When life is like a jello mold

I awoke at 4:45 this morning, thinking about something or another related to our move. Probably the utterly first-world but nonetheless vexing problem of The Perfect Kitchen Table. Truthfully, you don't know how hard it can be to find The One.

I left my sweet husband snoring soundly and relocated to the basement bed so as not to bother him. In the dim glow of my phone's screen with my little cat purring alongside my thigh, I searched for tables until the boys came to "wake me."

The kids' school posted another two-hour delayed start, so we had a play date and then I dropped off all the munchkins before racing home to welcome the termite inspector, receive a delivery, confirm our moving contract, yada, yada, yada. 

These last few weeks I've felt as if I live in a surreal jello mold--translucent but still hazy with visual obstructions peppered throughout, wobbly, somewhat soundproof. It's hard to orient: what day is and does it really matter? What time do we have to be where? Is there homework or not? No, I don't know why you had "gross chicken with blood" for school lunch. I still don't understand what the chicken with blood was all about but the boys were emphatically repulsed. I laughed.

This jello mold sensation is one I've experienced before, during times of serious flux when I become unmoored in some way. It reminds me how much I appreciate and thrive on structure, even structured times for spontaneity. I know how that sounds, but it's me. It works for me.

It works for the kids too. They have been so wonky these last few days: no school, delays, school, staying up late, eating more pizza than usual. It does a number on them. I can see it in quicker tempers and tears, in inane bickering and tottering klutziness that are always a tell-tale sign of fatigue.

I look for ways to plant a flag and hold us steady. And that, my friends, is the reason for my Perfect Kitchen Table fixation. The reason I've stayed organized with the myriad to-dos for our move. The reason I insisted we start Valentine's making in advance because 51 cards take some time, and time we have had.

On the way home from school this afternoon, we drove by our new house, and despite the ugly mountains of dirty snow and the brown foliage peeking out from behind them, the sky shone blue and we looked at what will soon be home with giant smiles of excitement and promise.

There, I imagine (new table or not), the wobble will still. At least for a while.