Have you ever seen that episode of Scrubs where Turk asks Carla what’s bothering her, and she peels back her scalp and there is a gushing forth of all her neurotic thoughts and obsessions?  That’s what this blog is going to be like.

I am doubled over with guilt for the following reasons, in no particular order:

1.  Last month I called Princess Zurg’s best friend’s stepmother to see if PZ’s best friend could come to PZ’s birthday party and found out that PZ’s best friend broke her leg in a really bad way over Spring Break and was totally bed/couch-ridden for the next couple weeks and still needed to have another surgery and was going to have limited mobility because of the whole crutches thing for however long it takes to recuperate from a broken leg that’s been broken that badly.  So that’s why PZ didn’t have a birthday party this year, because if the best friend can’t come, what’s the point?  And the reason I didn’t know about PZ’s best friend’s broken leg before this was because PZ’s best friend lives on the other side of town and her family doesn’t have a car, and so we don’t see her very often at all, especially not since PZ has been going to a different school for the last year.  I can count on one hand–probably half of one hand–the number of times PZ has seen her best friend over the last year.  That is the state of PZ’s social life.  That I felt guilty enough about already, and I didn’t think it was possible to feel much guiltier, but I didn’t foresee the broken leg.  When I heard about the broken leg, I felt just awful for PZ’s best friend, and I said I would certainly bring PZ over for a visit, soon.  In fact, I penciled it into my calendar for that week.  But it didn’t actually work out for that week, and I told myself I would have to pencil it in for some other day the following week, but you know what?  I never picked up another pencil, and I never took PZ to see her best friend with the broken leg.  It’s been a month.  I could still take her–I still want to take her, or think I want to take her, or think I mean to take her, but I’m beginning to suspect that maybe I really don’t mean or want to take her and never actually did because if I really did, I would have done it by now, wouldn’t I have?  The truth is that a best friend on the other side of town is much like a starving child in Africa to me, only without a convenient little intermediary organization like UNICEF that I can write a check to and thereby assuage my guilt.  No, I have to actually block out some time in my schedule to actually visit the best friend on the other side of town myself, but that is too much work, and that is why I’m a terrible human being.  Moving on!

2.  Lest ye think the best friend with the broken leg is some kind of aberration in my ordinarily-chock-full-o’-thoughtfulness life, I also have an aunt who lives on the other side of Portland, whom I see about once a year.  No, once a year is too generous.  I see her about once every year and a half, usually when some other member of my family comes through Portland and says, “I should really see B. while I’m here,” and I say, “Oh yeah, that’d be good, I’ll go with you.”  My aunt is getting on in years and is now in a nursing home.  I don’t know exactly how long she’s been in the home because I didn’t realize she’d gone there until my older sister mentioned it to me one day.  I know she’s only been in there sometime since last July because last July I went to see her in her house (not “the home”), but still, I haven’t been to see her in “the home” and don’t even know which home it is because I haven’t called any of my cousins to find out or get an address to send a frakking Christmas card, should I be so humanitarily inclined this year.  I’ve lived a half-hour away from her for the last five years, and I just haven’t gone to see her because I haven’t wanted to think about what to do with the children or when would be a good time to go or calling on the phone and having a conversation–it’s all just been too much, darling, too much, because I’m a terrible human being.  But wait!  There’s more.

