10 Years, 9 Months, 12 Days, and 2 Kids Later …

I filed for divorce.

So there’s that.

This decision was arrived at neither casually nor mutually. While Leif would be quite content to stay married forever, I am not, for reasons I do not feel the need to discuss at this time.

I know the question you want answered: What happened? Sorry to disappoint you, but nothing happened. We could blame the fact that we got married too young or too fast, or had kids too soon, or worked too many long hours, but the fact of the matter is that lots of relationships include those variables and turn out just fine in the end.

There is no one moment in time a person can pinpoint and say, “Aha! That’s when it all started to fall apart!” You don’t just wake up one day and say to yourself, “You know, I think I’ll file for divorce today. For kicks and giggles.”

Divorce is tragic. It rips families apart. It leaves emotional scar tissue in its wake. God hates it. It is never to be taken lightly. It is an option of last resort. Well, except for murder, but that’s illegal and I hate blood, and oh yeah, it’s evil and I hope I never hate anyone enough to even entertain that idea.

I know there are questions, so I’ve done my best to preemptively answer some of them below. Because I’m a blogger and I like to share.

FAQ

Q: How can this happen when you guys seemed so happy?

A: Once upon a time we were happy. Not every couple’s story ends with a “happily ever after.” Once you start to realize you aren’t happy, there’s a very long period of time spent in denial. I am happy, dammit! Things are just rocky right now, slowly transforms into, ok, I’m a wee bit miserable, but I’ll be happy again soon.

This doesn’t happen over weeks or months, but years. Then you start to question your sanity, because there are some good times sprinkled here or there that glimmer of hope that things are changing and the heat wave will break and beautiful flowers will bloom on the morrow.

If you’re a blogger, you share the good times and only occasionally the bad, and you hold fast to the belief that things will get better. Behind the scenes, you hope and you pray and you beg and you try everything to make it work. You yell and you cry and you apologize and try to ignore the fact that there’s been no real resolution.

You remember how happy you were to walk down the aisle and say, “I do,” and promise your heart to another. You hold onto those memories with a vice-like grip. You look at your children, little human beings that you made together, and think things can’t be so bad, because look at this amazing goodness that came from your union. It will get better, right?

In other words, denial is a powerful thing, and not everything is as it seems.

Q: What about the girls?

A: They are bright and wonderful children who are very loved by two devoted parents. With some counseling and time to grieve and adjust, they will be just fine.

Q: How can you call yourself a Christian?

A: If you call yourself a Christian, you have no business asking that, you hypocrite. If you don’t, then the only answer I have is that I believe in the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that my soul was bought at the price of His blood shed on the cross. That doesn’t change with my marital status.

Q: Have you thought this through?

A: Gosh, no I didn’t! I didn’t think at all about how much this will hurt our friends and loved ones, how it might affect my daughters’ romantic relationships later in life, the grief of our happily married parents, the awkward social situations that are bound to arise, the inevitable financial strain …

Q: Do you know how hard life is as a single parent?

A: Probably not. I didn’t know how hard motherhood was going to be either. No one can fully anticipate what trials the future holds. One day at a time, baby.

Q: Is there any chance you guys could work it out?

A: It’s unlikely, but I have agreed to hold off on definitively answering that question or finalizing anything until some of these festering emotional wounds have had a bit of time and space to heal.

Regardless, I believe that ultimately all things work together for God’s glory, even the nasty bits. So even if we don’t work out, I know everything will work out in the end exactly as it’s meant to be.

Q: Are you still living together?

A: No. (Please see previous Q&A and note the ‘time and space’ contingent.)

Q: Where are the girls?

A: They’re living with me, and Leif has visitation. We’re working on figuring things out. It’s been all of less than three weeks since the fit hit the shan, so we obviously don’t have an ironed-out schedule at this point. So far we’ve been making sure that they know when they will be seeing the other parent next, because apparently stability is important.

Q: Is this why you’ve been so quiet on the blog front this past year?

A: Basically. My life has been consumed with getting through my days, aching at not being able to get through to my husband, questioning my grip on reality, questioning our history, and questioning God. And tears — lots and lots of tears.

