Our day started out perfect. It was an absolute ideal day. Both girls actually ate their breakfast, got dressed, and brushed their teeth without incident. We did our morning school lesson and played. I even got to clean up the kitchen quietly before walking over to the park to enjoy the absolutely gorgeous weather we had. After a delicious lunch and a good nap from Chloe, we even went to the store, again without incident. No one fell asleep in the car and woke up grumpy. No one begged to listen to the same song over and over and over again. Just an all-around perfect day. But when the unexpected happens, it’s amazing how fast that perfect day can erode into a complete catastrophe.
It all started when we were enjoying some unexpected early evening time in the backyard. I was watering the flowers and the girls were blissfully playing until their playful laughs turned into cries. That easy going day had boiled over into a 4:30pm eruption.
“She’s in my car, that’s my car!” Ellie shrieked as she pulled a crying Chloe out of the car by her arm.
Yep, it was starting for sure. The evening crazies were building up. I sent Ellie inside for a timeout while Chloe cuddled in my arms to simmer the situation. Just a small crisis I thought. It’s almost dinner time. Aya will be home soon, and then we will enjoy a nice meal together. I’ll let Chloe play a little more while I finish watering the garden, and then we’ll go inside I thought.
That’s when things really started to unravel.
I was watering the garden when I saw IT through the fence boards in the neighbor’s back yard.
It was a… S-S-SNAKE!
Yes, I’m deathly afraid of those things. Not like, ‘oh man, I hate those things’afraid, but like ‘straight up phobia, I go $#@&ing crazy with those things’afraid. So much that I hate to say their name. So much that I couldn’t read past chapter 1 in book four of the Harry Potter series. So much that I get uncomfortable when the Grinch slithers (puke) under the Christmas tree while watching the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. So much that I avoid the reptile house at the zoo at all cost. That’s a nightmare (oh God, nightmares). Just the thought of them makes me want to wear shoes and pick my feet up off the ground (which I am doing now).
Anyway, I saw it through the fence boards, and I froze. $%@&! My palms got sweaty, my pulse quickened, and my face went numb. I can’t believe this is actually happening, I thought. I can deal with frogs, mice, opossums, being attacked by bees, and other furry creatures I’ve encountered in my yard, but not this! $%@&! And then it looked at me. It literally looked at me. Ahh! $%@&! Then it moved in a way that those things move and headed towards me, into MY yard! $%@&! $%@&!
As this was happening, I realized I was wearing sandals and was standing in the grass! I might as well have been barefoot! And then I wondered, “Are there more? What if they are already in my yard!? Chloe! Where’s Chloe!? I HAVE TO SAVE HER!”
As I dropped the hose and ran to grab Chloe, I realized no one else around seemed to care or notice that there was a predator in the vicinity. A crew of roofers was working at the neighbor’s house jamming to Aerosmith while my other neighbor was happily planting vegetables in his garden, both blissfully unaware of the danger nearby. I felt like we were being hunted by lions. Did they not know that the devil himself had taken up residence in my backyard? Did they not care?
In my psychotic fury to get inside safely, I did, however, make a bold and courageous move to turn off the water to the hose (while standing on my tip toes of course. I was bold, but not reckless). I knew I wouldn’t be able to go outside for the rest of the summer, so I figured I should turn the water off now. With the door slammed and locked, we were finally inside and safe… for now. I knew it was still out there, waiting, lurking in the bushes. But for the time being, all I could do was begin to process what happened and start calming down.
Still out of breath, I walked into the kitchen where I was greeted by a smiling Ellie.
Let me pause for a moment while I mention that over the weekend we were at a birthday party for one of Ellie’s friends. And one of the party favors she received was this stuff called Goo. Brain Dead Zombies Brain Ooze made by Alley Oop Toys to be exact. (This is not a plug for this toy. This is actually an anti-commercial. As in, don’t ever buy this!)
I came up the stairs and a smiling Ellie said, “Look daddy! I have earrings!”
And by earrings, she meant, “I have a big glob of zombie brain ooze smothered in my hair on both sides of my face! And it’s really really mashed in there good! You love it?”
Still feeling flustered that I just escaped death in my own backyard, the only words I could think to say while wanting to cry were, “Ellie, no no no no no no nooo.”
