October 20, 2019

I'm Moving to Australia

Not really, of course. But do you remember that children's book, Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day?

Not sure what this says about my personality, but that was my favorite book in my childhood. When Noah was in kindergarten, the teacher asked parents to come in and read a book for story time. Well, I chose that book!

Anyway, Alexander's terrible horrible no good very bad day makes him think sarcastically, "I'm moving to Australia". And that's how my weekend went.

I do want to write about Wednesday, too, but I'll save that for tomorrow's post. As well as my running recap for the week--I did my three runs!

On Wednesday night, Jerry informed me that he was leaving Thursday for a trip up north with his dad from Thursday through Sunday. Now, I'd known about the trip; but I thought he was leaving Friday afternoon and coming home Sunday afternoon. Instead, I learned it was actually Thursday morning through Sunday night.

This normally wouldn't be a big issue, but it couldn't have been a worse weekend--it was so busy and I was alone as a parent. And I stupidly decided to start working on making over the laundry room earlier this week, so I had that going on as well as all the usual stuff.

Thursday was pretty uneventful. Since it wasn't my day to carpool with Noah's friend, I was able to spend the whole day working on the laundry room. I did the usual--scraped the texture off the ceiling, took off the crown moulding, taped and mudded the ceiling seams, fixed a few random holes in the walls from when we had to replace the water heater and furnace.

Even when I was done, the walls looked far from perfect, but the amount of work it would take to get them perfectly smooth just wasn't worth it to me. Nobody sees that room except for my family.

As I was doing that, I decided to take out our home alarm system. It's super outdated (from 2008) and it's an eyesore in several parts of the house. And we've never, ever needed it. I'm going to search for other options--they've come a long way since then!

The problem with the alarm system is that in the laundry room, there was a main unit with wires leading to every single door and window in the house.

And what do you know, it was all routed in the crawl space under the house. I HATE the crawl space, because I can just imagine the spiders and other bugs down there.

After turning off the power to the entire house (I wasn't too sure what, if anything, needed to be shut off, so I just did the safe thing) I went into the crawl space and followed every single wire to every single spot where there was a window or door, and I pulled the wires out. In the end, the wire ball I collected looked liked Clark Griswold's Christmas lights.

Actually, there were probably twice that many--I had to go back down and collect the rest from the ground in the crawl space. My legs are KILLING me from walking in a squat position for about 30 minutes.

Anyway, I got all of that removed, and was left with spots in the house that needed to be painted over (the paint underneath was from 2008). Thankfully, I saved all my leftover paint from our recent remodel, and touched up the spots that needed it. Because look how inconspicuous it was:

On Friday, it was my turn to drive the kids to school, so after the usual hectic morning getting out the door, I dropped off Eli and picked up Noah's friend, then took them to school. On the way home, I stopped at Sherwin Williams to get a gallon of paint for the laundry room--I wanted the same color that I painted my kitchen cupboards (Aviary Blue). And it was their 40% off sale this weekend, so that was about the luckiest thing to happen to me all weekend.

When I got home, I had to sand everything and sweep, vacuum and wipe down the walls, prepping them to paint. Let me tell you, it is SO hard to work around the washer and dryer while doing all this prepping. I had taken the shelves down off the wall so that I could build wood ones instead of the wire ones we had there before.

I primed the walls, just to be safe, and then I didn't have time to paint because I had to take Noah to an eye doctor appointment. Noah lost his glasses earlier this week and after looking EVERYWHERE, we ended up needing to get a new pair.

When we got home, I had to figure out dinner for the kids (I am usually too busy to worry about eating, but the kids want to eat constantly). I made fettuccine alfredo (because it's fast and easy) and then I got to work on the laundry room. I got the whole thing painted, and I spent the entire evening (until 11:00) cutting and installing the floor trim. The flooring needs to be replaced badly, but I wanted to put a trim there at least temporarily--so I just used leftover pieces that I already had.

Saturday morning is when things got really rough. I had a cross country meet scheduled, and the race started at 10:00. It's always been my favorite race--the course is nice, the weather is usually good, and it's always the last race of the season, so there is a different vibe to it. The school wasn't going to pay for it this year, so I told the parents we could pay for it ourselves or just skip it. They all chipped in the $7.27 per kid to do the race, because I raved about how great it was.

