when the going gets tough in this house, the tough get bob marley.
my go-to guy when i start to get a little loco en la cabeza is none other than rastaman himself, bob marley. his music has always hit me in a place that nearly always soothes me into nirvana (or a reasonable facsimile thereof.) and three little birds to me is just like my own personal prayer to the universe. yes, i was delusional enough to believe that i didn’t need meds when i was going into labor with BC; all i needed was my boombox loaded with legend and i was all set. (and yes; i really did try that. got special permission from the hospital to bring in a boombox and everything. only too bad for me, it turned out that i really, really, r e a l l y needed those meds. trust me, even bob himself showing up from the dead in my delivery room with a giant spliff in his hand would not have done anything except give me another man to yell at.) still, my kids are aware (or at least, BC is aware) that when i’m really stressed, i often turn this song on. it’s like a simple mantra on a never-ending loop. and for me, labor notwithstanding, it works.
i’ve been humming the damn song in my head for the past two weeks straight.
the week prior, BC took the train with her uncle middlebro to visit my parents. she wanted some time without me and without jools. sadly, not only was their train car without air conditioning on the 103F day (hey, thanks a lot, AMTRAK!), but my parents’ AC also died once she got there. long story short, i ended up driving with The Boy up to grandma’s house, where we proceeded to live like nomads for three days until PSE&G could come and fix their air. we had fun staying at uncle middlebro’s house and at hotels; but to put it very kindly, it was not the visit anyone had expected.
we then returned to our home, already a work in progress. we are in the last week or two of the renovation process. except for the day when i returned home to find a giant hole drilled through my concrete basement floor (and props to my good friend richard, who came over that day to borrow our laundry machines only to discover — at the same time i did — that people were busy unearthing jimmy hoffa all around the washer and dryer. to his credit, richard didn’t even murder me and still speaks to me, both plusses.), the process has gone relatively smoothly. sure, there are moments when i would have liked a little more lead time to purchase paints and other items, but it has worked out pretty well.
that being said, living in a few prescribed rooms is beginning to get old. the kids are hating camping out in the family room, BC on the couch, jools in a sleeping bag beside her on the floor. (well, in truth, BC and her back are hating it; i suspect jools loves the company every night.) BS is audibly mumbling about moving his office out of our bedroom and back into the tiny room where it belongs and where it has more sustained cable internet access. and me? because the kids are sleeping in the family room, home of the HDTV, i have stuff from netflix that i’ve been waiting to watch for going on four months now.
but we’re working it. BS and jools were to be off to cub scout CubWorld (6 and 7 year old boys running amuck! camping! BB Guns! clearly BS’s idea of paradise) on friday, leaving BC and me free reign in the house until sunday night. SQUEE! you would think, right? only we were left in a house that reeked horribly of floor refinishing fumes, leaving me to turn off the AC and open windows so that people could breathe. and oh, thursday night, there was this little matter of a gas smell in the basement, resulting in a call to washington gas to come and check things out. (glad it wasn’t a real urgent emergency; it took them about two hours to get here, by which time we could have been blown to kingdom come and come again.) the wash gas person kindly dealt with the little leak and explained that some of the smell were those lovely toxic floor fumes hitting the furnace and burning up.
so it was going to take some time for the gas smell to dissipate. (no way in hell i was turning on the stove this weekend.) meanwhile, i had then closed up the windows and turned on the air. sadly, the thermostat is currently in the basement, as it has been moved during the renovation. because i’m a little thick on such things, i now know that one must turn it down really low so that the rest of the house has a fighting chance to actually cool down. oops. i didn’t know that; so when BC and her pal were going to have a slumber party friday night, the house was pushing 80F and certifiably tropical. they ended up sleeping at her friend’s house (bless her mom!)
this left me alone FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME IN MY ENTIRE LIFE AS A MOM. (that’s nearly 12 years for those of you counting.) did i dance drunk and naked around the house? of course i didn’t. i was still worried about being blown the fuck-all out of here by the remaining gas in the basement. the house was hotter than a witch’s fart. oh, and the fumes were making me nauseous and giving me a stupendous headache. so what did i do? i painted a few colors on the walls with my home depot paint tester cans — because what’s a few more fumes, right? — then settled in to watch a 20-20 show about a murder that made me want to go to bed with a baseball bat beside me. and then, the lightning storm started, reminding me that i had moved everyone’s bike and scooter onto the lawn, getting them wet and making them sitting duck lightning rods. i ran outside in the pouring rain after midnight, took one look at the thundering light, and thought, crap, i’m not bringing that stuff in or else i will end up deep-fried.. move along, lightning, move along…
i laid there in bed for literally hours, unsure as to whether i was going to meet my Maker via heat stroke, asphyxiation, electrocution, murder, or simply explosion.
after four solid hours of sleep, i was annoyed to be awakened by the sounds of hammers on my neighbor’s renovation project. they weren’t in the wrong, of course, though i was surprised that they were doing that sort of work before 7 on a saturday morning. but wasn’t their fault i was up all night. but then again, i was also delighted to still be walking amongst the living, so i found my silver lining.
so, the weekend continued, a sleepy flurry of home depot visits, a walk in the mall with BC (who, along with me, got busted at Claires for trying to take a picture of each other wearing obnoxious sunglasses — apparently, it is verboten to do so), and moving things out of the way of the painters… i was completely strung out and overtired and overstressed. bob marley played feverishly through my brain: my own personal serenity now prayer. and then, as i dropped BC off at her buddy E’s house saturday evening for her second sleepover for the weekend, E’s mom, one of my dear friends, invited me to join them for dinner. her dad put a glass of wine in my hand. i helped my friend bake some chocolate chip cookies for church the next day. in short, i had a lovely evening with her family; it was absolutely what i needed.
in short, i am convinced that bob marley does answer all prayers.