Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Lord of the Flies

Oh, sh*t. I'm in trouble.

To understand fully what is happening, you need to go back a couple of days in time. Allow me to rewind:

Last Wednesday was Happy's 4th Birthday. McLovin sang Happy Birthday via phone from Pakistan. It sorta sucked, but at least he could call.

GrandMere had sent sparkle candles for him to blow out -- they're like mini fireworks that send off HUGE sparks when you try to blow them out. Happy tried and tried and TRIED to blow them out, but eventually - after there was just enough spit on the cake to guarantee that I wasn't eating any - we dunked them in water. His wish was for a new light saber.

Fifteen minutes later he opened up his gifts and, lo and behold, a new light saber. He didn't seem impressed by his own wishing skills.

Before bed, we do this thing called Roses & Thorns, when you talk about the good parts of your day and the bad parts of your day. Everyone was equally thorny about McLovin being gone…and equally rosey about Happy's birthday.

And then Happy said he had his birthday wish. Lefty immediately stood up and objected (and yes, he does stand up and say "objection!") and said that Happy had already MADE and RECEIVED his wish, and this last minute bedtime wish was clearly invalid. I actually had to make a case here. Lefty can be sort of insistent. My argument: Normally we follow this order:
  1. Dinner of your choice
  2. Presents
  3. Cake
Happy decided that he wanted cake for dinner. And hot dogs and macaroni for dessert. So, in a normal version, he would have known about the light saber before he wished for one when he blew out the candles. Therefore, one could assume he wouldn't actually ask for something he already received. Lefty actually pondered this for probably 90 seconds before he nodded and looked to his little brother. Even more surprising, both Happy and McGee patiently waited for his ruling. How the hell did this happen? He gets to object and then rule on his own objection? I must stop letting him play Law & Order.

So Happy fluffs himself up on his pillows and says "I wish for Daddy to come home."


The next day, McLovin called and said "Baby, I'm comin' home."

Which! Is! Awesome!

And then I looked for the IHPs to tell them and suddenly it's like those allergy ads when they peel away the veil you've been operating under. Oh good Maude. My house, me, the IHPs, the dog, everything has devolved into this Lord of the Flies mentality from which we are going to have to emerge.

(Editor's note: IHP's=Indoor Homeless People - for the newbies who may have been wondering. Plus sometimes I forget.  Because I'm dumb. xo, Lydia)
It's a strange phenomenon when one parent is gone. It’s a given that the other one will be a little lax, maybe something silly for dinner or stay up too late or maybe you're pulling something dirty out of the laundry because we-really-need-it-for-karate-and-mom-didn't-wash-it. Now, in my house, multiply that by eleventy-seven ka-jillion.