3.  After the turbulent elementary school years with Princess Zurg, I have been so relieved and happy that Mister Bubby has done well in school and has never been a problem for anyone and always does his homework and has just generally let me send him off to school and not worry about him for six-and-a-half hours, five days a week.  Then a few weeks ago I got a call from his best friend’s mother, who wanted to know if I was also concerned about the fact that our sons have learned exactly nothing new in school this year, that they are still doing the same crap they did in first grade, only with slightly different worksheets.  That was the first time I ever really stopped to think about it and realized that actually, yes, now that you mention it, Mister Bubby has been complaining that school is boring and he already knows everything they’re teaching him and why can’t he just go to third grade, and yes, they do have an awful lot of worksheets, don’t they?  What the hell is up with the worksheets?  I don’t remember doing so many worksheets when I was in school.  I guess they can’t afford books and slates anymore because they have to buy computers so our children can be competitive in the twenty-first century.  And what are they using the computers for?  Hell if I know.  The last time I was involved in a child’s education, it was primarily for the purpose of figuring out how I could get myself less involved on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis.  All I’ve ever really wanted was to send my kid off to school for six-and-a-half hours a day, five days a week, and not have to worry about anything beyond that.  I don’t remember my parents being that involved in my education until I was in high school and the math got harder.  I’m feeling a lot of resentment over the fact that I’m devoting all of May 29–paying a babysitter for six-and-a-half hours–to volunteering at the school for “Australia Day,” the annual second grade extravaganza.  It’s not like I ever volunteer at the school if I can possibly help it, and usually I can help it quite a bit because our neighborhood school is overrun with parents who volunteer for everything.  It’s a very competitive game–who will be the lucky soul who gets to chaperone the field trip to the rock museum???–and I’ve been quite content not to play it.  They used to make me volunteer to chaperone field trips because PZ was supposedly so volatile that even being attended by her own freaking aide was not enough, no, she had to have parental supervision if they were going to take her off of school property, and so, yes, I was pleased as punch not to be doing that anymore–but now it’s freaking Australia Day and they need all the helping hands they can get and MB wants me there anyway because I never volunteer and possibly he’s afraid the other kids assume that his mom must be some kind of crack mom because she’s never seen on school property during school hours.  And that’s how I got roped into being a group leader in the morning and running the flipping didgeridoo in afternoon, whatever the hell any of that means, I haven’t even looked at my job description(s) yet because I’ve been so preoccupied with the fact that I pay all this money in property taxes and my neighbors spend so much of their time helping out in the school, and my son is still doing first-grade worksheets in flipping May and what the hell does he need a flipping didgeridoo for anyway?  I’m so angry about it and yet I feel I have no one but myself to blame because I was the one who wanted a worry-free education for my son–rather, an education for my son that was worry-free for me–and this is just what you get for not worrying:  fill-in-the-blank worksheets and mother-frakking didgeridoos.  Nice work, Mother.  I hope you ate a lot of bon bons this year while your son’s brain was atrophying!

4.  We were thinking of sending Elvis to summer camp this year.  Rather, Sugar Daddy thought it would be a good idea to send Elvis to this summer camp for children with disabilities, and I had no argument against it because hey, who doesn’t need to get rid of Elvis for a couple hours a day during the summer?  So we sent away for an application for this camp, and we got the paperwork in the mail a couple weeks ago, and I started to fill it out because I’m pretty good at filling out paperwork.  I did all right with the name and address and emergency contacts and doctors and insurance information, and then I got to the section where I had to describe in detail the extent of my child’s disability and his specific challenges, and I thought, “I can’t do this right now, I’m going to do it later,” because after all this time I still have trouble confronting these facts about my son.  I have a visceral response to requests for quantification about his disability.  I just can’t handle it.  I don’t understand why, but I just can’t, and by “can’t,” I really mean I just don’t want to, and I don’t know why, but I just don’t.  But I have to, or he’s not going to go to camp, and I will be sorry later, sometime this summer, when he’s driving me crazy and eating all the popsicles and replacing all the batteries in all of the small appliances and can’t find the right screwdriver and wants me to push him 89 times on the swing but he really means 99 times and he gets frustrated and starts yelling, “aaahhhAAAHHHHaaahhhhAAAAHHHHHaaaahhhhAAAHHHHHaaahhhhAAAAHHHHH” with the full force of his diaphragm behind it for the forty-seventh time that day, and I will probably start screaming myself and want to pop him one and possibly I will actually pop him one because I can’t stand it anymore, and I will only have myself to blame because I was too lazy to fill out the paperwork on time so he could go to camp and make me a little bit less crazy.  And I wonder how I can love my son so much while simultaneously not wanting him around very much.  Maybe I don’t love him as much as I think I do, unless he’s asleep.  That’s just not right.  Which reminds me, I need to find that frakking paperwork and fill it out, and now I’m afraid I won’t be able to find it.

