A Strategy for when your Day is a Series of Unfortunate Events

JMJ 3  *Today was a reminder that I can not foresee or prepare for everything in my school day.  Even when we have all our “ducks in a row”, they may all fall down like lined-up dominoes.  But hey, tomorrow is a new day.  Thank God for that!  Besides, it all makes for a great story…

Ring the School Bell 3/180 days

Yes, referring to the title above, I am a Lemony Snicket fan, but that is not what this post is about:)

Let’s get right into the strategy of dealing with a day full of unforeseen drama.  What can you do to keep your sanity?  Here are a few ideas:

  1. Keep it in perspective.  Every day has its own challenges, and tomorrow is a new day.
  2. See it as an opportunity to be a good example to your children.  Express your frustrations but don’t fall apart in front of them.  It will help them learn to deal with their own problems.
  3. Ask for help.  Pray to God.  Call a friend, a fellow mom perhaps.  A listening ear is sometimes all you will need, or maybe a little well-intentioned advice.
  4. Hugs are great on a rough day.  Hug your spouse, your child, your pet.  And while you are at it, take a deep breath and relax for a moment.
  5. Take 10 and watch a funny video.  Laughter is awesome to get you through a challenging day.  There are so many funny videos on YouTube.  Look up early episodes of Blimey Cow on YouTube for funny homeschool humor, or go to the podcast section of www.blimeycow.com.

Okay, so here is my day.  As I mentioned previously, I arose this morning completely unsuspecting the drama and chaos that would befall me today.  Sarah found them first, the wee beasties, aka the ants, a complete squadron with several queens amongst them, in my kitchen.  The army had managed to parade through a small hole in the cracked diy caulking job near the kitchen window.  I had naively left a small amount of moisture and a bag of sweet-smelling apples on the counter the night before, and this was the consequence.  Sarah was quite captivated by them.  An opportunity for scientific observation by her perspective, I am sure.

Tomorrow is a brand new day!  Art by Sarah T

I frightened the ants temporarily with repeated raids of Windex and attempted to seal off their port of entry all around the cabinets with bright red duct tape, the only “lovely” color stocked in my cupboard.  Luckily, the little critters figured out they had not found the promised land after all and retreated within the day.  I had good grounds for initially being petrified.  An earlier generation of ants had appeared a few years ago, after I had casually mentioned to my sister that the insects were not attracted to our particular home.  Don’t ever do that.  Nothing would make them go away.

Overwhelmed, I literally closed the kitchen for 3 days before summoning up the courage to wipe out the droves of ants coming from five different directions!  Getting back to the present, the ant escapade kind of threw off our plans a bit today, but thanks to the planners we forged through what needed to be done.

Between the ants, mopping a flooded floor (a regular occurrence at our place), the cats who decided it was an opportune time to leave messes around the house, and packing for our upcoming camping trip to the beach, it was a truly crazy morning.  And the mess! I could use a snow shovel today to scoop through the clutter.

To top it off, I thought Melissa and Sarah would begin piano lessons today and so we loaded up the van.  We drove all the way to the instructor’s house, where we encountered the bewildered piano teacher who told us the lessons were scheduled to begin the following week.  I double-checked and yep, my mistake.  I was scared to think of what else might go wrong.

I then started packing for our trip and opened up the travel trailer to another obstacle, of my own fault.  I kind of forgot I had been employing it for storage and had to declutter it, before packing it up for our excursion.  The morning truly felt like a failure.  Luckily, the lesson planners had provided academic direction for homeschooling, and I was called upon for a little tutoring here and there.  Everyone else was fine.  Mom, was the only frazzled one.

And that was only the morning.  Sabrina, has signed up for Interior Design at the  community college, as well as an English class, and so I drove to Santa Clarita in the afternoon, a twenty-five minute drive.  Yes, she is old enough to drive, and will be taking driver’s education soon.  For now, I am still the chauffeur.

To sidetrack a little, even when she does get her license, I am a little worried about the prospect of her driving our trusty but clunky family GMC Safari van. When the fuel pump of my old van gave out on a freeway, and I had neither accelerator nor brakes, with my family in tow, and I thought for a few minutes this might be it for all of us, that is when I decided it was too hazardous for her to drive it.  Our Honda Civic is rather new, but my husband is understandably possessive of his car after waiting 15 years to trade in the rusty old Thunderbird.  A third car is regrettably not in the budget, so her driver’s license will not liberate me of chauffeur duties in the near future.  There is an underlying blessing, though, that I am very aware of.  We have more opportunities for conversation during our daily commuting here and there, and I know those are limited as my oldest little girl is growing up so fast.  As I write this, she is playing enchanting piano in the next room.  I will miss her so much.

Listening to Sabrina’s piano lightens my mental load

Back to the moment, by this point of the day, I seriously needed a little break.  On the way to Sabrina’s class, I started envisioning an icy coffee drink, the kind with the caramel mixed in, and whip cream on top, so I stopped at the coffee house along our path.  I got out of the car, and ran into the establishment.  The line was too long.  I hurried back to the van as I didn’t want be the cause of Sabrina’s tardiness.

I then dropped her off and drove over to the mega-size department store, thinking I had plenty of time. Of course, a major store remodel was under way, causing narrow aisles thick with customers.  I filled up the cart, and proceeded to the checkout, just in time for a new cashier to open up her lane.  Stroke of luck, I thought.   Did I bring my own bags or would  I like to buy some for 10 cents each, inquired the cashier.  What?  Apparently, in this county in an effort to go “greener”, customers need to bring their own bags shopping.  Which is great for the environment, but I wasn’t prepared.

The cashier offered free boxes over by the front doors as I wasn’t about to buy any with the multitude of bags I had at home.  Off I went to get the boxes, only to be confronted by the “box police” who gruffly told me, “Sorry mam, those boxes are for customers only.”  I annoyingly assured her that I was a customer, and proceeded to “box” my stuff.  As I returned, the cashier was still trying to process my check.  The machine literally munched up two of them.  My decent mood was eroding by the second and the hopeful wish of a yummy icy drink on this sweltering and frustrating day, sadly faded away.  There was no phone at the new register since they were in the middle of a remodel, so she physically left me standing there while she tried to locate a manager.  Over 5 minutes later, after the customers behind me had given up on the “bad line”, the manager informed me that we would have to re-ring up everything on a different register.

Tearfully, I finally left with my merchandise and no refreshing icy drink, thinking it was too early in the school year for a day full of mishaps such as this one.

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** Note to the Reader- Today’s narrative is an excerpt of our family’s school journey from a few years ago, during my eldest daughter’s senior year in high school, a rather emotional year, with its many ups and downs.

May God shower blessings on your family as he has on mine.    Annette















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