Today was one of those days.
The kind of day where I sort of wished that I had a remote control with a “rewind” and “edit” button for my life. Don’t worry, I’ve seen the movie “Click” and I know what happens with that.
For starters, Joe was up before 6am. And I mean up. No getting him back to sleep. For the last 2 weeks, I’ve been getting very little sleep – lots of nighttime waking (on my part) – which means that I would love love love the chance to sleep in just a teensy bit.
So, up early. Joe was in a good mood but it was full on right from the start. Thankfully today is one of his “play” days where he goes to the childcare centre for a few hours in the morning. I thought that I would get so much done.
Instead, I spent roughly 2 hours trying to solidify our travel plans to the UK, more specifically our travel to Scotland. We are Marriott Rewards members and have been for about 7 years. I had received a promotion code via email from Marriott advertising 20.12% off hotels across the UK, which made me SO happy since we would be staying at several hotels during our trip (all part of Chris going to various universities and giving talks).
So, today I went online and attempted to book a hotel using the promotion code. It didn’t work. I tried again. Still didn’t work. I tried a different hotel. No such luck. I tried a different city. Nothing. And then another city. Do you think it worked?
Finally, I decided to call Marriott. Not such an easy thing from New Zealand. I hunted through their website, looking for international numbers, and finally found the NZ ones. I tried both of them. Do you think they worked?
So, I got on Skype and attempted to call the US based Marriott. We all know how sketchy Skype can be. It disconnected me the first time around but I got through on attempt #2. I spoke with a woman who sounded t-h-r-i-l-l-ed to be doing her job and explained my predicament.
She didn’t seem to understand. First of all, she tried using the promo code BED instead of VEG (which is the correct one). I had to repeat it to her, and she then typed in BEG instead of VEG (because of course I was BEGging her to help me). Attempt #3 where I, once again, spelled it all out military style: V as in Violet, E as in Elephant, G as in Gorilla.
She put me on hold. And then the call was dropped.
I got through again, got another person, and went through the whole schemozzle once more. He put me on hold, then came back and said, “Those dates are unavailable for that promo code, but you can book at the advance purchase, non-refundable rate.”
I explained to him that the main reason for going through Marriott, aside from accrueing points, was the cost savings by using the promo code. I had done some research before calling them that morning and I knew that there were similar hotels or serviced apartments in the same area that were a lower cost than the full Marriott rate, even the advanced purchase non-refundable rate. I explained this to him, asked if there was anything he could do to keep my business, and you know what he said?
Nope. Well, “No”, is actually what he said, but I was still annoyed.
On to issue #2 that sucked up all of my time this morning…
My laptop has been on the fritz. I took it to the repair shop on Monday. They called me that afternoon and said it was a faulty power adaptor and that it would be $80 to replace it. Now, this is an older laptop. I had already replaced the motherboard on it a few months ago and wasn’t quite sure that I wanted to spend $80 on it, so I asked how much to just give me all of the data on the laptop. $120. Yeah, I decided to buy the power adapter. So on Tuesday (yesterday) I went to the shop in the pouring rain to pick it up, paid for the adaptor, and went on my wet but merry way. I was glad to have my computer back.
Do you think it worked when I got home?
Turns out that they sold me a power adaptor that would connect to my laptop, but not one that could connect to my power cord. My cord has 2 prongs, the adaptor has 3 prongs (all because my cord – and the rest of my laptop – was purchased in the States).
So this morning I fully intended to go back over there while Joe was at playcare. I got my shoes on, got my raincoat on, got my keys, and got my wallet. Except I didn’t get my wallet because I realized that I’d left it in Joe’s nappy bag, which was at playcare. I didn’t want to walk to the repair shop only to have them tell me I needed to buy the cord to go with the adaptor and me without my money, so I called instead.
Did I mention that they had my power cord with them at the time they diagnosed the problem? So I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t have noticed that or checked that it fit the power adaptor. They told me to come back in and that I could buy a cord to fit the adaptor, but that since it was their mistake that they would sell it to me for only $3.50. That seemed fair, and I said that I would come in that afternoon.
On to issue #3 that sucked up my time this morning…
I am tired of living in apartments. Actually, I’m tired of living in this apartment. Our wooden floor is warped and coming up thanks to a leaky washing machine. The washing machine has been fixed, the floors have not. There’s another light burnt out in the bathroom, which means a full call out with a handy man and an extension ladder. Have those issues been taken care of?
However, our letting agent did call me this morning and ask to bring someone by to view the apartment the following morning. She seemed shocked when I told her that I wouldn’t be home. This is the same letting agent who has made me feel like being a stay-at-home-mum means that I ought not do anything but stay at home.