Before I get into that, this season has had some issues that we've never encountered before, and it's been super frustrating. First, one of our races was canceled just minutes from the start. It was too hot, and even though we were lined up at the starting line, they canceled the race. Secondly, one of the races messed up the timing and three of my boys didn't have finish times. And third, another race messed up the timing somehow and the entire team didn't get a finish time!

I was really looking forward to Saturday's race to end the season on a good note. At this race, almost all of the kids run their fastest mile. I even stopped and bought cider doughnuts from Monica's and some good apple cider to bring for the kids to have before the race.

I planned to get there early to get a parking spot up front so that we could have a "home base" since we don't have a tent. Noah came with me, and brought his camera, so he could take pictures of the kids, which was cool. Noah never wants to go anywhere with me! ;) I'm sure it was because of the doughnuts, haha.

Anyway, I got stuck by not one, but TWO very slow-moving trains. Then there was a wait at Monica's for my pre-order. Then a ton of traffic on the way to the race. I'd left the house with plenty of time, but I didn't get to the race until 9:20 (obviously not in time to get a close parking space). I hurried and paid for the race and got my coach's packet of bibs and pins and maps and all that stuff. As the kids showed up, Noah (thank God he was there) gave them each cider and and a doughnut while I got them pinned.

I explained the course to the kids, which is a very simple 1.1 mile course. Then we lined up at the start (the race was separated into two groups--K-4th grade ran at 10:00 and 5-6 grades started at 10:20. Aaron wasn't there, so Andre was the only 5th grader on the team who was running the second race. After getting the kids lined up, Andre and I went to cheer them on (and Noah came along to take pictures).

Everything was going well until about the last quarter of the race, when I noticed there was a bottle neck at the finish line. The kids weren't able to cross the finish line because there was a line for them to get their bibs scanned! I've never seen that happen at a race before, and I was furious. It's a very simple issue--you just have the scanner far back from the finish line so that there is no pile up of kids. But Logan, who is usually closer to the back of the pack, had to wait in line for a few minutes before getting to cross the finish line.

As I was discussing this with some of the parents just to the side of the starting line, suddenly we saw a bunch of kids start running. We were all confused, and we realized it was the 5/6 grade race! Andre was standing with me, and I told him just go! So he took off, ducking under the flags of the finisher's chute, and starting out dead last in the pack of kids.

I felt horrible. How could I have missed the start of the race?! I was focused on the bottle neck. But then I looked at my watch and saw that it was only 10:18--the race was supposed to start at 10:20. So, they'd started Andre's race two minutes early with NO announcement and before the first race was even completely through.

The only cool part about starting dead last is that once the race is over, you can see how many people you passed during the race. Andre finished in 35th place, passing over 140 kids in his 1.5 mile course! Here he is in his final kick to the finish (thankfully, there was no bottle neck in his race).

His accomplishment was completely amazing. But I still felt horrible about everything having to do with this mess of a race.

The parents had all paid an extra $7+ (plus $2 for parking, which NO OTHER SCHOOL charges) for this ridiculous race. What a great way to end the season. I will NOT be doing that race again.

And I'm moving to Australia.

After the race, I told Noah I'd pick up his girlfriend, Ashley, on the way home. While I was driving, Eli called, so I had Noah answer it (I hate talking and driving). Noah said Eli said something he couldn't really understand and then hung up. He called back. No answer. Again. No answer. I was super worried, so I just kept calling his cell phone over and over again while Noah used his own cell to call the house phone over and over. Still no answer.

I was panicking at this point, so I called my dad and he said he would drive right over to check on Eli. (My parents live just 2/3 of a mile away.) A couple of minutes later, Eli answered his phone and told me he left it in the house while he was feeding the squirrels in the backyard. Ugh! Kid nearly gave me a heart attack.

Eli had a baseball game about 30 minutes away at 2:00 (we had to get there by 1:00 for practice). I told him to be ready by 12:30. I had about an hour before we had to leave, so I figured I would paint the trim in the laundry room.

Then Eli told me that the toilet was clogged.

