a.m. "Unless we are less than efficient at work in the aftermath."

She is Swedish and her grammar is always a dead giveaway. I consider buying a package of earplugs and nailing them to her front door, a la Martin Luther.

I will read her note aloud to myself later when I find it in my mailbox, doing my Swedish Chef imitation from the Muppets. Then I will burst into tears due to lack of sleep. Standing in the middle of the driveway.

7:04 a.m. Bring Lila back to bed with me. This time drag LARGE bureau across bedroom door. Lila laughs and tickles my feet with her feet. It is at this point that I realize I have forgotten to remove the cowboy boot.

8:30 a.m. Alarm goes off. Lila is asleep and refuses to get up. I thank God that I had the foresight to blow my last yuppie-scum dot-com editorial paycheck in 2001 on a German espresso machine that only makes me push one button before it grinds the beans, tamps them down in some interior container, heats water from an interior reservoir, and brews me a double espresso with perfect crema.

Too bad we all got laid off before I could afford to upgrade the kitchen counters, which are still covered with black-and-mustard sheet flooring from ca. 1952. But whatever.

On the bright side, the coffee machine speaks twelve languages. I switch it to Portuguese to amuse myself, then fill huge coffee mug to brim with espresso and cold milk and dump in three packets of Splenda.

Light Sweet Crude. Yum.

8:34 a.m. Check email. Read thirty blogs. Remind myself I have to write a blurb for Sandra, drive to Kaiser in Oakland to get copies of girls' medical records for Grace's school forms, dye my hair, check rental car prices online, call my mother, call my editor, call my agent, call my sister, call Aunt Julie, call Candace about Vermont, call Annie and Millie about staying with them next Tuesday and Wednesday nights in Boston--respectively--write a blog post, finish an interview for someone else's blog, clean the house before Thursday night when Chrissy and Lily are coming over for pizza, figure out where Martha and Rebecca and I are having lunch tomorrow, call Wells Fargo to see if they'll unfreeze my credit card so I can actually rent the car, call the Hertz place on 95th and Broadway in NYC to see if they'll be open Labor-Day Monday, find my passport, find Grace's passport, fill three prescriptions, pick lemons from the tree in the driveway for the pasta with prosciutto I want to cook at Ariel's on Central Park West Sunday night, get directions to Rhinebeck from Jessica Bard, buy a digital camera for Grace somehow for her upcoming photography class, get a haircut, ship Grace's guitars to New Hampshire, and lose twenty pounds-- preferably in the next forty-eight hours.

9:05 a.m. Realize Lila was due at school five minutes ago. Start looking for socks and underwear for her. Wonder if we have anything for her bag lunch.... find Triscuits, salami, carrot sticks. She will not eat carrot sticks but I will at least look like I tried when the teachers and aides open her lunchbag.

9:07 a.m. Have found white socks, tie-dyed t-shirt, undies, bra for Lila. Cannot find pants for her except the cropped sweats with the big hole in the butt. Search her bureau, dining-room-table laundry pile, interior of dryer, floor of her room, floor of my room. No pants.

Wonder if Intrepid Spouse washed any of her pants during his weekend "Laundry of the Valkyrie" juggernaut. Unlock back gate to check clothesline across driveway, for which he eschews dryer so as "to reduce your carbon footprint, Bunny."

Find one pair of Lila-fitting navy sweatpants with white stripes down the sides, eleven-and-a-half pairs of spousal sweatsocks, and my very last decent sweater. Sweater is now shrunk to the size of a potholder--Intrepid Spouse believes that hot water works best on everything.

9:15 a.m. Can only find my OTHER cowboy boot and two mismatched left sneakers of Lila's, after I get her dressed. I discover my pair of new fuzzy leopard ballet flats right under the sofa, however, next to half a bagel and the now-empty conditioner bottle.

Wonder if I will be arrested for Fashion Cruelty Perpetrated on an Autistic Child if I send her to school in tie-dyed t-shirt, striped sweatpants, and fuzzy leopard shoes--not least since they're taking the kids on a field trip today. Lila pets shoes gingerly with her fingertips and breaks into a satisfied grin, singing a little repeating melody to herself. I decide it's a case of Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke.