She wasn’t very happy that I wouldn’t be around, so she told me that I actually wasn’t required to be there and she would just bring this person through herself while we were absent. This really annoys me. I don’t like the idea of someone coming through when we’re not here, but I don’t feel like I’m able to stop it. One big reason: lots of rentals in New Zealand are referral-based. If you have a negative referral from a previous letting agent (which you might get by, say, not letting them bring someone to view when they want to) then it looks bad, especially in this competitive market. So I said fine, that would work, whatever, so long as they weren’t expecting the place to be very clean. I told her to expect wet laundry hanging to dry and toys on the floor. She said that was fine, that she would just explain we were in the process of moving out.
Uh, no, we’re not moving out for another 4 1/2 weeks. We’re in the process of living our daily lives.
She also asked me to send her a list of times when I would routinely be available so that she wouldn’t have to check with me before setting up a time with a client. What? I asked if that meant she was going to show up unannounced and she said no, but that this way she wouldn’t have to keep setting up times with clients only to find that they wouldn’t work. I told her that I’d email her, which I did. In the email, I explained that while I did have several weekly standing appointments, this didn’t mean that the times I listed I would always be available. Joe and I go out a lot. Yes, we have music and swim lessons and play dates and other such things that are scheduled every week, but there are also things that come up and get added on from day to day. Yes, I’m a stay-at-home-mum, but we get cabin fever in here. Joe especially. He will actually take me by the hand and pull me to the front door, then jiggle the handle. Goodness knows what will happen if he ever figures out how to unlock it.
By this point, it was all I could do to switch the clean clothes for more dirty ones, hang the wet clothes to dry, swipe the countertops, and then head out to pick up Joe. So much of my morning just poof, gone. In hindsight, I can see that I actually did accomplish a great deal and that the likely hood of me being able to devote that amount of time to those tasks with Joe underfoot was extremely low. I am grateful that I was able to do those things, and I’m really glad that Joe seems to love playcare so much.
I picked up Joe, got him all cleaned up and scrubbed and changed, read a story, and he went down for his nap. I’ve been feeling pretty exhausted lately as I mentioned above. I finished the laundry, did some more cleaning, paid some bills online and sent emails to various people, then decided to try to lie down. Do you think that I was able to get any sleep?
Joe was up and I decided to just go outside and go for a walk, swinging by the computer shop on our way. Joe was actually walking, not in the stroller, so it took awhile but he needed to burn up some energy. We got to the repair shop, bought the power cord, and walked slowly back home.
I got Joe situated for his afternoon snack and decided to test out my laptop right away in case there were any other issues. Do you think it was fixed?
While it did turn on, many of the keys on the keyboard were not working. I’ve only once spilled something on my laptop (water, which was when the motherboard was replaced) and keep it clean, so I didn’t understand why they weren’t typing. I decided to call the computer repair shop as soon as I had a chance, which was about an hour later after hanging more laundry, changing Joe again, and cleaning him up post-snack.
So, I called them. The receptionist didn’t understand why it wasn’t working, but said she’d call me back. While I was waiting for her to call, my doctor’s office called to tell me that there was something wrong with one of my lab tests and that I needed to be seen for a repeat consultation. Well doesn’t that just fill your heart with lightness and joy?!
I asked them if they could just read the lab test results to me over the phone. Based on what the nurse told me, I’m not too worried, but I’m guessing the doctor just wants to be one the safe side. So, the nurse transferred me to the receptionist to make another appointment.
It was right about then that Joe started screaming. He had been fussing at me because I wouldn’t give him my cell phone. You see, there are 3 things that Joe thinks are actually his: (1) our phones, (2) our laptops, and (3) our keys. If he sees them and we don’t give them to him, he lets us know how he feels about it. Normally, I react the way that a sane, concerned parent would: I explain to him that he cannot always have his way. I do this gently at first but firmly if I need to repeat myself. I’ve even started to attempt time outs. That boy has learned how to get the wooden spoon (the one with the extra long handle) from the kitchen drawer and use it to reeeaaaccchhh up onto the desk to push buttons on the laptop that has been scooted by me to the farthest corners, the ones that are usually inaccessible to Joe except for when he uses a spoon.
Good grief, the boy has learned how to use tools to get what he wants.
Even closing the laptop is no good, because he’ll take the spoon and wedge it in between the keyboard and screen to try to open it. And he knows he shouldn’t be doing it. He’s also been known to use ice cube trays or salad tongs to attempt to get my phone. I’m not opposed to giving Joe my phone or keys from time to time, but if he screams for them, I don’t give them to him. And he never gets the laptop.
