5:00 p.m:. Sophie's birthday cake is cooling on a wire rack in the kitchen.
5:20, 5:30, 5:45...you get the picture: Sophie asks when we can frost the cake.
6:00: I check the cake. It has a small crack in the center. Damn. I should have cut off the hump on top before turning it over.
6:43: Email from Barnes and Noble that Chloe's text book order can't be processed because the bank won't approve the charge. Wonderful.
6:44 Check bank account online to see what's going on. In the a.m. rec'd an NSF notice via email, but bank website hadn't been updated. Assumed the rent check was cashed before the unemployment deposit went in a day later than usual because of holiday. Crap. Account still not updated online. UI deposit still not showing.
6:45 Do online inquiry with Dept. of Labor to see when money went in.
6:46 Inquiry comes back saying payment wasn't processed. I must report to the local Dept. of Labor. Well, that's not very helpful. What could be wrong? I got a letter saying that I'd been put on 2nd tier benefits. They'd deposited the money last week, including retroactive payment. I checked in with the office on the 28th and there was no indication that a problem existed. When I did the online certification on Sunday everything appeared to be fine. There were no messages about a problem.
6:47 Dirty words, dirty words, curses and an oath said to the computer screen. Yes, I know I shouldn't write checks until the money is in the account, but the system has always worked before. How did I get to be such a fucking failure?
6:48 Text to MathMan "Unemp. money not in. Bounced rent check, other problems. Fuck."
6:49 Text from MathMan. "What happened?"
6:50 Text to MathMan "Don't know. Call me later."
6:55 Sophie reports crack in cake via text message to me. "Can u cum here? Cake cracked." I reply.
"I know. It's fixable. Give me a second."
6:57 Yelling across the house now. Me: Phia, when you text, don't spell come C-U-M; Her: Why not? Me: Because that's not how you spell it. That means something else. Her: What are you talking about? Me: C-U-M means something different! Her: What does it mean? Me: I don't want to say! Her: Oh mom! Me: Fine! It means like when a person ejaculates. Do you know what that means? Her: I don't know. Me: It means jizz! Do you know that word? Her: Gross, Mom! I can't believe you said jizz to your daughter who is about to turn twelve. Me: Well, you obviously know what that means.
7:01 Go to kitchen. Cake now looks like the plates of the earth's surface. Africa has completely separated from Europe."It's fixable!" I chirp as I grab the frosting.
7:20 The cake, devils food with cream cheese frosting. It's what Sophie wanted. Me: We'll do a second coat of frosting before we decorate it. Hopefully, it will cover up this mess. Her: Okay. It's fine. It's just a cake. Can I write my name in frosting on it later? Me: Sure.
7:31 If there's no Dish, we have DVDs, I remind myself.
Me: Sophie, you know how to work the DVD player, right?
Sophie: (eye roll) Of course. Why?
Me: Just wondering.
8:00ish Call from MathMan. We discuss the unemployment issue.
Him: Do you need my car tomorrow to get to the Dept. of Labor? There's a basketball game so you'll have to pick up Nate and me late.
Me: Thanks, but I can't do that. I'm going to have about eight twelve year old girls at the house for Sophie's sleepover. I can't leave them alone. I'll just have to call the DoL and hope that it can be resolved over the phone. Plus I've got one mom who doesn't know me who is planning on stopping by to make sure we're a safe place for her daughter to hang out. Dang it, I knew I should have driven Chloe back to school and kept her car. But then we'd have a gasoline issue. There's no money for gas.
Him: Oh. Yikes.
Me: I don't blame her - the mom I mean, I just hope she doesn't want to stay too long. She might not want to watch me get drunk. Plus I was planning on having my boyfriends over since you weren't going to be home. Lars got his new bondage kit, you know. And get this. When the mom asked my name and I told her, she said it sounded familiar, but we couldn't come up with how she might know me.
Him: Let's hope she doesn't read your blog.
Me: No shit, funny man.
And even after all that, I didn't turn to drink (the wine was gone), I didn't break anything, I didn't kick a cat, grind my teeth, call my mom, cry, swear, consume twice my weight in sugar or clean anything. Instead I read blogs, took photos of cats, committed acts of jackassery on Facebook and even did some writing/revising.
How did I do it? You ask.
I reminded myself that twelve years ago I was in labor, shoveling out from a blizzard and looked like this...
Perspective, my friends, my darlings, my comrades, is a very powerful tool.