It all started when I awoke with that ominous little tickle in the back of my throat that could only mean one thing. The nasty cold my baby had been nursing for the past week had finally caught up with me. I took a hot shower, gargled some salt water, and plowed forward with the day, sniffling over my coffee. Breakfast went well. The boys were quiet and content as there were biscuits with sausage gravy involved, and feeling heartened, I decided it would be a good day for baking. Ever since I got a vitamix blender for mother’s day, I have been trying to grind my own flour for homemade bread. I had fallen a bit behind on that particular ambition of late, so I decided it was time to restock my sandwich bread and bagel supply.
I settled my oldest at the piano to practice, gave my second boy some math worksheets to fill out and set to work myself. My bread recipe involved oatmeal, which needed boiling first, so I set it on the stove, all the while hollering out corrections to the boy on the piano. After the third time he made the same mistake I called ,
“Don’t forget the octave jump at that part, buddy!”
“Don’t forget to jump!”
Then my second boy had a math question, and after I answered it, I realized the piano had gone silent. I went to check, and there was my first born, jumping vigorously around the room.
“What are you doing?” I asked sternly.
“You told me to jump,” he replied, trying to look innocently confused.
Then I gave him a long lecture about being a smart aleck with mommy, and returned to the kitchen, where the oatmeal was merrily boiling all over the stove.
After cleaning that up, I got going on the bagel dough, which I decided to make a double batch since I was going through all the trouble. I was just grinding the last batch of flour when my blender died. I started panicking, wondering what I might have done wrong to break such an expensive piece of equipment. I went to check the computer for troubleshooting ideas, and I saw I wasn’t connected to the internet. With relief, I realized I must have just blown a fuse and went to the breaker box. It didn’t look like any of the switches had flipped. I called the hubby. He asked if I had checked the breaker box. Duh. He told me to check again. I did. He told me he would stop by in a bit to check it out. So there I was, three batches of bread half done, the house growing cold because the heater was connected to the same problem, and homeschool efforts out the window. There was some kind of a marble war going on in the kitchen, so I called a cease fire and declared a book reading time.
The two bowls of yeast I had proofing on the counter were overflowing by the time the hubby came by. He opened the breaker box and flipped a switch. Everything came right back on, and he made one of those pleasant statements like,
“I thought you said you checked the fuses.”
There wasn’t much point in telling him that I had, so he went back to work and I returned to grinding my flour(and my teeth). I forgot I had left the blender switch on high, but even so, that was no reason the lid should have exploded off, showering the kitchen with wheat berries, and accompanied by a horrific grating noise. Now I was sure I had broken it. I quickly turned it off, and cautiously peeked inside the pitcher. Nothing but wheat. I dug down a little deeper. Something round and blue emerged. It took me a second to realize it was ammo from the boy’s marble war- and of course it was their biggest blue masher-marble. No one was about to ‘fess up to that crime, with mommy glowering down upon them like a thunder cloud, but they did meekly go back to their books so I could finally finish my dough. Thankfully the vitamix still worked.
The oat bread was rising, as well as my first batch of bagels when I remembered I had started a load of laundry to soak and still hadn’t closed the lid. I closed it and went back to finish my last batch of dough. Two minutes later, yet another loud noise was sounding- from the washer this time. I ran and opened it up. All looked well. I poked around in the murky water and lo and behold, something blue again. But this was much bigger. It was my dust pan of course, wedged down around the agitator. And, as before, no culprit discovered.
By now it was lunch time. Everything bread related was finally in a bowl and rising, the kids were happily eating, and I just wanted to put my cold to bed. But the bread had to be done. The first batch of bagels was in the oven, but when I dumped out the dough to form the second batch, it was a heavy, yeast- less lump. I turned around and saw the other proofed bowl of yeast on the counter, still waiting patiently to be added. I had forgotten it in the midst of the washing machine, dust pan kerfuffle. I went ahead and tried to mix it in, but unsurprisingly, those bagels didn’t turn out too well.
The boys were running crazy after lunch, and in a fit of high spirits, my second boy decided to lock his brothers out of the house. I was absentmindedly telling him to let them back in when a loud crash sounded from the bathroom. Two of my boys were trying to get back in through the small bathroom window. They managed it, but also succeeded in knocking down my favorite vase, tearing down the curtain and breaking the curtain hardware. While yelling at the tangle of arms and legs on the bathroom floor, the baby could still be heard, locked out and screaming. I went to let him in, but it was too late- he had already peed his pants. I was so tired after all that, that I decided to take a nap while the last loaves were baking.
I didn’t sleep too long, and felt a little better when I woke up. The boys were begging to go to the park, since it really was a glorious day outside, so I told them we could go as soon as those last loaves were done. I went to check on them, and realized that someone ( I guess I can’t blame the boys for this one) had turned off the oven before going to bed. So I just grimaced and turned the oven back on. Unsurprisingly, those loaves didn’t turn out too well. By then, I just wanted to get out of the house, so I threw the boys in the car, grabbed some drinks and my sewing box, so I could at least accomplish something with my day, and headed to the park.
It was so beautiful, sitting in the gentle breeze, looking at the bright fall colors and stitching away, that I started to relax. Then my oldest came over and said,
“Mom, I think beautiful days must be the worst for the Devil, because everyone has to love God on a day like this.”
I thought how much wisdom there was in that little statement- how maybe the devil had been distracting me with the mundane all day while I ignored God’s beauty around me. I started to smile. Then the little sage dropped a can of seltzer at my feet which exploded all over us, and the baby got stung by a hornet. We went home.
As I fixed dinner tonight, I pondered over whether there really had been darker forces at work in my day. Or perhaps some days are just like that, even in Australia. But all things considered, I suppose it doesn’t help anything that I am also pregnant.