Cement Trucks; Under the Tuscan Sun

I woke this morning to a cement truck outside my window. A quick look at the clock–nobody gets up before me. How is this possible? But sure enough, Marty is out there with the first born and the third (number two is at scout camp) pouring a driveway in the early dawn. I'm sure the neighbors loved that wake-up call, but he had to get the first pour done early enough that it could dry today so he could pour the sections between this afternoon. Hallelujah. No sinkholes of mud this winter.

No kids this morning until 8. Thank goodness, because the room was a wreck. Yesterday had 12 . . . ish kids here. Three that had been here overnights all week, then another came at 730 then two at 8, then one at nine, one at 930, then two at 10, two at 1030. Yeah–12. My own were technically not here–I have Meg take them to G's or Marty to the park, whatever it takes to release the pressure and stay legally under my limit. This summer stuff is tough–the school aged kids are hard for me. I'd rather deal with the under three set, honestly. So I spent all morning just waiting for kids to show up, basically, then feed the masses, clean up, try to keep the beasts quiet while the lambs nap, clean up again, and start the countdown as one leaves at three, one at four, three at four thirty, two at five, (and two more arrive) one at seven, one at eight, two at eight thirty, one at nine, leaving me with two until three am.

Did I go to sleep at nine? Did I at least proceed with my usual cleaning/mopping routine (done at just the right decible to avoid waking the troops) until #1 came home from babysitting at midnight?

No. I left the dishes, did paperwork galore and then sat up chatting with my brother on Facebook about kissing protocol (he's young and single) consumer debt, shampoo and other strange things–got stranger after we accidentally established the bizarre fact that we simultaneously developed scalp issues recently, and nothing seems to help. Something about baring your hygeine secrets must open the door to all sorts of weirdness. 

So the cement truck at six in the morning was a welcome thing–besides the obvious benefits of cement come winter–the deafening screeches and rattles served to get me out of bed, happy that for once I was not the only person "up and at 'em" for the day. (Why should that make me feel better?) 

My Grandfather used to say that. My mother too, but she said it in such a perfect imitation of him, that I always knew she was simply a medium to transmit his voice over the Canadian prairie to where we could hear it. "Up and at 'em! Rise and shine! Get that mattress off your backs!"  This last one always served to get me thinking. I had this mental image of those blue and white striped mattresses (with the rusty tied-down buttons) rising with one of my uncles as he stumbled to his feet in the attic; him shaking the stubborn mass from his rounded spine as he rubbed his eyes. And always the image involved straw of some type.

Did my uncles ever sleep in an attic? Did they have blue striped mattresses? Straw about their person? Nevertheless. 

Up and at 'em. Repenting my way through the scattered disaster that was my kitchen/daycare room. Snapping some pics of the ones hard at work outside. Something to remember, right? I should have had them scratch their names? A handprint maybe? Started reading "A Brief History of Time" I think I made it farther than the last go round before I gave up. Transfixed for about three, four chapters, then totally lost. Maybe next time.

Read "Under the Tuscan Sun" instead. Loved it–for no rational reason. (How did they possibly make a movie from this book? It must be really loosely based on it? Maybe I'll watch it someday–with subtitles so I can hear what's going on.) The book itself has no plot, no story, nothing  . . . needful, but I was transfixed anyway. Wanted to visit Italia. Or at least a good Italian restaurant. Do we have those here in the Pacific NW? For some reason, I doubt it.

She has a way with words, and with imagery–something primordial. She describes recurring dreams of hers that I have too, small things like that, little comments that could have been mine, kept me going–this woman is someone I seem to know. And not, at the same time–reactions she had that are startling to me, because they are so foreign.

Where do I find time to read in this chaos? Everywhere, constantly. Sometimes I have to reread a paragraph six times before I make it to the next one, but there are those moments when it doesn't matter how many are climbing on my lap, or over me, I can keep at least part of the page within my line of vision, and nothing they say or do matters as much as what happens next. 

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