9:21 a.m. Grace wanders into kitchen as I'm heading out the back door with Lila. She uses the magnet lock to open the cabinets, says, "What happened to the Nutella? There was that whole huge jar in here last night."

I say, "Long story."

Grace says, "And she ate that entire baguette, too."

Me: "We had a baguette?"

Grace holds up the paper tube in which the skinny erstwhile loaf formerly resided. "Can you buy some Entenman's on the way back up the hill?"

I say, "Um..."

Grace hands me five bucks. "Now you owe me one hundred thirty."

And now I know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall....


  1. Blogger SUX. Hope the pictures actually post themselves sometime later. Sorry to get this up so late...

  2. It's up and oh-so-funny and oh-so-not. You're a saint Miss C.

  3. Hope you have a good trip. Any sleeping in opps?

  4. Oh God, this had me rolling in the aisles. The sad - or maybe even jolly - fact is that I have days like this and I don't even have kids, just a dog, cat, horse and Intrepid Spouse. Actually, the horse is more intrepid, but what can I tell you? Great post, Cornelia, and I'll bring along a very large jar of Nutella next time I see you. Maybe even a baguette. Promise. Patty's right, you're a saint, and well deserve the Naked Authors Order of the Rough Night Well Endured - cowboy boots and all!

  5. I'm laughing so hard the cat is looking at me in alarm, crouched down and ready to flee if she sees me pick up a heavy or sharp object. The pictures are what really kicks it over the top.

    Well written, madam. Well written indeed.

  6. Life in the fast lane. Totally glam.

  7. I adore this post, and you, Miss C, and Miss Lila with the Gleam in Her Eye, and Miss Grace the Wonder Child. Have a simply splendiferous time on the Least Coast ;-)

  8. It wasn't an Acme baguette, was it? Because that would be a tragedy.

    I think the take-away lesson here is that you need more shoes.

  9. Semifreddi baguette. And yes, I DEFINITELY NEED MORE SHOES!!!

    You guys are great...

  10. Honey that's an AWFUL lot of action before 6:17 in the morning. Don't you have a television (aka "Nature's Babysitter") you can just plop that child in front of, like the rest of us??

  11. Light Sweet Crude sounds like a pretty good description for the whole day. Or the whole post. Or the whole life.

    Have a good trip back East, sweet girl.

  12. Sadly, Rebecca, even at 13 she has no interest in TV. Wish she did...

    Louise, you're awfully sweet yourself.

  13. It's a well-known fact that pliers are only used for turning on showers and baths! And maybe that rent in the fabric of the space-time continuum is where my odd socks and bras disappear to!

    I am looking consideringly at the jar of Nutella in the kitchen cupboard. Maybe after I've mopped peppermint tea off my laptop screen. Fortunately my neighbour is used to me howling with laughter at weird moments . . .

  14. Oh, honey. I couldn't figure out whether to laugh or cry!

  15. The only reason we're constantly searching for those pliers, Shaz, is that we also use them to turn on the dishwasher--they're always in transit from one end of the house to another. Someday I will break down and buy a second set, I can feel it in my water.

    Oh, Angie!! You are adorable.

  16. I'd finally resigned myself to using the box to get a few more minutes of snooze with the first one, and along came the second one who then SHOWED NO INTEREST IN MOVING PICTURES WITH SOUND.

    I lowered that bar until I got hit with it.

  17. A whole new dimension of hectic. Had to take a nap after reading your post. Man!

    Now I know there is absolutely NO excuse for my not getting a thousand words a day.

    Have a good (restful?)trip.

  18. Holy life is a carnival! How this moved me.

  19. Again it's taken me four days to remember that you blog on Wednesdays.

    The combo of your matter-of-fact tone, vivid wordplay, and hilarious take on what would put me, at least, over the edge, is remarkable. Thanks for sharing.

    I'm now taking a deep breathe and going back for more milky sweet crude.