I tried the plunger, which didn't do anything. When I tried to flush, the entire toilet flooded with water and poured all over the floor. I yelled to the kids to get our "rag towels" and Eli grabbed a bucket to start getting the water out of the toilet. I shoved towels all around the toilet, and after cleaning up that mess, I continued to plunge. I even push the wire handle of a fly swatter in there, jiggling it around, hoping it would help (my hand up to my forearm in toilet water).

Then I went under the house, wondering if it was something that could be fixed under there (my second time going under there in two days). Discovered that it doesn't work that way. I continued to plunge and plunge, POURING sweat by this time, and finally cleared the clog. With just minutes left until we had to leave for Eli's game.

I changed clothes and washed my arms really well and then we all headed out (Noah and Ashley were coming too). The game ended up being freezing cold. I had on two shirts and wrapped myself in a blanket and wore gloves, but I was chilled to the bone. I kept score in my scorebook, just for fun (I like to keep score when I watch the games).

Noah and Ashley started getting impatient because they had a Halloween party at 5:00. Eli's coach said the game should be done by 4:00, so I assumed we'd have time. Well, at only five innings into the game, it was already 4:30! TWO AND A HALF HOURS for five innings?!

Finally, the other team said they'd like to be done (the score was 8-3 and we were winning), so they took one last at-bat and then we left. I drove home so Noah could shower quickly and then I drove him and Ashley all the way to the south side of Monroe (a good 25 minutes) to their party. They were bummed to be late (5:40).  I was supposed to pick them up at 9:00, but thankfully, Ashley asked her mom to pick them up instead and she said yes.

On the way home, I felt terrible that I hadn't cooked dinner for Eli and I had no idea what to make (or even pick up on the way home) for him. I stopped at Kroger and walked around aimlessly, and finally decided to get one of those pre-cooked chickens and a few other things. I went to the self-scan lane and when I scanned the chicken, the plastic container it was in broke open and the chicken went all over the floor.

I felt like I was going to have a complete breakdown, so I just put my things back (not the chicken, obviously) and left the store. I cried all the way home and parked the car in the driveway. I continued to cry for about five minutes before I finally went inside. In desperation, I called my mom to ask her if she had made dinner that day, and if she had anything Eli could eat. (I refused to make a frozen pizza for him--the kids have had it way too often lately. Almost every day that I have cross country practice, that is their dinner. Which just made me cry harder.)

My mom was super nice about it and told me to drop Eli off and she'd give him dinner (she had spaghetti all prepared for him). She invited me to stay, too, but I really had to work on the stupid shelves for the laundry room. I was wishing I'd never even started the project. (Later, she brought me spaghetti and even a piece of cheesecake.)

I spent the evening painting the floor trim in the laundry room and doing the measuring and leveling lines on the wall of where I was going to put the shelves. I wanted to start on them last night, but I was too exhausted.

Today, my plan was to wake up early (5:30) to go to Detroit and spectate the Detroit Marathon (which I go to almost every year, either as a spectator or runner). But last night when I went to bed, I was just too exhausted from a very (literally) shitty day, and I couldn't imagine waking up and driving to Detroit. I didn't even have signs made for the runners or anything.

So, I just went to bed without setting my alarm, and woke up (at 8:00!) when a couple of people texted me to ask if I was there. I felt bad about not going, but I just feel so stressed out. Meanwhile, Jerry was texting me about all the fun he was having up north. (I'm glad he had fun, but when I was up to my elbow in toilet water, I wanted to punch him.)

Today, I built the shelves. From the time I woke up until I realized it was close to dinner time and I had no groceries. Right when I finished the shelves, I started to put stuff away, figuring I could paint the shelves another day. It was then that I realized I made the shelves about an inch too short. I can't fit my laundry detergent and softener on the shelf! I made sure to measure the paint cans that I've accumulated so that I could put those up there, but I guess I just assumed that the detergent was smaller than the paint cans--it never occurred to me that they might not fit.

I felt SO defeated at that moment. Again, I started crying. I gave up for now and I will figure out what to do later. I think I can lower the bottom shelf an inch or two--it'll just be a huge pain. So, again, I'll work on that later.

I felt bad about not cooking (again) so I wrote a quick list for grocery shopping for the week (at least what the kids need for lunches). Then I went grocery shopping (which I hate) and I still feel totally unprepared for the week.

