Thursday, 4 October 2012
Lenny: A pillock some may say, but a good jingle this is, none the less.
A Typical housewives day in the East Bay. I'm up at 4.30am to work on my business back in NZ. It's bleeding cash, so it's "SNAFU" as usual there. Rental property. Pffft. I would have a heart attack if it returned me the equivalent of a wage.
I follow this with a burst of citizen journalism at 6am. I freelance as a volunteer with Council Watch. I suck back Starbucks while typing and sitting on the couch with the cats.
Then the day really starts: First child dropped to school at 7.30am. Second and third at 9 and 9.20 respectively. This routine incorporates the American phenomenon of staggered school sessions and "Stop Drop and Go":
You drive up to the school in your truck, the kids run out of the car and at the end of the day a teacher feeds them back into the car for you. No need to take your foot off the brake. Moms meet at the park to chat instead of outside the schools as is the Kiwi tradition.
Two hours with the twins from 9am doing housework.
The words "fuckin" and "don't do that", are used with startling regularity throughout the course of the morning. The babies are 18 months old (adjusted for prematurity) and are roaming ellipses of havoc. Anything in reach goes into their mouths. Today they eat the cats' claw caps off the cats paws. Claw caps are tiny plastic caps the for kittens' claws so they don't munt our new leather furniture from Norway.
The cats eat the twins breakfast. I swear and shoo them all outside.
the twins and I go shopping. The babysitter arrives at 12.30 and I head off to volunteer at the preschool. After school, one child goes to drama. The afternoon activity yesterday was French immersion classes for the oldest two. Another child goes to an adventure playland for a birthday party. It seems to be a birthday party week. This is the third party since Saturday. Today's party is for the daughter of a celebrity whom I hadn't yet met.
A note here: Celebrity-dom is prevalent in this part of the San Francisco Bay Area. It no longer surprises me. Teachers will say in class:"oh that's so and so's mom. She's well known for"....
Being a celebrity here is as common here as being a farmer is in NZ. My baby-sitters go to school with Olympians. The water polo gold medalist sisters. My hair-dresser used to 'up-do' Ariana Huffington. Someone I met at a weekend party does work for Larry Ellison. Most of this comes out in casual chat in the same way you might discuss how you know a good plumber or builder.
At the playland, I have a brief chat with Celebrity Mom. She;s lovely. I confess to a fellow Twin Mom about how my son was in a fight last week. She commiserates. She relates the story of how her son socked a third grader in the nose as a first grader.
PTA Mom has to shoot off early to her next two appointments. This is at 6pm. We all moan briefly about how much we have to juggle. I am assured this is the nature of being an American Mom. I myself have two evening appointments. A Photoshop class in a nearby city and a phone call to my NZ bank to moan about their customer service and the last numpty account manager.
Twin Mom offers to drop my son back home to facilitate my travels Another round of pleasantries and I swan off to navigate timezones and dropped A T and T calls.
I make it to Photoshop and home to a late dinner. I high 5 my husband at the door. We made it through the day with no one seriously injured.
In parts of America it seems there is a lot of concern about image and opportunities for the kids. My hairdresser tells me the image preoccupation is a Californian thing.
It's fitting, being the home of Hollywood and the land of storytelling. What are stories but a series of images?
All I have left to do tonight is cut the flowers, load the dishwasher, and washing machine; get the stains off the carpet for the shipload of furniture that arrives from Norway tomorrow. Prepare for my French lessons in the morning, prepare for my lunch out. Wrap a birthday party present for tomorrow's lunchtime birthday party and organise our dinner booking up at the Club.
Make sure there's school lunches and matching socks. Make sure there are slip-ons for my eight year old who can't tie his laces. Homework. Check. Groceries. Check.
Housework. No matter where in the world you are, an Angel's work is never done.