Where's My Xanax?

Over the past week I’ve watched myself go from blissful to panicked, enraged to submissive, energized to depleted, and shaky to strong. Why? In an emergency two-second decision Nettl and I took custody of the kids. My once quiet haven of incense, bubbling fountains, and Mozart andantes has, literally overnight, turned into a video arcade, movie theater, co-ed scout camp, emotional service station, psychiatric couch, telephone exchange, and a vast field of pre-adolescent hormonal land mines...
I have no experience in parenting girls. Both of my kids (now in their 30s) are of the male persuasion and I find myself retreating to my computer, hoping we made the right decision. I know we did, actually. No child is going to live in fear and abuse on my watch, regardless of what that demands of me.
Last Friday I sat here at this very same desk, on a day very much like today, looking forward to the kid’s spring break visit. One week. Big deal. When the kid tornado hit us and flip-flopped us around only to set us back down in unfamiliar territory, my son and I flew under the beds like a couple of electrified cats. We’re coming out now, looking around, and realizing that everything’s all right. School is still in session and we have our quiet day times.
I’ve been a Hausmandl for the past year—a job for which I’m well suited—but now my workload has increased monumentally. Just cooking for seven people is a daunting task, especially when three of them are at the peak of their growth cycles. And let’s not even mention the “I know all about it” eye-rolling routine. Part of being a teen is actually believing you have the answers for everything and that adults are just plain stupid, although my kids never put me through that. Maybe it's a girl thing. My greatest consolation is that in the next 10 to 15 years, these kids are going to be amazed at how much smarter their mother and I have gotten.
The hardest part is that until we move into a larger house at the beginning of August, there are seven of us in a three-bedroom house, and that includes my semi-invalid elderly mother for whom I am both caretaker and (in her opinion) personal valet. My job this weekend is to make a family room/kids’ den out of the finished garage I just cleaned. A TV and all the game systems will go out there, as well as a futon couch and an air bed, work table, toys, collectors dolls, empty Capri Sun packages, and rolled up Hershey’s Kiss foil wrappers covered in snot.
I may actually get to watch TV shows that aren't animated.

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