Found it!

So, yeah. It’s winter here. Same for you, too?

Rochester is known for its snow, and its lack of sunshine for, oh,49 months of the year, but it’s not really known for being absolutely frigid. We get loads of the white stuff but almost never a true Snow Day (where the kids are home from school due to, you know, snow preventing them from attending). Last year, when Hurricane/Superstorm/ Generally Badass Sandy came roaring up the east coast, school was called for a totally random Hurricane Day, but that’s one of very few weather-related delays or cancellations I can remember.

Until today.

They didn’t even call it a Snow Day – no, school was cancelled due to “extreme temperatures,” which basically meant that they were worried that the wind chills would cause everyone to freeze to death if they attempted to enter the school buildings. While that seemed a bit nutty, I will say that, as I walked the girls to school yesterday morning when the temperatures were in the single digits, I promised that if they had school today, I’d drive them… but then I realized that our beloved crossing guard, Mrs. H, would still be at the corner, no matter what the weather. Death by Polar Vortex seems like a really poor way to go, so I’m awfully glad that Mrs. H didn’t have to brave the elements today.

Plus also, if school had been in session today, you know there’d have been those yahoos who would have pulled the fire alarm, just ’cause they think it’s funny to be asshats.

So, anyway, no school today. I won’t go on about the cold – half of you can hardly read this anyway because you’re shaking uncontrollably in an effort to generate a little body heat and keep your blood flowing. You get it. I know.

Nick was supposed to be on a business trip all week, but after spending seven hours at the Rochester airport yesterday (given that there is not enough to do in the Rochester airport to entertain oneself for even thirty minutes, Nick deserves a medal for surviving seven hours), he was unable to board a plane to anywhere. Today proved just as difficult, so his trip was cancelled, and as such, he volunteered to take the girls to the office with him this morning. At first, I was hesitant – oddly enough, after several discussions last night of the fun ways we’d attempt to fill a no-one-is-sick-but-we-can’t-go-outside-because-we’ll-freeze-to-death day, I’d sort of looked forward to having the kids home with me, and thought that their being gone for several hours might screw up the plans.

I can hear you laughing from here.
I’ll wait.

When Annie and Ella jumped at the chance to join Daddy at work (it’s hard to beat lots of iPad time, unlimited Post-Its, free multicolored folders, and food from the vending machines), I reasoned that I could spend the time while they were gone crossing a few items off of my To-Do book. Specifically, I thought I’d change all of our sheets, wash our towels, take down the Christmas tree and put it outside (the ornaments had been taken off yesterday; all that remained were the lights), exercise, answer some emails, and finish putting away the Christmas decorations. And then I’d figure out how to fill the third hour, because, naturally, all of the above would take only 90 minutes or so.

Again with the laughing.
I’ll still wait.

See, here’s the thing about the ADHD mind: you always think that you can accomplish way more than is actually possible within a given period of time. I know this about myself, and yet it’s still very difficult to accurately gauge what’s realistic and what’s not. Assuming that it would take, oh, thirty minutes to take the lights off of the tree, wrap ’em up, jauntily remove the tree from its base, and cart it outside (in frigid temperatures) to the curb was a grave error on my part. The base was still entirely full of water, meaning that if the tree tipped to the side, the water would slosh over the floor (bad), so that meant I’d need to lift the tree straight up into the air… but that meant that I’d need to unscrew the bolt-like-thingies that were holding the tree in place in the stand, and unscrewing the bolts meant that the tree would be, um, tippy… So it was a whole exercise in physics and geometry and towels and gating the dogs in the kitchen and swearing out loud to myself.

And that was just removing the lights.

