Chaos, Old Eyes and Forgetfulness

Alarm ClockThe managed chaos of an otherwise normal weekday morning neared completion.  I looked up at the clock. 7:05a, go time.

Everyone was still in the bathroom, busily brushing teeth and building piles of stalagmah (aka ‘sink goo’). Crimini. We’re gonna miss the bus if we don’t get out of here soon.

Ginny never did find her other shoe. Together, we rifled through her closet for a different pair to wear.  It didn’t help that it was still in complete disarray from the previous weekend.  She was in tears.

“I don’t want to wear these shoes!” she wailed.  “Today is P.E. and I need my tennies!”

“Well, then you should have put them away when you took them off yesterday and you wouldn’t be in this mess,” I calmly told her, now racing down the stairs.  Her search for the missing pink shoe would have to resume in the afternoon.

The five of us scurried out the door.  The fog was thick, and it was so dark that the street, much less our trees, were barely visible from the porch. Quick switch to Plan B.  We’d have to drive to the bus stop, waiting in the safety of the van instead of standing in the open with no sidewalk for protection.  I commented on the boys’ silly bedheads; they apparently ignored my request to smooth them out.  Sigh.  If they don’t care, I don’t care.

I grabbed the ignition key off the laundry hooks (leaving my other keys) on the way to the garage.  Panicked kids filed in behind me, little duckies fighting for a place in line, bumping backpacks and cramming through the door frame in an all-at-once fashion.  Someone yelled at another to go around, another screamed to close the door as I put the van into gear. There’s nothing like a semi-moving vehicle to light a fire under slowpoke kiddos.  Only a few more minutes and it’ll be over, I reassured myself.

My glasses were still on the kitchen counter, but at least I got my clothes on.  The extra pair kept in the glove box would have to do. Though I could see nothing up close, a 4-yr-old prescription was adequate for driving the short distance.  “Good enough to drive” is what I need should a keen officer notice the restriction on my driver’s license. That’s a ticket I could do without.

The drive to the corner could not have been slower.  The fog was so thick, the headlamps ricocheted off the mist and directed back toward us.  Anxiously, we looked ahead for the bus lights, but would we even see them if it arrived before we did?  All we could see was glare.

At the exact time we arrived at the corner, the bus pulled up and the loading lights came on.  He had already seen me coming.  Fred is a patient and kind bus driver, always waving and smiling.  This morning, though, I was not the patient one, safely but anxiously pushing and herding my griping group across the street.  We made it by the hair of our chinny chin chin.  Thankfully, too.  At least I wouldn’t be driving the kids five miles in these treacherous conditions.

The calm quiet of the evacuated van soothed me.  I started thinking about Scott’s mom.  Scott left for the airport hours earlier to go see her in the hospital, for what may well be their final reunion.  In a slightly selfish way, I missed his being gone during mornings like this.  He has a way of bringing order to the chaos, calm to a storm.

But he wouldn’t be back for a whole week.  And it was now proving to be a very long week.

Deep in thought as my heart rate settled from the whole ordeal, I parked the car and looked forward to finishing my cup of tea in inside.  I tried to turn the door knob.  It was locked.  Ginny, the last one out, hadn’t unlocked the door before she closed it behind her.  No problem — I kept an extra key in the garage for such an occasion.  This was not the first time I’ve been locked out of my house.

But the key wasn’t there.  Where is it?  I dug around; perhaps it fell behind something.  It’s not here!  Oh crap.  Where was that danged key?   When did I use it last?  Did I forget to hang it back up?!  Doh.  I’ve really outdone myself this time.  (My one-shoe’d daughter might not need to know about this one.)

Scott’s long gone now so Grandma’s house it is.   She’d have my key and I could enjoy a warm cup of coffee and mom stories in good company before coming back home.  She’d no doubt get a laugh out of this — I didn’t even have my shoes on, no cell phone, no purse.  My hair was a wreck.  I couldn’t remember what the law was for driving without shoes.  Could I be ticketed for that?  Certainly they’d get for not having a license or proof of insurance.   Never mind; I’ll just drive very carefully in this fog.  I headed out of the garage for the 25-min commute to her house.  I crossed my fingers and toes she’d be there.

I knocked on the door, unannounced, and my aunt greeted me, surprised, still wiping the sleep from her eyes.

“Your mom’s not here.  She left for the Quilt Show just a few minutes ago.”  I called her cell phone.  She was indeed already parked far away in downtown Houston.  I’m doomed.  

Well, at least I can get a cup of coffee, I thought to myself.  Scott’s gone, Mom’s gone, the neighbor’s are gone, and I need to relax a bit before I figure out the rest of the day.

As I was thinking and talking through which window would be the best one to break, my aunt offered to drive me downtown to get my house key from Mom.  Very nice, but no.  Thanks.  “It’s a shame one of your kids doesn’t have a key.”  She shook her head, feeling my frustration.  My memory sprang back to life, the coffee now doing its job.

I put a key in Scottie’s backpack more than a year ago.  Was it still there?  Is it even the same backpack he’s using this year??  I just couldn’t remember.  It’s certainly worth checking.

The school secretary knows me well; a PTA board member and frequent volunteer, I am greeted by her smiling face at least every other day.  She graciously offered to go check my child’s backpack and call me back.

As luck would have it, she found the key; for once, I remembered right.  She put it in an envelope and left it for whenever I got there.  Perhaps I was more thankful than usual; my butt has been saved by school staff on several occasions.  This just might top them all.