In other words, it’s hard to think up something to share with y’all when all I wanted to write was, “Sooooo … my life is falling apart around me and the scotch tape I’ve always used to hold it together doesn’t seem to be cutting it anymore…”

Q: What can I do for you?

A: Please be respectful. Don’t assume anything. No one knows what goes on inside a relationship except the people in that relationship, and even then it occasionally often gets convoluted.

Pray for us. Don’t take sides. Don’t pray for reconciliation and don’t pray for divorce. Pray that God’s will be done — no matter what the outcome. Because guess what? It will be done. God is kinda almighty like that. So I guess … please pray that grace be plentiful all around as we wade through this crap.

And of course, the most important thing is our children. Hearing negative things about either of their parents will not benefit them in any way, shape, or form, and as my great grandma always said, “Little pitchers have big ears.” So if you have something negative to say about either one of us, I kindly ask you to take a deep breath and remember that there are children involved.

Steak and Emails

Yesterday in Tampa, I ordered a medium rare steak. On the rare side. It was just a steak kind of day. I’m usually a pretty easy-going kind of girl, but when it comes to meat, I tend to be a wee bit finicky. And everyone that knows me well is laughing right now, because by ‘finicky’ I mean that I will cry if my steak is overdone, and it is one of two reasons I will ever send something back to the kitchen. The other is mayo, because I seriously can’t stand the stuff.

Anyway, I’ve been known to send my steak back. One time at Flemings the chef even came out to my table, because the first time it was overdone, the second time it was almost completely raw, and the third time he wanted to make sure he got it right. Hey, I’m relaxed about a lot of stuff — everyone has a thing, and this is mine.

So Yummy

So back to this steak I ordered in Tampa. It was perfect, first time out. I may have shed a tear of happiness. So I did what I always do when I’m overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of something I’m about to eat, and I took a picture to send to someone I knew would appreciate it. In this case, it was my husband, because poor dude has been on the other side of the table many of the times my steaks have disappointed.

He was still at work back in California, so I emailed him the picture, with the subject line, “Food Porn.”

He wrote back, “Mooooooooooo!”

Then I said, “I love you,” because he made me laugh and I wanted him to know I appreciated his humor and appreciation for my lovely dinner.

He said, “I looooooove you … How many wives send their husbands porn at work?”

Because that’s how we roll.

Cruel Summer

I love these little handfuls

I know I’ve been sporadic at best in updating my blog this summer. Honestly, it’s been challenging enough just keeping up with my regular writing duties over at The Stir. Just talk to my editors … I feel like I’m always just a little behind schedule.

Sorry, ladies!

It’s fair to say that this summer has been a bit rough. Being home with the kids most of the time has taken its toll on my sanity. I told you I couldn’t hack it as a stay-at-home-mom. It’s nothing really in particular; just the day-to-day inconsistencies wrought from the lack of any real schedule. There were a few day camps, a couple work trips for me, and days here and there with the sitter, but for the most part, the kids and I were forced to cope with each other for the majority of the time.

I really hope it made all of us stronger, because it sure as heck almost killed us.

Let me remind you all that I friggin love my kids, and I’d walk across fire for them, or worse, stay home all summer with them. I kiss their booboos, love on them, comfort them, feed them, take them fun places and give them treats, and I discipline them when necessary. It is hard, and it is not my forte.

Everyone always says every kid is different, and before you have more than one, you kinda sorta know that’s true in the back of your mind, but there’s no way you can really fathom how incredibly different two people from the exact same gene pool can be.

The only thing my girls have in common is their blond hair, their daddy’s eyes, and their stubbornness. Which I’m pretty sure they also get from their father. Just saying.

When I was about eight months pregnant with Thing 1, I reached that weird state of pregnancy where my belly started to have angles, as baby’s rapidly growing knees and elbows practiced flexing. There was this one area under my ribs that she would stick her foot out, and you could see the bump on my belly. Since it was our first baby and we had invented pregnancy (because all first-time parents think this, of course), we’d watch the bump on my tummy as I pushed it in, then slowly it would go right back in the exact same spot.  Nothing would deter that girl from her way. “My foot goes here, thank you very much,” she told us in vitro.