A sampling:
  • Dinner has gone from a 7:00pm gather-round-the-table, with cloth napkins and sometimes music and plates that have a main dish, vegetables and a starch, joined by people who are essentially clean, with hands washed and who tell you about their day at school. Now? Now it's filthy vagrants raiding the refrigerator for leftover pasta and peanut butter on a spoon. The cloth napkins are bandit masks and I think I'm going to have to re-teach them how to use a fork. As for me, well, last night I had a beer and a pudding cup.
  • Evenings actually used to consist of playing Law & Order, baseball outside, taking the geriatric gimpy beagle for a walk, seeing the neighbors…oh, we still play outside, but we're full on into Hide and Seek. I usually have to be the seeker, mostly because if I don't, then we're all just creepy people hiding in the bushes. They've gotten really good too. All lurky and still and I can feel them watching me seek, but I think they're starting to blend in a little too much. And they've stopped using flashlights to hide. So now they're just Creepy Hidey Probably-Wannabe-Outdoor Indoor Homeless People. It's what I imagine playing a game with feral cats is like.
  • Bedtime is my favorite thing. It's like the last song before church is over. You belt it out because you know this is it. And I'm still decent at it, but it's gone from military precision - 8:30pm - to sort of when everyone decides they're tired, or I'm tired of them, or - once, in Happy's case (it was a weekend, so I get a little pass for this) he actually got up from the couch, sneered at us, stomped upstairs and said "I'm going to bed." Then he grumbled about us all being his thorns over the baby monitor. "Mommy is thorn, McGee and Lefty are thorns. Happy is yucky and thorny. CAN SOMEONE BRING ME MILK??!"
  • Weekends used to be fun.  McLovin would be going one super fun place like the car wash where you get to stay in the car, and then the dry cleaners where they give you candy and then the bank where they give you lollipops.  Kate's Saturdays pretty much always included a trip to Target and the grocery store, so you may be the kid who picked out a new toy/game/Wii and then decided what was for dinner. 
Now?  We can go the whole weekend and never venture out until the late service on Sunday, and then we look like the Crazy family that hasn't seen other humans for like 47 years. We wind up going to the grocery store at 9:57 at night because we're out of milk, and girls, there is a WHOLE different world of people who grocery shop on Saturday nights. And, they're not buying broccoli and Rice-a-Roni. They're getting vodka mixers, dog biscuits and Maxim. It's the human equivalent of the house next door to Buzz and Woody's. Good news is, we're out of there in 13 minutes flat. Bad news is, we look like we belong in the house next door to Buzz and Woody's.   
  • The IHPs may have become just what the CIA is looking for.  For a while I was pleased that they seemed to be arguing less and hitting less and not screaming. But I've come to the dawning realization that they grit and growl and stalk and lurk and injure each other in quiet ways and never tell because revenge is a new thing in this fly-filled land and they're all....plotting...and now we know why quiet is a bad thing. Now I know to beware the Ominous Silence.  I'm pretty sure someone is watching me....two someones...
  • Our house may be holding onto the last vestiges of sanity, like Piggy.  Or, Hurley on Lost. And there is only one reason for this. The Nanny. I came home from work the other day and the beds were made, the bathrooms were sparkling, laundry folded and there were enchiladas. EN. CHI. LA. DAS! We used napkins and chairs and a table that night. And utensils.
  • And, I -- the keeper of clocks, the preparer of meals, the Julie McCoy of this particular Ship O' Crazy -- have apparently regressed just far enough that I seem to be just fine with all of this. I step over clothing on the floor. I have no idea what laundry cycle we're on or how long that one load has been in the washing machine wherethehellisRandy? Stupid Fairy. I've taken over the whole bed, there's 17 wine glasses on my desk where I write. Eighteen. And I have managed to find a way to purposefully use all of the 9 pillows on our bed, including the big body pillow named Phil. Not sure how we're all going to make room for McLovin, but one of the pillows is gonna be pissed.
I know there's a lot of moms and kids in MommyLand who are still waiting for husbands and daddies to come home. We're lucky. McLovin hasn't been gone too long. His job sends him to these *lovely* locales not as part of the military, but as the folks who help make it stable so the military can leave. More than anyone, even himself, McLovin wants our soldiers home. So whenever he goes out there, he's working his butt off to make the time shorter for everyone else.

He'll be home for Father's Day.

I'm hoping to have everyone clean and walking upright by then. Cross your fingers. Oh, and Happy? Can you please wish for this week's Lottery Numbers that daddy comes home safe? Thanks little man.

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  1. I love your posts! I just wanted to let you know that I sent a shout out for you on my blog! I hope it can get you more votes!

  2. My big body pillow is named Gary. He usually sleeps between my husband and me. It's awesome that someone else named their body pillow.

  3. I know this place upon which you gals write is intended to be a place of "lets laugh at ourselves and this nonsense before we become victims of insanity" BUT I LOVE that you keep it true to real life- the whole McLovin thing, being gone, a part of you that makes you a family, and how it has affected you, at least in outwardly funny ways. Thanks. I'm now ugly faced.
    On aside though, I get how your family can change dynamics with people not where they're supposed to be, but I have a "visitor" and I need to make some changes with my kids too. My mom moved in TWO YEARS AGO for a six month stay while her house was being built. I hear they'll actually break ground this week. It's been hard raising my six pack with her "two cents", but we all have our reasons for 18 wine glasses to tidy up, don't we?
    And I totally voted for you guys!

  4. Glad to hear McLovin is coming home! Phil won't mind, I'm sure! (and that was totally my pillows name when I was preggers. Good taste!)

  5. YAAAYY!!! I am so happy for your family that McLovin is coming home! My hubby leaves this week for 6 days just to visit family. We have 3 under 5 and I am stocking up on T-Boxes. I think I'll just forget the wine glasses and drink straight out of the box. I figure if I put it on a high enough shelf I can stand under it! LOL

  6. I love you guys! Hubby just got out of the Army in March and just (FINALLY) got home in December. But the job hunt is so bad he's about to accept a job that's going to send him back overseas for a year because neither of us can stand living with his mom any longer. AND he said he might have to leave at the beginning of next month if he has to take it. Does your husband's job need helicopter electricians?

  7. Also, making declarations through the baby monitor is hilarious! I totally needed that this morning.

    Love from the lady who should not have stayed up all night.

  8. Sometimes Ketchup is just the only veggie we can muster... crap... is it a fruit? Whatever. It is a different color than the chicken nuggets. Three cheers to you!

  9. Loved this! :) (And my body pillow was named Herman. lol)

  10. So glad for you that McLovin is coming home! At least with him being gone, you have an excuse for the chaotic mess. Not sure what my excuse is.

