Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I Didn't Have Any Bonbons

by Julie Coulter Bellon

It’s hard work taking a day off.

I tried to take a day off two days ago, and it was fairly successful. I stayed in my pajamas all day, I did only the essential housework, and I finally watched the movie, Twilight. (Of course, I did make dinner and take care of the baby.) My kids seemed a little surprised when I showed up to carpool in my pajamas with a coat and loafers on, but didn’t say much when I explained why I was still not dressed. It was the day that Fablehaven 4 came out, though, and my husband had bought it for my son on the way to work so it was still in his car. As you can imagine, my son was anxious to get his hands on it and start reading, so he asked if we could swing by my husband’s work and get it out of his car. “Sure,” I said.

We get to the parking lot of my husband’s work and there were about seven people milling around near where his car was parked. (Doesn’t anyone have work to do these days? Why were all these people in the parking lot?) I looked down at my flannel pajama pants and BYU shirt, then pulled my Disneyland coat a little tighter around me. “I can’t go get it,” I tell my son in the back seat. “They’ll see my pajamas.” So my son scrambles up to the door and says, “Don’t worry, I’ll go get it.” Which he did while I tried to act nonchalant in the car and said a silent prayer that my husband’s car alarm wouldn’t go off or anything like that. It didn’t and we were able to drive away with no one being the wiser that this mother was trying to take a day off.

I don’t usually take days off. Ever. But Monday was the last straw. For weeks now I’ve been coaching a basketball team and we made it to the Final Four of our region tournament with only five players on the Saturday before the dreaded Monday. (Keith, I only yelled at the refs once. They refused to call three in the key and told me that unless it’s an advantage, they don’t call it. I loudly said, “Of course it’s an advantage. That’s why there’s a rule against it!”) I was also teaching at a PowWow that Saturday between games (I’m a merit badge counselor), trying to help one son stay organized while he does his Eagle project that is happening in less than a month, teach my BYU students that just because they handed in their portfolio does not mean I have to grade it on the spot, I was speaking at a book club, my son was preparing for a track meet, and we were putting on a birthday party for another son. Oh and I’m in charge of a Book Festival fundraiser next week, I’m teaching a class at the Storymakers conference next month, and I’m currently helping with a First Chapter contest, so I’ve been doing legwork for all of that. And Sunday was the Draper Temple dedication. So it was a busy weekend.

The last straw Monday came and I was getting ready for a special dinner party for Family Home Evening. Our new furniture was supposed to be delivered and I was excited to show it to our guests. I was making homemade rolls, Jell-o salad, Japanese pork roast, with a cabbage crunch salad, and a yummy dessert. Unfortunately, the baby was fussy, I forgot my son had a doctor’s appointment, and I didn’t have the roast on hand like I thought I did. I picked up my kindergartener, ran to the grocery store, went back and checked my son out of school for his appointment, and dragged my little baby in to wait with him. I managed to still get the roast in the slow cooker on time, the rolls were rising and I thought we were okay. The furniture was to arrive by 5:00, so we got rid of our old couches and started getting antsy to see the new stuff. When it came, we unwrapped it to find they’d given us the wrong ones. And we had gotten rid of our old ones so we had nothing comfy to sit on for my dinner party. I consoled myself that at least we had some good food to eat, but one of my dinner guests counseled me to let the rolls cook longer next time because they were a little doughy in the middle and that if I let the Jell-o dissolve more it won’t be chewy. Honestly, at that point, I just wanted to sit down and cry. Everything I’d tried to do hadn’t turned out, but thankfully, no one in my family said anything. The boys seemed thrilled to have those doughy rolls and chewy Jell-o and said it was the best dinner ever. Which might mean they’re just used to doughy rolls and chewy Jell-o, but I have to admit it made me feel better that they liked it.

I tried to let it go, just shrug it off and go on with my to-do lists, but I think it was just the exhaustion of the last few days leading up to that. I felt like a tired, old, worn out shoe. So I decided a day off was just what Dr. Mom should order.

But it's nearly impossible to take an entire day off I discovered. I was reminded that I had a Relief Society obligation that started at 7 p.m. that night, but, honestly, I still felt a little better rested from the time I had taken off. Maybe if I ever do take another day off, I’ll get some writing done. Which reminds me, I have two writing deadlines coming up fast. And I’m helping with a road show tonight. And it’s my turn for extended family home evening this weekend so all 43 members of the extended family are coming to my house. And my son has a temple trip he needs to pack for. And I haven’t written to my missionary son yet this week.

Maybe I’ll pencil in that next day off right away. And this time, I'll buy myself some bonbons, too.


At 3/26/2009 11:54 AM, Blogger LexiconLuvr said...

WOW. You're one busy lady! You totally deserved a day off. I'm glad the kids loved the rolls and jello. What great kids to tell you!

At 3/26/2009 12:54 PM, Blogger Nancy Campbell Allen said...

Julie, you deserve way more than one day off! I'm tired just from reading your to-do list.

By the way, I like doughy rolls. :-)

At 3/26/2009 1:02 PM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

Oh. My. Gosh. Like Nancy said, I'm totally stressed out just reading about your life. (Are you bionic?) I wish there was something I could do to help. I'll pray you don't drop from exhaustion before I get to see you next month!

At 3/26/2009 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You just made me feel ... better. Thank you, Julie.


At 3/26/2009 2:58 PM, Blogger Heather Justesen said...

Wow, and I thought my to do list was horrifically long. Turns out mine is just a baby-length list after all.

At 3/26/2009 3:06 PM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

LexiconLuvr they are pretty great kids and apparently, not very picky eaters. :)

Nancy, I do too! The butter melts better on them.

Kerry, I may show up in my pajamas with loafers and a coat on, but I'm not missing my chance to see you!

Deb, I'm glad it made you feel better. It was cathartic for me, too!

Heather, it's not the length of the list, it's how you deal with it or so I'm told. I think bonbons would have made it a little better, though. You and I should get some bonbons---baby length list or not. ;)

Thanks for the comments!

At 3/26/2009 5:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good grief - if that's your day off, what is your work week like?

...Sending you bon bon wishes...


At 3/27/2009 12:49 AM, Blogger Tristi Pinkston said...

I say, don't have that guest over again, if they're going to counsel you on your cooking! Good guests just suffer in silence. :)

At 3/27/2009 5:24 AM, Blogger Smadraji said...

Nice Posting

At 3/27/2009 7:06 AM, Blogger Paige's Pages said...

Oh Julie! You need that day and a million more! Im sending wishes for Bon Bons your way too... I tried to spend a day in my pajamas and a disney jacket the other day too. Lets just say it didnt turn out so well. I had to swing home for a pair of jeans in between the dance lesson for my sister and the pediatrician appointment my mom asked me to take my brother to. With two, two year olds in tow anything is an adventure and pajamas would sure to be noticed! :)Good luck scheduling another one!

At 3/27/2009 4:06 PM, Blogger Heather B. Moore said...

I can totally identify, Julie!

I think the only day off I've every "truly" has is when I've been too sick to get out of bed. But then I feel miserable, so there's no way to enjoy it. lol.


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