it’s no surprise to me, i am my own worst enemy
cuz every now and then i kick the living s**t out of me — Lit, My Own Worst Enemy (NOT Blink-182. my bad.)
“Put you buckles on!” I yell from outside the van. I swing the gate open at the end of the driveway, grab the dog by the collar and hiss ‘cheese treat‘ in his floppy, over-sized ear. Hampton Noodle loves cheese. He hates to go inside when we are loading the car. He sits down and balks against my pull like a cow-colored donkey. Also known as an ASS.
“Cheese treat,” I growl, “let’s go,” while I throw another “GET YOUR BUCKLES ON!” at the writhing chaos inside the van. I can see feet. That’s not promising. We are late, really late, and if we are late for Peach Fuzz School we can’t get a parking space at Adorable Neighborhood Elementary School and if we are late leaving ANES, I’ll have to sit through eighteen light cycles before some other oblivious mother let’s me into the drop off line at Annoying Christian School, and if we are last through the drop off line at ACS, then I will not have time to go to Kinkos before Toddler Class, and that will screw up my entire carefully orchestrated day because I really need to get to Kinkos before the PTA meeting tonight and …
“MOM! I CAN’T DO IT! THE CHEW!”
@*#&!@*&%*#&(*)$(#&%#&((*@!)(*(#&$*%. The chew. I send a wild, silent curse toward the unforgiving gods as I deposit the dog inside the door.
The chew. Dun dun DUN.
How to describe the ridiculousness that is the chew? So, we have this dog, Hampton Noodle, I think I’ve mentioned him, and he’s huge and he really likes to go where we go, which is fine, but if you don’t watch him every single second he gnaws on the rear seat belts for kicks. Of course he got his sneaky teeth around one of the rear seat belts in the van the first week we brought it home. The gnaw spot, for lack of a better word, frayed and knotted. And now we have this spot on the seat belt that belts Garrett into the car and if the buckle gets below that spot, which it ALWAYS DOES because for some reason the chew is a one-way barrier. It allows the seat belt to slip down over it as if it isn’t even there, but you can not reverse the process without cussing and stuffing and cussing and breathing meditatively and then slipping the one little gnawed piece that’s not allowing the buckle to move up the belt into the little slit on the buckle and grasping the end with the very tips of your fingers and then slowly, working it through until it POPS out the other side, all the while leaning over the back of the second van seat row into the lap of your wiggly, annoying son, who LET THE BUCKLE SLIP OVER THE CHEW IN THE FIRST PLACE. He yells millimeters from your ear, “did you get it, did you get it? did you get it yet?” Spitting out the hair that has fallen into your mouth you try – for the 10,000th time – to buckle the seat belt over him without getting past the chew, BUT YOU CAN’T, it’s a centimeter too short or he is a centimeter too fat OR SOMETHING and the whole world is dark and horrid and you’re not sure if life is worth living if you have to thread the chew through the slit in the buckle every day of your god damned life, but then, YES, there is goes.
Oh my god. Okay. We’re good. Let’s go to school.
An actual mathematical equation proves that the later I am getting out the door the more likely it is that the buckle has slipped over the stupid spot on the seat belt that the dog mangled with his teeth.
There is a relatively easy fix. If I would take all four car seats out of the car and rearrange completely so that Nate sat in the far back corner, then I could battle the chew one last time and buckle Nate’s seat permanently into the car. But, then I would be guaranteed to have to climb in and reach over the second bench every single day – instead of taking the chew gamble – because Nate can’t buckle his own harness the way Garrett can buckle the seat belt (assuming we are beyond the chew on a particular morning.) Also, it would be tantamount to admitting defeat and I’m pretty sure that’s what the chew wants me to do. The chew is evil.
Matt’s unsympathetic to my plight.
I regard him balefully over my wine glass rim. I’m rarely late and he knows that. “Come on, you’ve taken them all in the morning. Late just happens.”
“So, when you’re late, drop the big kids at the curb, don’t walk them up.”
“They’re too little.”
“You create your own chaos. You like it.”
“No,” I protest, “it’s the chew; it hates me.”
Matt gives me his this-is-not-a-national-security-issue-it’s-preschool-drop-off-who-cares look. I warn him off with my eyebrows. Do not mock my life. This is what I do at present. Do not mock the mother. FOR SHE WILL FORSAKE THY LAUNDRY AND THOU SHALL BE SHIRTLESS.
But he’s right; it’s efficiency sabotage. It’s my morning challenge. I know I have to be out of bed by 7:08 to make it without freaking out in the morning, but I push it on purpose. I prep everything the night before and lounge until 7:13, just to make it interesting. Daring the chew to intercede.
“You could put a piece of tape further down the belt, so the buckle can’t slip that far.”
“I’d have to go out there now in the dark and the cold.”
“I won’t give the chew the satisfaction.”
“Have you mentioned the chew to the therapist?”
“Yeah, I told him it was a metaphor for frustration.”
“The therapist doesn’t get me either.”
“That’s not a good sign.”
“He’s just dumb. I kind of like it when he’s not able to keep up, it makes me feel too smart for therapy.”
“You’re doing therapy wrong.”
MAYBE. Or maybe it is a metaphor for frustration. Maybe I like a little challenge in my life. Maybe I need my daily battle with the Gods. Maybe I’m crazy.
I’m late this morning, but I stop at Starbucks anyway. Robbie gives Nate whip cream in the big sample cup. We skip Kinkos and meander to the van for toddler class, guaranteeing that the entire day will be 20 minutes behind schedule. I finish buckling Nate and sit sideways on the front bench to wipe the whip cream from the ends of my hair with a wet wipe. I raise my full coffee cup and salute the chew where it dangles innocently from the back left ceiling.
Oh, you win today, my friend, but you don’t stand a chance tomorrow.