Picture it: Antarctica, 2012, middle of January. We are deep underground, hidden in the most desolate prison known to man. I’ve been captured by the Antarctic Intelligence Agency (totally a real thing). Everything they’ve accused me of is true, I’m an international spy, my aliases are varied, “Crazy Lady, Elaine Benes, Mom, Wife, Bitch.”
The information I hold in my head is wanted by everyone in the world. I possess answers to questions you didn’t even know you needed the answers to. Want to know why your husband’s $600 phone went thru the washing machine? I got you covered. Curious as to the cost of hair products and acne control for a 16 year old boy? I know that number. Do you lay awake at night wondering where 1/2 of all your kids’ socks went? (not matching sets of course– the 2nd sock of each pair). I will ease your mind. I even know how many seconds you have between a child telling you they don’t feel well and getting them to the toilet or the nearest “not fabric” surface.
They try everything to get me to spill the beans. Withholding french vanilla creamer from my coffee, not letting me charge my iPhone, making me wear brown shoes with gray pants. Total nightmare. Did you see Misery with Kathy Bates? It’s that scary. On the parental black market, my secrets are priceless. I don’t want to tell, I feel that it is every person’s rite of passage to find out the answer to these questions on their own. I don’t want to spoil the surprise. So I hold on, I don’t give in. I’ve had several mammograms, 2 c-sections and a vaginal birth, you can’t do anything to me that will make me talk.
Or can you.
Continue to picture: I’ve just gotten back from a weekend away, a long drive after outdoor soccer. In March. In Kentucky. We didn’t win. Although Brendan kicked major ass in the bathroom renovation, it came at a cost of a pretty messy house. But I don’t mind, because I’d rather do laundry than tile a bathroom floor. So I spend several hours getting my palace back to livable status (i.e. no underwear on the floor and wiping up the paw prints that decorate the drywall dust carpeting I just had installed).
After watching The Flash with the fam, knowing it’s back to work in the morning, I’m happy to be in my bed for a restful night’s sleep. I curl up with 50 Shades for a bit (round 2, horrible writing but still turns me on), then it’s lights out. My mental state before drifting off to sleep on a Sunday night is usually one of dread. Gotta get up early, start the grind, make dinners instead of order out, time to make the donuts kind of feeling. All the activities of the week feeling monumental, don’t forget this appointment, pay this bill, buy tampons, hope Alex passes his algebra test. There is one thing that can put it all into perspective. One thing that makes me feel like Sandra Bullock on her worst day. I’m unstoppable, just watch me parent the shit out of my kids.
And that is….drum roll….
A hot shower.
So simple. 5 people in my house, 1 showers at night. Often only 3 of us shower in the morning because Brendan showers at the gym. I live in an industrialized nation, the richest if I’m not mistaken (reminder: Wikipedia that later today), I pay my bill, my water heater works just fine. Today 1 person had a hot shower. 1. One. Uno. Singular. And apparently it was a long one. And it wasn’t me. And I was pissed. I have a master’s degree, I’m really good at my job, I can speak Greek (kinda), but I can’t get my 14 year old to take a short enough shower so that the rest of the family (but mostly me) can enjoy the wondrous and rejuvenating effects of bathing in steamy hot water.
So I stand in my lovely shower that was handcrafted by none other than myself, Brendan and our volunteer contractor extraordinaire friend Alan, naked, wet and shivering, washing only the bare necessities, cursing my son’s name, because I know exactly who is responsible. Brendan warns the kids that Mom is going to go ape-shit on them when I come out because Alex used up all the hot water, doing God knows what in there and I had to take a freezing cold 60 second shower. But I don’t freak out, because there isn’t enough time to kill him and bury the body before I have to leave for work. I’ll calm down before I get home, calm enough to have a rational talk with Alex about not being selfish and how he either learns to shorten his morning showers or he is getting put on nighttime shower duty.
Back to Antarctic National Prison. I’m on day 3 with no creamer, they threaten to make me drink white zin instead of a delicious 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon with my dinner and I’m starting to sweat, but I don’t cave. Then they figure it out. They give me a towel that clearly was not put in the dryer with a dryer sheet and some dollar store shower gel, I’m getting nervous. They tell me to take a shower, I’m starting to offend the torture guy. I step in and there is no hot water handle. I beg, I plead, don’t make me do it! Just let me get my Clinique Happy perfume from my overnight bag, I can smell better, I promise! But they know they’ve got me, my number is up.
So I talk. I tell them everything, I am Kim Karsashian on speed. Now they can’t make me shut up. A cold shower is my Achilles’ heel. And a cold shower on a Monday morning? Are you fucking kidding me?
My spying days were over. But they soon regretted their decision, let me tell you. I left a scathing review for them on TripAdvisor. I’ll make it through the day somehow, someway, don’t you worry. And Alex will live to see another day, but I guarantee you, there will be no more cold showers for this princess.