Fast-forward a few years to about the same stage of my pregnancy with Thing 2. Oh hey! I remember that little foot! Let’s push it in and see what happens … oh that was interesting … there was no slow creep back out this time. Instead, it was a very sudden kick back out to a place near the original spot, but not quite. Thing 2 was saying, “My foot goes out, end of discussion, fine I will play by your rules, but you never said my foot couldn’t go there.”

My now fourth grader and pre-kindergartener have retained those same personalities to this day. Thing 1 is quietly stubborn – patient and relentless in pursuit of something she wants. Thing 2 has been nicknamed The Destroyer. Just because I never said you couldn’t jump off the barstools doesn’t mean that you should try it, sweetheart.

Between these two, the keeping up with my regular job, and other various matters I won’t bother to get into in order to protect the innocent, I’ve been spread a little thin.

But I’m pretty sure I’ve kept BevMo in business.

Cheers to the end of summer, and Happy School Year to moms everywhere.

Happy 10th Anniversary to My Darling Husband Leif

Look! Pink flowers!

I have loved sharing anniversary posts with you guys. I started two years ago on our eighth anniversary with a list of 25 reasons I loved Leif. Last year I wrote about my freak-out at the top of the aisle. This year, on our tenth anniversary, I want to tell you about the pink blossoms.

We are in Hawaii right now – Waikiki, to be exact – and I have seen so many pink-blossomed trees. Pink makes me happy, mmmkay? It makes me so happy that I picked it as one of our wedding colors. Black, silver, and pink. Elegant. Lovely.

Side note: A few weeks before our wedding, I sent Leif to the tux shop to get measured. He said he didn’t care what I’d picked out for him, so long as it was blue. Um, hi, Honey? Remember months ago when we talked colors and you said black, silver, and pink sounded wonderful? No blue tuxedo. Silly grooms.

The week before our wedding, there was a heat wave rolling through San Diego. Nelly’s It’s Getting Hot In Here was the number one song on the charts, and I had to agree with him. I was so miserable with the hot humidity I was actually tempted on several occasions to take off all my clothes.

Our wedding day, and our planned al fresco dinner party reception, grew nearer and nearer, as the heat topped the charts in the triple digits. I was too nervous about this monumental step I was taking to overly worry about my guests, but it was there in my mind. I don’t want everyone to be miserably hot at my wedding!

The morning of the 13th, I woke up so tired from spending the night before printing out the bulletins (maybe that can be next year’s story?), but when I opened the patio door of my parents’ house, I was hit with a cool breeze. The heat wave had broken.

The wedding wasn’t until six pm, but I stopped by the chapel and reception site to lend my hand to the last minute details. Family friends were busy stringing up twinkle lights into the courtyard trees where our guests would be dining mere hours later. Overnight, as the heat wave had broken, the trees had blossomed with deliriously wonderful pink flowers.

It was an encouragement I have always held onto: Even when things seem bleak and unpleasant … there’s always the possibility of pink blooms on the morrow. Thank you for so many flowers over the last decade.

Happy anniversary, My Love.

Thing 1 Just Says No to Dog Meat

I was reading this article from Mark Steyn about the exploding attack tactics being used by the Obama campaign against Mitt Romney. They tried to say that women wouldn’t like Romney because his great-grandfather was a polygamist, but somehow overlooked the fact that Barak Obama’s father was a polygamist.

Side note: Why liberals are down with gay marriage but not polygamy confuses the heck out of me. Isn’t that discrimination? Shouldn’t consenting adults be allowed to marry whomever they want to?

Another hypocritical criticism of Romney came when the Obama people decided to cry foul over the fact that the Romney family apparently strapped their crated dog to the roof of the car for a road trip in 1983. Then the fabulous Jim Treacher blogged on the Daily Caller that Obama had, as a child, eaten dog meat.

Better the roof of the car, then the roof of the mouth, Jim astutely pointed out.

The “Obama eats dog” meme has exploded on the Internets, because, well, it’s just so gosh darn hilarious to make fun of it. Dog recipes, anyone? Hall & Oates lyrics changed from Maneater to Dogeater? Brilliant.

Some people (I’m look at you, Leif!) don’t think the thing is funny. There are so many other issues to talk about — this is just stupid. The above linked article from Steyn does a good job laying out exactly why we should be laughing about it: It contrasts the comic value of the situation with the ridiculous seriousness that those on the left take themselves. We laugh; they form a Dogs Against Romney PAC.

