It’s the Final Meltdown…

We’re embarking on another round of survival mode. I’m hitting the road for 10 days, with a 48-hour rest midway through — to lock and reload my suitcase — at which point Martin will disappear for a couple days.

One of us will always be around to hold down the fort, except for one morning when we’re calling in reinforcements: a coworker of mine will cover for two hours. Martin’s plane will be touching down at one airport while I’ll be getting frisked by TSA about 60 miles away.

In preparation for a stress-infused week and a half, we’ve stockpiled laundry and food reserves. Amassed diapers from Costco. Hastily mowed the grass, banked bedding in the horses’ stalls, and checked our stash of cat and dog food.

Still, we’re falling apart.

On Sunday afternoon I came home from the grocery store with bags of pre-made meals. The house was a wreck. Couch pillows on the floor, popsicle sticks under the coffee table, uneaten baby puff snacks speckling the rug. Toys everywhere.

“Holy cow, what happened?” I asked.

That was all Martin needed to launch into a random tirade…infused with personal experience.

“I get so tired of these parents who complain about how tired they are! Because they’re shuttling their kids to soccer games. Soccer games! You can read a book at a soccer game. They don’t know tired! Tired is when you’re so exhausted, you pass out on the couch and you only wake up when your kid gags on a toy and throws up on you! That’s tired!”

“Why are you sleeping and letting the baby choke on toys?”

“It wasn’t a toy. It was a sticker. But still! These people!”

Fortunately, Martin and I normally take turns flipping out. Rarely do we lose our cool simultaneously. And somehow, we’ll muscle through. We’ve done it before. But it ain’t pretty. And this time we’re already behind the ball. We’ve tapped into the clean clothes and food reserves, well before D day (departure day). The car’s in the shop. One kid’s sick. The dog is encrusted in mud. My horse lost a shoe. The stinkbugs are hosting a family reunion upstairs.

We’re about a day away from complete disarray.

So, if you happen to stop by the next 10 days, bring food and laundry detergent. And some bug spray.

Definitely booze. We’ll need it.