I mean really now, does that woman ever lose it? Does she ever fall apart or raise her voice? When she's trying so hard to load her 19 kiddos in the car and Jim Bob is inside on his self-proclaimed "Duggar time," liberally shellacking his hair with just one more coat of Aqua Net, does she ever flip out and yell across that monstrosity of a house of theirs, Cheese and rice, JIM BOB! Just freaking get in the CAR Already!
No, I think not.
She has that sweet voice, that quiet voice that she talks about that seems to imply that she's never even had an inkling that she's ever wanted to take a Duggar progeny out back and tan the hide right off of them purely out of spite and vengeance.
So I try to channel my inner Michelle Duggar when I feel things are falling apart.
And on this occasion, there were a lot of things falling to pieces all around. I mean a lot. And a lot of places for me to fall apart right along with it.
We wanted to visit little-cabin-in-the-woods before the holiday was completely spent. I mean when you live in the desert, it's important to get in your fare share of snowman building, sledding and snowball fights!
But I forgot to give Sunny enough notice to ask for a few days off work, so we ended up waiting till Thursday to leave. And Papa needed a full work week, so he wasn't able to join us till Friday. And that left yours truly traveling solo with the 5 youngest crazy 9's heading up the mountain. So far, no problem.
But we got a late start. The teens slept in, and I wasn't about to tidy up the remnants of the Christmas carnage by myself. I tried to time our departure around lunch so we can pick up crappy fast-food for lunch for the ride up, then hopefully the littles would nap in the car on the 3 hour ride up. But by the time we finally left, it was 2pm. And we hadn't had lunch yet. And getting-very-cranky-by-this-point Tess and Jude hadn't had naps yet either. But at least we we were on our way.
The 3 hours ride up the mountain was somewhat predictable. It was very un-Duggar.
- His sock is in my ear again!
- No we don't have any scissors right now!
- She's kicking my seat!
- Keep your car seat buckled!
- I wanted a cheeseburger, not chicken nuggets!
- My headphones won't work!
- But all my friends get to stop for candy bars!
- Why can't we have Ketchup in the car?!
- Mom, tell me we don't have to listen to your radio station the whole way!
- Don't you dare drop that game on the floor... again!
- Stop touching her, or you'll be sorry!
- My DS isn't working!
- For the 20th time, keep your feet on the floor!
- You're driving 5 miles over the speed limit, Mom!
- I'm thirsty!
- Don't make me pull this car over, young man!
- I have to go potty, now!
- I can't see the video screen!
- Mom, I forgot to bring any shoes!
Ya, someone actually forgot shoes. Needless to say, God provided me with many opportunities to practice using my quiet-mom voice in the midst of absolute chaos. I think I held it together... most of the time... although Patch may argue that one with you.
We pulled up to the cabin at 5:30pm. It was already starting to get dark.
First priority is to turn on the water. Find the water valve under 18" of snow. Use bare hands to pry freezing cover off. Use the water key to turn with all my might while simultaneously wondering if Papa has an easier time of this with his manly-man muscles. Wait a minute, is that water seeping in my UGG boots?
Second priority, turn on the heat. My my. 38 degrees seems colder than I remember. Gee it's unusual I cant get the thermostat to turn the heat on. Hmmmmmm...
The furnace wasn't working. I checked the fuse box. I checked the propane tank. I checked the battery in the thermostat. Nope, it was broken and certainly not in my repertoire to know how to fix it. Now where was Jim Bob when I needed him?
Because we never turn the heat completely off in the cabin, (we just turn it really low, like 40 degrees) we never totally drain the cabin and the toilets still had water in them.
Did I say water?
I should have more accurately said ice. Which means that my third priority was to figure out how all of were going to use the bathroom.
It was about this time, about the time that we realized that we could actually see our breath inside the cabin, that the progeny got hungry. Priority #4.
And no TV since it's a cabin and all. Entertainment we could all partake in under the electric blanket was the 5th priority.
Two carry-out pizzas were ordered. All the electric heating blankets, both of them, were dug out and plugged in. 2 space heaters were found and one put in the bathroom to hopefully warm up the frozen-ice toilet. Boys had too much fun peeing in the snow (My inner Michelle Duggar cringed at this.) I downloaded Airplane off Netflix, and we very very slowly watched the temperature creep up. After bundling up the little ones in bed, I made a quick run to the grocery store. And we celebrated our survival with s'mores and hot cocoa. By the time the last kiddo went to bed, it was a balmy 55 degrees.
I sat up at least a couple more hours, tending the fire, mesmerized by the crackle and the glow. I roasted my own marshmallows, all alone in the quiet.
The sweet quiet.
The sweet cold quiet.
And it was truly a sweet time of reflection of our day and all that's possible. After the car ride, the kiddos never complained once about the lack of a toilet, or wet feet, or lack of food, or the cold cold cold cabin. It became an adventure to over come. And overcome we did!
I think Michelle Duggar would have been proud.
And maybe more importantly Wonder Woman and Grizzly Adams!
We were almost at 60 degrees by the time I went to bed.