the most absurd day.

so today was probably the most absurd day of my life.

for starters, we’re basically having a room added/built onto the kitchen. this means construction guys are in and out constantly, slamming doors as they go. the water is shut off and on at random, and right now we just don’t have hot water, but for which I’m thankful the kids could at least wash their faces and brush their teeth tonite for bedtime. the kitchen has been completely shut down as their tools, new cabinets, a door, a stack of Sheetrock, new hot water heater, the washer and dryer, and many other random construction items are lying around, on and under my kitchen table which isn’t even in the kitchen at present.

it’s your basic chaos.

so this morning dawned as most mornings do, way too early. I’ve been taking this cough medicine at night which leaves me feeling a bit like I got run over by morning time, so it’s been extra rough. I remember Emmett already left to shower at the Y with hot water. I reach over the pile of Sheetrock to pour my first cup of coffee and hear the door rattle and a little knock. oh shoot. they’re here and I don’t even have a bra on. too late. gooooood morning! yes, come on in! fantastic!

Karis makes her way in, my morning sunshine. I settle her in front of Curious George and turn it up louder than I like because she can’t hear well right now. which reminded me of what we’re doing today: dropping Natalie off at Kindergarten, then on to get blood work done for Jonathan’s 2-year check-up, then directly to their pediatrician for his appointment and to get Karis’s ears checked.

I wander back into the kitchen and wish I could blink and have this day over….this week….this month…

I quickly get breakfast together, before the men really need their space. they really have been pleasant. aside from one particularly greasy lanky tattooed fellow and his stripper remarks, they’ve been downright enjoyable to have around. it’s great entertainment for breakfast as the kids usually don’t do anything but watch them work while they chew their food.

and I like that.

the next 30 minutes are spent coaxing kids to finish up, finish up, don’t eat yogurt with your fingers, finish up, clean your spot, get down, go potty, brush teeth, no playing now, leave him alone, quit screaming, this is what you’re wearing, no you don’t get a choice, where are your shoes, where are the diapers I bought last night?, I’m not dressing you, what did I ask you to do?, where are those diapers…., find a jacket, finish your drawing in 30 seconds, seriously Jonathan needs a diaper since he just pooped sowheredidiputthosenewdiapers???, did you brush your teeth? do that now, yes. we have water so do it quickly, shoes on, jacket on, let me help you, I don’t have a diaper to change him, I know he stinks, out the front door, the FRONT DOOR, the carport door is blocked, walk across the yard, ACROSS THE YARD, not in front of their trucks, I know it’s wet, that’s why you have on boots, get in, strap in, yes you can, you did yesterday, stop whining, help her please, be we go.

on the way to kindergarten I stop at CVS to pick up diapers which I apparently left at my in-law’s house last night and cough medicine and Tylenol. at the next red light, if you’d seen me you would have seen me sipping from a cough syrup bottle and gulping ibuprofen. signs of a good day to come.

after running Nat in to her class I finally change poor Jonathan’s diaper in the van and off we head to the hospital for his blood work. we have to park in Taiwan so we have a long walk to the door. by the time we get inside, karis’s pants are soaked from the puddle-jumping. thankfully we are taken right away to register and such, but we have a long wait for the actual blood drawing procedure. I can see a tv across the way just enough to notice a lot of red blobs and the weather man gesturing rapidly over those blobs. hm, I thought. wonder if I should call someone to find out about this…

we’re finally called back and little buddy relinquishes some of his precious blood to be checked for something or other, but it must be important for 2 year olds. he was mainly upset about the cotton ball and duct tape they strapped to his boo-boo afterwards. good grief. band aids, people. band aids.

so then the 3 of us walk the mile to the pediatrician’s office and up the elevator to the second floor. there the barely-speaks-English-nurse kindly but very sadly tells me I was supposed to have gotten Jonathan’s blood work done two days before, and we’ll have to reschedule his appointment til next week. but yes, Karis can still have her ears checked today.

oh thank you.

that’s actually a bit of a relief to me because any chance I can put off those shots is fine with me.

annny ways, Karis promptly failed the hearing test. it was so sad because she did hear a few beeps and was so proud to raise her hand with a big smile, but absolutely nothing on the lower-sounding beeps (not exactly the correct auditory terminology, no doubt). so, the next step is a pediatric ENT next month.

while I was gathering our things/kids to leave, my phone rang, which I didn’t answer because I think I’m techically supposed to have turned it off. i acted like i didnt hear it. but when it rang again and again, I saw it was Emmett and answered to him telling me that we were all under a tornado warning and to stay in the hospital somewhere. no problem. there is a Subway on the first floor, I was starving, the kids could use a snack, off we went.

on the way, we stopped to use the bathroom, and I thought ‘what a great place to ride this out’. no windows…just as I was hanging curtains, I hear a lady in the hall summoning everyone to the first floor. well shoot. so we got nice and cozy again on this one hall, dodging rolling beds and wheelchairs, and another lady comes in yelling that all children need to go to another hall that didn’t have windows.