He writes:

The exploding cigars are revealing not merely of Democratic hypocrisy but of a key difference in worldview between liberals and conservatives. Jeremy Funk and Governor Schweitzer reflexively believe that their dog-eating polygamy-scion is different from the other guy’s dog-transporting polygamy-scion. This is nothing to do with young Barack being six or ten years old and meekly eating whatever was put in front of him. He was 34 years old when he wrote the passage quoted above and ten years older when he recorded the audio edition. And, as both versions make plain, he thinks it’s kinda cool, and he knows that to the average upscale white liberal it has the electric frisson of the exotic other.

Earlier in the article, Steyn had mentioned dog breeder Kate McMillan, who said the following of the criticism that you can’t blame a child for eating what’s put in front of him:

Try this experiment–sit a normal, American 6 year old down at a plate and tell him it’s dog meat. Watch what happens.

With that inspiration, I grabbed my iphone and recorded this video of my eight-year-old daughter:

After establishing the fact that the girl is a regular carnivore, I asked if she would eat dog meat. She shakes her head and I ask her why that is.

“Because I would think of eating Junie’s* friends … and plus it sounds gross.”

*Furbaby’s real name is June. I guess that cat is out of the bag.

A Tale of Love … and a Suitcase

I have this super amazing suitcase that I love. I even put it on a list of 25 Random Things I Love last summer. It’s a carryon, so no checked bag fees or waiting at the luggage carousel for me, but it’s like a bag of holding with all the junk I can cram into it. I was in DC for six days last month, and I fit everything in there, including an extra pair of boots, my makeup bag, and my hair dryer. All four wheels are castors, so it just sort of glides along effortlessly.

I love the thing, ok?

This past weekend, Leif went a men’s retreat with his dad. He was going to be gone for exactly 48 hours. I assumed that he would cram an extra change of clothes, some clean underwear, and something to sleep in into a backpack and be on his merry way.

Nope. My husband decided that since he didn’t know exactly what the climate was going to be, he should bring half his closet. And then, without asking, he started packing it all into my suitcase. This would’ve been insulting enough on its own, but I was coming off of a few days of insomnia, and was feeling slightly cracked already.

What. Are. You. Doing?

Uh … packing?

Why are you taking all of this, and are you even going to ask me if you can take my bag?

Your bag?

Yes. My bag. My favorite suitcase. Mine.

I thought it was our suitcase.

No.

Oh well.

And then he proceeded to toss eight pairs of socks into my suitcase. I proceeded to glare and cross my arms in a menacing manner. When that didn’t work, I tapped my foot.

What?

If you break my suitcase, I will cut you.

I won’t break it.

You break a lot of things. You’re my bull in the china shop.

They disproved that on Mythbusters.

No they didn’t! The bull still knocked down one of the things! Just because the bull only broke a little bit doesn’t mean they’re graceful. If my suitcase comes home just a little bit broken, I’m going to be pissed.

More glaring.

Fine, take my suitcase.

Then I pouted in the living room while he finished packing. Thing 2 ‘helped’ him, all the while saying, “That’s Mommy’s airport bag. You hafta be careful with it, Daddy. Don’t break it or Mommy will get mad.”

It’s just … I love that bag, and if he breaks it, it’s not in the funds to buy another one. I could buy five Bota Boxes for the price of replacing that suitcase. Plus, if he broke it, I’d irrationally feel like he didn’t respect me by not respecting my stuff. Suitcase symbolism is deep, man.

When he was done packing, I hugged him, told him I loved him, and waved him off. I may have blown a kiss to my suitcase.

You are ridiculous. I love you.

I love my suitcase.

I know. I’ll take good care of it.

That’s all I ask. Have a great weekend. I love you.

And then he was out the door. I should mention here that one of the reasons I *let* him take my suitcase is because while he was looking forward to the retreat and spending time with his dad, he was not looking forward to spending time with nature. Nature and my husband have been enemies for over three decades now, as he’s allergic to practically everything that grows.

If being ok with him taking my magical suitcase made him feel better about going to the mountains with the pine trees and pollen and high altitude, then so be it. Because that’s what you when you love someone. You try to ease their burden when you can. Even if it’s grudgingly.