  11. I love this - takes me back to the year my husband spent in Afghanistan. Fortunately he's been back safely for quite some time now.

  12. Too funny. My house is Lord of the Flies and my hubby is home. Last night we couldn't figure out why my daughter was going nuts at Wally World, as. we. waited. for. the. slowest. check. out. person. ever. Got to the car, it was 8:30 and she hadn't had dinner. No wonder she was a mess. Praying McLovin gets home safely!

  13. I'm so happy for you! Don't you feel bad about a thing - all the short people are alive. That's the primary objective: keep everyone alive. If you can do that, you win!

  14. I hear lots of things I didn't know my child knew over the baby monitor, so I understand completely!

  15. So happy for you and your family that Mclovin is comin home. No more afghanistanence. Did I spell that right??

  16. As always the highlight of my morning at work!

    About once a month my laundry gets caught up, the rest of the time there is always a load in the wash that gets run several times because it never quite makes it to the dryer, a load in the dryer that gets run several times as random things get thrown in to dewrinkle, a basket or two of clean unfolded on my bedroom floor and because the baskets are full, a load clean unfolded on the side of my king size bed that no one sleeps in (no wonder I'm single, a man sees that laundry mess in my room and bed and RUNS)

    My older two used to "communicate" through the baby monitor as well, which really meant yell at mommy to bring them this or that or tell on each other, and then get mad because I wasn't answering them (how many times do I have to tell you it's a one way monitor not two way radio).

    Safe travels to McLovin'!!!

  17. LOVE the allergy ad analogy!! That's exactly what it's like when you learn that they are really coming home!!

  18. Yay for McLovin' coming home!!! Safest of travels!

    Second on the having these issues WITH the husband home. :/

  19. Yay for you, yay for the IHP, and yay for McLovin'! Been there, done that, seen it all, and have the battle scars to prove it. (And on a personal note, thanks to McLovin' for doing anything that will help get our loved ones home sooner!!!)

  20. Is it wrong that this post made me want beer and a pudding cup for dinner?

    Hurry home McLovin'!

  21. My hubby spent a couple of years out of town too. I totally feel you. He would inevitably come home to utter chaos and then I'd cry because surely he deserved better than that. *sigh* I don't miss those days at all!!

    I'm glad your hubby is coming home soon!!

  22. I always enjoy reading what adventure you are encountering each day-------Having your McLovin in the picture brings it home because my own "Hero" is away as I type, most likely through the end of the year. There have been WAY too many times I have looked around and felt like I was just SUCKING at being a mom (even though this is our 3rd deployment), and it helps to know I'm not the only one who changes their "standards" while the hubby is gone.

    Thank you, not just for the humor, but for the honest truth....no matter how ugly and gritty it can be. It reminds the rest of us (moms) that just because we don't keep a house like Martha or cook like Rachel Ray....that doesn't mean we aren't GOOD MOMS! Congrats on getting McLovin back-----I know that is the best possible Father's Day present he could get!

  23. Tell McLovin', Thanks for what he does for our soldiers, especially our soldier.

    BTW, I absolutely LOVE your blog!

  24. Totally late to the party, but my body pillows are named John (plaid) and Ricardo (burgandy). I had two for when I was preggers and had to roll over but couldn't wrestle the pillow over with me.

  25. Please thank McLovin for me- working hard to get our military back home. So glad he's back with you again.

  26. I am a sometimes single mom due to the military. I am also a pregnant single mom with two dogs and one is still being potty trained. I have spent the last three hours reading diffrent areas to your guys blog. Most days I feel like im losing my fracking mind. But these last three hours have left me in a good mood and I *almost* dont mind not being able to drink wine :) this specific post has resounded the same thoughts and actions i have been through ... good to know im not the only one who turn into a IHP and a hermit to boot.

  27. My husband is gone a lot too - for work, not the military, but sometimes up to 3 months at a time. So I TOTALLY appreciate this post! Last time he came home it took me a week to clean up the house before he got home. Sometimes it pisses me off that I'm cleaning - I feel like he should experience the chaos that my life becomes when I'm gone. On the other hand, I'm not sure I'm ready for him to know how low my standards have gone, otherwise I'll look like a hypocrite when I'm nagging him to get something done!!

  28. I'm new to your blog, but it has given me strength over the last few weeks that it's ok to wonder if I'm a bad mom...and it's ok to put a movie in for the kids so I can just go to the bathroom BY MYSELF! As a military wife, I really appreciate the blogs about your husband being gone as I'm looking at facing it...again!!! and mostly its nice to know I'm not alone in this crazy, ridiculous, awesome gig called motherhood.

  29. Best. Post. Ever. Everything about this made me so happy and I was laughing nonstop. Lefty sounds awesome. He reminds me of me when I was younger. Loved this post! :)




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