I got this immediate feeling of when the women and children were escorted to the lifeboats first on the sinking Titanic. I quickly scooped up our poptart crumbs, grabbed my Jonathan, got down and yelled in Karis’s good ear ‘FOLLOW ME!’ and off we went. I sorta shoved people out of the way, actually. LEAD ME TO THE LIFEBOAT!

so for the next two hours, my little 4 and 2 year old ride out this tornado warning with me. they completely depleted every snack in my diaper bag: 2 poptarts, 2 peanut butter cracker packs, 2 gummy fruit snack things, a handful of goldfish found at the bottom of the bag, and 1 prized m&m.

there were some really kind folks nearby our camping spot, and there were some folks that obviously did not have children. or like them. at all.

but overall, they did fantastically, and it wasn’t long til I heard the sound of chip bags being opened and I thought ‘hey, isn’t Subway right around the corner??’ and I ask to the crowd around me ‘is Subway OPEN?’ to which many people yelled back ‘yes!’ and upon hearing this, I slung a yelling Jonathan over my shoulder, yelled at Karis to FOLLOW ME and we once again made our way through the crowd to find the one thing that would save us.

I don’t know if it was being cooped up in a crowded hallway for a couple of hours or what, but Jonathan was a monster at Subway. I settled them at a booth, and while in line, my sweet little 2 year old proceeded to crawl into every booth/empty chair he could access. yes, he crawled right into booths where sweet little families were already enjoying a meal, as much as they could during a tornado. so, I was that mom for a bit, speaking as sternly as possible from the food line and acting like I couldn’t believe he was being sooooo disobedient. ‘oh man, he is usually an angel out in public when I absolutely need him to be!’ yes, at one point after retrieving our drinks, I honestly couldn’t locate him and looked to the other folks in line for help. they kindly pointed him out, under the furthest booth in the corner. thanks, guys! mom of the year!

so, we eventually started eating, and after getting some informative weather texts from my meteorologist friend, I decided we weren’t in danger at that point and I wanted to go get Natalie ASAP from kindergarten and go home. I hoist up the kiddos and we shuffle/jog/trip across the parking lot back to Taiwan in the pouring rain with the tornado sirens wailing in the distance. Karis kept asking what that noise was, so I’m thankful that she can at least hear tornado sirens if she ever happens to live in Kansas. or Georgia, in January. whew.

I zip over to pick up Nat, who was fine but slightly shaken. It was precious and heart-wrenching to hear and see the teachers singing sweet hymns over those kiddos, heads between their knees in the midst of a two-hour fire drill.

onward and upward! so we’re headed home, our little construction site. surely they’ve stopped work for today. surely those burly men are headed home to their own families….surely me and my kids might have a peaceful afternoon. but, when my house came into view, I realized we may have just hired the most committed construction crew in town. stillllll worrrrrkinnngggg. I walked in, wet, exhausted already, arms full of wriggly mad Jonathan, and yelled ‘y’all okay in here?’ and from far corners of the house i heard ‘YEP’ ‘YES MA’AM and ‘SURE ARE’ to the tune of nail guns and ban saws.

that afternoon passed pretty slowly, but peacefully. Jonathan somehow napped 3 1/2 hours, through all the noise, and the girls did what they do best….art, play with baby dolls, read books, ask for snacks, and a movie. and i’m learning to be thankful for this week. while it’s been deeply exhausting trying to be away from the house as much as possible with the kids, when we are here i’ve decided it’s nice to not have the option to do laundry or cook. i’ve had fun coloring with the girls, vacuuming the living room a million times, reading, really listening to their funny little stories, and playing with trains. He knows exactly what I need and is sustaining me every step of the way, this crazy way.

so when dinner time rolled around, Emmett came home and we went to eat at an Italian place where kids eat free on Wednesdays. yay! from there we went to Walmart where we desperately needed a few key things like bread and milk. Jonathan was in the baby seat in the cart, and Karis started whining about her legs being unable to function, so she got in the big cart. then Natalie started limping and saying her foot hurt when she walked. so she piled in with Karis. then, Emmett and I realized this was a two-cart grocery trip. now this was a first. I’ve seen other families with their older kids in a cart and all their food in another and thought ‘oh good grief, those kids can WALK’. judge me no more. I get it. my kids were exhausted. the Day of the Tornadoes and Construction Home had done them in. in fact, as Emmett paid for the groceries, I sat with the kids on the bench up front. Nat laid her head in my lap. that made Karis jealous, so she lay on top of Nat. then Jonathan started whining and found my ‘other lap’ (you know I have two) and laid his head down.

so there we were, a family dog pile on the bench at Walmart, me singing ‘a bushel and a peck’ in their little ears.

such precious moments at Walmart.

bedtime came quick and easy, and so ended the most absurd day of my life.

but one full of little blessings. . and big ones, too.


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