Home oh sweet home and how good it feels to sleep in thine own bed. There is such joy in coming home after having to spend four suffocating hours on a LaGuardia runway because of hull ripping 80 mph winds with nothing but water, a bag of pretzels, and a shared peanut chocolate bar from a generous and compassionate fellow BlogHer conference goer, Ann Imig.
Ann and I arrived back in Milwaukee four hours after we were scheduled to due to *bad weather* read: ominous grey clouds that'll have you bouncing around the inside of an airplane like the rubber ball at the end of a paddle. Our plane thumped and landed on the Mitchell Field Airport runway, skidding to a stop after hours of sitting helplessly on a plane while getting texts from my three kids so at the end of their rope of being without me that their texts sounded like this, "help me mom he's stealing my french fries!" and "he just hyperextended my finger!" I wanted to touch down in Milwaukee as soon as I could and go back to refereeing their fights and snapping their dislocated phalanges back into place.
My heart sang at the sight of my three boys waiting for me at the airport, especially the littlest who still runs at me like he just spotted the train at the zoo. The hugs, the kisses, the smiles, the sentiments of "we missed you, mom, how was your trip?," along with the confused looks on their faces when they saw me and Ann walk step-for-step down the ramp together in unintentional matching sister-wife maxi dresses; "they made you wear long dresses to the conference, mom?" were just what I needed after being away for almost a week.
My smile lasted exactly the 50 minutes it took to drive home from the airport to our house and then walk in through our back door.
The first thing I saw after I walked into our kitchen -- dead daisies in a vase full of grey slime water -- should have been my tip off.
I didn't want to start in right away, but what in the world?? No one smelled the Milwaukee Sewer Company in our own home?
Mark, you couldn't have thrown out this reeky water in the vase??
You didn't have it on the must-do list.
Mom, mom, that's not all dad didn't do. Mom ...
Kids, you tattle and there's no more Wii. You liked playing Wii all day while Mom was gone, didn't you? Don't blow it ...
What?? Mark -- Really? Wii all day? Oh, no. No. I wrote down 30 minutes max, especially for the little guy. No.
Mom, it was worse than that. It was really bad. He let us play till we got a headache. Then he made Chicken Poppers for dinner every night. He took us to the fair every day and then he got what he wanted to eat there but made us stay till the end and just look at the goats for hours and don't even get me started on the pigs ...
Well, at least he took you out of the house every day. And it does look like your dad tried. I mean, he did a nice job of keeping up with the laundry; there's no piles.
MOM! Oh my gosh. He kept up with the laundry piles because there were no piles to keep up with! He NEVER DID THE LAUNDRY. We had to sleep in our gym shorts.
I'll take care of it now -- it's okay. There's no dishes all over the counters and I appreciate that. Did someone break the dishwasher door? Looks like it won't close.
That's cuz it's stuffed with dishes, mom! Dad never did them and he stuffed everything in there two minutes before we left to get you. We had to eat out of the baby bowls of ours you're saving from when we were little for us to give to our kids.
I looked up for my husband, wanting to be fair and hear his take on things, also secretly hoping it wasn't as bad as the reports coming in. But he was already sacked out on the sofa, flat on his back, and sounding like a twin engine. He was off duty, wiped out, and the kids were lined up to talk to me, waiting their turn to whisper their list of transgressions and sins done against them in my BlogHer absence.
I listened to each of my children, holding individual confessionals, so hungry were they for my validation of how they were wronged. The oldest told of how his dad never let him drive, the middle guy stammering about how he was both made into Cinderfella and an airport dispatcher for relaying phone messages, and the youngest: hopping on both feet begging for "some real food tonight, okay, mom?"
With my sleeves rolled up, I headed for the kitchen sink and began rinsing and washing down the dishes I was pulling out from inside the dishwasher. The youngest watched, mesmerized: "Look how long you rinse, Mom. All the dishes dad did while you were gone had brown spots and streaks on them and I'd just put them back in the sink and not feel like eating any more."
I have been home two hours, and the laundry is washed and folded, dinner plates from home-made baked chicken and roasted potatoes are being scraped, and the kitchen table that formerly looked like Hansel and Gretel had passed through is now crumb-and-dead-daisy free.
Two hours home, and things around here look less ravaged and Social Services Call Needed.
Except for my black manicure. After just two hours, the polished nails which managed to stay spalicious for five days straight while in NYC now look like they belong to a teenage runaway working the dart throw at the local county fair my children haunted all week.
And I thought the landing on the tarmac was the rough one.
Image via photopin
**I had a fabulous time at BlogHer. Presenting on the panel, "Blogging for the Love of It" , was exciting and inspirational. My co-presenters Bon Stewart and Dorothy Snarker were two of the more interesting people I've met. Working the Serenity Suite was a gratifying treat. Conference highlights include spending time with Anne Flournoy, creator of the fantastic webseries The Louise Log, laughing with Heather of The EO so very many times, finally talking to Velveteen Mind after following her for the past four years, and having Suniverse rescue me at LGA. More on all this BlogHer recap later, including "is this really my life?" moments and mishaps. (Because they happened; hint: TSA pat down for "mysterious package")
Thank you, BlogHer, for a fabulous conference.