Plus also it was, like, cold out, and, given that I was doing this alone, I had to prop open the front door to drag the tree through it. In reality, de-lighting the tree and getting it to the street probably took twenty minutes or so… but cleaning up the detritus took another forty-five. I don’t even know how the tree on the corner still looks like a Douglas Fir, because I’m certain that it dropped at least half of its needles between our living room and front hall. It was like Hansel and Gretel leaving entire loaves of bread with every step, this shedding tree, and the sheer effort it took to sweep and vacuum and corral the needles off of every surface in the house was nothing short of Herculean. Zero to hero, baby.

So, the tree-removal underestimate was my own fault. Changing the sheets, however, should have been predictable; it’s not like today was the first time I’ve done it. I’ve got it down to a science, and even though it sucks every time (because the girls each have a bunk bed that’s pushed up against the wall, making it difficult to access the sheets; also, they are very specific about how they like to sleep, and one wrong move can spell a meltdown later in the day), I know what to expect.

Except… Annie.

Annie is – how do I say it? – a hoarder. There is nothing, and I do mean nothing, that she feels is unworthy of holding onto, especially if it is an actual item that might have been used by someone at some time. I know this about her… but I didn’t know that, over the past couple of weeks, she’d decided to hoard everything on and in her bed.

As I pulled off the comforter, I found a few stray pencils between it and the duvet. Between the duvet and the top sheet, a couple of stuffed animals and a pair of underwear. But it was in the space between the bed and the wall and in the actual sheets – you know, the area where she sleeps – that I found the motherlode.

Normally, when I make the girls’ beds, I just toss back the pillows and stuffed animals and allow Ella and Annie to do the dirty work of actually putting them away. Today, however, it became apparent that Annie would require yet another Cold Day off of school to accomplish such a feat, so I decided to put things into logical piles for her.

1.07 annie's bed
Plenty of room for a seven year-old to squeeze in, don’t you think?

In case you can’t quite make it out, the above photo contains the things that were found on and IN Annie’s bed, including (but certainly not limited to):

  • 1 pair of pants
  • 3 pairs of pajama pants
  • 1 sweater
  • 2 shirts
  • 3 pull-ups
  • 4 pairs of underwear
  • 9 socks (only four of which matched one another)
  • 4 blankets
  • 1 box of Amber Brown books
  • 3 library books
  • 11 of her own books
  • 3 journals/drawing pads
  • 5 pens and pencils
  • 1 eraser
  • 1 new package of colored pencils
  • 1 wooden letter E
  • 1 poofy Candy Corn Fairy wand from Halloween
  • 1 construction paper Nimbus 2000 Harry Potter broom
  • 1 orange beaded bracelet
  • 8 doll outfits/shoes/accoutrements
  • 19 stuffed animals
  • 2 stuffed animal pillows
  • 4 decorative pillows
  • and 1 American Girl doll

In other words, Annie’s bed could singlehandedly have outfitted a small coop preschool; maybe she’s found her calling.

Which meant that a simple, predictable changing-of-the-sheets suddenly turned into a 90-minute re-stocking, which meant that my morning to “get things done” disappeared in an instant – and this part had to do with my ADHD, thank you very much. By the time I’d managed to disentangle everything and pick up the Christmas tree needles, it was time to meet Nick and the girls for lunch.

In case you’re keeping track, the exercising and email-answering never were accomplished. I did manage to wash the towels, however, and damn, do we ever have nice clean sheets to sleep on tonight.

Tomorrow, the temperatures are on their way back to normal, which means the girls will be back in school – and none too soon; I need a day to recover from this Cold Day. I wonder how much I can accomplish in the two hours before my first appointment of the morning? Not sure, but if I can’t find my To-Do book, at least I know where to look: inside Annie’s bed.

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One thought on “Found it!

  1. I took our tree on the Cold Day, too–my first time at this job. Between the needles on the floor and the wet-tree marks on the wall, it was a bit of a disaster. About the hoarding: Harp is the same way. Her favorite activity is picking discarded items off the floor at Michael’s, Home Depot, the airport bathroom (I put the kibosh on that one). What is it about THINGS that are so compelling?

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