On Saturday, I randomly tweeted him, and we had this exchange:

 

And that is why I love him. He took my hissy fit in stride. And he brought my suitcase back intact. I guess he really does love me after all.

Guess Who Was On the Really Real Radio? Hint: It Was Me.

I got to spend Friday afternoon hanging out in Hugh Hewitt’s office. His radio office, that is, not his law office, which I have no desire to visit as I hope to never need a trial attorney. But if I did, I’d try to get Hugh Hewitt to represent me, because dang that dude is smart.

But I’d rather not need a trial lawyer.

Anyway. I got to bum around the recording studio for the Hugh Hewitt Show, which was being guest-hosted that day by my friend Larry O’Connor. Friday morning, when I was in the middle of doing Top 7 with Ashley, Larry pinged me to ask if I wanted to do a segment on the show. Um, hello, yes please.

So I said something along the lines of, “YEESSSSS!!!” and then told him that next time he hosted to give me some notice because I wouldn’t mind driving up to LA to go in-studio. Larry told me that it was Irvine, not LA, and I had an invitation. Irvine is way closer to San Diego than LA. It just so happened that Leif was working from home, so I didn’t have to worry about the kids, and I asked him if he minded if I went, and he said, “Go! Be smart. Be funny. Be cute. Be you.”

Side note – I love that man.

Wrapped up Top 7, hopped in the shower, did some quick hair and make-up, then hit the road. When I got there, it was 2:55, and the show started at 3. I called Larry to find out where exactly I was going, and he came out to get me, and then we RAN back to the studio, where he fell into the chair behind the mic just in time to start hosting a nationally syndicated talk radio show.

Sometimes my timing is impeccable.

Hugh wasn’t there, but his crew was, and it was lovely to meet them. I’ve been following his producer Duane Patterson for a while on Twitter, but I didn’t think he’d have any clue who I was, because really, why would he?

“Hi, I’m Jenny! Nice to meet you!”

“Duane,” he said, shaking my hand, and then added with a wink and a smile, “This is Salem. You can’t say dipsh!t on air.”

In case you didn’t know (and I didn’t until last summer), Salem is the Christian broadcasting network that runs The Hugh Hewitt Show. And on Thursday night, Duane had been on Larry’s regular Internet radio show. And Thursday is when I do my weekly Quickie with Jenny on The Larry O’Connor Show. And I had said that particular cuss word on that particular show, which is actually pretty unusual for me. I rarely cuss on air or in print, saving those words for the most impact when the situation calls for it. It totally called for it on Thursday.

So now I’m apparently the girl that says dipsh!t on the radio. But I do know better than to do that on a Salem drive time show. Give me some credit, Duane!

It was all kinds of awesome watching the behind the scenes stuff … Adam with the hand signals from the room with all kinds of technical-looking equipment, Duane with the 30-second warnings in the headphones, Larry forgetting to push the button to bring a caller on, because he’s used to his producer Meredith Dake doing that for him … it was very cool.

During the second hour, a real-live congressman came in for a live interview, and I got to sit right next to him. Representative John Campbell was a peach, and it makes me happy that there are people like him in Congress. When he came in, Larry introduced me as a Mom Blogger, which is basically what I am, which also means that while I was listening to the show in Hugh Hewitt’s office, I was on my laptop tweeting, chatting in the Hughniverse chat room, and taking notes for an article I have due Monday morning on the whole Newt vs. Mitt thing since that’s what they were talking about.

When we cut to break, Congressman Campbell looked over at me and asked, “I don’t mean to be nosey, but what are you doing over there?”

‘This? This is what I do. Talk to people on Twitter and in chat rooms. Write stuff. I’m going to be on the radio in the next hour, I do that too. I. Love. My. Job.”

Then we talked about Twitter a little bit more, and I told him he should use it more to communicate, and also warned him against ever sending DMs, because as Anthony Weiner knows, sometimes you mess up and send pictures of your junk out to the world instead of as a DM. It’s better to just avoid it if you’re a public figure.

Then again, John Campbell doesn’t seem like the type to do that anyway.

So I finally got to go on the radio with Larry, and what did I end up saying?

“I’ve been lobbying my husband for a sister wife.”

“Newt makes my eye twitch.”