At last, I arrived at school, barefooted, disheveled, but relieved.  It was Literature Day that day; I bumped into the assistant principal as I entered the front lobby, dressed as the King’s messenger in Cinderella.  He was carrying a shoe.

He looked down at my bare feet.  “You look like you could use a shoe.  Does this one fit?”  He offered the tiny, kindergartener-sized glass slipper.  We both laughed.  What a crazy morning, and now it’s almost over.

The house key went straight away onto my key ring.  I sure don’t want to lose this one.

Reading glasses
Reading glasses (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

More than two hours passed since the rush out the door to the bus stop.  I pulled into the garage and went inside the house, safe and sound — no broken window, no expensive driving violation, just another semi-normal chaotic morning.  I finished my (now cold) cup of tea while walking around turning every light in the house from on to off (geez).  There they were, my daily-wear glasses, right where I left them on the counter.  I put them on.

In order to prevent another lock-out, I decided it might wise to put the key in the secret spot.  I’d get another cut later to return to the backpack — and maybe an extra for Mom’s house.  Exiting through the garage — checking that the door knob was not locked in paranoia — I opened the space for the key and reached to hang the replacement.

Wait.  There was a key there, where before there wasn’t.  There is a key there!

The spare key had been nestled in its spot the entire time.  I laughed at myself.  So I hadn’t forgotten to replace it the last time I used it — I just didn’t see it!  Then it dawned on me.

Earlier in the morning, I had on the wrong glasses.  I wasn’t wearing my bifocals.

* * *

What “old” things have you done lately?

How do you manage the house and kids when a spouse is away?

24 thoughts on “Chaos, Old Eyes and Forgetfulness

    1. LOL I can totally relate. It’s because of that “sweet spot” that I also have mono-vision reading glasses (which I’m wearing now, for computer use) with an Rx and magnification built-in. What really sucks is when I leave the house with those on my face (a/k/a/ can’t see when I drive!!). Getting old…


      1. Computer glasses are high on my list of things to buy when I’m in town for more than a couple of weeks and have a spare minute. Between my Kindle and computer, I am getting a permanent crick in my neck.


  1. Argh! I am so relieved that its is not only me who does stuff like this. I put the whole house into a panic the other day because I couldn’t find my car keys and it turned out they were in my pocket, of the garment I was wearing at the time! Oh dear. Actually, when P is away I am more efficient. Weird.


    1. I’ve gotten used to the phrase “it’ll come out in the wash” because that’s where I nearly always find whatever it is I’ve lost. Empty the washer into the dryer, and voila. At the bottom of the tub, there are my keys.

      I always love frantically looking for my sunglasses all over the house until one my kids notes that they’re up on my head. Geez.


    1. I hate it when he’s away. In some ways I’m more efficient when he’s gone (I can’t depend on a “back-up”), but I also don’t get a break until I slip into bed. So very tired, every day. We are such a great team — I HATE it when he’s away!


      1. Life is overly full. Garden is…not full but not empty! All is well =) Hopefully by January life will slow down a smidge (ha!) but then definitely hopefully by March? Maybe?


  2. We just recently screwed one of the real estate lock boxes on a fence post in the back yard for a spare key. (There are two kinds, one that hangs over a door knob and one that gets screwed to a surface when the door is open.) The day the garage door broke and slammed down to not be lifted back up, taught me that had I been on the outside of the door, I would have been locked out! Plus the key is locked in the box and not just waiting to be found by someone should they get in your garage… Just a thought.

    Now to go renew my drivers license yet this month and see if I can still pass the eye test. So long as they do not simulate depth perception in the dark I think I will be OK! 🙂


    1. Oh, I can tell you it’s a tough one to pass! Good luck. Lemme know how it goes. (We’re due for a phone call anyway.)

      Remember, you’re only a few years behind me. Watch and learn, little young’un.


  3. Shannon, what a hoot!! I love this. I think it would make a great sit-com. I can relate to all of it. I think my next problem might be my hearing. My wife says that I don’t listen……at least I think that is what she said. One nice thing though, since I have had my cataracts removed, I was able to remove the “must wear glasses” restriction on my driver’s license.


    1. Yeah, Bob, both of my mom’s got lucky with the cataract thing too!

      Funny, now that I’m firmly in mid-life territory, if I had to opt for a $2,000 boob job or a $2,000 eye job, I think I’d take the eye job. LOL


    1. And thank goodness I had nothing on the schedule that morning! I was two hours behind all day just trying desperately to catch up.

      Been thinking about you and Courtney. Still. 🙂


  4. Oh my lord! What a crazy morning! I have to admit you had me laughing at the notion of you at the school barefoot and disheveled. Well, at least the school helped you out and there was a key in his backpack. This sounds like something that would happen to me for sure.

    Sorry you’re sans husband right now and I’m so sorry about his mom being sick. Remember deep breathing, lots of tea and a solid pair of glasses works wonders. I am supposed to be wearing glasses but always misplace them. And every day my eyesight gets more blurry. I think I’m in denial.


    1. It was a blow to my ego when I went to renew my drivers license just before my 40th birthday — I couldn’t pass the eye exam. I WAS in denial. When it was apparent that I HAD to wear my glasses (hence, the restriction) to pass, it was all downhill from there. Later that year, I was issued my first pair of bi-focals. I’ve had two major prescription changes since then — and I’m only 45.

      Everyone always told me to get old is first eyes go, then the bladder, then the memory. I’m 2 for 3 so far, and eeking into dangerous memory territory.


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