Yesterday morning on my beach run, I could have sworn that I spotted the husband (or someone who looks remarkably like him) a few miles down. Then I realised that of course it couldn't be him because he was somewhere down in the Keys - as evidenced by this pic he sent me of his alfresco hotel experience the other night.
Every day now my father asks when le husband is coming back. My poor Dad has taken to retreating to his room for peace and quiet, door closed, with a disturbing frequency as of late. (So have I to be fair, but the monsters always come roaring in, plastic guns or homemade whips at the ready, laughing, wrestling each other and jumping on the beds, disturbing any semblance of peace I may have managed to whittle together for a few precious moments of 'me time'.)
Before he left, the husband thoughtfully put together a 'daily schedule' for me and the Monsters (he loves powerpoint and I have reason to believe that spreadsheets have a similar effect on his libido as say oysters do for others...but i digress). He felt that routine and pre-planned, predictable activities might be the way forward while he was in absentia. I recall trying to wipe the smirk off my face as he earnestly penciled up a 'typical day', and although, in all fairness it wasn't the craziest idea on the planet, I knew he was off on an unrealistic one, simply by noting the absence of any 'telly time while Mama hides out in the bedroom and tries to read a book'. (Nor was any allowance for 'drink wine and moan online' time given for yours truly at the end of the day. Perhaps he thought I'd see to that myself.)
But then how could he have known that our already fragile hold on the Monsters would completely unravel in tornado-like fashion into a domestic free-for-all that would see Dumpie lassoing me about the head with a ingenious flying pen after tying my legs together with utility rope as I sat typing at the table - while Egg surreptitiously helped himself to six donuts and a family pack of Salt n' Vinegar crisps in a sneaky gobble-down behind the sofa.
Then there is the expensive Jacuzzi bath which my father had installed to help his aching back. It's proven to be the perfect implement with which to turn a bog standard bathroom into foam party heaven. All it requires is a heavy handed pour of the Mr. Bubble combined with the jacuzzi on full blast in a not-yet filled tub and voila...party time (sigh).
Taking them out in public, unfortunately necessary, results in a daily exercise of humiliation wherever we go. If it's the park, then the Monsters will commandeer the biggest and best slide and spend hours trying to throw each other off the side - refusing to let any other children use it for it's proper sliding down use. I spend a lot of time apologising, and when that runs thin, I find burying myself in my book on a park bench, casting disparaging looks of mutual disgust to the other parents and pretending they're not mine, works a treat.
God forbid I bring them into a store - any store. Today it was Walmart. When in doubt, that mega shrine to disposable materialism and 'everything-under-the-sun' mentality is a great place to lose yourself in...for hours. I figured that based on the myriad of mad, colourful and strangely obese specimens who often lurk the aisles in the Walmart's that litter Southern Florida, that a couple of hyper, badly behaved, mini wrestling champions might just fly under the radar. How wrong I was.
I don't know why I never realised how BIG the superstore is, and how TEMPTING those long, long aisles must be to little boys who love nothing more than chasing each other with various food products they've grabbed off the shelves mid-run. Having at last finally corralled them by the Check-Out (by way of bubble-gum machine bribery...i don't care...i'm not proud) I noticed a commotion in the Customer Services area nearby. The monsters had commandeered the two drinking fountains and were holding a couple of sweet old ladies hostage with an impromptu waterworks display given that they had newly discovered how to use their little thumbs to only partially block the stream of water. A crowd had gathered by the time I finally made it over there, having had to give up my place in the queue, and by now a fuming, bright red.
Then, I made the mistake of allowing Dumpie to hold the container of candy sprinkles. (I WAS you see, going to make the boys red velvet cupcakes with fluffy vanilla icing as a treat, but after they suddenly took off in an impromptu 'shriek and chase' back through the store, I not only abandoned all hope - I unceremoniously dumped my basket and went storming off to hunt them down. I did catch them you'll be glad to know, but sadly the sprinkles met a disastrous end as they went flying somewhere in the nether regions of Aisle fourteen I believe, turning what was once an innocuous area into a sea of colour. Strangely, I don't actually recall storming out of the store, but I do suspect I was muttering furiously to myself (a worrying habit I've taken to lately), utterly humiliated and hoping they'd have to good sense to follow me, but then again not overly concerned at that point if they didn't.
Left with no other options, I did what any other desperate mother might do in my situation. I begged Grandpa to present Egg with his birthday present three months early, and went out and procured a brand spanking new limited edition red Mario Bros. Nintendo Dsi XL (he lost his beloved old Nintendo on some plane or another during our big shift from South East Asia over to North America last month).
Spoiling him? Yep. Rewarding him for bad behaviour? You betcha. Do I care? Not a bit. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and this is my last full blown attempt to restore order before I just give up altogether and the husband returns in a few weeks time to find my father holed up in his part of the condo, too terrified to come out, and I am found passed out in the bedroom, tied up, and surrounded by empty wine bottles and a plethora of white powdered donuts.