It does not matter how early I set the alarm. It does not matter if I make lunches the night before. It does not matter if I put out every last uniform and school bag in order to minimize morning chaos.
My family unfailingly starts its day with a huge helping of pandemonium.
The Bermuda Triangle of grammar school belongings guarantees the unavoidable loss of school bag, lunch or band instrument before we even arrive at the car. Our minivan’s doors have recently decided they resent being closed and are now offering arctic ventilation the entire way to school.
As a matter of general principal, all three boys consistently get themselves ensnared in their seat belts at the exact moment I am trying to shove them out the door before the carpool crowd murders me.
Checking to make sure I have unloaded the proper number of passengers, I cautiously steer towards my second school drop-off. It is then that I am serenaded with a symphony from the dashboard, advising me that those godforsaken doors are, yet again, not shutting properly.
Rattled, I begin to drive home. That is when Joey pipes up from the third row. “AREN’T YOU DROPPING ME OFF, TOO, MOMMY?”
Whoops. My bad.
After another school drop-off that reminds me of a drunken game of Frogger, with kids darting between cars and assorted lunatics believing intersections are the proper place to deposit children, I arrive home. Before I can decide whether or not to pour some long-expired cream into my coffee, there is the doorbell.
It’s the cable guy.
Wearing Tweety Bird jammies and my husband’s old college sweatshirt, I can’t remember if I had put on a bra. My socks are two different colors. I have peanut butter in my hair.
In other words, I am HAWT.
Vladimir the Cable Guy smiles while placing paper booties over his shoes. Electric shock therapy-looking moms are a dime a dozen in this neighborhood at 8 a.m. He is from the Ukraine. We discuss recent developments in his homeland, and then he has a few technical questions. I ‘fess up and admit that the only person who understands anything more complicated than the microwave in our house is Danny, and he was at school.
Vladimir nods and gets to work in typical Eastern European fashion.
He is done within an hour.
There was once a time that I wouldn’t have left my house without full makeup and proper attire. I donned business suits and heels every day for a decade. I believed the true sign of a lady was whether she wore pantyhose and pearls.
I discuss global events in a tattered EIU sweatshirt that has witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall, Zima “the clear beer” and O.J. Simpson.
That pearl-wearing, pantyhose-from-a-blue-egg freak would have never appreciated the Vladimirs of the world who speak multiple languages, fix gadgetry in minutes and have the good sense to turn down toxic coffee when they are offered it.
It’s just another one of those lessons we are told as a kid, but never quite appreciate until the years grant us some semblance of wisdom.
Never judge a book by its cover, a cable guy by his booties or a mom by her Tweety Birds. You might miss a thing or two.
And in my case, I would have never gotten to ride in the best open-air minivan the world has ever seen.