Sisters, Sleep, and Yard Sales

Posted: September 29th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: City Livin', Friends and Strangers, Housewife Superhero, Mama Posse, Miss Kate, Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop, Sisters | No Comments »

At 6:40 on Sunday morning when Paige babbled her wake-up call, Mark and I cracked our eyes open, smacked opened and closed our bone-dry mouths, and softly groaned as we remembered the day that stretched ahead of us. We were having a huge yard sale.

For all we knew, early birds were already prowling around our front porch with the hopes of finding some ignorantly-priced Noritake china. Having to lug everything out of the garage and around to the front yard seemed torture enough, then then Kate’s tiny voice joined the chorus with Paige. “Mama! I woke up!”

My God, we also had children to tend to. And in the wake of a supremely fun party the night before–where Mike and Myra renewed their vows on their 15th anniversary and treated their friends to an exceptionally fabulous throw down–here we were, heads throbbing, lying tangled in our sheets like some suburban American version of Sid and Nancy.

Not pretty.

It’s just more validation that my on-the-fly early morning nanny service would catch on like wildfire. If I could have picked up the phone for urgent back-up, I would’ve paid $100 an hour for childcare. Easily.

Anyway, at least I’d consumed a vat of Don’s superb pinot the night before and had good reason for my state of disarray. Whereas this past Friday, I had no alcohol-related excuse for my behavior.

So Friday. When I arrive at Megan’s house for mother’s group, she’s in her garage bent over two ride-on cars she’s assembling for the twins and she mutters between clenched teeth that she’s been in a fantastically crappy mood. It’s such a gift that Megan A) admits to her foul mood but still throws a yard party worthy of the Smith & Hawken catalog, B) is the kind of friend who doesn’t sugarcoat life when she’s bedraggled, and C) manages to do her hair in cute braids despite it all. Megan is rarely off her game, and with three kids under three, no nanny, and a hubbie with a time-sucking job, I’d be enjoying the creature comforts of a sanatorium if I were her.

Anyway, aside from her admission of it, you’d never know the woman was crabby. But then in some weird transference that we tried to make sense of later, the bad mood somehow leeched over to me. There was either some fierce ‘power of suggestion’ energy out there, or maybe some as-yet-undead part of my childhood Catholicism urged me to take it on like some priest in an exorcism. More likely it was the exhaustion that’d caught up to me from waking-in-the-night children and not sleeping well with Mark out of town.

After lunch, with some help from Mary, who impressively coaxed naked Kate (long story) back into her clothes and even her car seat while I wrangled Paige, I drove home, nearly slumping over the steering wheel, hoping the day’s excitement would warrant Little Miss Never Nap into even the smallest kip. I never sleep when the kids do, but since I caught Megan’s mood like a bad cold and was generally haggard from the night before, I’d have gladly done a swan dive into bed.

No luck. Kate invoked reserve stores of energy and refused to even play quietly in her room. So when I staggered in to feign some active parenting, I was all over her suggestion that “you be the baby and I be the mommy.”  This involved her even tucking me into her bed (bliss!). And the next thing I remember, Officer, I was fluttering my eyes open after having totally conked out. D’oh!

Thankfully the curtains were not on fire, Kate wasn’t out on the sidewalk chatting with strangers, and Paige was still safely snoozing in her crib.

The rush of maternal negligence that surged through me went unnoticed by Kate who was tootling around in her room and came over to me saying, “You woke up now, Baby! You want some milk and a snack, Baby?”

And just as I was settling in to thinking “Okay, I dozed off for a bit here but everything’s okay…” I remembered that I’d taken a sleeping Paige out the car earlier with the thought that I’d come back, grab my bag, and lock up. Which of course, I never did.

“Mommy?” I said to Kate, because God knows when she is Mommy and I am Baby I can never mistakenly call her Kate. (The house could be burning down and if I called her Kate she’d sit on the floor and scream, “My name is not Kate! I’m Snooooow Whiiiiiite!” And refuse to budge.) So I’m all, “Baby forgot something in the car. I’ll be right back, Mommy.”

I’d parked on the street, since our garage might as well be in the next town over. And from the second I set foot on the porch I notice I somehow managed to park with the two right wheels on the sidewalk. My God. Had I been sleep-driving? Then I walk around to the street-side door where Paigey’s car seat is, and of course, it’s open. Not wide open, mind you, but still. And on the front passenger seat? My bag with my wallet, iPhone, yadda yadda yadda. This may be okay in say, Bristol, Rhode Island. But this is Oakland, people. Thankfully–mercifully–it was all still there.

I mean, imagine if I had been drunk how ugly that scene would have been.

Not one to stew silently in my own shame, but to share it (see: this blog) I immediately call my friend Jennifer who lives next door. And she says brightly, “Hey I saw your great parking job!” Oy! Nothing like being beaten to the punch on my own self-flagellation.

But it really was an odd day. Thankfully, no hangover was associated with this not-drunk-but-acting-like it afternoon. I also didn’t don a lampshade, call any old boyfriends, or snarf down a whole sleeve of Chips Ahoy cookies. (Not that I call old boyfriends these days, Mark…) Worst of all, Mary reported late yesterday that the Bad Mood Virus had somehow been passed on to her. I can only hope that its course of destruction ended there.

And thankfully, yesterday when I truly was hungover, my two sisters arrived to valiantly pitch in with the yard sale–merchandising items, setting prices on the fly, convincing people they needed our old crap, and collecting cash with the efficiency and security of a Swiss bank.

At the end of a long and exhausting day I looked at Kate and Paige across the dinner table and smiled thinking that they’ll be there for each other for all the good times, and for all the hung-over yard sales.

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