The last few weeks have been a war of attrition. The son's laptop went. Something died in the attic (thank you, Mr. Exterminator, for taking it away). My vacuum cleaner (yes, I am ashamed to admit that it was this vacuum cleaner, four years later) blew up in a whir of dying motor and smoke. I need to replace the desktop that I am currently typing on (6 years old and failing), along with the cable modem attached to it (7 years old and tortoise-slow). Need I mention that the desktop replacement is sitting in a corner in an unopened box? My oven needs to be inspected after the top oven broiler turned itself on while I was baking muffins...
Gods, the list is endless.
Meanwhile, I'm in charge of finding a hotel in Paris.
(I did. Thank you, J.)
And I'm meant to be finding other things.
(Less said about that the better.)
The son has been nominated for Prom King (I wish I was kidding), which requires yet another tux rental. Allemande left, and it's IB and AP testing season. Blink, and the kid will be graduating. Before I've even realized it, we'll be packing up his room and transporting it to a dorm.
The daughter just passed her blue belt exam in Taekwondo, and finished the required academic standardized testing for the year. The insanities of the public education system (even though she's in a charter school). I have been contracted to make three dozen Scottish oatcakes for her Geography presentation.
(I haven't baked cupcakes all year.)
She is supposed to start driver training over the summer. She will be eligible for her learner's permit in September. How do I do this?
I am not sure how it transpired that my time telescoped to the point of non-existence. There is never any time--I am always driving somewhere or grocery shopping--I am always in the midst of doing something, and nothing ever gets done.
It is driving me berserk.
I plan menus and cook meals. The in-laws are getting on in age. They, too, are fighting a war of attrition, mainly in their abilities. My mother-in-law has never enjoyed cooking, and recently murmured how much she dislikes trying to come up with dinner. I've figured out how to make them easy-to-reheat meals of things they enjoy: individual tamale pies for my father-in-law; little meatloaves for my mother-in-law. I wrap them for freezing with instructions for cooking, a week of meals at a time. They've gone over well so far, and unbeknownst to them, I stuff those little casseroles with extra vegetables and healthy fats and lean protein, so I can rest assured that they are getting at least some wholesome food with as much nutrition as I can pack into it.
I can never let well enough alone. I need to help. One of my greatest failings, probably, along with a supreme lack of patience.
Those moments when I do escape for a moment (and I did the other day. More about that in another post) are such an incredible relief. Just stepping into the back garden in the morning and admiring my burgeoning tomatillo plant or snipping a few leaves off one of the dozens of cilantro plants I've started in window boxes and pots creates a sense of calm. I talk to the phoebe who is tending a nest over one of the daughter's bedroom windows, and as I stood very quietly next to the fountain, one of rufous hummingbirds settled in for a very thorough bath just inches from my knee, completely undisturbed by my presence.
Everything will come together at some point; it usually does, despite the fact that ambiguity and lack of unimpeded forward motion make me wild with annoyance.
Until then, I make the best of what's at my disposal.
Go listen to some good music: "When the World is Running Down" from the album Zenyatta Mondatta by The Police. And that's not even touching on the insanity of what's going on in the nation and the world at large. I am just a frustrated micron.