5.  Girlfriend is almost 42 months old and still needs to be toilet-trained.  Sugar Daddy did the heavy lifting with toilet training Elvis, although that was mostly because he finally got the idea that I wasn’t going to do it, and so now he deserves a medal and I need to get on the stick and finally toilet-train our non-disabled child, who has absolutely no desire to use the toilet.  In point of fact, she has the opposite of desire.  I think sometimes that I was born in the wrong era.  As much as I enjoy the conveniences of modern life, I often wish that I could have parented back in the day when adults weren’t supposed to care about scarring their children for life, and if they didn’t do what Ma or Pa said, Ma or Pa could just beat them with a stick and voila, instant compliance–and they didn’t grow up to be serial killers or anything, just average, reasonably-productive citizens who also beat their children with sticks.  Not that I want to beat my child with a stick–no, I am far too modern and enlightened to have such feelings, but I admit that I am just plain old weary of trying to figure out how to get my children to do stuff without beating them with a stick.  How did toileting get to be so complicated?  How did human beings evolve to the point where sitting in their own filth is a preferred state?  I have seen each of my children reach the stage where they were interested in the toilet, only to immediately recoil upon being offered a toileting opportunity–and not only recoil, but turn and run in the opposite direction, screaming bloody murder, huddling in a corner every time the word “potty” is uttered–leaving me feeling very much like a guy who’s misinterpreted a pretty girl’s attentions and ends up not only offending her with my romantic advances but turning her into a lesbian besides.  What on earth have I done?

6.  I am seriously considering giving up my housekeepers because it is so depressing to me to walk around my house and realize that I’ve just been engaging in a bi-monthly exercise of shoving stuff in closets and drawers so someone else can come vacuum and mop, and once the vacuuming and mopping is done, all the crap that we own just comes SPROING!ing out of aforementioned closets and drawers and deposits itself all over the floors and countertops, along with the neverending stream of new crap that finds its way into our house on a daily basis.  I am just ready to surrender to entropy already.  I caught up on the laundry, sort of–the clothes part, I was mostly caught up on, and then I had this backlog of towels I had to wash, so I’ve washed nothing but towels for the last two days, which is not to say I’ve been continuously washing towels for 48 hours, but towels is all I’ve washed, and now I have an unbelievable backlog of actual clothes that need to be washed again because you just can’t go 48 hours without washing clothes, not when you have six people in your family, all of whom wear clothes.  What do I do all day long?  Seriously, what do I do?  You know how OBL can’t go grocery shopping until she’s organized her pantry?  I look in my pantry, which is an unqualified disaster, and I just think, “I would sooner never eat again than try to figure out what the hell is in here,” and then I cram another cereal box in there, close the door real quick-like, and jam a chair in front of it so it doesn’t SPROING! open again.  I’m like the anti-OBL.  It’s not like I do nothing.  Obviously, I am filling up my days with something other than blogging and Facebooking because people still have clean clothes and they have food to eat and there is toilet paper in the house, but on the other hand, there’s all this entropy and long-neglected best friends with broken legs and aunts in failing health and summer camp paperwork unfilled-out and three-year-olds in diapers, and I have to tell you, people, it’s not because I don’t have enough hours in the day.  It’s probably because my parents didn’t beat me with a stick more when I was little.

Okay, it was good to get that off my chest.  I’m not going to visit anyone’s best friend today, but I think I will do the dishes and start on the laundry and pick up the 47,368 pieces of paper that are lying all over my living room floor.  I might even sweep the kitchen floor.  I should go to the Target, but I don’t remember why.  Somebody’s prescription.  Also, I’m pretty sure that since I’ve said the word “frak” about 67 times before 10 a.m. today, it probably means that I should pick up some tampons, too.  Incidentally, I feel like “frak” is so much more satisfying than saying the actual F-word, it’s got to be more vulgar somehow.  In any case, I should probably stop saying it around my kids.  I’ll put that on my list of stuff I “mean” or “want” to do.  Damn, I’m gonna eat some chocolate cake now.

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