Penguins, Dogs, and Mangoes


I don’t know.  I’m so scattered this morning.  Today is MLK day, and I don’t have kids.  I still have to (get to) go to work.  I still get to put in a full day, but my kids are across town for a sleepover.  That’s because the daycare where I typically send them is closed today in honor of the holiday.  That’s fantastic, but I feel adrift starting my day without my penguin and dog, aka my little one and older one.

I should be amazingly liberated and happy.  I have all this freedom to do whatever I want.  Instead, there’s just a general sense of greyness.  It’s like a fog over my morning.  Sure, I haven’t gotten worked up because no one is following my directions, but I also haven’t had the little chirpy conversations or morning hugs or anything like that to get me going.  And though I cannot to save my life do something which requires strict daily fidelity, when my patterns of action are broken, I feel a little lost.  I guess they’re just a happy (if often trying) part of my morning routine.  Without them, I probably will forget half of what I need to bring today, run late because I’m not chivvying them out the door, and be “off” most of the day.  I need them to be my full and complete “me.”  The best part of my day today will be getting to pick them up.

And that’s what kind of sucks.  When I’ve got them, I appreciate them, but sometimes I feel as though I might get more done, be more productive, have less to do, if I only had a few hours without them.  And then here I am, the day I don’t have them, getting approximately zilch accomplished because I’m lonely.  Grrr.

Well, actually, I do feel as though writing is accomplishing something, but you know what I mean.

Okay, enough about that.  I still have a fragment of time before I must depart.

We did go and check on our house last night.  The one that for the past few months we let out to my sister-in-law and brother-in-law (not married to each other – they’re siblings).  Yeah, that didn’t work out so well.  The best part was that it ended before the New Year.  That means that nearly all the horrible family drama (and I feel my blood pressure spiking just typing those words – lovely) was confined to 2011.  That must mean that 2012 will be better in that regard.  Well, we knew my husband’s brother and sister were moving back from the Grand Canyon.  So we had this house that was sitting empty,* and we thought it would be great if the house payment was covered, at least in part, by someone renting it from us.  We knew that they needed to find work and all, so we put the payment as really low – $100 per week, bills paid.  Seriously.  And they still didn’t make the rent more often than not.  And it was always excuses.  “We didn’t get enough hours.”  “We couldn’t get a job.”  “We had to pay the cell phone bill.”  But because it was his siblings, we couldn’t really come down hard on them, even though we had a renter’s agreement.  Even his ever-loving mom stepped in and pleaded with us to continue to let them stay.  Well, let me tell you – their excuses were bogus.  I don’t give a rat’s patootie.  They were full of it and milking their brother for all they were worth.  But did I have room to talk?  Not much.  Not after all the crap we went through with my family and that he put up with.  Then, without any real notice, we find out that they moved out.  Part of me wanted to be angry, “Hey, you still owe us money, you twerps!”  But the rest of me was just glad to get my house back.  See, I have this horrible feeling that everything here is going to go wahoonie-shaped, and I want to have a fall-back plan.  I want to have a house that’s mine through and through in case that happens.  No, I don’t want to uproot my family and move again, but I want security.

So here’s my initial game plan: we’re going to work on clearing out the rest of our stuff from the other house now that we’ve got places for it and now that we’re more comfortable with letting go of stuff (garage sale!).  I really want to get all the “stuff” handled before Spring Break.  That gives us roughly two months, so it should be feasible without becoming a major stress fixation.  We’re going to do that in bits and pieces.  It’ll be bite-size chunks, or like someone in a writing class once said, “Mangoes for the wolverine.”  Apparently, he and his roommate had a pet wolverine, and they would feed it bits of mango before it’s real meal, as sort of an appetizer.  That’s how I think we might be able to accomplish getting it all done.  Otherwise, I think I would be overwhelmed by trying to live my life, do things with the kids, go to work, keep house over here, and figure out the other house.  So, we’re planning to divide and conquer by taking turns over-nighting at the other house.  My husband’s got crazy days off right now, falling at all times during the week, so it makes sense for him to go out there Tuesday night and spend all day Wednesday working on the house, either fixing and cleaning or sorting and clearing things.  Then, Saturday, after we do our indenture selling Girl Scout cookies at table sales (seriously, like five hours – yay), we’ll be heading out there to spend the night so that I can go through a whole bunch of treasures and junk** that we accumulated in our bid to become hoarders ourselves.  Of course, part of my evil plan is that I will continue to sell Girl Scout cookies in that neighborhood, too, thus sealing my bid for world-wide dominance!  Bwahahahaha!

Really, I just know that I can do it if I don’t have the pressure of needing to get it all done in just a few hours.  If I know that it’s mangoes for the wolverine, I probably will be able to handle it – and having my penguin and dog along will help, too.


*Well, we still had stuff in it because we’re recovering hoarders and we had moved into a house that was full of my parents’ hoarded stuff, so we didn’t have room for a whole bunch of things we really cared about – so we just left it in our old house.

**Treasures include some things like our marriage license and favorite books that we like to re-read.  Junk includes some stuff that we picked up along the way, either thinking we might be able to use it later, or more often because someone wanted to get rid of their hoard dumped it on us, and we were too naive to say, “No, thanks.”

Remind me to bring: glue to fix books, Girl Scout cookies to push off, I mean sell, my badge, my phone, my wallet, my water… gosh, what am I still forgetting?  Oh – COFFEE!  Granted, I’ve already had two large cups, but more is happy-making.


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