Thursday, January 29, 2009

How about a little whine with breakfast?

You know, I can't help but wonder, can anything be done about the terrible Wednesdays in our house?

You may not know about Wednesdays at Wits' End. We all go to church on Wednesday nights. Man-Cub has his Pioneer Boys, Redheaded Snippet has youth group and The Viking and I are enrolled in a two-year Discipleship course. It's a great church and the programs are excellent. We are very grateful to have such things at our disposal.

So what is the problem? We live 30 minutes from the church. I know, a church that's alive is worth the drive, I keep telling myself that as I feel the tension tightening my head and neck during the struggle through traffic every Wednesday night. Church starts at 6:30. Which means, do the math with me, we have to leave our house at 6:00 to get there on time.

Okay, fine, just round everyone up and leave at 6:00! Problem solved!

Oh, ye foolish babes, if only it were that simple. NOTHING is ever that simple around here!

Problem #2: The Viking has a 45 minute commute and doesn't get home until 6:30. If we were to wait for him to get home, we wouldn't get to church until 7:00. And he wouldn't get to eat any dinner. So he meets us there and I always pack his dinner for him. I know, very loving and wifely of me, but, I'll admit it, a giant pain in the bottom!

Problem #3: Redheaded Snippet plays on the school's athletic teams. This cannot have escaped your notice. In the Autumn it's field hockey and in Winter it's basketball. Last year she chose the school play over Spring softball, but we'll see about this year.

I really do not have much to complain about concerning our school's athletic programs. Everything, practices and games, is after school, there are no weekends involved and the cost to us has been minimal. Redheaded Snippet has loved playing and my family has loved the social and entertainment aspect of spectating at her games.

However, and now I am finally getting to the problem, there is practice every day after school unless there is a game. Practices are over at 5:30, games anywhere from 5:30 to 6:30. Which means any given Wednesday I have no more (and often drastically less) than 30 minutes to get my girl home, changed, cleaned up if need be, fed and back out the door in time to pick up her friends and get to church.

If there is just a practice, I can sometimes manage to feed myself and Man-Cub before we pick her up, feed Redheaded Snippet when we dash back in the door and pack a container of food for The Viking to eat once we meet up with him at church. Most of the time I'm not that put together. I usually just pack my dinner, too, and feed the kids before we scramble back into the car.

Sometimes, all the fates align against me. Sometimes there is a game on Wednesday night. I'm the kind of Mom who likes to go to all my kids' games. I feel something is just not right if my child is playing on a field, court or pitch and I'm not there to see it. I've missed two games in the four years my kids have been in sports and those were because of illness. I'm very proud of my record. Anyway, when I go to a game, I can't be at home preparing dinner! And there certainly isn't enough time to make it when we get back. So, if it's a HOME game, I do Crockpot, Thermowell, or Cooking-With-The-Gas-Turned-Off meals on those nights. And I dish up containers for me and The Viking, shove plates in the kids faces and then fly back out the door.

But there are other times, and last night was one of those times, when it's even worse. Sometimes there is an AWAY game on a Wednesday. Those take even more time. We have to get to the game, watch the game, get packed up from the game and get back home from the game. If Redheaded Snippet rides the bus it takes her even longer to get home than it takes me. Most of the time, the other school is so far away there is not enough time to get home from the game, wait for the bus and then get out to church.

So what do I have to do then? I have to write a note to the school asking permission to escort my own daughter from the game instead of allowing her to ride the bus under the care of people who did not give birth to her (don't even get me started on that one) so we can go right to church from the game. And I have to make dinner and have it packed up for all of us by 3:00 because I won't have any other time to get back home before church. The kids eat in the car and The Viking and I eat at church. It's maddening. I have to think of a meal that doesn't need to be kept hot, that won't turn disgusting once it has cooled a bit, that will travel well and that the kids will eat.

Last night was even worse because I had stupidly scheduled a doctor's appointment for 2:00 and realized, too late, I would have no time after it to go back home for my stuff. So, yesterday, I had to have everything packed up by 2:00.

I won't go into all the details of my terribly stressful day yesterday, (aren't you grateful?), but I will say I was in a state of mild panic all day long, had a splitting headache by 6:00, and had fallen into the exhausted sleep of the weary by 10:30.

We've been doing this for almost two years now. And I just don't know how much longer we can do it! Wacky Wednesdays are starting to spill over into Treacherous Thursdays because we're all so crabby from getting home and to bed so late (we don't get back until 9:30 once we've gotten everyone rounded up and dropped off at home). If we have to go to a game, Man-Cub can't get his homework done (have you ever tried doing math problems in a gym with a basketball game going on?) and I have to write a note to his teacher explaining the whole thing. And it really does sound like I'm making it up. I'm sure they don't believe me.

This morning was terrible! Man-Cub whined and cried through the entire getting-ready-for-school process, losing his after-school playtime privileges. Redheaded Snippet snapped at him and bossed him around, making him cry even more, The Viking was grumpy because the kids had left their basketball sneakers/backpack/lunch box in the frigid car all night long and he had to be the brave one to retrieve them. We ran out of bread, juice boxes and granola bars, and Man-Cub broke one of the glass panes on the kitchen door by smacking the coat cupboard door against it in frustration and anger. Sheeeeeeesh.

The broken glass happened literally as they were stepping out the door. Man-Cub was getting his coat when he flung the door open. The Viking just stood there looking silently terrible (as only a very patient, self-controlled but angry man can do) and Man-Cub just dissolved into tears. At 8:05. When school starts at 8:15. I shooed them out the door anyway, "We'll have to worry about it later! Later! Go!" I can only hope Man-Cub pulled himself together in the car so he wasn't seen crying in the school yard.

I decided to vent my feelings in this post. It's only Thursday. And there is another bloody game this afternoon. Thankfully this one is a home game, but we have our very first meeting at the high school tonight at 7:00 so dinner is going to be another frantic affair. I've decided on fried rice which is very easy, fairly fast to make and ultra-cheap, not to mention one of the kids' favorites, so all I have to do is sink a pot of rice into the Thermowell before I leave for the game and stir-fry a mess of eggs and vegetables when I get home. But I'm not sure we have the strength for another day tomorrow. Man-Cub and I are dragging. I've been watching him sharply and I'm afraid he might be coming down with something. And all I want to do today is hibernate in my warm, cozy bed. But I've got clothes to launder, dishes to wash--oh, did I mention the dishwasher isn't working AGAIN?- and small fires to put out all over the place.

I just cannot wait for this week to be over!


JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Probably an unpopular recommendation - but perhaps cut out that one activity on Wednesday night that is causing all the stress and rushing and cooking and breaking, etc. etc. etc. If something is that distasteful to the whole family it hardly seems worth pursuing. Just a thought from someone who is looking at this from an organizational point of view. Just MHO

pedalpower said...

Oh man, juggling those schedules can really get crazy! My youngest went to college this year, so I don't have all those school activities any more.

I left you an award on my Home Again blog, if you'd like to pick it up.

Anonymous said...

Why not hold your own family devotion night at home where all the family can gather together for dinner and fellowship? Something has to give and having to rush from one activity to another may not allow you to have the right frame of mind as you enter into your church home on Wednesday evenings.

Wishing you the best as you work through your decision.

KnC Zman said...

I admire your dedication.. I'd be super lazy and even if my budget didn't allow it.. it would be a drive thru at a fast food place for sure on those nights!! So I take my hat off to ya!!