But in my mind, all I kept thinking was, “There’s a $%@&ing snake in my backyard!”
I tried to divert my energy back to Ellie. Staring at her clumped and gooped up hair, the only logical solution in my crazed state of mind was to cut out all of the goo. I can manage to do a lot of things, but anything hair related is something I’m not skilled in. Ponytails, pigtails, braids, hell, I can barely brush Ellie’s hair let alone cut it in some sort of thoughtful manner. I was going to need my mom to come over and help. She used to cut hair professionally.
“Ellie, we might have to cut this out of your hair,” I said.
“Okay! I’ll do it!” she said excitedly while reaching for the scissors.
“No no, wait! We might need grandma to give you an emergency haircut,” I said.
To which she responded, “No! I don’t want her to. I want to cut it! Don’t look at me, don’t touch it!” then ran into the playroom and slammed the door.
What is happening!?
Aya cried at the thought of giving Ellie a haircut. At just the thought of giving her a haircut. This was going to damn near kill her.
I was going to need approval from Aya for an emergency haircut. But to complicate matters further, she wasn’t answering her phone. Oh man. I had to make an executive decision. Now I had to call my mom and tell her that she had to give an emergency haircut (without the okay from Aya). But she wasn’t answering her phone either. Argh!
So I called my friend Haniyyah.
“Hey, um, I err, um, aah… I need your help, I err, umm, $%#@…” I stuttered and mumbled nervously.
“Is everything okay? What’s wrong with you?” she asked.
“This sounds worse than it is, but… err, ahh… aah… There was a s-s-snake in my backyard and I ran and saved Chloe and then when I came in Ellie put goo in her hair and she’s in the playroom and won’t come out and wants to cut her hair off and no one is answering their phone! I can’t think and I don’t know what to do!” I managed to blurt out.
“Aren’t you afraid of spiders?” she nonchalantly asked.
What!? Do you not know me at all!? I thought.
“NOOOO! Well… I don’t like them much either. But, not as much as THESE THINGS!” I exclaimed back.
After getting a few more facts, she started Googling “how to remove goo from hair,” This proved to be the most opportune time for Chloe to start getting hangry. Perfect timing Chloe, perfect timing.
While feeding Chloe handfuls of Cherrios out of my hand like she was a bird, Haniyyah was giving me options; peanut butter, mayonnaise, rubbing alcohol, olive oil, etc. We agreed that olive oil would be the first method to try before introducing any scissors. Considering Ellie doesn’t like water on her hair, this was going to be challenging to say the least. I just had to talk Ellie into the idea and get Chloe to leave me alone long enough to try such a maneuver.
Chocolate. Gosh do I love chocolate.
With two kids eating chocolate bars and watching My Little Pony, I soaked Ellie’s hair in olive oil and slowly, little by little, combed out all of this goo. Despite Ellie’s shrieks and yelps I think I did a pretty good job too. She had so much oil in her hair though, all I needed was some bread for dipping. I felt accomplished, I just knew it wasn’t a complete victory yet. I still needed to wrangle her into the bath and thoroughly wash her hair (which is a lofty task on any day). Next stop, the tub. With two chocolate faces, enough olive oil to make salad dressing, and a prayer, we marched upstairs.
As I washed the kids, I noticed Chloe had this look on her face. It looked familiar. I thought to myself you’re not going to poop in the tub right now are you? Because you know, I figured the best way to top off this day would be to have a turd in the tub. My hunches were right. As soon as I dried off Chloe and got her diaper on, she pooped. Woah, that was close! I narrowly missed The Perfect Day.
It took me a while to calm down after that. But after all that chaos in my ruffled state of mind, I’m surprised I didn’t break anything, or anybody, including myself. I guess it’s good to know in addition to handling poop in the bathtub and being puked on in public, I can now add snakes attacks (puke) and removing goo from hair to my resume.
It’s remarkable with how quickly the unexpected showed up, it left just as fast. By the time Aya got home, the only sign of distress was the abandoned garden hose lying in the middle of the backyard and a plastic bowl filled with olive oil and clumps of Ellie’s hair. But if you could see inside my mind, it would be a different story.