My mom is being awesome and offered to drive the kids to school in the morning. Noah has to be to school at 7:00 for a meeting, so I would have to leave here at 6:15. Tomorrow is the first day in a LONG time that I don't have anything else going on, so all I have to do is prepare for cross country Tuesday evening.

Even though the season is over, I am going to have a one-mile time trial for the kids so we can compare it to their first practice of the season; and then I'm going to order pizza for the kids. I am going to make each of them a certificate/award for something special they accomplished this season and I'll hand out one final award to everyone.

Some of the parents asked about my continuing to coach through the winter, and I really like that idea. So, I'm going to come up with a program to offer to the kids who would still like to run in the off season. I think it would be fun to continue to coach!

Anyway, let's hope that tomorrow goes better than this weekend (especially yesterday) did. From the mess of the cross country race to the clogged toilet to the chicken falling on the floor at Kroger, I just felt like I couldn't handle any more!


  1. I'm so sorry it was such a crappy weekend. You're a great wife to let Jerry go away for so long and a great mom doing so much for your kid . I hope you sleep in tomorrow and that you have a great week!

  2. I've always loved that book too. Even when things don't go as planned, you don't give up, and you got through it all. Good for you!

  3. That does sound like a stressful weekend! Just a thought to save your sanity (pun intended!), next time all those kinds of events start to converge on you, try to make a conscious choice to help yourself eliminate a stressor that you do have control over. For ex, in that busy weekend, you could have made the decision to put off the laundry room makeover for a few days. It would have still been quite the weekend but you might have been better able to deal with everything else because you wouldn't have been so exhausted.

  4. Oh no, I'm sorry you had such a bad weekend! :( Hopefully things turn around for you now! You are definitely due for some ME time! Hopefully you can get a weekend away for yourself sometime too! Maybe with some girlfriends? You are definitely an amazing mom and wife!! <3

  5. Some weekends are like that! (Remember Alexander's mom told him some days are like that?). Just a couple of ideas: you said you hate grocery shopping, but do the Krogers or any stores around you offer the on-line options where you shop online, they put your order together, and you just pick them up at the curb? Some Krogers even deliver. I've never done this myself, but I hear other moms loving this option. That would take away your stress about grocery shopping for sure, at least you wouldn't be spending time in the store itself.

    Also, and I hope this isn't too much advice, but what about asking the boys to cook dinner on nights you're not interested in eating but they are? I bet they would jump at the chance, and as a fellow mom of boys, I think it's really important that boys learn how to cook so that when they move out they're not just living off frozen dinners.

  6. Wow bad day. But your mum sounds like a star. I'm sure you will be great if/when you have grandchildren. The important thing is you got through it all, one way or another and didn't give up. You deserve a few hours off soon! Things will wait! You got through the virtually no sleep stage of having new born babies so you can get through anything. Although I personally remember a lot of crying involved with looking after babies too.

  7. That sucks about your toilet! If your toilets are as old as your house, that's not uncommon. In all our new construction we put "comfort height" formerly handicap toilets (they sit much higher), and the way they build toilets now, it's pretty impossible to clog them. I've been here for 6 years in my newest house with 3 men, not a single time has the plunger been broken out, it's miraculous.

  8. Ugh, sounds like a rough weekend! As an aside, I've learned that one way to unclog a toilet is to empty the bowl, using a plastic cup, so gross, then pouring baking soda and vinegar down it. Let it sit for about an hour and then flush. I HATE clogged toilets.

  9. Oh Katie—What an awful weekend. Hope this week with Jerry back home goes better for you.

  10. Oh, wow, what a rough weekend! I hope the rest of this week is better for you. So Alexander, THE Alexander actually works in my office building. His mom is Judith Viorst and she wrote several books about him and his brothers. I always get a little thrill when I see him in the elevator!

  11. Oh my gosh do not tell me that you have not heard of the Curbside to go grocery pickup!!! Go online, order and pick up when you are scheduled. It is SOOOOO much easier and saves money because you don't wander around the store throwing stuff in your cart randomly!! Walmart has the service too. Around here there is no charge for it and they load your car up while you just sit in the drivers seat! And they do not allow tipping either!


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