And it all started with first grade.
I don't know exactly when or how it happened, but a few weeks ago a note came home informing me that the first graders were going to be having a Fall Festival! and Oh boy is it ever going to be fun! I remember seeing a place for me to sign my name and thinking hmm, maybe this piece of paper shouldn't go directly into the recycling bin. Maybe I should sign it and send it back. Because maybe aliens are invading my body and I've lost all ability to think clearly and rationally and holy shit! I just volunteered to help out at the Fall Festival!
As the day approached, I was pretty sure I felt a scratchy throat, raspy cough, nasal congestion, Ebola virus, super ouchie paper cut, shin splints, or a combination of these and was thinking I had a good reason to cancel. And even if I did manage to make a miraculous recovery from my plague in time for the Fall Festival! I was sure that my presence wouldn't be missed. After all, tons of other parents were probably volunteering for the fun-filled Fall Festival! and I would just be standing around with nothing to do but point and smirk. Yeah, that's it. I just won't show up. Just as long as Zoe doesn't know that I was supposed to be there, because that would really suck if she walks around yelling "Where's my mom? Has anyone seen my mom? She was supposed to be here and she said that all of her compound fractures had healed up, so where is she?" But she hasn't mentioned anything, so I'm sure it's fine if I...
"Here mom! This note is for you! We have a party tomorrow and you get to come help! See, your name is right here next to the 'Thanks for offering to help out at the First Grade Fall Festival! See you tomorrow morning!' So you're coming, right?"
Seriously, how do I say no to that face? (cough...cough...sniffle)
So Tuesday morning arrives and I figure okay. I can do this. I'll just show up earlier than scheduled, snag the easiest game (because there is no way in hell I'm going to get stuck with Turkey Bowling), boss some kids around and at the same time, accumulate some major good mom points with my kid. No problem.
Well, there wouldn't have been a problem if it weren't for the fact that, much to my surprise, a Fall Festival! Leader Mom had stepped forward weeks ago, and she took it upon herself to pre-assign everyone to a game. I had to check "the list" to find out; A) which game I was in charge of and, B) the name of the other parent also assigned to my game. I broke into a panicy sweat. What if I had to hang out with Fanny for an hour? Or the Halloween Party mom? And what if I had to hang out with either of these women while face painting!? Oh my fucking hell! What have I gotten my control freak-self into?
As I walked up to check the list, I started having flashbacks of my college days. I felt like I was checking for my calculus grade after I had taken a test while completely hungover, and this just made me sweat more. And holy shit did I breathe a sigh of relief when I saw that I was assigned to Penny Toss with a mom that is super nice. This was good because in addition to the sweat, I was starting to feel nauseous.
So, Penny Toss -- easy enough. Toss a penny toward a piece of poster board that has "Toy, Sticker, Candy, Play-Doh" written on it and win a prize. I quickly drew a couple neanderthal-size feet on a piece of purple construction paper (see, this is why I will never be a good candidate for face-painting) and taped it to the floor so that the kids would know where to stand and, while chatting with the other mom, waited for the first kids to show up. And that's when it occurred to me: 120+ kids were going to be playing this game, and we had eight pennies. Count them...EIGHT.
While quickly making a mental note to not allow my hands to come within 20 inches of my face for the next hour no matter how much my nose itched, the game began and went a little something like this:
- Hand penny to child
- Pick penny up off of the floor
- Hand penny to child, which child grabs after pulling finger out of their nose
- Child tosses penny
- Penny rolls near garbage can before I pick it up off of the floor
- Hand penny to child
- Child tosses penny four feet further than necessary
- Pick penny up off of the floor
- Child puts penny in mouth, then tosses it onto board
- I gag a little bit, then pick the penny up off of the floor
And on and on this went, with me adding little variations here and there to keep things interesting. Small things like "Hey, if you land exactly right on this corner here, you win an Xbox" and then the kid would miss and I'd just shrug my shoulders. Or if a kid bitched about landing on the Play-Doh square (because honestly, they all just wanted the damn candy), I'd say "Well, you can take the Play-Doh or you can have a kick in the shin." They all thought I was pretty much insane, and now feel sorry for Zoe.
Even though it felt like the Fall Festival! was never going to end, I was finally able to make a break for it, decontaminate my hands and continue with my day. My very over-scheduled, chaotic, barely time to pee let alone make dinner and get everyone where they need to be day. Oh yeah, dinner. I guess I can't totally complain about making dinner, since I had a little help in that department. Or, at least, I thought I did.
Since I knew I would have exactly 23.7 minutes from the time I walked in the door from one kid's tennis lesson until we had to walk back out the door for the same kid's orchestra concert, I put the oldest kid in charge of turning a burner on in order to save time and get a pot of water boiling. I called him from the car, said "turn the burner on HIGH" and thought he'd be able to take things from there. After all, everyone can boil water, right? Or, maybe not right. As soon as I walked in the door, I sniffed the air and immediately knew that there was a hot burner in the house, but sadly it wasn't the burner that was directly under the pot of water. It was the one behind it. And did you know that rotini takes less time to cook than linguini? Just in case you were wondering.
And now you're probably wondering why this blog post is called "The Brown Stain, Vol. 3." There was "The Brown Stain" and "The Brown Stain, Vol 2.", so get to the brown stain already!
Okay, so while I was waiting for the water to boil, I noticed a brown smudge on the carpet. It wasn't a big spot, like the puppy had taken a dump in the house, it was small like someone had dropped a hunk of chocolate chip granola bar on the floor and then stood on it for a few minutes. I reached down, touched the still-sticky spot, smelled my fingers - and was about to ask who had been eating chocolate on the carpet - and then realized that I had just stuck my finger in a smear of dog shit. Yes, that's my life. My wonderful, glamorous, shitty finger life.
I tried to figure out how the hell it got there if the dog didn't crap in the house. Did he step in his own feces while he was outside? And if so, wouldn't that mean that there are little shitty footprints all over the house? And if that's the case, wouldn't it just be easier to burn the house down and start all over? Seriously, Oh! My! Gawd! Zach was all "No, no, see, I let him out and saw him take like the biggest crap ever. This is not my fault!" And I was all "I don't care if you saw him shit! Dude! I have shit on my finger!"
At this point, the dog ran away from me because he doesn't like it when I yell, and as I watched him run that's when I saw where the brown stain came from. Because it's pretty hard to miss a hunk of brown shit stuck to the ass of a cream-colored dog.
And I'll give you exactly one guess as to who was lucky enough to wipe the dog's ass.