On Thursday night we had a party for Leslie, a great friend and colleague of 11 years. So Thurs afternoon I was home getting things ready.
I had woken up early that morning to make sure I got my work done, but things kept popping up. So as the afternoon slipped away and the party hour approached, I was in major juggling mode. August. Naps. Lap top on the kitchen counter. Recipe book open. Phone and binky in my pocket. But I was in control. I was making it happen. I was getting it done.
I was the ninja in the video game, karate chopping my way down the street as bad guys popped out of buildings. I was kicking down every obstacle that appeared in my path. Poopy diaper? Phone call from the New York Times? No problem! I had it covered.
I was a river saving Iron Chef mama ninja obliterating my to do list.
And then I morphed into an Olympic figure skater nailing my routine, wowing the announcers.
Will August stay asleep long enough for Amy to finish five emails? Yes! Double axel!
Will my cell phone ring when my hands are covered in gobs of raw sausage for party meatballs? No! Double lutz!
Will I get the necessary info to the reporter in time to make Friday's front page Oregonian story and not burn the toasting pine nuts? Yes! Triple axel!
In my final move, I put August in the Ergo to do a couple outside chores - fill up the dogs' water bucket and put A's stroller away in the garage. Done and done. Back inside, tasks complete, all that was left to do was take a shower. I put A down and noticed half the meatballs on the baking sheet were gone.
Not wanting to totally freak out and lose my cool in front of A, I put him in his pack and play. I went back in the kitchen.
And even as I yelled at Queets and locked him outside, I knew this was one of those moments where I'm supposed to say, Oh universe! What a funny joke! And let it go, let it go, let it go.
And then I remembered the lesson - which I always forget and need to re-learn- from over ten years ago on the Lower Youghiogheny River. The Yough is in Pennsylvania. When you learn to kayak on the Potomac, like I did, the lower Yough is where you go when you're ready for the next level. The rapids are more substantial than those on the Potomac, but still straightforward and fun.
I grew to be really comfortable on the lower Yough, loving the smell of the sweet water, the lush canyon, the sound of the train running over the tracks alongside the river. One summer, a bunch of colleagues floated the Yough. Most everyone was in rafts. But I was one of the few in a kayak. I was a paddler, and I was pretty proud of myself. Feeling pretty cocky. So of course, five minutes after putting on the river I flipped. In a riffle. And I screwed up my roll, and ended up swimming.
That's what you get for forgetting humility on the river.
And that's what you get for thinking you're a superwomen ninja Olympic figure skater ruling the world.
So Thursday afternoon, I called John and told him that I was going to kill Queets if he didn't get home asap. Then I drove with A to Otto's to pick up some Italian sausages. And then we ended up having a great party. John took over the drink-serving and dinner-cooking. My handsome and talented partner, gliding in to save the day. Overhead lift! Throw jump!