Sunday, January 30, 2011

Aligned Stars and the Presence of Dynamite

There has been a whole lot written about "balance" between work and family, and almost all of it is aimed at women. I could never work when my kids were small, particularly the boys. And I'm not talking work as in leaving the house with shaved legs and make up on. I mean work as in planting marigolds.

I actually tried to make a garden once when both boys were toddlers. Philip began "tasting" the sand and Christopher got stuck in the thorny berry patch and began howling. So I just played with them. Everyone stayed intact and the only "balance" I had in my life occurred when I got the two boys, the groceries and the dog food into the shopping cart without tipping.

But they're older now, so the other day when I got a phone call from an actual interview person, I felt really cool. And I rarely feel cool, but that morning I did. I had cleaned my desk off and my new YA was coming together and I had FINALLY bought living room curtains, so all my stars were aligned. There I was, with that new ms, an interview, and Christopher safely off at college.

Of course, my life is generally not this smooth. The other side of that day was that the living room curtains are still in the bag, the YA only has the first chapter and a half done, and it was a snow day which meant Philip and Emma were both home.

Philip and Emma have been tight playmates ever since we toted Emma to the playground with us in a Snuggli.

Life with them is something like this. This is Philip's personality:



So alone, that's not so bad. Here's what happens when Emma comes along:





And there's a bigger reason I chose those images. So there I am, on the phone, feeling cool for the first three seconds of the interview. Very writerly. Very organized. And I get this text while I'm talking about organized,writerly things: Rmbr that rocket P got for his bd a lng time ago?

I do remember the rocket Philip got for his birthday. He was turning12 and a well-meaning (childless) friend had given him a rocket to launch. Somehow, because I had put it there it ended up in a box of old maternity clothes.

Put it back, I texted, and get out of the basement while I'm on the phone!!!!!

Mom, is he lying or is this acktual dynomite? BRB

So I trotted down to the basement, still discussing character and plot and all those kinds of things. I got the rocket and wrote an old fashioned note to them: We can launch this later, when I'm off the phone. I got the interview done. I sounded, the interviewer said, very animated.

 If only she knew that it wasn't plot structure giving so much pitch to my voice.

12 comments:

Bish Denham said...

OMG! The Adventures of Mom and Other Hair-raising Tales of Terror.

Medeia Sharif said...

I've had the same thing happen to me: I'm either too excited or too lackluster on the phone because I'm preoccupied with something in front of me.

Yikes @ the rocket.

Anne Spollen said...

Bish, I've learned that when they are quiet and you want to think they are reading or absorbed in some mind-enhancing activity, you better go check.

Emma and Philip are pretty much experts at conjuring adventure.

Anne Spollen said...

I find it really difficult to talk on the phone unless the house is empty, Medeia. And that almost never happens.

Jemi Fraser said...

Yikes! Rockets are not a good thing to find when mom is on the phone! But that's always the way, isn't it???? :)

Anne Spollen said...

It does seem that way, Jemi. They could be great all morning, then when the "critical" friend, the one who doesn't have kids, but has lots of opinions on what you're doing wrong calls, a huge squabble explodes out of nowhere.

You can pretty much count on it.

Marcia said...

I'm still wondering what they were doing in the maternity clothes. :D

Anne Spollen said...

According to the legend, Marcia, they were looking for snow clothes so we could go sleigh riding that afternoon.

And yes, that was the first thought that crossed my mind when I got the text.

Adrienne said...

Ha! When it comes to phone calls, kids and pets forget all about boundaries...
See, I think this is why women are so good at multi-tasking. Our survival (and our children's) depends on it.

Mary Witzl said...

Hahahaha!

I had a telephone interview for a teaching job a couple of months ago and my cat decided to crap in the corner the minute it started. For two hours previous to this, he had been curled up in a ball, sound asleep. Wish I'd done as well on my interview as you did on yours...

Anne Spollen said...

That's right, Adrienne. If women couldn't multitask, the species would have died out thousands of years ago.

Kids and pets provide such a grounding though for those times when we take ourselves too seriously.

Well, Mary, I happen to speak some Cattish, and if that phone call disturbed that kitty's nap, you got a clear message on what he thought of that situation - and you. And I think saying I sounded "animated" was an uber polite way of saying, "Geeesh, I didn't know Anne suffered from bipolar mania." Cause that's how I think I sounded.

Nora MacFarlane said...

Oh my goodness! I needed that laugh! Never a dull moment...