Please excuse my long absence from this blog. I’ve been yearning to write, I’m just finding it hard to carve out time to do it in. Also, I guess I haven’t found much to write about. The first few weeks of school and homeschool have been very regimented, with everything working to a system. I really wanted to write a decent ‘fail’ post. I know they’re the favourites of many of my friends. But, I guess I hadn’t had a proper, blog-worthy misadventure in a while.
This got me thinking. What if I was finally getting the hang of this whole mothering malarkey? Perhaps I was short on ‘fail’ material because I was finally experiencing unadulterated success? Look at me: Capable Lady who makes sandwiches in bulk and freezes them, who writes fortnightly meal plans and shops accordingly, who gets the washing on the line before 8am. I’ve made it. I’ve finally made it.
But, even as my head swelled up to alarming proportions, I felt a small twinge of regret. “Fail” posts are such fun to write and are such an important part of this blog. I would miss them so.
That was yesterday.
Today, I slept in.
As I stumbled out of my room, I saw the small white envelope I had carefully placed at the top of the stairs, right where I wouldn’t miss it. Ugh.
Last Wednesday, after school, Christopher Robin came rushing out of his classroom “I have Subway Lunch! The envelope’s in my bag! We have to fill it out and get it in!”, he announced breathlessly.
Once or twice a term, Christopher Robin’s school does a deal with the local sandwich artists where the children can order a set lunch for $5.50 and have it delivered. They usually do it on Healthy Lunch Wednesday (major marketing scam) with the money collected by Monday.
As soon as we got home, Christopher Robin dug the order envelope out of his mail bag, found a pencil and painstakingly circled his choices. Ham. Lettuce. Cheese. No tomato. Orange juice. Cookie. Now all we needed to do was insert the $5.50 and send it back to school.
Except I had no cash.
No matter, we had plenty of time. I got money out on Thursday, but still could not get exact amount together. At any rate, Friday morning was such a manic rush, the order envelope never made its way to CR’s purple mailbag. No matter. We would get it all sorted out by Monday.
I spent the course of the weekend trying to preserve my $5 notes, only to have to spend them for various reasons. I gave up all my 50c pieces at Mass when giving the kids coins for the collection plate – (the large ‘spiky’ coins are the only coins worth having, apparently).
On Sunday afternoon, we went to a cafe/bar to listen to my sister Cindy play some amazing original music. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but there is a lot of musical talent in my family. Jan, Cindy and Bobby all write their own music and play multiple instruments. This has nothing to do with the story, really. I just wanted to boast.
Whilst my sister was busy being impressive, Mr Knightley worked systematically in his purchase of chips and hot chocolates to scrabble together $5.50 out of the change. I zipped the precious coins up in my pocket. Now I just had to get the envelope.
I started looking for it after I tucked the boys into bed. Christopher Robin had placed it carefully on his dresser, but it wasn’t there any more. To make matters worse, there was no lightbulb in their room (one of Mr Knightley’s novel punishments for a previous night’s skylarking). Eventually we found it under one of the beds all crumpled up and a little bit torn. I smoothed it out and put the coins in. This was the very envelope I encountered at the top of the stairs this morning.
While I was putting cornflakes into bowls and clothing onto children, I put envelope in mail bag and gave to CR to put in schoolbag. Then I went and checked that his swimming bag was packed with towel and goggles and bathers and all of the bits.
It being St Patrick’s Day, Christopher Robin wanted to wear something green. I pointed him in the direction of an emerald green jacket he hardly ever wears and started herding everyone into the car. As Christopher clambered into his seat, I noticed for the first time the enormous Union Jack emblazoned across the back of said jacket. How had I not noticed that before? It seemed historically inappropriate, perhaps even culturally insensitive, but we were running late, so I let it slide.
It was only after I took Christopher Robin to school, having been admonished by a teacher for my incorrect execution of a proper kiss-and-drop (should be less kiss/more drop, apparently); only after I dropped Harry at kinder and signed the book; only after I raced home, started homeschool with our regular prayer and got Matilda settled into her maths, that I noticed it. A purple mailbag containing a lunch order envelope containing $5.50 exactly.
I needed to sit down.
As I sat, I pondered. The school always makes a point of emphasising that the orders need to be in by 9am-no-later on the day they are due as they are then collected by the relevant sandwich creation officials and taken away. It was 9:15. I formed a plan of attack.
- I would call the school. It was a little embarrassing, but unfortunately they know me by now and are used to my scatterbrained ways.
- If there was still time to get the order in, I would pack the girls into the car and drive back to school. It would be a pain to disrupt our homeschool routine, but at least today’s maths was easy and straightforward.
- If the order had already been picked up, I would call the local sandwich manifestation facility and do some fast talking.
- If my fast talking is successful, I will pack the girls into the car and drive to the local sandwich self-actualising unit to deliver the blessed envelope. Perhaps Matilda could take her books in the car with her?
I was considering drawing this plan up as a nifty flow-chart with boxes and yes/no arrows , when it struck me that time was of the essence, so I picked up my phone and called the school instead. As I garbled out my predicament to the school’s ever-patient secretary, she gently interrupted me.
“It’s Subway lunch day”
“Yes, I know the orders are due today, but I was wanting to know if they’ve been collected yet…”
“No, Kate, you don’t understand – today is the lunch day. The orders were due Friday…”
“Oh.” I said in a small voice. So much for steps two, three and four. I had well and truly missed the boat. “Oh. Well, that answers that question for me” I then launched into a detailed description of the lunch I had packed, dwelling in particular detail on the piece of chocolate cake with the post-it note that said “Happy St Patrick’s Day” next to my rather wonky approximation of a shamrock. Surely that was just as much fun? Who needs edible artworks that use bread as their medium? Surely a sandwich is a sandwich? I almost had myself convinced when it struck me that the kindly school secretary might have other work to do that day, so I somehow managed to stop myself babbling and got off the phone.
This was a major fail and it haunted me all day. Was it just me or did Christopher Robin look rather woebegone as he stepped through the school gates that afternoon, wearing his bright green tribute to Mother England? I swiftly moved into a desperate frenzy of over-compensation. I sat the children down at the kitchen table and pulled out the lollies left over from Matilda’s birthday party that had been off-limits for Lent. Everybody got a snake and I told them the story of St Patrick and the snakes, even though I’m pretty sure that one’s apocryphal. Then I gave them a musk stick and tried, unsuccessfully to bend it to the shape of a bishop’s staff. The jubes looked like jewels, which are precious like our faith. And the lolly teeth…well, I’m pretty sure St Patrick had teeth too…
Then I took a photo of them doing something wholesome
and promptly posted it on Facebook to gather some affirmation in the form of ‘likes’. (They are cleaning new potatoes from our garden. And it’s St Patrick’s Day. LOL. YOLO. *wink* #winning)
But, as I tucked my brave little six-year-old into bed that night, I could tell it was still on his mind. “All of the other kids kept asking me why I didn’t have Subway lunch.” he muttered glumly.
I kissed his tormented brow and promised him a Friday-morning-lunch-order (and stopped myself from also promising a jacuzzi, new set of golf clubs, a 4WD and a pony). I told him I planned to write a blog post about the whole thing and this cheered him up considerably. He’s been wanting me to write about him in the blog for a while now.
Meanwhile, the sight and smell of Subway sandwiches still sends me into a cold sweat. I am no longer yearning for blog material. If only I could write fail posts without having to experience the fail first…