“She insists on looking like a dude, and I don’t understand it.” 

Clearly, I am a ridiculous person. But y’all already knew that, right?

Happy listening!

Jenny on Hugh

Elsewhere On the Internet (and an Early Morning Story)

It’s 5:15 a.m. and I’m awake. I’ve been waking up at 4 recently, unable to go back to bed after my third bathroom trip of the night (thank you, childbirth) because by that time I’m no longer exhausted enough to drown out my darling husband’s snores with sleepiness.

Side note: Isn’t snoring the worst sound in the world? Ok, maybe the third worst, following nails on a chalkboard and cats in a blender. Not that I’ve ever heard cats in a blender. But I can imagine, and it’s not pretty.

Sometimes I can jam earplugs in and throw a pillow over my head and find a couple more hours of elusive rest. But I’ve had this cold recently, and the stuffy nose and the cough and poor tender head make me ache while I wait for the meds to kick in, and by the time they do … I’m pretty much awake.

By the time the clock hit five, I knew I was done, so I threw the covers off and headed down the hall to write this very post. The light was on. Huh. Strange. Stranger still was the sound of the TV. Ok, no longer strange.

Here’s what I found:

This little goober didn’t go to sleep until nearly eleven last night, even though she was put to bed before nine. It was the same old But I Need game, which (I’m pretty sure) children have played since the dawn of time. You know the one.

But I need a drink!

But I need to go potty!

But I need my night light!

But I need socks that don’t bother my feet!

But I need a hug!

But I need a different song on the ipod!

But I need to be tucked back in!

You get the idea. Anyway, my little non-sleeper was out in the living room watching TV. Which she is not allowed to do on school days. Apparently, she thought that rule only applied to afternoons and evenings, so she forced herself awake after six precious hours of sleep to enjoy some tunes.

New rule: No getting up until 6:30.

Except for Leif. If he wants to get up pre-crack of dawn and leave me to sleep in peace … I’d be ok with that. Love you, Honey!

So I wrote some stuff last week that I’d love for you to read. Click, read, comment, share – especially share. Word-of-mouth is where it’s at, baby. Plus, I really can’t afford fancy advertising. It’s ‘spensive.

The Occupy Wall Street goons are still on display. President Barack Obama feels their pain and understands their frustration. Iran thinks they’re swell. Iran also stones rape victims for ‘sexual immorality.’ As a general rule, I like not to agree with Iran on pretty much everything.

Obama called Mitt Romney a flip-flopping flip-flopper, which is completely true, of course. However, there’s this saying that come to mind about glass houses and throwing stones…

Priorities in Topeka are messed up, y’all. Social welfare programs and inflated benefits and pensions are not more important than legally protecting victims of domestic abuse.

The Finish Line

Thing 2 & Jenny Xmas 2009

My favorite picture of Thing 2 and me, taken Christmas 2009 by Kristen Bons

Thing 2 starts preschool on Monday. After 3 ½ years of her glued to my hip on an almost daily basis, I’ve been asked a lot how I feel about this.

Right now I feel like I feel when I’m running, and just trying to make it to a certain predetermined goal before I stop or slow down. I can see my finish line. I usually feel like I’m going to throw up, because I usually push myself too far. I mute my ipod because the music becomes a distraction rather than a motivation. All efforts are put toward moving forward, each step, not stopping, knowing that once I make it, I will be better for it. Stronger. Able to go further or faster the next time.

That’s what I feel like right now. All I can see is the finish line. This race that I have been running for the last three years of trying to be a decent wife, mommy, and homemaker while simultaneously trying to launch a career in online political punditry, with no nanny or daycare.

I wouldn’t trade it, but most days there just aren’t enough hours. It is completely frustrating in one moment, and ultimately joyful in the next. Thank God for a cute husband that doesn’t mind if the laundry doesn’t all get put away, or stopping to pick up dinner on his way home.

Also thank God for Coke Zero, Advil, Clear Eyes, and sauvignon blanc.

And of course, these amazing little girls, who can drive me up the wall but also knock me over with laughter. This morning, I asked Thing 2 where Jesus lived, and she happily told me, “Um, in da Bible!” How cute and sweet is that?