Anyway, back to the phone. I’m waiting to get through to the receptionist and Joe is screaming at me. I’m walking around the apartment, trying to hear what the woman is saying to me about appointments while Joe is following me, crying and throwing a tantrum. And in the midst of it all, I get call waiting from the computer repair store.
Part of me wanted to ignore the call but the last time I spoke to the receptionist there, she made a comment about how she couldn’t always reach me on my cell phone. Part of this is because (1) I turn my phone to vibrate when Joe is napping and (2) I don’t always remember to turn the ringer back on or take it out of the nappy bag, which is in the hallway. So, I asked the doctor’s office receptionist if she wouldn’t mind holding and I switched over to the computer shop.
Joe was still screaming, by the way. No amount of offering his sippy cup, gentle talking, picking him up, showing him his toys, was cutting it. He was mad at me for not giving him my phone.
I spoke with the computer receptionist who said that their repair technician hadn’t found anything wrong with the keyboard, that maybe something happened to it during the 30 minute interval between picking it up and testing it out at home, but that they would be happy to take a look at it.
Uh, nope. No way was I bringing it back to them.
I thanked her for calling me back but told her, as politely as possible, that I was tired of making trips to and from their store. First to drop off the laptop, then to pick up the power adaptor, then to pick up the power cord which they didn’t sell me, and what? Now I was supposed to bring it back in again for a keyboard problem? No way.
I tried to switch back over to the doctor’s receptionist only to accidentally hang up on her. Do you think that Joe had quieted down by now?
I was shushing Joe, bouncing him on my knee while he was shoving at my face and grabbing for my phone, and I was trying to look up the number for my doctor’s office when Joe bit me. Hard.
That did it.
I put him down on the ground, yelled at him to be quiet, that he was not allowed to bite his momma, and that was when the tears really started. In the age old words that so many parents have uttered before, I had finally given Joe something to really cry about.
So, I felt like a failure. Wet laundry hanging around the house, quinoa grains on the floor from Joe’s snack, hair a mess thanks to not having a shower since Sunday, my full calendar looming, my computer still broken, a problem lab result that required yet another trip to the doctor and more calendar shifting, and now my 14 month old is screaming because I yelled at him. Loudly.
I felt like one of those crazy women that you read about, the ones who have hair sticking out every which way, food on their clothes, a minivan full of yelling kids who she yells right back at without pausing or second thought, dirty food wrappers rolling around underfoot, and “Wash Me” written on the grime on the back window of the van. I don’t know why, but that was the image that I had of myself at that moment.
I wish that I could say that I waved my magic momma fairy wand and suddenly everything was fine – Joe stopped crying, I looked great, the laundry was dry, folded, and put away, the kitchen was clean – but, well you can probably guess what I’m going to say next.
Normally, I think that I’ve got it pretty put together and organized. I think that’s why today hit me so hard. I felt as though the whole world was watching me in my disorganized state, passing judgment, when in reality it was just me and Joe, and I was just having a bad day. And everyone has those.
I called the doctor’s office back, shutting myself in Joe’s room so that I could hear myself think while he cried outside the door. I made the appointment, hung up the phone, took a deep breath, and took care of Joe. And Joe, being only 14 months old and thinking that “mother” is the same thing as “comfort”, came right to me, hugged me, and cuddled with me even though I was the one who’d yelled at him. And I cuddled right back.
The rest of the day was OK. I think that Joe needed to have me tell him that he (a) couldn’t have the cell phone, (b) couldn’t push me in the face, and (c) couldn’t bite me. I even think it was good for him to hear me upset, but I know that I was mad and that part of my yelling at him? It was all of the frustration of the day boiling over. And that wasn’t fair.
I finished out the day by making a giant salad for dinner, giving Joe a bath, having Chris clean up the kitchen and start the dishwasher (which is running even as I type this), and listing some more furniture on TradeMe in preparation of our exit from this apartment. Oh, and with Chris making a trip to the corner dairy for chocolate. I love that guy.
And now, I’m going to end this post with 2 of my favorite quotes.
1. “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it.” – L.M. Montgomery
2. “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” – Lamentations 3:22-23 (emphasis added).
I’m thankful that tomorrow is fresh and that God’s steadfast love never fails, even when I do. I’m glad that His mercy is always there for me. I definitely needed it today.
And now, my lovely readers, if you’ve made it to this point of my post, give yourself a pat on the back. I’m going to curl up on the couch with my husband, eat chocolate, and just relax.