A year or two ago, I took the girls dress shopping with me, and in the fitting room, Thing 1 told me I looked ready for the ball in a blue taffeta dress I was trying on. I bought it and every time I wear it, I feel ready for the ball.

I have a thousand memories like these; they are the moments that have made this achy tiredness worth it. Because right now? Right now I’m tired. I am ready to have some time to do my work with a small amount of peace.

My finish line is 16 whole hours a week to work without my eye twitching from being interrupted 27 times a minute with requests for snacks, announcements of bodily functions, demands for TV and/or junk food and the subsequent tantrums that occur when the answer is no.

I bet you I’ll be able to pack the majority of the 30 or so hours a week I work now into that time.

So on Monday, I will cross the line with a goodbye wave and a kiss to my baby, and I will clutch my side and catch my breath and feel the rush of accomplishment wash over me. I will thank God for my health and (relative) sanity, and I will sit and ponder what goal I shall set for myself next.

Because as hard as that last stretch always is … I do love to cross the finish line.

Monday.

My day began just before 8, as Leif was leaving for work. I debated going back to sleep, then remembered that the girls had been up until almost midnight last night, and would most likely sleep another hour or two. So I grabbed a Coke Zero and my laptop and started perusing the headlines.

Decide to write about Social Security reform and email my editor at The Stir to get the go-ahead. Promise her I’ll try to make it entertaining, because let’s face it – SS reform can be dry and boring.

Check on Twitter. It’s still there.

Check on Facebook. It’s still there too.

Don’t check Google+. Because I’m not sure if I care whether or not it’s still there.

Do some research for my article.

Just after 9, I hear stirrings from the kids’ room. They get up and immediately declare that they’re hungry. I decide that if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard I’m hungry since Thing 1 learned to talk, I’d be one of those rich people President Obama wants to tax so much.

The next 3 hours or so is spent feeding the natives, breaking up fights, responding to emails and texts, researching Social Security, and finding photos for a Home Economics Lesson I have coming up (soon, I hope), and consuming no less than 4 Coke Zeros.

Decide to take the girls to the beach. It is the last week of summer vacation, after all.

Hit the bank to deposit a few checks (yay!), then drive-thru for Mexican food.

Tacos! (Watch out for seagull jerks)

Beach. Kids have a blast. A seagull tries to steal my taco. I decide to tweet, “Seagulls are assholes. #fact” Before sending, I change assholes to jerks. Because I like to save my swear words for when it really counts, and jerks conveys my message just fine.

Hear from Leif on my iphone. He says he’ll be home by 8 to read to the girls and tuck them in. Decide to leave the beach just after 6. This is also known as the Wrangling of the Short Sandy People That Just Realized They’re Exhausted Because Fun Time Is Over and They Can’t Possibly Walk Back to the Car and Why Can’t Mommy Carry Everything Including Them?

Bribe them with promises of McDonald’s smoothies.

Car. Drive-thru. Smoothies. Extra-large Diet Coke for moi. Home. Showers. Bleach to clean the tub after an incident. Another shower to make sure Thing 2 is totally clean after said incident.

Start the laundry. Warily eye Mt. Washmore and sigh.

It’s 7:30. Haven’t heard from Leif, so he must be on the way home. He knows one of the only ways to really mess with my head is to not tell me (ahead of time) that he’s not going to be home when he said he’d be home.

Make dinner.

7:58. Leif g-talks me to say he’s still at work. 40 minutes away. Take a deep breath and count to 10, because I’ve heard that’s supposed to help with anger management. Decide that people that say that don’t have small children that interrupt you 8 times in 10 seconds to ask why you’re rubbing your temples and could they please have some dinner because they’re starving to death even though they’ve been eating all freaking day long.

Sit the girls down for their 8th meal of the day, grab the laptop, and start writing this post.

It’s now 8:50. Have not heard from Leif. He’s probably skeered. Have poured first glass of wine for the evening. Getting ready to throw the kids into bed as soon as this episode of iCarly is over.

Then will pour second glass of wine, write my Social Security article, do two more loads of laundry, pour another glass, and convince Leif to rub my shoulders. Forgive him.

After that? I guess that depends on how good the shoulder rub is.

Update: 10:48 and Leif is finally on his way home. Article only half written. 2 loads washed and dried … not put away.